Yesterday I left Mykonos at the peak of its most beautiful time, mid-September :(. For Albany…and Bouchercon :). So, I hope many of you will make it to Bouchercon if for no other reason than to witness my suntan fading or…undoubtedly more interesting…Yrsa’s similarly fated, Caribbean-shaded Icelandic bronze.
Most of us from MIE will be there making a joint panel appearance to kick off the good times on Thursday, September 19th at 12 noon in Room 6. The title is “When in Rome—Murder is Everywhere,” and I can assure you it will be a lot of fun. How could it not with Annamaria, Cara, Lisa, Yrsa, and Stan all together in one place. I’ll be on the panel, too, doing my best to offset all the literate, humorous, interesting stuff you’ll be hearing from everyone else.
For those of you interested in assailing me directly, I‘ll be signing books on Saturday morning, between 9:45-10:30AM at Mystery Mike’s signing table in the book room.
But now on to the headline act of this post.
Two days ago I sat after sunset on a hotel veranda overlooking the sea, searching for inspiration for what to write on this, my last post from Mykonos for September (I’ll be back there in October). It’s always sad leaving the place—even for just two weeks. It’s come to mean so much to me, especially September. And just as I was about to give up on the whimsical and write something serious, what to my wondering eyes should appear but someone I’ll call “Micki”—think the persona of Peter Pan in the body of Mick Jagger without hair dye.
I’ve known Micki for thirty years and he precedes my presence on the island by many more. He’s Greek but London educated and truly brilliant. To many he symbolizes Mykonos’ once legendary life style. In “Tales of Mykonos,” a book I’ve tinkered with writing but doubt ever will, stories surrounding Micki feature prominently. I thought sharing just a few snippets from one narrow slice of this guy’s life would show how much I’ll miss this Never Never Land.
All of this takes place in a single hotel known for its loyal “artsy” clientele. You could call it an island institution for, as you’ll see, it most surely has inmates.
Micki on making an entrance.
When Micki would get up early enough to make it to breakfast, he’d arrive on his circus-style, monkey-size, bright red motorbike, using his feet to propel it around white linen-covered tables filled with guests. He’d park next to his table of choice for that morning and, dressed in satin shorts, tennis shoes, tee-shirt, and sunglasses, approach the assembled with a deep formal bow. Next he’d pronounce some elaborate incantation, mesmerizing the uninitiated in the process, and with a practiced flourish grasp the tablecloth and whip it off the table…followed by the dishes, silver, flowers and whatever else the experienced hadn’t been able to salvage in time. An “Oops” and smile would follow and he’d sit down to join the table for breakfast as if nothing had happened.
Micki on Music.
Just off the hotel lobby sat a small room containing the equipment controlling the music played in the lobby. One afternoon, while everyone but the young female receptionist was at the beach, Micki woke from a night of who knows what and wandered into the control room. He locked himself inside and blasted Chinese opera throughout the lobby for five straight hours. By the time the owners returned from the beach and put a stop to the “concert,” the receptionist was in tears. I understand she still fears fortune cookies.
Micki on Studies.
One day Micki walked out into the lobby, sat down on a couch, opened a book, and placed it carefully on his lap. He did not read it, did not turn a page, just sat there with it open on his lap for hours. The book was in Japanese and Micki did not read Japanese. Finally, the hotel owner could take it no longer and asked him what in the world he was doing. With a face as serious as those carved in stone on Mount Rushmore he said, “I believe if I sit here long enough calmly and quietly holding the book, sooner or later something will start to make sense.”
Micki on chores.
One afternoon the hotel owner heard a drone coming from the lobby and couldn’t figure out what it was. He found Micki sitting on a couch listening to his Walkman. The sound came from the Walkman and when the owner asked what he was listening to, Micki said, “It’s my Hoover”—the Greek word for vacuum cleaner—“I just sit listening to the sound and when I return to my apartment in London it’s miraculously clean.”
Micki on Christmas.
|Yep, it's them...decked out for Christmas for sure.|
Micki always believed in having a Christmas party with his friends on Mykonos some time during mid-summer, the logic being he’d never see them at Christmas. The hotel staff knew it was Christmas party time when Micki came into the kitchen looking for aluminum foil. They’d stopped asking how much, just handed him the roll. Later that afternoon he’d emerge from his room in nothing but aluminum foil. He’d covered his glasses, sneakers, and circus bike. Made a hat, arm bracelets, wrist bracelets, and just enough of a bottom to cover his butt and barely the front. The sight was best summed up by an old Greek man who, on witnessing Micki taking off in the bright afternoon sun for Christmas on some beach, crossed himself and said, “May God protect you.”
I’m all for that. May God protect us all, especially those good souls whose real lives would not possibly be thought true in fiction.