Fun and games…

… in the taverna last night. I’d finished my dinner and was tentatively exploring how many hairs of the dog it was safe to take. Not many. I was beginning to dislike the look of my Metaxa, the first and last of the evening. A noisy group of eight Brits ( four male and four female Archaeology students on a field trip, as I later discovered) were arguing loudly and swilling much retsina and beer, and were causing some resentment. Noisy arguments are the prerogative of the Club members, and are usually conducted during daylight hours. The argument wasn’t even about archaeology, but racism. Eventually, I decided to try and quieten it down. It was interfering with my enjoyment. I strolled across. Curious and resentful stares. Sudden silence as they weighed me up. I said something ineffectual like “C’mon, boys and girls, keep it down a bit, can’t you?”, in as cool a manner as I could. I was treated to a tirade of foul language from one of the principal arguers, a tall youth with a shaved head, and a strip of beard on his chin. Another boy, short and red-haired, shouted “Shut up, Dave, you’ll get us chucked out”, and the fight was on. It’s not like in the movies, you know. Most of the swinging and kicking is totally inexpert. I wasn’t involved at first. I backed off pretty rapidly. Then Nikos arrived and grabbed hold of Dave and got an elbow in the gut for the trouble. He fell to the floor. I stepped forward, so did the red-haired lad and we seized one of Dave’s arms each. Then we all tripped over Nikos and landed half under the next table with Dave trying to land kicks. Then one of the girls hit Dave on the nose with a bottle. The bottle didn’t break, but the nose did, and it was all over. Sobriety descended upon the company, Dave’s blood was mopped up with paper napkins and broken glass and chairs were picked up. Nikos did a bit of yelling once he got his breath back, and he started to shove them towards the door. More shouting and screaming. Then the police arrived. That was the last thing I needed. I went back and sat at my table. The girl who’d tried to brain Dave with a Mythos took the situation in and, no doubt fearing arrest for assault, came and sat with me.

She said: “I’m with you.”

I didn’t much like it, but I said: “So I see.”

She told me her name, but I shall call her Suldrun. She didn’t look at me again.

The police asked questions and received answers. Nikos clearly wasn’t pressing charges. Dave was in no position to do so. No-one looked at Suldrun. I realised that Dave didn’t know who’d hit him, and nobody was about to tell him. No handcuffs, no chains. In due course, the archaeologists left, and Suldrun, muttering thanks, followed them.

According to Nikos, Suldrun turned up in the taverna at lunchtime today asking for me. Alexis and I were at the boatyard wrestling with important design decisions and several lengths of wood, and didn’t stop to eat.

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