Monday, October 4, 2010

Greece: The Chase and the Dream

Three best friends raced after each other around the playground at school one afternoon, it could have been a Tuesday. One of them for a change had simply wanted to read quietly but the other two were having none of that. It was a beautiful day and the name of the game was "Keep Away." Tony had been the one trying to read a new comic book, the one time when nine-year old boys tend to retreat in to themselves, to escape in to the magical pages of full color comic artwork and fantasy. Donald and Reiner, his two classmates, did not have this particular comic and that was enough to get Tony going.

"C'mon, guys" went out the universal plea to either join the fun or in this case knock it off. The comic Donald and Reiner were passing back and forth between each other just out of Tony's reach was not a DC or Marvel masterpiece. It wasn't even Uncle Scrooge who had his own version of the story or even Archie Andrews and the gang from Riverdale. This comic told the short hand version of Theseus and the Minotaur, one of the most famous stories from ancient Greek mythology.

And what a story! Proving oneself, conquering a horrible monster, miscommunication and all to explain how the Aegean Sea got its name? Whatever it was to Donald and Reiner it wasn't Spiderman or even Captain America.

"That's weird," shouted Reiner over his shoulder, Tony in hot pursuit. Where the ear was programmed to expect one super hero or caped crusader in particular "Theseus" simply did not compute and therefore wasn't cool. And with all of those "th's" and "s's" in the name and no "-man" at the end of it whoever it was could only be described as sissy. That took the chase up a notch, the three boys a sneakers and blue jeans blur to one and all around them. "Give"-whoosh-"me"-whoosh-"back my"-whoosh-"comic!" The sun angled just a hair lower in the sky as if itself turning to watch the action.

Through the section where the girls jumped rope, played hopscotch and skipped jacks and across the field where kickball, fuss ball and football were going on at the same time they ran. Tony was the faster runner but generally only in a straight line or wide turns. Rabbit cuts were not his specialty but eventually he did catch them. It was all a big game as they stood and caught their breath, Donald handing over the cherished comic while Reiner happily clapped Tony on the back who smiled and rolled his eyes at his two goofball pals. Tomorrow Donald or Reiner would let his guard down enough to be the patsy and so it would go.

"So who's Theseus?" Donald asked? As they answered the call of the whistle and walked, slowly, back to class, Tony told his friends what he knew which at that point was only what the comic book had illustrated. Recess was over and the Three Amigos laughed and giggled amidst cries of "Wow!" and "Cool!" as they rejoined their classmates, arm in arm in friendship, jovially congratulating each other on another good game of "Keep Away."

As Tony trudged the stairs to his second floor classroom, though, a question stuck in his mind. "Where was this place?" he mused as the door closed and silence fell once more upon a worn but relieved schoolyard.

Gotta go.

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