When last we left our heroes, they had washed up on an unknown island in the Mediterranean. Before they could determine their whereabouts, a giant one-eyed monster stormed out of the trees and attacked! The Society tried to escape, but despite a lack of depth perception, the beast was able to fell them all…
“So,” Victor Terranove moaned from his position on the floor of the cave, “first it’s pirate ghosts, now it’s giants. Dear Lord, what to make of this?”
“It’s not a giant,” Sir Charles began to correct, “As I was saying…”
“It’s a Cyclops,” Colonel Durant said, puffing at a moist cigar lit from the huge makeshift oven on the far side of the cave. “You’re not the only one with a classical education. I’ve read Homer too. In Latin.”
Mrs. Chatterton sighed. “Can we put aside the Oxford posturing and begin to find a way out of here?” she asked.
“I don’t think we need to worry about that,” the Earl of Marston said, a mischievous and self-satisfied grin on his face.
“Pardon?” Sir Charles asked.
Victor also seemed confused. “We don’t need to concern ourselves with escape?”
“No,” Lord Marston said, theatrically drawing all the attention in the cave to himself. “You see, I already have our escape completely in hand.”
Cassandra squinted her eyes with suspicion. “You’ve got a plan to escape from a cave guarded by a one-eyed cannibalistic giant?”
“Tell the story, Sir Charles,” Kenneth said.
“You have a plan. You, Kenneth, Lord Marston?”
“Tell the story, Sir Charles.”
Sir Charles adjusted his wet suit awkwardly and straightened his bow tie. Taking a position in front of the huge boulder that blocked the cave’s only egress, he began to do what he did best.
“In ancient Greek folklore, the Cyclopes were storm gods, sons of the Titans,” Sir Charles began his exhaustive tale. “Variously, the three worked for Zeus and Hephestaeus as smiths until they were killed by Apollo.”
“The one outside is not dead,” Mrs. Chatterton interrupted.
“I, uh, no,” Sir Charles continued. “Of course not. Homer’s Odyssey relates a tale of another, mortal Cyclops, this one merely a one-eyed giant… Polyphemus by name, who chanced upon capturing Odysseus and his men when they took refuge in his cave.” Sir Charles paused to look around, suddenly realizing that he stood in a spot of Hellenic renown. A smile of awe was quickly replaced by a frown of worry as he recalled why he had been brought here.
“Get to the point,” Durant interrupted his reverie.
“Right, um… so, ah, Odysseus speaks to the Cyclops and discovers that the giant has two other brothers living on the island. Knowing that he might be able to escape one Cyclops, but likely not three, he devises a plan to trick the creature and his brothers. He tells Polyphemus that his name is ‘no man,’ and then proceeds to blind him with a burning spike.”
Victor rolled his eyes. “If only we had remembered to bring a burning spike.”
Sir Charles continued, undeterred. “Polyphemus guarded the exit to the cave, even blinded, and used his hands to feel everything that entered or exited, figuring this would prevent Odysseus and his men from escaping… but Odysseus had his men tie themselves to the bottoms of the Cyclops’ sheep and so the creature didn’t even feel them escape.”
“If only we had remembered to bring sheep,” Victor said.
“When the Cyclops realized that they had escaped, he tried to procure aid from his brothers. However, when they asked him who had done such a thing to him, he told them that ‘no man’ had done it, and so they assumed that he had done it to himself. Thus, ah, Odysseus and his men made it back to their ship and got away.”
“If only we had remembered–”
“Oh for God’s sake, Terranove, will you shut your mouth!” Colonel Durant interrupted angrily.
“Well told, Sir Charles,” Lord Marston said, rising to his feet. He addressed the group as a whole. “It’s obvious that we don’t have the capacity to defeat our captor by force of sinew. Fortunately, we face a creature with a notable weakness in the old grey matter… something we have no shortage of on our side.”
“You intend to outsmart it?” Victor asked.
“I intend to outwit it,” Lord Marston smiled. “If I can get Totty Amstwinkle down at the Drones Club to propose to Lady Smythe-Bottington, I can at least talk us out of a cave. Now here’s what we have to do…”
© 2013 by Douglass Barre, All Rights Reserved.