Alethia stared out at the harbor while Macallan paid the 34 euro for the two tickets to Delos on the 5:00 p.m. ferry. He smiled at his wife even though she was looking the other way. The Macallans journeyed to Greece every other year to visit Aletheia’s grandparents and assorted relatives, distant and otherwise. After a week of dinners, dancing, and drinking they were relieved to have a couple of days to themselves on an island, and they especially loved Mykonos because of its proximity to Delos and its famed ruins.
“Two tickets to…,” he said, handing the tickets to Aletheia, stopping mid-thought.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Nothing. I thought I saw someone I know just now.” He pointed at the blond woman and the tall man strolling away from them toward the dock.
“Well, I don’t know who she is,” Aletheia said. “But the man is Yiannis Kardas.”
Susannah Fontaine-Williams lay on the prow of a strange man’s yacht propped back on her elbows, wishing she had her wide-brimmed floppy hat to shade her from the hot sun. The fast boat etched a creamy V through the Aegean Sea at nearly 50 knots.
She had already bought her ferry tickets to the Island of Delos when a man who introduced himself as Tassos offered to speed her there personally on his yacht. It was the kind of opportunity that presented itself to her frequently when she traveled alone, and the sort of offer she rarely refused. Who would? It didn’t hurt that he was striking.
But she hesitated an instant, perhaps because he had one blue eye and one brown one. In that moment between yes and no, Tassos convinced her, explaining that he had made his fortune in shipping which allowed him to indulge his interest in archaeology. “I will be your personal guide on ancient Delos. I can show you things you could not possibly discover on the tour.”
Before boarding the 60-foot craft, she’d said, “I thought you said you had a yacht.” She had then taken a look around to see if there might be someone else with a larger boat waiting to whisk her away.
She reached into her bag hoping that maybe she had stuffed a hat in at some point but knowing she hadn’t. Her hand felt something smooth and cold and pulled out an ivory-handled dagger with a leather blade cover. She gasped, not with surprise, but at the knife’s intricate beauty. She turned it over, unsheathed it, rubbed her thumb along the blade. “Sharp,” she thought. It had the symbol of the ankh delicately carved on the fat part of the blade on both sides.
She tucked it back in the bag, remembering where so she could study it later at her leisure. She rooted around some more and pulled out an unfamiliar floppy sun hat which she placed upon her head. It fit perfectly and the wind did not blow it off.
A long time ago my people would correct errors in any number of ways. For large or infuriating mistakes, we liked to rip a page from the typewriter, crumple it, and toss it into a wastebasket. For smaller mistakes, we would turn the platen to easily get to the line in question, then apply whiteout, a product used to obscure letters and words, then turn the platen back to the original position and resume typing.
The editorial committee have determined (or is it has determined?) that the last chapter, The Hyphen Backstory, is a catastrophic error and in fact doesn't work for the overall storyline we've got going. I do happen to be in Greece and I was swept up in the moment and thought wouldn't SFW not only travel to Athens but in reality have a secret family? This is, of course, completely ludicrous. Nonetheless, I swore a solemn oath not to delete any more posts in the SFW adventure and so I must ask the both of you to disregard the last post. Consider it a dream or a fantasy, possibly even an hallucination. While there may or may not prove to be a Bob Williams there certainly can be no triplets.
I apologize for any inconvenience, but I really can see no way to resolve the story if the previous chaper is not disregarded. I'm open to suggestions, however. Anyway, thanks for your time. If anyone needs anything, please feel free to comment or drop me a line. Thanks.
No one asked Susannah Fontaine-Williams about her hyphenation. She didn't avoid talking about Bob Williams, it just didn't seem to come up. They'd married on the Greek island of Phraxos when she was just 20 or 23, depending on whose story you believed, produced an adorable set of triplets, then went their separate ways. Still deeply in love they recoupled several times yearly usually with the changing of the seasons. For those brief, blissful periods, mostly spent somewhere in the Mediterranean, they seemed to be nothing more than a passionate young couple traveling with overachieving triplets (more about them later).
She always brought something exotic for Bob and their threesome so most times, she'd check an enormous bag and despite her frequent traveler status, have to pay for the extra weight. But not this time. She whistled as she breezed by curbside check-in at JFK and straight to the TSA pre-screened line with nothing but a carry-on suitcase and a stylish handbag created by a mostly unknown designer.
The head of security at Neiman’s, Macallan, saw what he saw in the monitor and radio’d the doormen to stop the blond talk show host as she left the building. The man everyone called Single Malt very much liked Susannah Fontaine-Williams. They’d met a few times in the massive department store and she chatted with him as if they were old grade school buddies who’d somehow lost track of each other over the years. She remembered his wife’s name and how old his kids were. He made a point to DVR her show though he seldom had a chance to watch it, what with the crazy hours and the side jobs.
So when Darrel’s voice came over the radio, “She’s here boss,” he felt more than a tinge of sadness as he made his way to the 52nd Street entrance. He found Susannah Fontaine-Williams and Darell talking basketball. “If I was the NBA comissioner, Miss Fontaine-Williams…” “Please, Darrel, just call me Susannah already.”
Darrel continued, “…first thing we do is get rid of at least six, maybe eight teams. Talent’s too diluted.” She nodded appreciatively. “Then, I order the refs to start calling ‘traveling’ again. Anyone can make Top Ten if you can take four steps to the basket!”
“Mac!” SFW squealed. Macallan watched her face and body language and thought, wow, for someone caught shoplifting on camera she is one cool customer.
“Miss Fontaine-WIlliams,” he started. “I mean, Susannah, I hate to ask you this, but I need to have a look inside your bag.”
Walt liked going into the storage pod and standing among the objects in Susannah Fontaine-Williams’s purse. It felt cozy to him. And while he had a legitmate reason to go into her bag from time to time to check on capacity and to make sure that nothing too odd was going on as clearly stated in Item 141, Periodic Inspections,” he was aware that he needn’t really do more than poke his head in the door for a moment or two. He also knew that he might have personal issues he didn’t really understand as even someone who crammed as much into her bag as SFW would never come close to filling what amounted to a 12-foot cube. Walt particularly liked those moments the bag was open and he could peer through the ceiling at her world. It was like looking up from the bottom of a pond through the shimmering surface, everything a little bit distorted, especially at the edges. He theorized that the difference in the size of the portal on either side caused the distortion. On his side of the opening, the portal took up most of the ceiling, umbrella-shaped, about ten feet across. On her side, the opening stretched just the width of her bag. That he could have devised such a thing awed him to no end. The few times he’d peered through the opening to her side of bag, he’d seen the underside of a chandlier, or a plain white ceiling. But this last time, he could see SFW’s torso crossing back and forth, and the bottoms of clothes that must have been on hangers or draped on hooks. He thought he ran a small risk of course of getting clunked on the head by some object or other, and wondered what would happen if she reached in while he was there. Could she, he wondered, mistake him for something or other, grab him, and pluck him from the storage pod – her bag – into her world? I will install a transparent barrier, he told himself, and a chaise lounge beneath it to optimize my observations.