There was only one Pegasus, and now he’s a constellation. Popular nerd culture has since decided that there are multiple “pegasi” [sic], but that is like calling a green apple martini a martini just because it is served in a martini glass. Also, to make that analogy work there would only be one martini glass in history and it would have been made into a constellation by Zeus. Which come to think of it would make a pretty good constellation. Pegasus was born when Perseus cut off his mother’s head. Perseus and his brother Chrysaor came out of her neck, while Perseus put his magic hat back on and got out of there before Pegasus’ Aunt Stheno and Aunt Euryale got a chance to straighten him out. Pegasus’ brother Chrysaor went on to be king of Spain (no joke–he was also a flying bull). Pegasus did not get to be king of Spain; Athena gave Bellerophon a special bridle that let Bellerophon ride Pegasus (not Perseus–the notion that Perseus rode Pegasus is common but contrary to historical fact). Bellerophon rode Perseus to go kill a bunch of Amazons and a bunch of dudes and the Chimera, but then he tried to fly to Olympus on Pegasus which made Zeus mad, so, according to the internet, Zeus sent a gadfly (Hypoderma lineatum) to mess Pegasus up. Only the funny thing about a gadfly is that they don’t actually bite, they lay eggs on animals legs which get licked and ingested, and then the larva develop under the skin of the animal (cf., the bot fly). Which is eventually super painful, but not an immediate-gratification kind of scenario. So, either it was a really long trip to Olympus (possible) or Zeus planned in advance (possible but Zeus wasn’t known for his patience) or maybe Zeus just implanted the larva directly. All three possibilities are gross. Bellerephon fell off, landed in a thorn bush, and spent the rest of his days alone and blind. Pegasus got a job carrying Zeus’ thunderbolts, and was so good at it that one day Zeus turned him into a constellation (which is eerily like having a pet stuffed?); that constellation is still visible just above Pisces and Aquarius, and immediately below Martini.

Daniel Heath notes that his play will be about Pegasus and Bellerophon killing the Chimera, and also the day, many years later, when Zeus decided to transform one of his most loyal servants into a constellation.

PEGASUS by Daniel Heath
staged reading on October 8, 2011

directed by Stuart Bousel

Maro Guevera (Pegasus)

Travis Howse (Bellerophon)

Michelle Jasso (Snakehead)

Shane Rhodes (Lionhead)

Vahishta Vafadari (Goathead)

Daniel Heath is a San Francisco playwright. His award-winning short
plays have been performed in San Francisco, New York, and across the country. In 2010, his 80’s rock’n’roll play-with-music The Man of Rock premiered in San Francisco produced by the Climate Theater, and his play Seven Days premiered at the SF Playhouse’s Sandbox series. He has received two commissions from PlayGround, and also written two choose-your-own-adventure comedies, Forking! and Forking II: A Merry Forking Christmas, both produced by PianoFight Productions.

The mosaic of Pegasus was created by Molly Benson.