the smuggler’s bible


They say Nestor has been in charge at Pylos for three generations. And, really, once you’ve been around long enough to start that kind of rumor, the functional difference between ‘truth’ and ‘exaggeration’ has had some of its corners blunted.

So Telemachus finishes his wine, squares up and asks him, “Where the hell should I look for the grave?”

“Assuming I knew and that I’d tell you,” Nestor says, “your dad was cleverer than to let himself get caught flat-footed simple as that.”

Across the fire, Telemachus can see Athena with a hand over her mouth, trying not to smile.


Tmolus is the king and gets to name his mountain whatever the hell he wants. So he names the mountain Tmolus. There’s a bull on the mountain that starts getting called Tmolus too.

The situation—just like any higher order geometry in normal space—collapses into itself when Tmolus (the bull) tramples the shit out of Tmolus (the king) while he’s hiking on Tmolus (the mountain).

“Total nonsense.” Zeus says. “This is the bar we’re setting for mankind? We’re happy with this?”

Apollo sips his wine. “They know what they like. That’s why we keep letting them judge our contests.”


Telemachus sits across from Helen at dinner while she tells a story all about how brave everyone was at Troy. Menelaus has his own war story and follows up with something straying dangerously close to helpful.

“We caught a fish-man in Egypt,” he says. “Told us your father got captured by some nymph.”

Telemachus thanks him and leaves. Athena is waiting outside by the road.

“Is it true?” he asks.

“Your dad always asked the same kind of question.”

“And were you just as forthcoming?”

“That isn’t how this works,” she says, laughing. “But he never got that part either.”