A Spiky Story #blogbattle #shortstory

Rachael Ritchey has a prompt/challenge at her Blog Battle blog and this week it is to use the word ‘Thorn’ and a genre of fan fiction. No idea if I’m even close to complying with the rules but here goes 

The Whinging of  Odysseus 

 Athena sighed. Bloody hell, would he ever get a move on? ‘Come on Odysseus, you’ve a home to get to.’ She tried cheery but in all honesty even her enthusiasm for this hulking sulking lump was dulling by the second.

Odysseus pointedly turned his back. ‘Go away. I’m not moving.’

‘Oh come off it, Odi, after all we’ve been through. You just need to cross the mountains and…’

‘Oh stop it, Pallas. I’m done with your ‘just one more horizon’ crap. I’m not moving an inch.’

Athena snapped her fingers and a warming fire started; a sumptuous piece of boar meat began roasting while succulent root vegetables peeled themselves and rolled into the ashes. She watched as Odysseus glanced at the feast, dribble appearing on his chin. Typical bloke, she thought, a sucker for a good meal and… She took the disguise of Calypso and nibbled his ear. ‘There’s afters too, you know.’

Odysseus pushed the God away. ‘It’s not about the meat or the, you know, other. I’m hurt.’

Athena stepped back and the fire and food vanished. He’d never rejected the Chomping-Romping combo before. ‘Hurt? You? You’re as tough as teak. You escaped prison with that tart, made a raft, swam for two days, dodged a bullet when Poseidon whipped up a storm, avoided Scylla and Ch…’

‘That was you, though, wasn’t it? It’s always you. One of you gods tell me ‘Oh Odi, you’ll be fine’ so I believe you and off I go and then I’m drowning or being chased by storms or snakes…’

‘Snakes? What snakes?’

‘Sorry, that was a different Odyssey. The point is, you lot put me in harms way and then don the old silver cape and rescue me. I bet you all go to that mountain retreat, sip a flagon of ambrosia and swap stories about how clever you are while muggins here is lying on a beach, spitting out a ton of sand and wondering when I’ll next eat.’

The fire and food reappeared. He waved it away. ‘I’m not eating, ok?’

‘You trying to starve yourself? Because suicide’s not in the contract.’

‘I know, I know. I’ll live on berries and stuff.’

‘Sure you will. Like you’ll survive without the meat fix.’

‘I’m not moving so get used to it.’

‘But you need to get home.’


‘Why? What do you mean, why?’ Athena rubbed her face, accidentally taking on the guises of Mentor, Zeus, a minor footman from Troy and Telemachus as she did so. ‘You’ve undertaken a journey lasting years, faced near death what?  A dozen times. And now you ask why?’

‘I was busy, okay? Trying to stay alive, your honour.’

She dropped an arm around his shoulders, tempted to curse him to Hades and back but resisting. ‘Odi, Penelope is waiting for you. Your son too. It’s time you were home.’

‘You say that but, see, it’s been a while. Will she, you know, be keen? Someone said she’s been knitting a shawl for ten years. Doesn’t sound like we have much in common any more.’

Athena held his gaze in her own. She never really got his attraction. Sure there were the tatts and the muscles and the old bit of charm but he was rather frayed and, in truth, not exactly your bundle of fun. A bit whiny really. Plaything of the gods? More like the Immortal’s Burden. ‘Come on, what is it? It can’t be worries about the missus and I know you want to see your lad.’

Odysseus broke the hold she had on him and looked down. ‘I can’t walk.’

‘Can’t walk? Whatever do you mean?’

‘I.. it’s…’

‘Stop gabbling man. What is the problem?’

‘I’ve got a thorn in my foot.’

‘You’re kidding me. Let me see.’

‘Noooo. Gerroff.’

‘Don’t be a baby. Show me your foot.’


Athena swelled to the size of ten mountains yet even her awesomeness didn’t change Odysseus’ defiant expression.


She reached out and he slapped her away. She goggled at him. No mortal had ever slapped away a god, well not and lived. ‘Odi…?’

He couldn’t stop the tears. ‘I’m ticklish, okay? It’s my Achilles heel. I never could stand anyone near my feet. Ever when Calypso wanted to do that massage with the divine oils thing, I couldn’t handle it. Beginning of the end for us, that moment. Nothing to do with Hermes and her pleading. We were drifting apart when I stopped her toe sucking…’

Athena sniggered. ‘Oh she’ll hate it when I tell the gods it wasn’t Hermes charm that got you out. She’s been boasting about freeing you, like she’s some kind of sorcerer.’

‘Anyway, I’m staying put. That or you can carry me.’

Athena wobbled her hand. ‘That’s a possibility but not very manly. The suitors aren’t exactly going to run away if you’re carried in to Ithaca on a bier.’

‘God, a beer. What wouldn’t I give…’

‘Do you want a lift?’

‘Promise you’ll leave my feet alone?’


‘You don’t keep promises, do you?’

‘Nope but do you have a choice?’

‘I suppose if I stay awake…’

‘You’ll need something to keep you amused.’

Odysseus sat up, looking perky for the first time that day. ‘I do have an idea, actually. I thought I’d write a book. A real mother of a tome. An epic. About my journey.’

‘Okay. Puts the mockers on the oral tradition of story telling but why not. What will you call it?’

‘The Odyssey.’

‘Bit close to your own name, don’t you think?’

‘Well it is about me and my journey.’

‘God what an ego.’ Athena heaved him onto her shoulders, conjuring a portable table, paper and two pens for him as she did so.’

He kissed the top of her head. ‘I’ll make you the real hero.’

‘I know you will. You don’t think I’m suddenly going to give you freewill, do you?’



About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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29 Responses to A Spiky Story #blogbattle #shortstory

  1. susieshy45 says:

    Loved it and I understood it too for once. I have never read the original.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Erika Kind says:

    Oh, how I love the Greek Mythology! And you giving us a glimpse behind the scene of the real life on the Olymp… hilarious!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Darlene says:


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: #BlogBattle 2: Jan 17th “Thorn” Entries & Voting | BlogBattle

  5. Love the title! 🙂 And oh how you turn the hero into a real man 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Immortal’s Burden” ??? Very entertaining, Geoff. He really had to write his story. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jan says:

    Lol – Odi having a brewsky with Theney hey? Fun times in Lotusland!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love your cheeky writing style!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Fun take on Olympus. I wrote one like this, too, a year ago. It’s a hoot to mess around with the established characters and tropes. 🙂


  10. Al Lane says:

    Wonderful! Although my wife will not thank you for introducing me to the phrase “chomping and romping!…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ha! Awesome. 😀 Love all you’ve managed to work in here.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Charli Mills says:

    What an imagination you have! Makes me like mythology all the more. And I always wondered at this: ‘Bit close to your own name, don’t you think?’ Yeah, that.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hahaha. Love it. I love the new retelling. Wha t a wuss. A fantastic twist on the original, Geoff. Can’t stop laughing. Awesome remake. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Geoff! That was . . . EPIC! 😀 Loved it. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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