Orphic Phantasia

Theseus and the Minotaur

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“Everything I touch turns to gore,” Malcolm grinned, again baring those, allegedly, potentially, but hopefully not, baby-crushing, teeth. “You think I could do that shit with some ratass name like Malcolm? Nah, man, Malcolm’s just for when I’m feeling nice, you know? For those times when I don’t feel like ripping the limbs offa people. You ever do that as a kid, Theseus? You know, ripping the legs offa spiders and watching them squirm? You ever do that? You ever watch’em squirm and die like a bunch of ratass wusses crying for their mama?”

Theseus glanced towards the door. Malcolm — or was it really Murdas — had left it oh-so-slightly open, maybe intentionally, maybe not; Theseus was about as skilled in psychoanalysis as he was with diplomacy. He had, however, lived his life on a farm, and there was something about his host’s tiny eyes that reminded him of a bull readying its charge. “I can’t say it was a hobby of mine,” he said.

“You think it’s a hobby? You think I do it ‘cause I ain’t got anything else better to do, is that it? What the fuck else do you think I can do? Pull down the pub wall to order a pint that’ll taste like piss? Stomp over to some nice lady and—and—and watch her scream like I’m some kind of—of monster? You think the average person don’t look at this face and see a monster? You think they look at me and see a Malcolm? You think I look at this face and see a Malcolm? I look in the mirror and see a fucking Murdas. I see a fucking beast who will rip off your ratass arms and use them as toothpicks. You think I do that for fun, do you? You think it’s a fucking hobby?”

Theseus could almost see the steam curling from his nostrils, could feel the ground tremble as he scraped it with hooves that could bisect a man in a single kick. Before the beast, before Murdas could charge, he picked himself up and made to excuse himself with a mumble of “Thanks for the coffee.”

Murdas the gladiator, Murdas the Minotaur, whose hands turned everything he touched to gore, slammed a fist into a wall laden with cracks and holes. “Now hold you on there just a minute, ‘Theseus’. Theseus! I bet that ain’t even your real name, you ratass fraud. Where’s your ball of wool, Theseus? Got yourself some skank-ass princess with a ball of wool waiting for you? She won’t be so fawning after I’ve smashed in your ratass face.”

He was crashing across the room now, not a gallop, but strides wide enough they had the speed of one. Theseus only just slipped through the door before he slammed it shut in an attempt to crush him. It barrelled opened a moment later, the monster’s voice filling the tunnel as Theseus burst into a run.

“You ratass little fraud! I see you in that arena and you’re a dead man, you hear me? A dead man!”

A simple piece of investigation indeed. Once he was safe and secure in his own quarters, Theseus picked up his cellular and summarised his findings in a single sentence.

‘I think I preferred them when they didn’t talk so much.’

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Ah, the first extralude! I told myself these would only be a few hundred words. A page of content. A few hours of work.

Ten hours, 1,600 words and three pages later…

I spent about an hour of that time trying to decide whether I should use the term ‘transition’ or not. Mainly because, the way the internet is these days, I was worried somebody might take it the wrong way. In the end, it felt like the best word to use (Metamorphosis? Too unwieldy. Transmigration? Too specific!), and “identity” is one of the biggest themes in this work (in this case, “how much does the reflection looking back at you influence your identity?”) so there we go.

Anyhow, for my own sanity, next week’s extralude should be a little shorter.