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Andrew W. Turner

I was Perseus, son of Zeus. She was Medusa, the infamous Gorgon, cursed by Athena to go through eternity with a nest of hideous snakes atop her head.

My first kiss was during the rehearsal of a junior high school production of "Medusa's Tale," a feminist retelling of the classic Greek myth. In the play Perseus hears Medusa's side of the story. He realizes the Gods have cruelly manipulated her. He comes to see the humanity beneath the snakes. He closes her eyes and gives her a tender kiss.

Then he realizes he's not acting like a real man and chops her head off.

"Perseus," our director, Mrs. C, intoned woefully. "I'm going to need a little more from the kiss."

More what? I knew what a kiss was in theory. I knew it involved a mashing of lips. I knew the tongue, like an earthworm after a heavy rain, sometimes made an appearance, eyeless and flapping. But angles, pressure, penetration… these were all variables I was completely unclear about.

There was also the matter of the mechanical snakes atop Medusa's head. They had been wired by Vern, our resident trailor park techie, and gave off flammable-looking sparks.

Our second kiss was even worse than the first. The third and fourth even moreso. Our supporting cast (Athena, Zeus, and Poseidon) snickered in the wings.

"Let's move onto the next part," said Mrs. C after what seemed like an eternity.

Medusa and I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I unsheathed my sword and chopped her head off.

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