The Adventures of Protagacles

Tell me, O muse, of that resourceful man Protagacles who wandered far and wide after ravaging the sacred city… actually, O muse, first bestow upon me a diction not so abstruse and unwieldy.

There. Much better.

In the town of Medias Res, our hero Protagacles was busy leading an attack on his hated foe, the creatively-named Antagacles. Unfortunately, Antagacles was safely ensconced in his labyrinthine stronghold, the Oedipal Complex, with his captive: the legendary Helen of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world. To reach the lovely Helen in the bowels of the Oedipal Complex, however, the Oracle had told him he would have to pass three challenges. But then again, the Oracle was generally unreliable, so it was really anybody’s guess.

Protagacles broke through the lines of battle and slipped inside the Oedipal Complex’s gaping door. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he noticed a Sphinx perched beside a rickety bridge crossing an inexplicable chasm in the middle of the floor.

“In the morning, I crawl on four legs, at noon I walk on two. In the evening I hobble on three legs. What am I?” said the Sphinx.

Protagacles, who was in no mood to conform to literary conventions, muttered under his breath: “Your mom.”

The Sphinx looked hurt. “That was mean.”

“Oh please forgive me. Not.”

“Did you know The Princeton Tiger magazine published the first ‘not’ joke to ever appear in print?” the Sphinx said brightly, before inexplicably exploding in a puff of feathers. Protagacles shrugged, crossed the bridge, and entered a dark tunnel on the other side.


As he rounded a tight corner, Protagacles could hear the deep growl of some monstrous beast. Soon, the tunnel opened up into an enormous stone chamber, and at the center of this chamber sat a fearsome nine-headed hydra! Each of its nine mouths salivated at the sight of Protagacles, and its eyed were glazed with an insatiable lust for human flesh. Fortunately, the hydra was on strike to protest poor working conditions, so it let him pass unmolested. Protagacles paused briefly to consider his good fortune, and then continued on into the bowels of the Oedipal Complex.

The third challenge, a sabre duel with Chuck Norris, took place in another smaller stone chamber. This obstacle was surmounted with relative ease, however, when the author got bored of writing challenges and turned Chuck Norris into a dandelion. The dandelion put up a good fight, but it was no match for Protagacles, even with his crippling pollen allergy.

With the challenges defeated, Protagacles ventured further and further into Antagicles’ stronghold. Finally, he came to the Oedipal Complex’s inner sanctum, where he found Helen of Troy. As he gazed upon her for the first time, his lips struggled to find the words to describe the figure that stood before him. “Helen, how I have longed to see your five-inch heels, your fake pearl ankle bracelet, your half-shaven legs, your delicately faded tramp stamp–your tramp stamp? What the ass?”

“Ah, read the English version, didn’t we?” chided the woman as she adjusted her moldy NASCAR baseball cap. “Name’s Skankity McSlutbag. ‘Helen of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world’ is a common mistranslation.”

Protagacles could only manage a blank stare.

“Greek is a complex language,” Skankity explained.


But before Protagacles could finish his thought, the wall behind him was blasted open by the Death Star’s main laser! Antagacles was first through the smoky hole, riding upon his evil, red-eyed steed Pikachu, and the entire Viet Cong army swarmed behind him.

“Zeus damn it, now this is just getting ridiculous,” opined Protagacles.

Protagacles quickly ducked behind a conveniently-placed anachronistic steel crate. He had no hope of victory; the oncoming forces were simply too strong. Just when all seemed lost, Optimus Prime appeared and quickly dispatched Antagacles’s army with his dual laser-sword atomic mega-bazookas. (Editor: please add merch tie-in here. We both know the only way we can make any money off of this crap is to sell kids the lunchboxes.)

When the enemy had been defeated, Optimus Prime’s chest opened to reveal Zeus, the Greek god of badassery and knocking up maidens. “All hail Zeus!” cried Zeus as he stepped out of his robotic shell.

Protagacles was astounded. “A god? From a machine?”

“It’s actually a common literary technique among poor writers,” Zeus replied.

Protagacles raised an eyebrow.

“Perhaps not always so literally,” Zeus admitted. “But now the real question becomes what to do with you. Clearly you are not a true hero, since I had to come and rescue you, and since I’m generally a dick when given the opportunity, I’m going to have to come up with some really cool punishment for you. Ever hear of Prometheus?”


Zeus grinned. “We’re going to have a lot of fun.”

“FML,” moaned Protagacles.

-JRV ’12

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