"And you, Polyxena...," the Greek paused dramatically.
"Y... yes?" stammered Polyxena. "You have been spared the shame of being taken back to Sparta as some man's slave. Instead you are to watch brave Achilles' tomb".
"W... watch his tomb?"
The Greek threw back his head and laughed. "It is one of those rare things - a job for life. A truly permanent contract."
Polyxena was grabbed roughly by another Greek soldier and taken towards the tomb of their hero Achilles. For her, a Trojan and the daughter of King Priam, Achilles was the enemy and furthermore one who had killed those dearest to her. However Polyxena felt some guilt herself at the death which had befallen Achilles and accepted that this punishment was justified.
She neared the tomb. There was a man sitting gloomily, almost immobile watching the tomb. Polyxena was released to go and sit with him.
"Hi," said the man as Polyxena approached. "I'm Alexander. No sketching, no running about. You mustn't touch the tomb."
"I've... I've come to join you," said Polyxena.
"That's all very well, sweetheart," said Alexander, "but that doesn't necessarily help us. That's another lot of of tea breaks to sort out. It's a monumental screw-up, basically... Argus?"
Another man came over.
"New tomb-watcher here to join us. They haven't thought this thing through at all."
Argus smiled and shook Polyxena's hand. "We're not called tomb-watchers anymore - we're griever-assisters now. Great to have you on board."
"The thing is," continued Alexander, "Hemeros doesn't do Aphrodite mornings or Ares afternoons since he went part-time and Klemenis always likes an early on a Cronus because he's got the frozen shoulder and all that and he likes to get away at noon. How's this girl going to fit into the rota? Sorry, darling, but they just don't think..."
Alexander and Argus spent ages poring over the rota.
"Hmm, let me see, if we put Polyxena in front of the north side every Cronus morning..." suggested Argus.
"No, no, that won't work - put her on the south side, give her a tea break at half eleven and then Klemenis can be on the north side and get away early. Then I can fill in that shift and you can get away at half three... does that work?"
"Erm, excuse me," said Polyxena politely, "how long shall we be here?"
"Forever," chimed in Alexander and Argus like a Greek chorus.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
You're still thinking about roads and how the one you're on must be laughing about all the cars driving about on it and tickling it. You start laughing yourself about the road and what fun it must be having. Suddenly you spot a road on your left that feels very sad as though no-one's driven on it for centuries. You feel this urge to cheer the poor road up.
As you drive along you notice that everything looks very out-of-date. There are no signs of electricity and everyone's still using columns in their architecture. There are big statues everywhere and people are wearing strange clothes.
You see a big tomb up ahead with a massive imposing statue of a man with a spear sticking out of his heel and a look of agony on his face.
You see a woman in long, sad black clothes sitting opposite it. You approach her.
"Are you my relief?" she asks.
"Yes, I suppose so," you answer.
"What a relief!" she jokes. "That felt like forever! I'm dying for a cuppa. You sit there and I'll be back in a few centuries."
So saying she leaves the tomb and you find yourself sitting and staring at the tomb, hardly moving a muscle. You're sitting and sitting and waiting and waiting. Seasons come. Seasons go. You feel the ice wind down your spine then the warm sun on your face. You're waiting and waiting... but for what?