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Monday, September 18, 2006

Le Triomphe de Plutus

Tourist season being over, B and I head for the beach now and then. There is a secluded spot that she knows out past the town of Kyrenia, which we frequent as the hot season drags on until winter decides to show up.

When the chill finally visits the shores of Cyprus and I'm still here, I go alone. Even in colder days, sea and solitude comforts me.

I strip to my swimming briefs. B spreads out the towels, asking, "Have you got the oil?"

I reply with a measure of hope, "We're only here for an hour or so and it's the afternoon sun. How about we live dangerously?"

Straightening up, she begins to lecture me on the dangers of the sun. "Now, listen..."

I smile at her, and without waiting for her to finish, plead, "Oh mum, don't nag. Not today."

"Women don't nag," she mocks me sweetly. "We discuss."

"Well, I didn't kidnap you from your bedroom to spend the Sunday discussing how to block the sun's harmful rays. We are both brown people, we can take a little heat."

B is clearly unconvinced at my unscientific jabber. I lie down and wiggle my toes in the warm sand, and watch as she opens her mouth to speak and then shuts it again. She peers into the distance.

She says finally, "Isn't that Mr. X's daughter?"

"I don't know," I say, closing my eyes without looking round, "is it?"

A far cry reaches my ears, "Hello!"

B snorts, "It is her."

I remark with a slight yawn touching my words, "Not very secluded this part of the beach then, is it?"

"She followed us, honey," she bends down and hisses in my ear.

I open one eye, "Follow us. What the hell for?"

"She's playing a sport."

Intrigued, I look at her with interest, "A sport?"

"Yes, isn't hunting a sport?"

"No, hunting isn't a sport. In a sport, both sides know they're playing. What's she hunting?"

"Well if you stay awake long enough, you'll find out."

I close my open eye, disinterested again. "Well, how about you find out while I catch a few."

"Hello!" The cry has come closer. I feign a small snore, but B kicks it out of me. "Hello!"

I hear B reply, "Hello. How are you? I thought you went in on Sundays?"

"Dad let me have the afternoon off from the office. Do you come here a lot?"

"We did," B replies politely, "I mean - we do."

I feel someone sit next to me, and begin to prod my left nipple. "Is he awake?"

"How's your dad?" I say abruptly, without moving.

The young girl squeals, and B prods my other nipple as I hear her trying to regain her composure. "He misses you," my old boss' daughter says finally. "I don't think he's forgiven you yet for leaving his legal offices like that last year, though."

"He'll get over it. I'll visit him soon. He still has my barrister's wig doesn't he?"

"Pride of place on some bust that looks like a Greek god. Been there for about five years now hasn't it?"

I hear B give a familiar snort. "How can you just leave that there? Doesn't it cost about four hundred pounds or something?"

"Shocking isn't it," I smile, opening my eyes. "Who would think genuine horsehair would be worth that price? The Greek god is Plutus. I bought it for him as a birthday gift one year. That was your father's idea of returning my joke. Le Triomphe de Plutus."

The young girl looks puzzeled. "Le what?"

"It's the name of a sixteenth century French play by Marivaux. The Triumph of Plutus."

She laughs and takes off her T-shirt, and scrummages in her bag. "They're right about you. You are for real." She takes out a bottle of suntan lotion, which B reaches over for. "Tell me about it, I'm interested."

"Another time, maybe over dinner."

"That would be great."

B's hand is still outstretched for the bottle. "Can I borrow that?"

"Sure."

"You're a saviour," I reply, laughing. "Thanks."

"Who have I saved?"

"Not who, what. My ears."

She looks incredulous. "You oil your ears?"

This time it is B's turn to laugh, as she slaps on the oil across her shoulders and arms. "No, he means you've saved him from my discussion on sun protection."

I look at B, who eyes me with a smile. I question her with a glance, Has the hunt started? I read her response, Work it out for youself kiddo.

"Oh, I get it now...can I ask you a question?"

The young girl doesn't have B's finesse for getting something out of someone. I guess she'll learn. Out of deference to her youth, I throw caution to the wind, "Ask me anything you want."

"Why did you leave my dad's offices?"

The truth doesn't need consideration sometimes, so I don't hesitate as I say, "I respect your father's intelligence a lot, but I don't agree with some of his political views. And I couldn't stand his pipe smoking."

B hands back the bottle to the girl, saying, "So his having the best legal firm in the north, means nothing?"

"It means that Mr. X should be very proud of himself, and so should his daughter - who will inherit a good practice. But it doesn't mean anything to me personally. My decisions about my life I make without giving concern to what others think."

B releases a wicked smile. "You know most people pretend with that - but you actually don't give a fuck do you?"

"Don't compliment me B, we have guests. I might actually believe you mean it."

The young girl interrupts our exchanges. "You know he heard about how you give legal advice to people that can't afford it and take on cases. And how you don't ask for a fee."

I grin. "Stupid aren't I?"

"He also wonders how you got Mrs. Y's money back for her from the British government when no other lawyer would touch the case."

"I'm persuasive. I got money for that though - she could more than afford it."

B speaks up this time. "So wouldn't you think about coming back?"

"After all this time?" I look at them both, suddenly suspicious. "What's going on? Is this a trap?"

Before B can reply, the girl says, "Why don't you at least visit the courts? Everyone misses you."

"Misses me? What do you mean?"

"They all talk about you and the things-"

I stop her from finishing the sentence. "They're not still talking about that incident are they?"

B laughs loud. "Well you are legend in that particular room. The young trainees have even discussed naming a court bench after you. I can't forget how you stood up to that judge."

"Charming," I murmur, not knowing whether to feel flattered or not. "I still don't think I broke any decorum - arguably a court is only a court when called, in recess it is just any other building. I even cited legal cases."

B says, "They have cases for fellatio?"

I try to keep a straight face. "The term in flagrante delicto is more appropriate, B."

Mr. X's daughter asks, "Are they legal terms?"

I cough over a laugh, as B leans over and whispers the meaning of the Latin terms into her ear. The young girl blushes. "No, no it's not that I mean." She looks at B. "Don't you tell him?"

I don't look at B, but stare at the girl. "Tell me what?"

"Your blog. Our whole legal community reads it, well most of us new ones that is. I love it - I..."

She begins to give me some suggestions on a law section, but I cut her short, and begin to knock out the next sentence like an old salesman's spiel. "I don't write for anyone. I wrote it to answer B's question on Tarkan. Then it became bits of me I'm archiving for my son that I'll have if I do things right."

She looks at me with a seriousness that only suits a young face. "I read your blog a lot. I even print out some of your poems and hang them on my wall."

"Do you read any of the other stuff?"

"Yes."

"And what have you got from it?"

"We should take the good out of life and make ourselves better. Life is beautiful."

I tap her gently on the nose. "You my girl are a romantic. My poems are leaving a bad impression you."

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