They come every day to the club, which is nothing but an empty shop with laminex tables and split vinyl chairs, travel posters on the walls and a coffee machine in the corner. Out the back there’s a fridge, a sink, a microwave and the cupboard where they keep the cards. They sit for hours dealing winning hands and loosing hands and sage advice, because here they are kings. They could be under olive trees in dappled light and it would be no better.
In the afternoon the ouzo comes out. Christos, who owns the place, pours. And then, because he’s a storyteller, he tells the story of the judgement of Paris. And they laugh and say they’d choose the same. Paris got it right. The love goddess wins every time.
Then Christos says, ‘That Hera, Queen of the gods, she’d be too much a…’ and he gestures. Ball-breaker. ‘And who’d choose brains when you could have…’ he rubs his trousers like a pop star. They are young bucks again. They laugh, slap each other, down their drinks and call for more. And they are kings in their smoke-stained castle. And they know everything about love.