Friday Feature ~ “Pandora’s Tackle Box”

My story “Pandora’s Tackle Box” first appeared in A Golden Place in their Spring 2011 issue. Sadly, that online publication is now defunct, so I can’t link you to it. A couple of years later I saw a call for stories dealing with the Greek god Hephaestus, and since my story had a character in it named Old Festus who was modeled on the blacksmith to the gods, I thought I would submit and see if it would be accepted, and it was. The publisher is Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which publishes regular bound collections of stories and poetry devoted to characters in mythology.

My version of the Pandora myth is set in modern times and involves a young man, Ep, who wants to enter a fishing tournament but doesn’t have the fee. At the same time, Old Festus sees the return of his beautiful (but dim) daughter, Dora, from her years of upbringing by two maiden aunts. Eager to unload Dora, Old Festus sees Ep as a likely solution and begins plying him with lures and money to rent boats (that Ep keeps instead). The courtship progresses until the night before the tournament, when Old Festus bestows Dora with her own tackle box filled with lures and devices that will surely catch Ep the bass he needs to win the tournament. What happens in the boat on the day of the contest leaves poor Ep with nearly no hope.

This was a fun story to write. I intended it to be comical, and I think I hit that target (though some of it seems a little forced and obvious as I look back ten years). It was to be the first of many retellings of ancient myths I thought I could write, and actually I realized it was the second, for my earlier story “Moron Saturday” was also a retold myth. I had written a sketch for a story about Ep’s brother (the brothers being Epimetheus and Prometheus), but my enthusiasm waned. Still, I do see a lot of old stories like this being retold, some by quite accomplished writers, so maybe I’ll try my hand at it again someday.

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