These are rough notes for a one-man piece I'm developing. I performed a version of this text at the Someday Lounge on 1 April, with a microphone, myself in dingy mechanic's coveralls, and a milkcrate hiding two bota bags of cheap Shiraz. Note that this wants to be more than these notes indicate now. I don't know what it will be, but it's already growing. The version I performed included a section on How to Make A Proper Sacrifice, addressing the question of whether the Gods prefer flesh or wine or both. At the end of which, I emptied a bota-bag over my head.
1. Try not to fight a God. This is hard. You usually don't actually know if you're fighting a God until after S/He's finished unwinding your guts for you. But there are signs. Say, your knife breaks. Or a bird sh*ts on you. Or an earthquake and a tidal wave and radioactive disease wipes out a bunch of your people. That's when you know you're fighting a God. You should back off.
2. It's hard enough, fighting mortals. Have you ever, actually, really fought someone? The human hand has 273 individual bones. That's 273 moving parts that can break, that can send little shoots of pain to crawl up your rippling arms, to sear your massive shoulders, grab you by the neck and take you down to your knees, sobbing like a child over the mangled, bloody ruin of your once splendid hand. (I don't actually know if there are 273 bones in your hand. I made that up.)
But I don't give a f*ck how brave you are. I don't give a f*ck about your brains, or your strength. How pretty you are. How much money you have. Your Mama or your Daddy. What counts for more than any of that, is How You Handle Pain.
3. There are more kinds of Pain than there are people in this world. And you don't have to get hit to feel pain. You can't take the cream out of the coffee, you know. Bullets only travel in one direction. Talk all you want, talk all day and all through the night. But you will never un-say that thing you said.
It's never actually about the thing right in front of you. Achilles quit the war because of Briseis and you think, what the f*ck?, right? A girl? He steps away because of a girl. What's the sense in that? Bullsh*t sense is what that is. Let me talk about Briseis for a second.
She's the 20-year old with her tits popping out all the damn time, she's the one with the pale eyes and the parted lips, the thighs you can't stop thinking about, the neighbor's daughter that you can't get out of your head. Or maybe she's your own daughter, you sick f*ck. Because this is the thing about Briseis: it's wrong.
It's f*cking wrong. All of it. This whole godd*mn war is a f*cking sex crime gone nuclear, our lives are getting f*cked in front of our very eyes. Helen, sh*t.
Briseis was just some pretty young thing who Apollo loves. Or doesn't, depending on your point of view. And because she's sacred, okay, because she's off-limits, like you don't touch her with a finger much less your diseased little prick unless you want the Divine Archer to mulch your nuts with a corkscrew--
Because of all that, why, of course you can't take your eyes off her. She's forbidden. Sacrosanct. She's hidden in plain sight, she's the One Who Got Away, she's the coy pair of eyes that belie the little "no" her full, gentle, sweetly parched lips whisper in your ear.
I'm speaking now to the men in this room. Sons. Do you not feel the rage welling in you? You're a working man. Your work is personal, you work with purpose. We were brought here to do something real. And hard. A task for grown men and heroes. You're not asking for anything less than your due.
You glimpse the small of her back, the arc of her throat, the easy mellow wine of her voice, and these are your riches, this is your worldly wealth. Her freckles are stars on the sky of her body, and you can count each one of them. She hums softly in the kitchen, in the car, in the bath where she thinks you can't hear. Her arms fold around your shoulders just so, and her legs wrap around you the way a net wraps a gasping fish.
I don't think he's heard the bad news, that his best friend is dead. But I can't see any Greek who could do that job. They're all lost in dark mist, their horses too. Father Zeus, deliver the Greeks from the dark. Make the sky clear. Allow us to see with our eyes. Destroy us in the light, since destroy us you will.
4. In a Close-Hold Engagement, the objective is not just to neutralize the subject. The objective is to remove all uncontrolled elements from the situational context. What does this mean? Regarding the hostile subject, this means definitively, and if necessary forcefully denying that subject the means to violently dispute your authority. Close-Hold Tactics are designed to immobilize, to incapacitate. Your body is a lever. Your tactics, your choices that you make: what to say, how to say it. A lunge, a thrown fist. The kind of knot only you tie. The way you pivot against a wrist, the slow squeeze, your knees against his chest, the firm, steady grip on his throat and your open palm smothering his face, holding him down under the water... Close-Hold Tactics magnify your physical strength, your body, your will. You're built for maximum force in minimal amounts of time. It's not just instinct, it's systemic reaction, cascading operations designed and directed to maximize force in a specific, highly confined moment.
You have a god inside you. This is where you remember who you are.