: a loyal follower; especially : a subordinate who executes orders unquestioningly or unscrupulously
“… when [Howard] Cosell came to TV he was utterly in contrast to the toothy myrmidons who reigned at the microphone and who spoke no evil save for the mayhem they regularly perpetrated upon the English language.” — Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated, 8 Aug. 1983
“Britain’s National Health Service is a socialized system, and Marsh chafes at new rigid rules imposed by its administrators. He … is shadowed on ward rounds by a bureaucrat who takes notes on his dress and behavior. The reign of the emperor is ending, but Marsh refuses to comply and serve as a myrmidon.” — Jerome Groopman, The New York Times, 24 May 2015
Did You Know?
The Myrmidons, legendary inhabitants of Thessaly in Greece, were known for their fierce devotion to Achilles, the king who led them in the Trojan War. Myrmex means “ant” in Greek, an image that evokes small and insignificant workers mindlessly fulfilling their duties. Whether the original Myrmidons were given their name for that reason is open to question. The “ant” association is strong, however. Some say the name is from a legendary ancestor who once had the form of an ant; others say the Myrmidons were actually transformed from ants. In any case, since the 1400s, we’ve employed myrmidon in its not-always-complimentary, ant-evoking, figurative sense.
Real life isn’t made up of heroes and villains. Just ordinary people making choices they have to live with.”
― Kat Kruger,
Gone, Part 2
He’d been tempted, yeah. What man in his right mind, even a married man, wouldn’t have been when the offer came tied in such a beautiful bow? Now he knew what the beautiful bow had concealed, but it was too late. He’d been snared and didn’t have any real choice in the matter.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
He could have refused, could have walked away, but they knew where he lived, had pictures of Susan, leveled threats he knew they meant.
He’d thought, stupidly, he just need to help a few times and then go home, but that hadn’t been the case. A year now and to infinity.
He looked around, wanting to scratch his new-growing beard, but didn’t. One wrong step. He’d been living with that phrase for months now. One wrong step and you know what will happen.
He did, oh yeah. And he’d do anything to keep his wife safe. He’d wanted to tell her in the months they’d given him to tie up his affairs, make her think he was leaving for another woman, but he knew what would happen. The only way to ensure her safety was to remain quiet.
And so he had, walking away from everything which had ever meant anything to him. Susan, job, friends and family. He’d spent their marriage taking care of her, giving her whatever she wanted to make her happy. One, because he could, and two, to keep her safe with a wall of money between them and the world.
God, he’d been such a stupid shit.
He frowned; hated earpieces. It was them watching over his shoulder. Straight and narrow. Eyes on the prize. Staying alive.
He shook his head, running a hand through new-blacked hair, and stepped off the curve, walking quick and confident to the First Bank of Farmingham.* He had fifty minutes. Taking a steadying breath, he opened the door and stepped inside.
- The First Bank of Farmingham, though a real bank, is entirely fictionalized for this story.
“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
The challenge for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner will open early Thursday morning, December 29th. Allow the prompt to take you anywhere you want to go! (Limit your stories to 200 words.)
This challenge is open until 11:00 pm Wednesday night, January 4th, 2017.
“Wine? Cheese cracker?”
“Later, thanks.” If she didn’t find the chip soon, bad things were going to happen. She did not relish being the bringer of bad things. Bearers of bad things rarely came out well in the end.
If she was a power-mad dictator, where would she hide a computer chip capable of toppling her fiefdom? He would have been smart to do destroy it, but his ego wouldn’t have let him. So where could it be?
Her gaze swept the crowded ballroom before focusing back on the table to her right. Wine. Cheese. Grapes. Crackers and Dip. Something seemed wrong. The table just didn’t look right.
Fishing a finger into the dip, she touched something which was not sliced cucumber or tomato. Square. Tiny. Metal. Pulling the chip out, she wiped it quickly on a napkin and dropped it into her bra.
A quick look showed him coming her way.
Get out. Thirty feet and she’d be free.
A hand cupped her elbow. “Leaving so soon?”
Felt a pin-prick on her arm.
Now she knew. Too late.