Tag Archives: Greece

Hats and upgrades

Models posing in examples of three floppy hats.
Models demonstrating examples of three floppy hats.

Walt thrummed his fingers on his workbench as he watched the newsfeed on BBC International. Susannah Fontaine-Williams, tanned and relaxed, watched from a bar at Athens International, while Macallan and wife, back on the Greek mainland, drove back to Alethia’s ancestral home.

It came as no surprise to any of them that the bodies of a man and a woman were found in a cabin below deck, that the man’s skull had been caved in by a fire extinguisher and the woman’s windpipe had been brutally crushed.

“Authorities are searching for a tall man and a woman wearing a floppy hat in connection with the double homicide,” the news said.

A picture taken by a security camera at the dock showed a man and an unrecognizable woman wearing a floppy hat. Walt screen-grabbed the image and enlarged it. SFW’s grainy, hat-obscured features grew even less distinct, but anyone could clearly see the stylish handbag dangling from her sunburned shoulder.

Susannah Fontaine-WIlliams boarded her flight, pleased that she’d upgraded to the pod section in the front of the jet. On her mind as the jet taxied to the runway:

  1. Take a zolpidem and try to sleep, or stay awake and watch movies?
  2. Turn to a life of crime?
  3. Turn to a life of heroic deeds?

She popped the zolpi and chased it with duty free cuban rum.  Are  numbers two and three mutually exclusive, she wondered. “Oooh, they have the Lego Movie!” she said. She’d been scrolling the movie listings.

“Excuse me miss,” a flight attendant said, “did you need something?”

“A glass of champagne would be nice,” and she pulled the blanket up around her, put on the complimentary eye mask, stretched out in her pod and started the Lego Movie.

The 8:00 PM ferry

Is my life better or worse since the bag, SFW mused, watching the docked Gambit recede from the stern of the ferry. She opened her handbag and gazed into its blackness wondering what happened to all the things she put inside that disappeared then reappeared. Walt gazed back, unseen, still stunned by what he’d seen from the other side of  the open bag. She relaxed forward on the railing as the sun slowly dropped toward the horizon.

“I don’t remember seeing you on the ferry out here,” a man said. She recognized Macallan’s voice. “Mac,” she said, turning, inching close in to him like she would a lover. This wasn’t a flirtation, but a sudden need to be encircled by someone familiar. “In fact, I swear I saw you get on that boat over there with someone a few hours ago. Different dress, but she had your walk.”

“Do I have such a distinctive way of walking?”

“Did you know that a person’s gait is as individual as fingerprints?” Did I leave fingerprints? She began thinking about details. Could she just sail away on the 8:00 PM ferry trouble-free? Now there was Macallan to consider.

“You know,” he said. “Alethia has family here. We don’t get here as often as we’d like but I’ve seen hundreds of sunsets and this one’s going to be a good one.” She nodded. There will be a story tomorrow about a yacht abandoned on the island, and a search for the owner. Hopefully they won’t find the body or the dress. Maybe a witness saw them together. Maybe she left fingerprints or something else behind on the boat. Macallan will quickly piece it together so she decided she would tell him what happened before they docked at Mykonos.

“We’re out here on this ferry in another part of the world and I’m hoping you can clear something up for me. This has been eating at me for weeks.” She smiled. “How did you do it? How did you get those clothes out of my store?”

“Mac, who is this?” a woman’s voice said. SFW turned toward her, extended her hand, and said, “Hi, I’m Susannah Fontaine-Williams.”

Let’s leave things as they are for today and end with the cloudless sunset that didn’t quite live up to Macallan’s prediction.

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Lovin’ the Ruins

“Because Delos was sacred, as the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, no births or deaths occured here. The sick were not permitted entry, nor were pregnant women. That island,” Tassos pointed to Reinia, “the sick went there to die and that is where the women gave birth.” “Didn’t thousands of people live here? What happened to all of the people?” Susannah Fontaine-Williams asked. “Ah,” Tassos replied. “I assume you mean after the invasion. 20,000 people lived here – all were either killed or enslaved. But the interesting thing is, no human remains have been found on the island to this day.” The late afternoon sun burned and SFW clinged to the slowly lengthening shadows. She leaned against a shaded wall startling a lizard, sending it scampering over the rocks. “We call them ‘crocodelos,'” he said.

“Try to envision it as it was found more than a century ago,” he went on. “Rubble everwhere. Much was covered by vegetation, like over there on that hillside. Only a third of Delos has been excavated and recovered. It is very slow going. Most of these buildings were three stories high. It’s hard to picture, isn’t it?” She nodded yes, closed her eyes, and her TV mind played a documentary of toga’d people conducting their affairs and discussing philosophy on the crowded narrow streets as warships filled the harbor on the eve of Delos’s destruction.

Ruins and rubble.
Ruins and rubble.

The afternoon heat radiated from the stone, marble, and rubble. Susannah Fontaine-Williams felt just a touch faint and longed for a glass of cold water, chased by that sublime Cuban rum cocktail they served at the pool bar in Mykonos.

Tassos proved to be a thorough guide, walking her through the enormous agora, to the theatre, to the Temple of Apollo and finally to the museum and the little refreshment store. He showed her elaborate tile floors, translated the Greek inscriptions for her, and described the many cisterns and wells and other clever ways the Delosians gathered, saved and used the scarce fresh water. “Let me show you the hidden cistern,” he said. “Very few people get to see this.”

A ship’s horn sounded and she peered over a wall to see the 5:00 ferry pulling in to dock. They came to what may have been a courtyard surrounded by walls with a large cistern to one side in the shadows. “Look,” he waved her over. “The water’s such a bright green,” she said. “It’s the minerals,” he said. “Mostly limestone. Very acidic.” He put an arm around her waist and pulled her close to him. She thought she would have to endure a kiss, but instead, she felt his hands gently on her neck and she tried to take a step back. He pressed his thumbs on her windpipe and she gasped for air. “You’re my first American celebrity,” he said, squeezing just a little bit tighter.

The 5:00 ferry unloads.
The 5:00 ferry unloads.

Want to know why this post’s title is immensely clever? Check out “Love in the Ruins” by Walker Percy.