Non-fiction story of one.. 1990.. night on a greek island in the Mediterranean...
|Word was that Greeks were coming in numbers down from the hills to kill us all. All the English, that is. |
Word was, that we'd killed one of them, you see. Altercation; blade; death. Some English guy, it was said, had done for a local on this partisan little island of Kavos, and now we were all to pay for this senseless, ill-thought out at absolute best, act of extreme violence.
Still, the nightclub played on and I sat next to the girl I'd just met, feeling more than a little inebriated and yet somehow still trying to make my small talk and amusing repartee heard over the reverberating bass.
Darren, one of the other five of my group, and the only one apparently in the vicinity, had appeared suddenly and was giving me this new information, calling into my ear.
I looked up, my eyes likely betraying little of the feeling of slowly dawning consternation within me. Then back to the girl, she smiling politely at us but also seemingly not quite occupying a place of particular self-awareness.
"Should we go?" I asked, loudly, glancing momentarily between the two, yet maybe not quite re-conveying the frantic wide-eyed gravitas my friend had, a moment ago, expressed to me.
"Do you want to go?" I called to the girl.
I explained in my most reasonable sounding voice that we may, according to my friend, be about to be slaughtered, and that 'early', albeit only slighty so, departure from the premises, may well be our only way of avoiding this.
Darren, for his part, now nodded gravely.
She looked uncertain.
And so, taking my new lady-friend by the hand, I followed my buddy, around the large, semi-darkened, still busy and throbbing, room. It soon appeared we were, still guided by my friend, in active pursuit of a 'back-way' out. A fire-escape.
We found none open. Leastways, we found none the big 'bouncer' guys in attendance about the place, were going to let us exit by.
We headed to the front of the place. The original main entrance.
Sure enough, it seemed that there were some groups of locals, arguing with doormen, and a couple of whom bore thickish sticks. At the moment, these thankfully seemed to be being used more as boons, items to wave around and make angry but valid points with.
Still, the atmosphere and threat hung, increasingly, in the air. Some people, some fellow revellers, ducked and thrust themselves forward quickly through the narrow turnstiles, at opportune moments.
There was squabbling and there was palpable fear in the air. There was also the inescapable backbeat of a nightclub still in full, largely oblivious, swing.
We three, too, then stole our moment of escape, gratefully and with both hands, and indeed, feet. The disquiet about us was continuing but still no-one yet had actually seemed willing to signal the beginning of a full assault, nor even to take the first swipe in crossing what looked a very narrow line.
We were away and around, now, and briskly moving along a wider lane, one Darren and I briefly debated about whether was actually the one which led to our 'digs', our Taverna.
We moved through the overwarm night in shadow-light-shadow, sporadic street-lighting made even less effective by the fizzing shorts which had clearly rendered many lamps useless.
We passed beneath, still unsure of our own safety, and yet at some unforseen and unspecified point, found ourselves laughing.
It was as though we were three Resistance operatives whom had just ducked the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied Paris. It was as though whatever terrible events had happened, and were about to increase perhaps tenfold, we were suddenly miles away from it all, above the unfolding horrors, and free again.
And then we were at the Taverna.
A couple of the other guys in our group were back, too. But not because of any impending threats of doom at the hands of local mensfolk, apparently, but because they'd just decided to 'call it a night'.
In fact, their information was that, yes, someone had been killed that night, but that the victim was an English guy, apparently by the hand of another English guy. Two groups of Brits had been fighting, it seemed.
This had also actually happened elsewhere. The Greeks, it appeared, had been misinformed and so had just all gotten a little protective and come out to see exactly what the hell was going on.
The night in anticlimax, now, the girl sat a little while in a wicker chair out the front of my room, before declining Darren's invite to stay and suffer a different kind of 'bodily infraction' at my hands and looking off along the road, probably for her own friends.
At some point she just kind of wandered off, disappeared totally until a future night, actually, and so the rest of us, including the now returned remaining two of our group, retired to our beds.
'All good fun', someone said, about our second night on the Greek Island.
'Wonder what tomorrow will bring?'...