I witnessed…

… a strange transaction today while sitting in an early morning cool breeze outside a dockside taverna in Piraeus, wasting time before my ferry home. “Home”, note. An unmarked blue van drew up near the corner, and two men got out. They leaned on the street side of the van. They were dressed in white overalls, and observed the traffic carefully for about five minutes. A bicycle approached, ridden by a young man – a University student by his appearance. They flagged him down and spoke for a while. It didn’t look as if they knew each other. After a few minutes, one of the vanmen opened the rear door of the van and removed a bicycle from it. After inspecting this bike, the student handed over his own and rode away on the new one. The original bicycle was loaded in the van, which then drove off. No money, nothing at all but the bicycles, appeared to have changed hands. I have any number of theories about this, of course.

  • Perhaps the tubes of the bicycle were stuffed with drugs or other contraband, and I observed the handover either to or from a young courier;
  • Perhaps the second bike was a bicycle bomb, and the student was about to deliver it, wittingly or otherwise, to its chosen target;
  • More prosaically, perhaps it was only a maintenance recall of a hired bicycle.

It’s like an old shaggy dog story I remember. I shall spare you the full length of it, but it concerned a detective investigating mysterious happenings at a monastery, and featured components such as an onion, a sharp knife, a table, an explosion, a book, a secret tunnel and a strange monk. The same incident occurred repeatedly without the detective managing to see what was going on. However, he eventually managed to pounce on the monk as he emerged from the secret passageway at the other end, and demanded an explanation of the whole affair.

The monk replied: “OK. Can you keep a secret?”

“Yes, I can,” said the detective… and it later turned out that he could.

So, like the story, I guess we shall never know what the bicycle incident was all about.

Home again to my hovel and my lizard. Instructed Alexis and Eleni that everything was back to normal, that I’d just had a spot of business and hadn’t had any idea how long it would take.

God, I’m exhausted.
Ferry

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