It's All Greek To Me This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Duopedes was unable to sleep. It was the eve of his thirteenth birthday, and he couldn't stop worrying about what the next morning would bring. He knew that tomorrow he would be assigned his quest, for it was an ancient custom that every Greek boy must become entangled in some sort of epic adventure, anger at least three gods, conjure a magical weapon, and find a new use for rhubarb before his twenty-first birthday. Some Greeks became so good at it that their exploits were recorded, as Jason's were, and some made a career out of it, like Odysseus, but most completed their quests only to gain some respect from their peers and fulfill their social duties before going on to their lives' callings.

So it was with Duopedes. He had absolutely no interest in questing. He knew what he really wanted to do in life. He wanted, more than anything else in the world, to join the noble and elite cult of mail carriers. How he longed to wear the coveted uniform and perform the time-honored traditions of postmarking letters with the secret symbols and emptying the letter receptacles that only mail carriers knew how to open. Oh, the life of a mail carrier is so romantic, he thought, but I have to get this quest over with! If only I knew what was in store!

Suddenly, Duopedes had a brilliant idea; he would consult the oracle, who conveniently shared the duplex Duopedes' family lived in. Forgetting that it was long past midnight, Duopedes ran to the front of his house and banged on the oracle's door. He heard a crash inside, and then the muffled sound of the befuddled old oracle assuring whomever it was at the door that he was okay and would be with him in a minute. And, exactly sixty seconds later the door opened to reveal a hunched over, wrinkled little man who for some reason had a strainer on his head, his foot stuck in a pot, and dust from other broken pots all over his body. This was Codox, the oracle of the nearly great, almost powerful goddess Ariela, goddess of Dental Hygiene.

Codox lifted the strainer to see who had summoned him. "Duopedes? How are you, my boy? What can I do for you tonight?"

"I'm sorry to bother you so late," Duopedes began.

"Oh, don't you worry," replied Codox. "I was just working on a new potion in the kitchen. As you can probably tell, it wasn't going so well, so I can use a little diversion."

"Well, as you know, tomorrow is my thirteenth birthday."

"It is? Happy birthday, my boy. Let me guess, you want me to consult the goddess as to what presents you'll be receiving!"

"Not exactly. You see, tomorrow I'm to be assigned my quest. But I'm nervous. I don't want to go on a quest! Tell me, Codox, what will it be?"

Codox considered the question for a moment, and then spoke, "I will consult the goddess. Follow me."

Codox disappeared into his home, with Duopedes following behind him. They stumbled over a mess of broken terra cotta into the consultation room. The consultation room was a poorly lit yet tastefully decorated office toward the back of the duplex. There was a desk to one side, a couch to the other, with a large table in the center. Perched atop the table was a large, shining stone which let off a translucent light, the only light in the room. Several bones and entrails, presumably from a chicken, were scattered around it.

Duopedes felt a wave of nausea as he looked at the chicken remains. "You're not going to use entrails for this one, are you?" he asked. Duopedes thoroughly disliked the sight of blood.

"Well, I wasn't planning on it, but if you'd like me to ..."

"No, that's quite all right."

Suddenly, the room was filled with an eerie silence as Codox entered a trance. Duopedes watched with horror as Codox's mouth opened and his teeth began to glow as he channeled the goddess Ariela. With an other-worldly voice than seemed to emanate from his teeth rather than his throat, Codox spoke:

"The goddess listens. Ask as you wish."

Duopedes was disconcerted by the whole affair, but he soon gathered all his courage and asked the goddess about his quest.

"Oh nearly great, not-so-powerful goddess Ariela, tell me: what is the quest that I will be assigned tomorrow?"

Codox's eyes opened wide like the eyes of an owl, and the glow of his teeth intensified. "Your quest will be thus: You shall search far and wide to bring me back that which I desire. You must find the golden floss!"

Duopedes was shocked. "Wait a minute. Didn't Jason already find that?"

The voice from Codox's teeth grew louder. "NOT THE GOLDEN FLEECE! THE GOLDEN FLOSS! NOW GO!"

Suddenly, Codox's teeth lost their glow, his eyes returned to normal, and his trance was lifted. "So," he asked, "what did I miss?"

"I have my quest," replied Duopedes with the greatest solemnity. "I must find the Golden Floss for the goddess Ariela."

Codox was shocked, and said, "Didn't Jason already find that?" 1

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 8 at 9:17 am
i love this !
Zanze_writer said...
Dec. 6, 2015 at 12:07 pm
I'm greek and I found this hilarious
IamtheStargirl said...
Jun. 25, 2010 at 12:49 pm
This is so funny, usually history stories like this are accurate to the point of stuffiness. I love how you put your own spin on it all. Very creative :)
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