The Death of Herpacles, by Aeschylus

In addition to being a writer for Savage Henry, a nocturnal eater of small birds, and a card-carrying 9/11 Truther (the card is for the Papa Murphy’s Rewards program), yours truly smugly fancies himself an amateur archaeologist!

As such, last May yours truly found himself in Iraq, unearthing a long-forgotten temple of sorts thanks to a several-million-dollar grant from the MacArthur Fellowship. As some of yours truly’s research assistants and hired laborers came up from the dusty caves with treasures aplenty, yours truly tipped back his white fedora and gave a low, lusty, lecherous whistle: one of the laborers — a child, really, no more than three years old — had handed yours truly a bit of nearly-disintegrating parchment. Unfurling it, yours truly was elated to find that it was none other than a lost work, only heretofore rumored to exist, by the master Greek tragedian, Aeschylus, entitled The Death of Herpacles.

Yours truly has spent the last six months translating this important work. Without further ado, here for you now, yours truly presents Aeschylus’es’s The Death of Herpacles.

Dramatis Personae:

ELOS, a cheesemaker
MENOS, a cheesemaker
STAMOS, a cheesemaker
HELEN, a cheesemaker
HIRAM, a cheese judge
HERPACLES, a cheesemaker

Scene:
The 500th Cheese Festival of Greece. There are many booths where cheesemakers are presenting their cheeses. Cheese judges are walking around, judging the cheese.

ELOS
This is my year; I can sense it. A zephyr heralds my long-awaited victory. My invention, Swiss cheese, cannot be topped among these other entrants.

MENOS
Nay, mine will take the blue ribbon. Thine invention, though interesting as it may be, pales compared to my Cheddar. It always wins.

STAMOS
Cheddar always wins; this is true, friend Menos. But maybe the judges will look kindly upon my new invention, Monterey Jack. The tang of Cheddar, yet with a lightness, a creaminess not present in thy cheeses. It goeth great shredded on tacos.

HELEN
I say unto thee that this stuff I made, Brie, well, it’s just really great. Thou wouldst have to be stricken in the head if thou didn’tst think mine will be the victory.

ELOS
Let us ask a judge; hark, here cometh aged Hiram. Hiram! What say you? Hast thou yet decided upon the worth of my cheese?

HIRAM
What? Oh, yes, yes. Thy cheese was pretty good. All of thy guys’s cheeses. Yet I’m afraid none of them took the much-sought blue ribbon.

MENOS
Even mine, Hiram? Even Cheddar?

HIRAM
Nay, no ribbon for thee, Menos. There is a new challenger, a Cretin, from Crete, called Herpacles, and he hath crushed my palate with his creation. Here, I shall call him overeth. Herpacles! To me!

HERPACLES
Yes, Hiram?

HIRAM
Give these cheesemakers a taste of your winner. They are your talented rivals: Elos, Menos, Stamos, and Helen.

HERPACLES
Well met, all of thee. Taste this.

(They warily try his cheese)

ALL
Oh… woah. Holy… what the? No way. No way. This is…

HERPACLES
Good, right? I call it Xtreme Nacho. Thou can even just pour it right on food.

ELOS
I am overcome with jealous rage. This isn’t cheese. This is ambrosia.

MENOS
Nay, this is too good even for the gods. This is cheating.

STAMOS
Hiram, thou must have at least given one of us others the red ribbon for our real, traditional cheeses. What say thee?

HIRAM
Oh, gosh… well, we hath also given Herpacles that one. Plus all the other color ribbons. I’m hearing one of my buds calling to me, so I’m just gonna hit the road…

HELEN
Stayeth right there, thou old goat. What dost thou mean, thou hast giveneth allst thine other colors of ribbon to Herpacles?

HERPACLES
Here, try my other cheeses: this is Rippin’ Queso, and this one is called Fiery Hott Chedd, and this one is called just “Cheez.” Thou can also just, you know, pour them on things. Or dip things into them. Whatever.

(They shovel the cheese into their mouths with their hands)

ALL
Oh my… this is… I can’t even… it’s — it’s incredible… I can’t stop…

HERPACLES
Anyhoo, Hiram and the other judges gave me all the ribbons for them. I can’t complaineth. Soon I will take my wares and sell them in chain shops in major cities: Athens, Troy, yada yada.

ELOS
This is a screw-job, Hiram! You know damn well this stuff isn’t real cheese! It shouldn’t even qualify for the ribbons!

HELEN
Truly! This has besmirched the hallowed reputation of our cheese festival! Scandal!

HIRAM
Er, uh, look: we just liked it, OK? I can’t explaineth it myself.

MENOS
It’s gotta have drugs in it or something! It’s probably loaded with ecstasy or coke or something, right? What’s your secret, you prick?

HERPACLES
No tricks, friends. It’s just good. No need to be envious.

STAMOS
I’ll show thee envious, thou cocky sack of manure!

(Stamos knocks Herpacles over)

HERPACLES
Whoa there! What the heck are thou guys doing? Stop!

HELEN
Kill him!

(All of the cheesemakers stomp Herpacles to death. Hiram does that thing like David Letterman where he pulls his collar away from his neck like he’s getting hot and creeps away)

 

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