GK: And now.... Celebrity Classic....the voices you know bringing you the literature you love. .... The Six Minute Iliad, starring Jack Nicholson as Achilles, Elvis Presley as Agamemnon, and Ross Perot as Hector, with Mr. Rogers as Odysseus....brought to you by Celebrity Miniature Golf...near the mall, so there's always plenty of free parking.

TR: You know, honey, I had forgotten that miniature golf could be so much fun.

CF: It's so good to have that time together. Let's do it again next week.

TR: Good.

GK: Celebrity Miniature Golf....have you forgotten how much fun it can be? And now.....The Six Minute Iliad.


GK: Sing, Goddess --


GK: Sing, Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles, Murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses, Hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls, great fighters' souls, but made their bodies carrion, feasts for the dogs and birds...

TR (NICHOLSON): Sure, man, lay the whole trip on me. Good old Achilles, he'll take the rap, everything's his fault. Gimme a break!

GK: And Agamemnon --lord of men, warrior of warriors, the king --(TK MOUTH TRUMPET)

TR (ELVIS): Talkin' 'bout me? Guess so.

GK: Agamemnon ---

TR (ELVIS): That's the name, chief, don't wear it out.

GK: There seems to be some disagreement between you and Achilles.

TR (ELVIS): That's right.

GK: He seems pretty angry.

TR (ELVIS): He's all shook up, that's all. He forgot who's king, that's what. He's some kinda warrior, but there's only one King.

GK: Can you conquer Troy without him?

TR (ELVIS): Gonna give it our best shot, chief.

GK: Maybe I'm mistaken, but it looks from here like Hector and the Trojans are winning the battle. Agamemnon. (DISTANT BATTLE, WHINNIES, SPEARS AND SWORDS, FAINT CRIES)

TR (ELVIS): Dunt worry me none, huh. I got Ajax, and Odysseus, and all kindsa heroes, and warriors, and...

GK: Your army is getting beaten, it looks pretty serious.

TR (ELVIS): Yeah, yeah...hey, Odysseus, you're pretty tight with Achilles, tell him I'm sorry, huh? Tell him we could use a little extra oomph down there, know whut I'm sayin, huh?

GK: And so Great Odysseus went to visit Achilles. (MUSIC)

TR (MR ROGERS): Hello, Achilles.

GK: And Achilles received him in his tent and asked him how fared the Achaean army.

TR (MR ROGERS): Well, we're not doing very well at all, are we? No we're not. Do we know why? Do we? Yes we do. We're missing our special friend Achilles, and all the special friends he commands, aren't we? Yes we are.


GK: And Odysseus did entreat Achilles to rejoin the forces of Agamemnon. And Achilles did answer him.

TR (NICHOLSON): You go back and tell Agamemnon it'll be a cold day in Hades before me or my men lift a sword for him. We're sailing back to Greece tomorrow.

GK: Thus did Achilles answer his old friend Odysseus. But wily Odysseus tried again.

TR (MR ROGERS): That's not very cooperative, is it? No, I don't think so. Mr. Agamemnon said he was sorry, and I think that a real hero would accept his apology and return to the battlefield and hack and hew and slay indiscriminate thousands and scatter their flesh for dogs and carrion, don't you? Hm?

GK: But stubborn Achilles would not relent, and so Odysseus returned to Agamemnon and told him what answer he'd received from the son of Peleus. And Agamemnon replied:

TR (ELVIS): Thass all right, thass all right, heck with him, huh? Don't need Achilles no how. Huh. . . . Less go, boys, we gonna kick some Trojan butt now, huh. . . .


GK: And so the forces of King Agamemnon did descend upon the Trojan host, and there was great fighting, and the Trojans were roused by their general, the brave and terrible Hector. . . .

TR (PEROT): Okay, we're gonna squeeze through their columns like a spear through goat lard, yessir, and meanwhile we got a whole nother column comin' around on their right. It's just that simple. Don't take a rocket scientist, just gotta use a little common sense, y'see? That's all I'm sayin.


GK: And the Trojans did lead the day, and then did the Greeks rouse themselves and lead the day, and then the Trojans again, and then the Greeks, mighty Agamemnon and lordly Hector exhorting their men, now inspiring them to victory, now hardening their resolve in adversity, and great was the battle, and terrible the carnage. And now in battle rose Patroclus the greathearted, the best and dearest friend of Achilles, the great warrior Patroclus, slaying Trojans, leading men, fierce and terrible in battle, scattering the enemy.

TR (PEROT): He's good.

GK: Patroclus, whom Achilles had warned:

TR (NICHOLSON, W/REVERB): Go fight with Agamemnon and remember, man --- don't go for Hector, man. . . He'll mess you up real bad. And I don't mean maybe.

GK: But the brave Patroclus, intoxicated with the success of his arms, did come across Hector, and did aim his spear. . . .

TR (PEROT): Hey, watch it, there!

GK: And Hector did loose upon Patroclus spears and arrows. (GREAT EFFORT, FLIGHT OF SPEAR)

TR (PEROT): How ya like them apples, heh?


TR (NICHOLSON): What'd you say?

GK: Patroclus the greathearted, best and most loyal friend of Achilles, did fall, and darkness covered his eyes. (MOANING) (DIRGE MUSIC)

TR (NICHOLSON): Not Patroclus.

GK: Patroclus.

TR (NICHOLSON): Not dead?

GK: Dead, slain by the terrible Hector. . . .

TR (PEROT): I told ya once, I'll tell ya again, it's THAT simple. . . .

GK: His corpse mangled and bloody on the fields of Troy. . . .

TR (NICHOLSON): You tell that Hector he just made his last mistake. Ready or not, here I come...it's showtime. . . .

GK: And Achilles did gird himself in his warrior's armor (TR EFFORT, CLANKING AND CLUNKING), and did return to the Greek camp with all his men, (HORSES, MARCHING FEET, CRIES AND SHOUTS) and they did join in battle against the Trojan host. . . Terrible was the carnage! And at last Achilles did encounter Hector in the field of battle.

TR (PEROT): Listen here, fella, I got yer friend, and there's more spears where that one came from, trust me.

GK: And Hector loosed his spear. (TR EFFORT, FLIGHT OF SPEAR) But it glaced off the shield of brave Achilles! (CLANK)

TR (NICHOLSON): Missed me, missed me, now ya gotta kiss me.

GK: And now Achilles let fly his spear, (TR EFFORT) and it found its mark, and thus did Hector die. (TR PEROT CRY) And the army of Agamemnon looked in awe upon the work of Achilles.

TR (NICHOLSON): You ain't seen nothin' yet.

GK: And Achilles tied the corpse of Hector to his chariot, (TR WHISTLE, WHINNY, GALLOPING HOOVES) and dragged the noble prince through the dirt and dust, and rode before the walls of Troy and did donuts. (TR SHOUTS) And Hector's mother, Priam's wife, Hecuba the Queen, looked upon the scene and wept.

CF: He was a good boy. Look at him now. . .gone, gone! Woe is me!. . . .Woe! (HORSE WHINNY) Not you!

GK: Thus was the fate of Hector, breaker of horses; thus the rage of Achilles. That was the Celebrity Classic Three-Minute Iliad.....brought to you by Celebrity Miniature Golf.....it's near the mall, so there's plenty of free parking. (MUSIC OUT)

©1996 Greg Nagan and Garrison Keillor