BLISTERS: A SATYRICAL TRAGEDY
I’m kind of famous. Some may even say legendary. But anyone who has ever been called the Greatest of All Time before has probably gone through some major hell. I am no exception. This is my story. This is my song.
It was a few thousand years BC, and I was simply a little boy with dreams as big as the Athena Parthenon. My mum says I sang before I talked. Growing up, I had one ambition, and one ambition only: to become a star on the musical and drama scene in my country someday, making my debut by landing the lead role in an ancient, classical musical: Grease.
My family members were particular Zeus worshipers, so basically, every thunderstorm was a church service, and every bolt that sliced the sky was a sign or wonder. I personally took all these as signs of my god’s approval, and would pray fervently regarding the realization of my dream whenever a yellow bolt was thrown; I called the phenomenon Greased Lightning.
There was a point at which I believe I stopped being a believer. I’m still not sure whether your faithlessness is called unbelief when you stop believing in a deity’s existence, or when you stop believing in a deity’s ability to help you. All I know is that my unbelief was the latter. In my late teenage years, this god did something to me which forever darkened my disposition towards him. As many falling outs between males happen, ours was over a girl.
I started gymnasium late – at age sixteen, whereas most boys began at age 14. Although this was good for my career, the downside was that I really had no clue what exactly I was missing out on, when it came to girls. I’d never watched a lady bloom into adolescence, given that my eyes had been glued onto crotchets and semibreves for so long.
But when I started gym, I had my first real crush. This is how it happened. One of my gym mates, who claimed to have very special and selective dietary conditions, forgot to bring lunch from home. It was tragic, because he insisted that if he ate anything that was provided for us at the gym, he would swell up to the true size of Kronos – which was, needless to say, Titanic.
Fortunately for him, his mother had discovered this later in the day and had sent his pretty younger sister to deliver his food to him. It just so happened that we were on a break at that time, and so all of us got to get a load of her. And what a load we got.
Her demeanour was docile and unassuming enough. She hardly said a word, and didn’t even look at any of us as she gave her brother his food. But this is what gave her badass qualities away: she had worn a chiton with no peplos. I could have sculpted her just then, because I’d never seen a bust like that before.
It didn’t take long to formulate a plan. It was the first time I was fully being driven by hormones which refused to back down, making me bolder than I had ever been before. Her brother was a cool guy, too. He agreed to leave his food home a second time, then conveniently disappear to ease himself when his sister arrived, so that I could collect his food on his behalf. It worked seamlessly The second time as well, she had no peplos on.
That was the first chance I had to interact with her. She was almost as much into me as I was into her. Eventually, we started seeing each other way more often, without need of a guise to bring us together. Fortunately, she liked music, so there was always something to talk aobut.
About six months after our first interaction, when we were going steady, I told her about my Grease dream, and she was excited. She began helping me out with voice training sessions in my free time, occasionally also accompanying me with a musical instrument. Auditions were coming up, and the tension was getting overwhelming. She rehearsed with me tirelessly. I had plans to marry her when all this was over, if I was lucky enough to get the part. And then that son of a titan ruined everything.
If there is one thing you should know about the holy ones, it’s that you should never fight with them when they want something that you want.
I went over to hers one day and I immediately knew that something was very wrong, because it was the first time since I’d met her that she was wearing a peplos over her chiton. She was revealed to me that she’d gotten a visitation from Zeus the night before, and well, he thought she was hot. That was fair enough. But then he’d asked her that was she open to making babies with him, and that’s where the real line was crossed. So I asked her what she was planning to do about his offer. At that point, she burst into tears, saying that she didn’t know how it was possible to refuse a god.
That was the first night the recurring nightmare occurred. In it, there was a sculpture made of plastic, in the bright sunlight. The effect of the sun caused large welts to appear all over the plastic, horned monster. Occasionally, they burst and ichor leaked out. Whoever was tormenting me was a god in disguise. It didn’t take long to figure out which. The monster always spent the entirety of the dream breaking out into sunburnt welts and blistering me with harsh criticism of my singing.
“You’re off key.”
“Are you tone deaf?”
“You are flopping your favourite Grease song. You can’t ever land the part like that.”
After a week of this, I was exhausted, between sleeping badly, training hard, and tirelessly rehearsing on my own. But then, at the end of the seventh day, my weeping girlfriend showed up at my door, with her heart breaking because of the tragedy of the situation she was caught in.
She couldn’t refuse Zeus, but she didn’t love him; she loved me. So, she had come up with a plan, in order to make Zeus refuse her; he couldn’t get her pregnant if she already was. And, well, seeing as I was going to marry her anyway…
Before she had completely finished illustrating her idea, I was enveloping her into a tight embrace. We would have lost our virginity that very night if only she hadn’t been unclean during that week. So we had to wait, while she held Mr Big Shot off. We planned to make love for the first time on the day of the audition, which was nigh.
The day arrived, and I was in high spirits. Until she came over, once again in tears, because she said the gods had found out about us, and Zeus was going to punish me for conspiring against him. But I didn’t have time to worry about that; the audition was in a few hours. I couldn’t lose my composure now. So I tried to push Zeus’ threat out of my mind, assuring her that we’d deal with it all after the audition.
The Grease audition was the largest and most famous audition in the whole of Athens. Almost as many people showed up to watch the audition as they did to the actual musical production. And as soon as the audition began, so did a rainstorm. Greased Lightning, indeed. Could it be a sign of forgiveness? Or a further threat?
I blocked my ears to all the others’ voices, focusing on meditation on my own upcoming performance. Nothing, not even Zeus, could throw me off.
I was more concentrated than sun rays on a magnifying glass during my audition, blanking out completely until I had come to the end of the song. And then everything was silent. Not a clap, not a whisper. Then, someone in the crowd yelled out, “Tragos!”
A goat? Where was the goat? In confusion, I tried to turn around, to see if I would find a goat suddenly charging up at me. And instead of two legs rotating me, four hooves did. It took at least a minute to sink in. I was the tragos. The goat was me.
Technically, that was only partially true. I was only a goat from the waist down. At the top, I was still human. This was like a sick, twisted comedy skit. I was a satyr.
I seethed with anger and embarrassment. Which girl would willingly be penetrated by…a goat? Who would want to make love to a man with a tail and four hooves?
To push the irony further, the judges announced later that night that my audition was probably one of the best performances the Athens Concert Hall had ever heard. Oh yes, of course, I got the part. And many more parts after that. For centuries after my death, I remained the most famous singer in Grease, in Greece and beyond. But I never married, instead had to suffer the blisters of watching my ex-girlfriend give birth to Lightning-spawn.
I refused to let my story remain untold, though. So I wrote a song. A long epic, a solo show, nearly two hours long, in which I told my story of being transformed and frauded by Zeus. I left it untitled, but the world titled it for me: Tragedy. An ode by a tragos, a tragodia, the Song of a Goat. And to this day, it is through this tragodia that my story, the story of a poor satyr’s blisters, is told.