"I was driven thence by foul winds for a space of nine days upon the sea, but on the tenth day we reached the land of the Lotus-eaters, who live on a food that comes from a kind of flower. Here we landed to take in fresh water, and our crews got their mid-day meal on the shore near the ships. When they had eaten and drunk I sent two of my company to see what manner of men the people of the place might be, and they had a third man under them. They started at once, and went about among the Lotus-Eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the Lotus-eaters without thinking further of their return; nevertheless, though they wept bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made them fast under the benches. Then I told the rest to go on board at once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home, so they took their places and smote the grey sea with their oars."
The sun stops half way through its descent towards the abyss. He wonders where it will go, as he moves his eyes away from the dark horizon. Beyond it, somewhere in the night, his comrades are still rowing through the uncharted sea. By now, if everything had gone according to plan, they should have approached the island... The island... Which island? It was home, long ago, but now he can’t even remember its name. Doulos slips a finger between his belt and the cloth he has around his waist. Carefully, he extracts one soft, fleshy petal. He puts it on his lower lip, and with his tongue he moves it inside his mouth, feeling its smooth surface turning thicker, then slowly dissolving. When he first tried the flowers, the overwhelming sweetness coated his tongue, and it was only out of courtesy for his kind hosts that he had kept on chewing. But now, so many flowers later, now that nothing distinguishes him form his hosts, now... Now... Oh, it’s gone. That thought is gone. No point in chasing it. And his comrades, yes. His comrades at home, wherever it is. But they are not at home, he knows it. Without proof, he knows it for sure.
In medieval times, all wars stopped with the arrival of the winter winds. Before the imperialism of centrally heated offices, people used to be subjected to the evilness of nature more than to that of their fellow men. In that horrifically wise age, humans like us used to relegate the vanity of war to times of luxury, when the loss of one’s life or freedom could at least have been mitigated by the gentle warmth of the evening and the abundance of raspberries even at the edge of a serf’s field.
Now war expands to the darkest hours of January, when not even leaves dare to unfurl. War: the capital double-u like the cross of martyrdom of Saint Andrew, the final ‘ar’ like a scream softened by agony. Ages pass, martyrdoms take different names. So, it is Work today. The same cross, hiding the final sound of an Ogre, inhumanely muscular, insatiably hungry. On that cross the monster hangs his prey, cures them, lets them dry. And as their skin hardens like the leather of an executive chair, as their neurons take the square shape of silicon, he finally sinks his teeth into their flesh.