Saturday, 4 October 2014

Episode 19: Smoke gets in my eyes

from under dark clouds

From Under Dark Clouds




From Under Dark Clouds

'From Under Dark Clouds...' is a Gonzo fictionalisation of current events in Greece as seen through the eyes of our unnamed hero as he fumbles from paranoia to public office, under the mentorage of the shady Socrates.

Each episode is based on real events. Readers are invited to share their experiences for the Under Dark Clouds treatment. Many have been included in cameo roles, can you spot them?




See link below for contributions






mexican greek standoff
Mexican Greek standoff

It was a Mexican stand-off, we had the old, the infirm, women and even Despina’s boy. Well I say we but I mean them because I was vehemently adhering to the advice of my legal brief and remaining uninvolved. So, they had the innocents and the others had batons, helmets and shields. My dear blogees, this was the righteous against THE MAN and we, they held the trump card; the power of the press. THE MAN would not dare be caught in the act, they would not act up with the eyes of the world watching. They would, no doubt, make some noise and finally stand down and regroup. How wrong I was.


Out of frustration one of the policemen lobbed a drinks can. This must have been their way of letting off steam ‘cause soon after another couple followed. I couldn’t make out what brand it was until it fell to the floor rebounding off the rapidly closed windows. First one then the others began spouting thick smoke, I could see the photographer shooting from behind a gas mask. I stood, an innocent observer, uninvolved but not unmoved as hot tears began to stream down my cheeks. Not the tears of sadness like when I found out Santa was a fat drunk who only worked once a year (and there were no vacancies)or when I found my wife had replaced my cache of weed with oregano. I had woken to find myself in Gaza or some US state. 



This wasn’t the first time I had come up against this kind of behaviour, and I’m sure if you’re married you would have spent a night on the doorstep sobbing. After a suitable period of pain and suffering, she’ll let you back in if only to avoid the postman gossipping.     

This was their noise, their stomping on the Genesis CDs (but only the post Peter Gabriel), their threats to send the dog pound to take me away. It would pass, they would go to eat donuts. I stood upwind with a damp towel over my head. 

The sergeant pulled out his bullhorn and issued a final warning, yeah right! Then silence. Then 100 heartbeats in slow sync. Then more silence. Then a shit storm. 



Riot police vs pensioners - Thessaloniki, Greece
Riot police Vs Pensioners
The damp towel was now round my neck pulling me across the pavement, the door pulled from its hinges. I was trying to swim to the surface but only sank deeper, starving for air. Waves of flotsam and jetsam broke on my body. I braced in the knowledge that like any ride at the fair, it would end before I soiled myself. I managed to gulp enough breath to voice the words that would put an end to this maelstrom, they only needed to be heard and all this would end. I repeated them over and over, I am the mayor. Then soiled myself. 



The storm moved on but showed no sign of abating. Green uniforms were now visible at the windows, smoke seeping through the broken glass. I picked myself up to, to, to do something and fell on a leg that refused to bear my weight. The sergeant was sending orders via the bullhorn but we had brought a peashooter to a baton charge. It wasn’t long before 4 tonnes of waif, stray and pensioner littered the street outside the erstwhile Town Hall plaza. The evacuation of the building culminated with a church bazaar of belongings thrown from the open windows only missing some of those gathered below. We were beat and beaten. 



There was silence in the back of the van but not in my head. I could have done something, I should have done something; I didn’t. 


The long wait
The long wait
We were left a couple of blocks short of the police station and told we were lucky. I felt as lucky as a rabbit’s foot (dismembered from its rabbit). Mike and I found Tasos sporting a swollen eye a few blocks later. We decided to go to the hospital to get checked out. The emergency room was full to the gills with wailing, complaint and the smell of infection. After nearly two hours we decided to self-medicate; tsiporo and ice, one for the pain the other for the swelling. The three of us licked our wounds round a quiet table in the corner of a forgotten taverna. We told each other our stories over and over, swore and asked why. We drank until the pain became someone else’s. We resolved to get our own back and swore some more. We agreed that we were not afraid but I did confess to a mild apprehension at facing my wife. Socrates and maybe my lawyer. Tasos banged his fist on the table and declared a fear of no-one, adding that he was a widower and had no home to go to. Mike made no declarations so I told him that I was afraid of his coffee. 

The waiter continued to bring tsiporo until I realised that none of us could pay the bill. He threatened to call the police. Mike and Tasos ran, I fell over a sneaky table. 

If you were to ask me now, I would deny it but at the time I swear I watched my body being frisked and plundered. It was floated out onto the cold pavement and loaded into a cab. I was willing it to listen but it slumped void and vacant like a drooling pile of laundry. 

Home, safe at last. I snivelled in my wife’s arms not giving a second thought to those who weren’t.


Fade to credits...



Images by kind permission of TeacherDude





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