The Apprentice


I sat down with a cup of coffee today and realized that C. flys back home exactly a week from today. Where does the time go, I wonder? It’s been pretty wonderful having him around – as always…things are just different when he’s here. I’ve discussed this already in my blog, I hate to sound gushy and repetative . . . however, the realization of his departure date always puts me into a little funk every time. My only saving grace this time is that on January 31st – I hop a flight out to California to be with him for 10 days on a skiing vacation in Lake Tahoe. I’m just a spoiled brat, is all 🙂

I’m still hard at work making my transformation into a true computer geek. C. did it to me – I never wanted to be a geek . . .and I’m almost out of my denial stage that I actually am one. lol Spent a good part of the evening tonight burning about 75 CDs of various and sundry things – – and his talk about taking some pieces and parts of old computers around here and turning one of them into a Linux server to run an IRC server off of, well – when that piqued my interest, then I knew I was headed for trouble. I can’t deny being a geek if I’ve got a damned linux server in my house. lol

I’m reading a book written by Tess Gerritsen called “The Apprentice”. It’s a follow up on her book entitled “The Surgeon”. They are both medical mystery stories – fiction. I have always been a huge fan of Michael Palmer – who is a physician who writes medical mysteries – – kind of twisted ones, too. Tess Gerritsen is following suit with her stories – although hers are a bit more twisted than Palmer’s – so I am enjoying her stories just as much. The Surgeon was a story about a man who fed off the fears of women. He sought out women who had been raped in their past (not by him) and then fed off their fears by stalking and hunting them down, eventually making them his victim. He got off on the weakness and vulnerabilty of women. In the end he was caught – but not after leaving a trail of murdered victims, and a few living ones who will forever carry with them his mark upon their souls. In “The Apprentice” – it starts out with a series of murders in the Boston area that seem to be ‘copycat’ style. Someone else adopted the Surgeons techniques and methods – and has added his own flair to them. Until the Surgeon escapes from prison – – he and the new murderer hook up and start double teaming the women of Boston. Like I said – sick and twisted.

History echoes with the screams of women.

The pages of textbooks pay scant attention to the lurid details that we hunger to know. Instead we are told dry accounts of military strategies and flank attacks, of the cunning of generals, and the massing of armies. We see illustrations of men in armor, swords locked, muscled bodies twisting in the throes of combat. We see paintings of leaders astride noble mounts, gazing at the fields where soldiers stand like rows of wheat awaiting the scythe. We see maps with arrows tracing the march of conquering armies, and read the lyrics of war ballads, sung in the name of king and country. The triumphs of men are always writ large, in the blood of soldiers.

No one speaks of the women.

But we all know they were there, soft flesh and smooth skin, their perfume wafting through history’s pages. We all know, though we may not speak of it, that war’s savagery is not confined to the battlefield. That when the last enemy soldier has fallen, and one army stands victorious, it is toward the conquered women that the army next turns its attentions.

So it has always been, though the brutal reality is seldom mentioned in the history books. Instead, I read of wars that are as shiny as brass, with glory for all. Of Greeks battling under the watchful eyes of the Gods, and of the fall of Troy, which the poet Virgil tells us was a war fought by heroes: Achilles and Hector, Ajax and Odysseus, names now enshrined for eternity. He writes of clanging swords and flying arrows and blood-soaked earth.

He leaves out the best parts.

It is the playwright Euripides who tells us of the aftermath for the Trojan women, but even he is circumspect. He does not dwell on the titillating details. He tells us that a terrified Cassandra was dragged from Athena’s temple by a Greek chieftain, but we are left to fantasize about what comes next. The tearing open of her robes, the baring of her skin. His thrusts between her virgin thighs. Her shrieks of pain and despair.

Across the fallen city of Troy, such shrieks would have echoed from other women’s throats, as the victorious Greeks took what was due them, marking their victory in the flesh of conquered women. Were any men of Troy left alive to watch? The ancients do not mention it. But what better way to crow victory than to abuse the body of your enemy’s beloved? What more powerful proof is there that you have defeated him, humiliated him, than to force him to watch as you take your pleasure, again and again?

This much I understand: triumph requires an audience.

~ Tess Garritsen – The Apprentice, pp213-14.

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