(an excerpt from the book, Somewhere Else. Available in January 2018)
What a night! A thunderstorm so wild I thought it would blow this island out of the Aegean. Gone, then, the last vestiges of Ikarus, Dionysius, yours truly, and Mrs. yours truly. The power blew out in the middle of the night, and with it our lights, heat, Internet, and significance. Zeus had come to call, and he was roaring.
      We live in the midst of perpetual renovations to a two hundred year old house perched on a mountain on a tiny island in the middle of the Aegean. There is currently no interior stairway, our bedroom is upstairs, and the only bathroom is downstairs. This means going outside, grimacing in the rain, trotting down the exterior stairs, heading back in through the kitchen door, and finally stumbling our way through the laundry to the bathroom. In the dark. With huge lightning flashes and rain attempting to smash its way through meter-thick stone walls. We carry our faithful, goes-forever, neon lantern and a flashlight, but the lightning makes fools of us in brightness. Zeus has a message, and he’s never been known for subtlety. Reminds me of a football player friend who was my unofficial bodyguard, years ago in various lowlife bars, but immeasurably older, probably a bit stronger, and a whole lot less phlegmatic.
      What a bozo! Boom, boom, boom. Crash bang! Such a klutz, that Zeus. You wouldn’t want that one hanging around your house. He could have just phoned or sent an email. While we’re downstairs, the rain changes to hail and the angry wind bashes it against the metal shutters, like a thousand cymbals gone wild. We huddle in the kitchen waiting for a break before heading outside and back upstairs to the bedroom.
      Before I go any further, I’d better first explain that you should never attempt to plant a large peach tree, else, you too, receive a visit from the big noisemaker. But, large peach trees demand enormous holes dug by someone and on this farm I am generally the someone. The day begins with a long discussion as to where to place the grand peach tree. We consider sunlight, shelter from the tantrums of Aeolis, fertility of the soil, its role as potential sun shade, its place in the grand scheme of nature, and aesthetics. Once we decide where to place the future bearer of magnificent fruit, the music must be established. I decide to start digging with some Clifford Brown on the iPod speakers.
      As Clifford picks up his trumpet and sends out a triumphant note of excellent jazz, I swing the pick and bang the pick against what turns out to be an enormous rock. It vibrates and sends a shock wave up through my arms and out the top of my head. I sit down and contemplate this for a spell. It whirls around and I come to no conclusions. This is what it must be like to be stupid!
      When I can regain my feet, I resume. Clifford is blowing his trumpet like Gabriel’s horn. I’m not emoting quite as grandly. The big rock must be sledge hammered in half to be movable. I decide to dig around it first. A mighty swing with the pick. Another. A little less mighty. Big breath. A bit better. Another, feebler. A really pitiful attempt. I’m sitting down.       “Do you play any other instruments?” I asked.

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