On the little-known island of “Arki” near Patmos, Greece, four travelers stared at the boat docking under a cliff-shrouded curl of surf and sand resembling a sneer.
“Smugglers!” my new friend Leo, an Argentine of Italian descent and owner of a “finca” in Welsh Patagonia, exclaimed.
All of us were laughing, until we were stopped by a suggestive chthonic comment.
“You know, supposedly if you witness something you shouldn’t in these parts, there is a steep price to pay. . . .” Leo warned.
A little later, after riding outlandish donkeys led by muleteers to the minuscule minor port and boarding the ferryboat back to Patmos, where we were staying in a very cheap taverna, the four of us discussed “The Mafia!” At first we were having fun with it, until we noticed the fearful expressions of our fellow passengers, a collection of local colors zipping their mouths shut.
“Yeah, good company,” I ventured. “Creative Outsourcing.”
Leo looked relieved. “Ah, even so . . .”–he looked around for effect–“I think they should do something serious, maybe an imperative, such as smash the organization!”
We all laughed uproariously, about how easy it really was to keep a secret.
The undercover policia surrounding us looked suddenly very relieved, pegging us perhaps as only vacationing spies, especially since Patmos was once owned by Italy, not Greece.
At last back on Patmos, I marveled about how many people, obvious motorbike-accident victims resembling Ernie Onastis or Yanni shaking their fists, with identical leg casts, sat at the tavernas, filled with squids hung out like laundry to dry, resembling asterixes.
Here I at last decided to visit St. John’s Cave, where “The Book of Revelations” from The New Testament in “The Holy Bible” was written. But not yet. There were several bottles of cheap retsina (made with pine resin, I believe) to polish off first before our inevitable pilgrimage, its taste reminiscent of lip-smacking turpentine. . . .