Acamas -- A Shepherd's Apathy

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12 of The Bestiary What cyclopes do when their bored.

The Bestiary

Acamas -- A Shepherd's Apathy By: Tyvara

The life of a cyclops is boring. Acamas thought while resting against a large boulder, his sights partially focused on his grazing sheep, while the rest of his mind lay elsewhere. "It's not like I wanted to become a shepherd," he said to one of the black faced ewes nearby, but she continued grazing. "Whichever of my ancestors who thought one-eyed men were best suited to tending a flock, needed a swift punch in the face." He stared up at a sky full of cottony clouds, but they did little to distract him from the rather prosaic job of watching animals eat. It's no different from sheep grazing in the sky.

Rearranging himself against the boulder, he slumped back, with his arms behind his head, crooking his knee sideways over the other. Since he only had himself and the sheep, it sometimes helped keep him sane to hear another voice -- even if that meant his own. "I should be off battling demigods and wayward sailors, not wasting my time listening to the endless crunch-munching of sheep. Nothing ever happens out here."

A soft bleat from beyond his vision caught his attention. I might as well get up, Gods only know what the dumb animal has gotten into. "At least it's something to do." Shuffling to his feet, Acamas wandered through the field, running his hands through the fleece of any sheep grazing on his path toward the wayward member.

When he found her, she'd gotten her hoof tangled in a stray root. Her eyes wide, as she continually tugged her leg in a futile attempt to free herself.

With a sigh, Acamas bent down to free the sheep. It took a bit of fiddling, but he untangled her, smacking her rump to send her bounding back to the rest of the flock. He followed her to keep her with the group.

"Well, that took all of two minutes." He gave the sheep an extra whack with his staff to remind her to stay with the group.

Looking around for any other distraction, and finding none, he shrugged. "Guess I could walk." So he began a path around the meadow's periphery. Without a need to rush, he ambled along, stopping now and then to check out some odd rock, or interesting flower on his way.

"That's all it is," Acamas mumbled, scratching one of the shaggy white bodies nearby, "day in, day out, it's always sheep. Watch 'em eat, watch 'em sleep, watch 'em poop, all for what? A bit of cheese and some wool." He bumped another sheep to watch her scuttle away. "Not my idea of the way to spend my life."

As expected he soon grew bored with walking. He scanned the unobservant fluff-balls, then strode through them and grabbed one of his favorite sheep. She never struggled, so he could amuse himself at his leisure. Amid her bleating, his thoughts drifted. I know there's got to be more to life than diddling sheep when the days take too long. "It's not like the lady cyclopes are lining up to be the wife of some pastoral nobody. Got too much class to associate with the likes of me."

The ewe only responded with continual baaing.

After he finished, she followed him while he did another canvas of his flock, until something distracted her and she rejoined the group.

"There's something out there waiting for me. I just wish that life would hurry up and get here. Because this -- " He stopped to survey the meadow peppered by the white woolliness of his flock, "is an utter waste of my time."

The End


Author's Notes:

There's nothing in the book other than Acamas is the name of a cyclops in Greek mythology. That's it. I feel gypped.

It's been a while since I've read my Greek mythology books, so I can't remember if Acamas was the cyclops blinded by Odysseus, or a friend of Hephaestus, or did something with Atlas. Since he has a name, obviously he did something, I just can't remember, and it's against the rules to research. So I figured I'd write about what Acamas did before all the adventure started.

Most of the stories of cyclopes I do remember, have them herding sheep, which I never understood. Why of all things, do cyclopes herd sheep?

All these thoughts of shepherds made me think of the book Lamb: The gospel according to Biff, Christ's childhood pal. It's an excellent book. If you're easily offended by alternative interpretations of the bible, then I wouldn't pick it up. Otherwise it's a hoot. In the book, there are a few passing accounts of bestiality, one of which is what shepherds do when they get bored (or a story to that effect. It's been a while since I've read it.).

All of the above resulted in today's story. At least it ended up short.

Thanks for reading.