“Oh father, stop!” I weep, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!”
“Son, you’re an idiot!” he shouts, “What did you do when I gave you that staff yesterday? Eh? You threw it out to sea, thinking it would eat you. You’re stupid, stupid, stupid!”
“I’ll be smarter this time!” I wail.
“You’ve been saying that for the past three-hundred years!” he thunders, making my cave shake, “You are so impulsive that you never think. I cannot stress how ashamed I am; you are a disgrace to the family, Polyphemus.”
I pound the nearest wall with my fist. It’s not my fault that I was born not as smart as my siblings! It’s not my fault that he’s teases me! He always scolds but never helps me.
As I open my rock-door to release my dear goats, I gaze out to the panorama of the rolling green hills and bunches of geraniums.
My dear goats rush out of the cave as I see my best friend, “Hello Jelly,” I say, “It’s chilly, it’s time I make you a new hat. I really don’t see why you didn’t like the other one...Maybe I’ll make you a dress.” As always, she doesn’t respond because she’s a goat.
The day comes and goes, so we all go back to the cave. My cyclops neighbors strut past me, promptly pinching their noses, but I’ve learned to ignore it.
However, what I can’t miss is the chitter-chatter coming from my cave. As I peer in, I gasp. I see men, devouring my dinner. There are intruders in my house! Their faces are stuffing themselves with MY food. Cyclopses don’t share food! My three-something years have been rotten, full of rejection and feeling different, so this is the last thing I need.. I slam my rock-door shut and throw firewood into my fire pit. They fall silent.
The tallest and buffest of the men with the messiest face looks me in the eye and says, “Hello, sir. We’re veterans from the Trojan war, and we’re on our way back home. Unfortunately, we got blown off course, so to both of our benefits we’re here. Please, let us have some gifts, Xenia is what it is after all.”
“FOOL!” I shout. I can’t believe it-first my father yells at me for my dumbness, then my buddies are mean, and now I have people in my house eating my food. “Phah, Xenia is from the gods, and I don’t believe in the gods!” What am I saying? I don’t know, my father’s a god, but I need them to feel my anger. “Why would I let you go, since we differ so much?”
“Do something, sissy,” I tell myself, using my father’s favorite word, “It’s time to show everyone that you’re the boss.” I think of all those times my father told me how I am very stupid; it’s time for me to show him and those men that no one messes with me anymore.
My anger is like a big forest fire, a bonfire gone out of control, spreading through the forest and burning anything it passes. Only force can stop it, but no one would want to tamper with such a fire.
I reach out and grab one of the men. All is silent. I’m rejected, miserable, and abused; I crave someone else to feel this way. I throw him in my mouth, and, even though I could swallow him whole, I go crunchy-crunchy.
No one moves. I smile, giddy with my new authority.
When the man says something, I answer with gibberish, I admit, for my mind is elsewhere. Maybe one day, I can conquer the world, showing my father that I do have potential.
“What’s your name?” I conclude.
“Well, Nobody, I’m going to milk the goats so I can wash down the rest of you down with it.” I close the rock-door behind me and take a saunter, thinking about my bright future as ruler of the world! I imagine myself bathing in gold, with streams of people coming in to ask me for advice and my father, beaming at me, telling me that he always knew I could do it.
“You idiot! Miserable retard! Come back to your cave at once! Do you not understand what they are planning?” my father’s voice shouts.
My father still dares to speak to me this way? Angrily I trudge home with the sea spraying cold foam on my back. I walk past the ocean, ignoring the waves’ whisper of “thick-head”.
Nobody interests me with a lovely jug of wine. Wine is the best; of course I take it!
Nobody, the nice fellow, keeps offering me more wine! That laddie knows me well. Before I chug down my wine, I offer to eat him last. Maybe after I kill him, I can make him my courtier! Maybe after I kill the rest of them, I can make them prisoners! That doesn’t make sense. Nothing makes sense. The world doesn’t make sense! Around me it's spinning, turning, and twisting around me.. It blackens into a tunnel, and the last sensation I feel is my body hitting the hard ground.
I dream, oh how much I dream. I dream of myself as King. I dream of a palace. I dream of approval. I dream of my father, the great Poseidon, smiling down at me from the heavens.
I dream of Nobody laughing. Why would the doo-doo be laughing? Perhaps he’s laughing at my very funny jokes. I dream of him holding a knife. My heart stops and I blink open my eye - there’s something wrong - I’m in my dark, musty cave. Oh, how foolish I am, I realize that now! Now I know that I’m not dreaming. I’m in my cave, and Nobody is standing on my chest with a dagger by my eye.
That’s it. The world turns black. Then, comes the pain, oh the pain! It courses through my body like swords of ice. The place where my eye was is now an empty pit full of pain and a waterfall of blood. It would continue to torment me forever. I scream. I scream so that the whole world will hear me.
I had been a fool. It was I who locked him in here. It was I who caused him to be so angry. It was I who let him and his friends plan this out while I went for a stroll. All this time, I ignored my father’s warning. I thought that this time, I was actually smart, but I was wrong and he’s right. I am a worthless stupid, blind idiot.
“AAAAAHHHHHHH!” I scream, begging for help, some kind of help.
“What is it, Polyphemus?” yawns one of my neighbors, “What’s wrong with you on this lovely night? Hurry up, you’re disturbing my sleep.”
Oh, finally someone is being friendly, “Nobody!” I cry, “Nobody tricked me! Nobody ruined me! AAAH OWW!”
I hear him roar with laughter. “Well, if nobody’s hurting you, what can I do?,” he mocks, “You can only pray to your dear father for that one,”
I sink down, sobbing and screaming to an uneasy sleep, finally understanding that I’m alone in this great big world.
In the morning, I ask myself if it was all a dream, but when I try to open my eye, all remains dark.
After I push open the door, I feel the backs of my sheep, my dears, to see if the men are riding on them, particularly Nobody. For some reason, there’s nothing, like the emptiness inside me.
Suddenly, I hear laughter - wild and uncontrollable laughter, getting farther away. It moves down the island and out of my reach. I whip my head around, confused, but this only makes him laugh harder. He tells me who he is, of his greatness, but both of us know that it doesn’t make a difference in what I am going to do.
My life wasn’t great from the start - being bullied, feeling stupid, and my father hating me. But that man, that Odysseus, will have it worse. He truly helped me recognize that I am a big fool, shown in my blind eye.
“Listen to me, father.” I say, “Please, please at least make sure that Odysseus only sees his home after many dark, miserable years in between. Let all his men die, let him sail to bad situations at home all on his own.” Let his life be as bad as mine, and let him realize it.
“Yes son,” he whispers. With a new, cold wisdom in me, I trudge back to my cave.