You know me. You followed me around the country. You loved me on the TV when I had you in stitches with jokes about my penis. You followed me in the tabloids, you supported my charitable works. Then you didn't. I don't know why. You just stopped. Now, I have people who love me again. So much that they made me their mayor. This is my new story, From Under Dark Clouds.
I knew there was no one home but I still ran upstairs and downstairs yelling the wife and kids’ names hoping to be wrong. There was no sign but the brimming ashtray of the boys that Socrates had sent to take care of my family. I checked the basement, the place I had sent them to hide when we had been attacked by the tabloids but this was not the press. They shot personal moments, they did character assassination. The people who had crucified the Chinese peddler to my door did not. They had little understanding of nuance or subtlety. Some clothes and shoes were in neat piles on the beds. The wife had managed to start her packing ceremonies that were the precursor of every family trip. The ceremonies that had annoyed me so much. Looking around and finding my breath I could see no signs of violence, were Socrates’ heavies in on it?
Socrates! He would know.
He answered on the second ring. He seemed confused which made me panic more. He said he’d call the boys and get back to me. I checked my phone, I had an unanswered from the wife. I called her back but kept getting the same message, “The subscriber you have called probably has their phone switched off.”
Socrates called, “They’re ok. They are boarding the plane. We have someone in airport security who is making sure they are cared for.” I didn’t reply.
“Jude, give me your keys!”
“But the insurance is only for—” his protests continued all the way to the car but remained just protests.
Jude and Roni fastened their seat-belts. Roni even clipped her camera to it.
I knew which lights needed to be heeded and I ran them all. Roni kept asking me questions about what I was thinking only diverting her camera to show the red traffic lights pass at speed.
I answered her once and that seemed to suffice, “WHAT DO YOU THINK!”
We turned the last right onto the long straight to the terminal and I put it hard down. The departures building quickly came into sight but just outside the police building a patrol car sat with its blues on and an officer stood flagging me down. They had been stopping people here for months checking their state debts before they left the country. I changed lanes and flashed as I passed.
I left the car outside departures where others were kissing friends and loved ones goodbye. I ran in, the journos close behind. I heard shouts and whistles but I needed to get there more than anything.
Thessaloniki airport is little more than a bus terminus and I was soon at the first security gate. A tall man walked up and put his heavy hand on my shoulder. He was at least a head taller than me but his face was bright and childlike.
“They left safely, Sir.” He pointed through the windows to the Airbus taxiing onto the runway. “I could radio the plane. But, I think it would be safer not to draw attention to them.” I looked up at him. He squeezed my shoulder and smiled. “I have a girlfriend on the crew, she’s one of us. She’ll take care of them.”
I watched as the plane took position on the runway. Roni bumped into me closely followed by Jude and the police. Radios squawked and more descended from nowhere. Roni screamed PRESS!
A hand fell on my shoulder. ”Miister!”
The security guard boomed and I shook in my shoes but he was looking at the officer who had slid his hand down to my wrist behind my back. “Come here, you!” Chris, for that was the name on the badge that was pinned to his chest at my eye level, “You know who this is?”
Soon the officer had let me go and was on his radio. “Stand down!” a crumpled reply came and he repeated, “Stand down, I tell you! It’s the Englishman.”
I looked round at the journos and patted Chris on the chest, “They’re with me.” He made a sweeping motion to the officers and they disappeared apart from one who insisted on shaking my hand before he left.
“Sorry, Sir.” He offered in broken English. “You maked us worry. Too much!”
I turned to the windows but the plane was disappearing into the cloudless sky.
Chris was still looming as I turned to skulk off. I turned to thank him.
“Nothing, Sir. Don’t worry, some of those pigs have not chosen sides yet.” He changed to English, “Your family, they will be fine.” Then back to Greek, “Tell Mr. Socrates that Christos,” he tugged at his name badge. “Says everything is under control.”
“Under control?” I had never fucking doubted anything more in my life.
If you enjoyed this episode, you should SUBSCRIBE and get the whole of book 1 for your iPad, Kindle or Android device.
Go on! You know you deserve it!
Don't forget to share with the little buttons below.