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I had flipped through to “Shakespeare” in the World Book Encyclopedia, back when I was in the third grade, whenever my mom came downstairs and would have otherwise seen me poring over the pages devoted to Shakespeare’s next-door neighbor, “Sex.” That’s how I educated myself on the literary pornography of this highly esteemed wordsmith. That I had backed-up my concealed preoccupation in class, requesting from the teacher copies of his books one after another is beside the point.

My name is Paris. I was lucky enough to have been read stories from Edith Hamilton when I was very young, thereby filling my mind with inordinately wealthy ideas and images, and eventually becoming a veritable encyclopedia, myself, on the topic of Greek Mythology. While these concepts and images were attainable at any bookstore, so far as I knew, I was the sole heir to this glory, until age eleven, when Ms. Bethia took out her personal, sexual frustration on our class, as well as on me.

Ms. Bethia hung a three-foot-by-four-foot portrait of Robert Redford on her blackboard, looking all rugged and western-ly, and although declining to comment on the subject, she left the image before our eyes throughout our seven-hour day, during examinations, while we were learning long division, and before our eyes, also as we raised our hands and spoke.

Something must have happened in the personal life of Ms. Bethia, that day, for the topic of epilepsy came up, and we were taught that not every epileptic suffers grand-mal seizures, and that it was only time that could tell whether that epileptic would cash-in his genius for a moment of celestial clarity, only to suffer the bitter wrath of God, the next. She offered examples, “Sir Isaac Newton, Ludwig van Beethoven, Julius Caesar”. . . I thought I had something to say.

“Did Caesar suffer seizures?”

There was silence. Was he a fool? Did this highest echelon fifth-grade student suddenly turn into an evil genius? Was he mad? Well, it was certainly not an earnest question, but instead, a sadistic and irreverent play on words. He must certainly be punished.

I was not slapped on the knuckles with a straight-edge, and my parents were not called that night, but I would find out, monday of the following week, when sitting in the back row, the bell having rung, and every student having assembled, that the topic of the day was Greek Mythology.

First there was discussion of my boyhood hero, Perseus, and with a dash, my arch-enemy, the queen of Gorgons, was commonplace pulp.

Then, in one careless and wanton act of castigation, came an enumeration of the gods. Apollo was the God of the Sun, and Zeus was the king of all gods, and Pluto married Persephone, and dragged her down into the underworld with him.

“STOP!” my brain cried, as the children around me, the smart and the stupid and the ne’er-do-wells alike, greedily devoured the Olympian manna, as though it were Halloween candy. My mind had been raped, and if there were anyone left up there in my private sky, THEY would have to intervene and strike fiercely to redress this woefully wrought injustice.

“Et tu, Brute,” would not suffice, anymore.

[Forever after at

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the other lee michael klein (the poet, art writer, & NYC Grayline tourguide),
enabled the eyeshot editor of the same name (no relation), to take
a 3.5-hour tour around NYC on Tuesday, photographic
evidence of which is available for all in lo-tech
slideshow format here. The pictures
aren't particularly wonderful
but what the fuck
we say.
& we
also say
thanks to