Cheiron Renounces Immortality

The god Cronos took a fancy to the Oceanid Philyra. She was very partial to horses and Cronos realised that he would only score with her if he took on equine form. This duly succeeded and would explain why Philyra was banned from visiting Horseworld during out of school hours. The child born from this liaison was a centaur – half-man, half-horse – and given the name Cheiron. Cronos had not learnt from his previous dalliance with a girl from Patchway called Sally Bunn. She had an overpowering desire for chocolate, and Cronos realised that the only way he could bed her was to transform himself into a giant chocolate bar. He succeeded and as a consequence she gave birth to a child that became known locally as The Bristol Half-Marathon.

As he had divine parentage Cheiron was immortal. He was also rare for a centaur in that he was wise, a teetotaler and kind to humans. Centaurs were usually hyper-masculine, in that they exhibited the worst traits of male behaviour, such as drinking copious amounts of alcohol, womanizing, being violent, falling asleep during romantic films and hogging the TV during the World Cup.

Cheiron became a famous tutor. He opened a school in his cave in Redcliffe, and taught many illustrious pupils such as Jason (of the Argonauts), Achilles, Nestor, the healer Asklepios, Hippolytos and Odysseus. When Oedipus became King of Thebes he immediately sent funds to Bristol to build an extension to Cheiron’s school. This was done and in recognition of its benefactor was called The Oedipus Complex.

Sadly, this idyllic existence was not fated to last. One afternoon when Herakles (Latin Hercules) was visiting another friendly centaur called Pholos, he opened a jar of wine, and the aroma of the alcohol carried onto the nostrils of the centaurs who had congregated on the hills of Dundry for a Sunday School outing. It drove them wild. In anticipation of a cheap booze-up followed by a session of wenching, they attacked Pholos and Herakles with uprooted trees and rocks. A nasty incident thus occurred in which Cheiron became embroiled. All this could have been avoided had the centaurs been aware that just a mile away it was happy hour at the Horn and Harp.

Herakles attacked the centaurs with poisoned arrows. Unfortunately, one struck his friend Pholos and the power of the blow killed him instantly. Herakles then accidentally hit his other ally Cheiron with another arrow. Evidently this was why Bob Monkhouse was reluctant to ever have Herakles on The Golden Shot. Herakles pulled the arrow from Cheiron’s body, but he had been struck with such force that he remained in terrible pain, and would do so for the rest of his life…which was bad news because he was immortal. He would even have to wait about 4,000 years for aspirin to be invented.

Cheiron was taken to the BRI where he remained in a stable condition for several weeks, during which he debated whether to renounce his immortality to escape the anguish. He received many letters from well-wishers. This was because the wishing-well in Leigh Woods had been closed due to a contravention of the Trades Description Act, and because Cheiron was wise they thought he might know where another one was located. He was also the recipient of correspondence from the proprietors of the course at Aintree. They urged Cheiron to continue living; as they hoped they could then find another thirty-nine immortal centaurs and run the first ever humane Grand National.

Cheiron decided to engage the services of a seer to look into the future. He informed Cheiron that a time would come in about 4,000 years when surgical procedures would be so advanced that they would be able to cut him in half and dispense with the fifty-percent that contained the site of the injury. He further added that if he didn’t mind foregoing the use of anaesthetic, the procedure could be brought forward by 450 years. He would just have to approach Henry VIII and tell him he was a Catholic.

Cheiron was lifted slightly, but wondered how he would fare, and what quality of life he would have after being reduced by fifty-percent. The seer then informed him that it would all work out fine because by that time Bristol City would be in need of a good centaur-half. The only downside would be that he would then become known as the City Centaur. Cheiron hated the sound of that because it meant he would then be stalked by buses. He decided therefore to renounce his immortality.

In the Titan Prometheus he found someone willing to swap their mortality with his immortality, although Prometheus only agreed as long as Cheiron didn’t say anything to Prometheus’ wife as she had been going without for years to afford his monthly payments on his life insurance policy. Cheiron accepted this condition, became mortal and thus died from the wound Herakles had inflicted. Herakles was rather cheesed-off with this deal. He would’ve liked to have been offered first refusal on Cheiron’s immortality; especially as he was now likely to face the firing squad after being arrested upon Cheiron’s death.

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