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Rambulations of Andreas the Bum- Wynn Parks' new "Yria" tales

Here's a twenty-four page sample of my latest in the adventures of Andy Alytis as "xenopariotis". Contact <archilochuspress@yahoo.com> for the details!

Cheers,

Wynn

8 Dec.2017

Sorry it took so long, guys. There were technical hang-ups... "Rambulations" can be down loaded as an e-book, on Smashwords.com. I can provide a gift coupon for anyone who will leave a review of the e-book. There's also a limited edition paper book from <archilochuspress@yahoo.com> or Archilochus Press, 156 Rolling Dunes Dr., Santa Rosa Beach, FL. 32459 U.S.A.

So, here's a sample:

Rambulations of Andreas the Bum by Wynn Parks
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Cover Art: Brett Taylor, “Fred Reefing” Design: Wynn Parks
This is a work of fiction. All characters and events in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to real people, or events is purely coincidental
Copyright c 2015 by Wynn Parks 1st Softbound Edition 2017 by Archilochus Press
The right of Wynn Parks to be identified at the Author of the Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise circulated in any form of binding, or cover other than that in which it is published, and without a similar condition being imposed on any subsequent purchaser.
ISBN: 978-0-09796474-2-0 LCCN- 2016962146 Archilochus Press, Rolling Dunes Dr. Santa Rosa Beach, FL. 32459 archilochuspress@yahoo.com Printed and bound by
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~Acknowledgements~
To Madeleine of Alsancak, perhaps this journal will
find her.
In memory of Tasos B. and Andreas F. two wild men of
Paros, who lived fast, and to whom these stories would
seem old hat.
Thanks to:
My friends Ron Larson, Monique Schneider (aka
Frances Oliver), and Gail McAdoo for their yeoman’s
work in editing “Rambulations”; more to my wife,
Jacqueline for her support and patience.
And to Frederick A. Remington III, Aegean compadre,
for the image of “Fred Reefing”.
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Contents
Sea ~
“Yahsou, Madeleine! I’m starting this journal to you
after all these years, though I don’t know if you’ll ever
see it…”
Coffin Wood.……………………………….. pg.16
The Great Barf-o-Rama, the Ouija, and how I burn my
landlord’s house down.
Barba Yiannis~Uncle Blood Sucker………. pg.52
My Greek girlfriend reveals her uncle is a vrykolakos,
and how I deal with it.
Mountain ~
Brenner’s Bones……………………………pg.96
Near the top of about a zillion e-mails is one from Brenner: ‘Need help with


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dragon’s bones!’ My reply? ‘Don’t give a shit!’- signed ‘Ramblin’ Boy’ The weird side-tracks that being broke can get you into.
Other side ~
Sunshine’s Big Experiment……………….pg.261
I run into an intriguing chick living in a deserted, mountain monastery. I don’t care that she’s messing with two other guys, until she wants me to accompany her to Elat.

Swimming Home from a Bad Trip………pg.323 Theo and I pilot Russian smugglers, and a refugee chick, in a stolen yacht for a little misdemeanor grave robbing. Things don’t go well.

“My God, Madeleine, is it the ship or the compass that turns?”
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The Sea Where do you come from? From Babylonia. Where are you bound? The cyclone’s eye. Whom do you love? A gypsy kore. Fata Morgana, they call her by. ~Kavvadias~


Yahsou Madeleine! I'm starting this journal to you after all these years, though I don't know exactly why. I don’t know if you'll ever even see it. I remember a neighborhood where you lived called Alsancak, but I don't remember your last name, or know where you are now, or even if you’re still alive. In a way, not knowing is good; and I can write to you as if I never expect you to read it. You might, or might not, be surprised to find me here on Naxos, only a hop, skip and a -- well, you know -- across the Aegean from Izmir. Or you might already have foreseen it, that time you read my coffee grounds.
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Just to let you know, until now, I haven't been back to the Aegean since my family left for America all that time ago. As you can see, I've ended up in the Greek islands this time, but there's not much difference anyway between here and the Turkish coast, where we first met. At the moment, I'm staying in a room on top of the town hall; above the police station, waiting for permission to shake the dust off my shoes. The room came unfurnished, except for a cot. Since then, I've scrounged a cable spool from behind the building for a table; but, what the hell, the room is rent free and technically, it's a penthouse! I mention the cop-shop because I was down there schmoosing, a week or so ago, and found this beaten-up, pocket edition of the Odyssey. It's been donkey's years since I've read it; longer still, since we read it together for my studies. It was like discovering the story all over again, for the first time. The neat stuff, the adventures and weird happenings that captured me then, were still down in my gut. I could remember hoping, at ten, that I would handle Odysseus' trials that cleverly, if ever I was him. Already, my own story is about being blown from one strange place to another. What I mean to say is that there is no way I can read that book without wondering
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about you; and at this point I have plenty of time to both read and wonder. Okay, clarification: I actually reside on the island of Yria, rather than here on Naxos. How I came to be living over the police station is a kind of odyssey itself. I mean, at this point, I'm thinking of The Man's herkijerky voyage home from Troy to Ithaca, with karma hounding him all the way; somebody at every place he stops trying to keep him from ever leaving. With me lately, it’s just the opposite … See Yria has no hospital -- or full-time jail -- the police there claim they've sent me here to Naxos to keep me out of trouble's way; at least until my landlord Grigori cools down, and the magistrate has time to investigate the case. They say -- all concerned and benevolent, that it would be better for me to be near a hospital, supposedly because of my broken arm. At first, I try to tell them the arm is doing fine; but I know it’s not really about the arm at all. It’s about exile! Me, an exile! Kind of cool, eh? So, the magistrate on Yria confiscates my passport to make sure I come back for court, and gives me a ferry ticket to Naxos, like that.
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Anyway, Naxos is where I've been now for the past month. I suppose I could have just stayed on the ferry from Yria; skipped to Turkey to begin with. But, whatever…! Then I couldn't come back; and, same as Odysseus, I want to be on one particular island.

Most of my money was in the rafters of the house when it burned, and without my papers, I can't chance working illegally until the problem with Grigori is settled. So far, I'm stretching what I had in my pockets the night of the fire; hanging out at the local cafenion, mostly to read; and write lots of petitions and letters. I've schlepped around the port town till I know it like my own butt cheeks. Sorry, Madeleine, as a big boy, I've gone a little bad-boy; a side of me you never met. What I'm trying to say is that everything's got its surreal side in the islands. In town, once you've been going down every alley and dead-end awhile, in gray, late winter, you start turning corners and running into yourself. Like Yiorgo, this sarcastic Greek guy from Turkey: he hits it dead on: “We don’t know we’re all sailors out of work, you know? We don’t know how bitter the port is when all the ships have gone; and we mock the ones who do know!”
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Anyway, a couple of times I've bummed rides to the other side of the island. Having a cast on my arm turns out to have its advantages. Everybody picks me up to find out what happened, and offer tips on local herbal remedies. By the end of a whole month on Naxos, I'm thinking if I have to be exiled from Yria, why can't I go to Athens? The magistrate has already used the hospital ploy to boot me off Yria. So, after another boring night watching the fishing boats leave harbor without me, I decide to make a Trojan horse out of my cast. The plan is to use the court’s own malarkey against it, turn the tables, and get to Athens. The next morning, I go downstairs into the police office, grimacing casually as I enter, and mention to the cops on the second floor that something isn't totally right inside my cast... Not wanting to over-play my hand I leave off there. But I digress! I was going to tell you how all this got started. Madeleine, I have to say, right up front, that in my own little odyssey, I've seen some pretty curious things. I wouldn’t say just like the Cyclops, but it might make you laugh to hear that I've seen one or two guys so
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drunk they turned into pigs. Also, that I've put up with a few wind-bags that blew me off course as well…, but about truly weird things, I’ll give them to you straight: like the kind of funny stuff which I run into one night, when a bunch of us come up with the brilliant idea of doing the Ouija board. What made it “brilliant” was where we decided to do it. So about the Coffin-wood table ….

It’s earlier, in the summer, in the hottest part of
an afternoon. The sun is pounding down on everything; and most of the villagers are doing a Greek version of "siesta." Coming back from spear fishing, I spot a jumble of wooden boards that looks like it’s been thrown over the wall of the village cemetery--which they call a necro-something or other. Lately, I've had the urge to throw a party; but, on my own, I’m eating off three nailed-together fish crates from work. If you want to throw a classy party, you, at least, need a big table for food and wine. So, hot as it is that afternoon, I detour, across the thirty or forty meters to the back wall of the necro…"odeon?"
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I don't know much about local burial customs at the time, but find out later that most people get buried for a while in the little postage stamp of consecrated ground outside the village. They stay there for about two years; or until there's nothing but bones left. Apparently, at that point, you can assume a person is dead; leaving only their superstructure, which finally gets brought home to the family chapel. To speed things up, the carpenter makes the bottoms of the coffins out of three-eighth inch fiberboard, which is supported by three or four bed-slats to avoid the body falling through in the middle of a funeral. The sides and top of the box look like a western movies coffin: rectangular, out of rough-cut, pine planks; all covered in thin, black cloth. And, as I learn that day, once the coffins are dug up, they get heaved over the back wall where someone burns them whenever they have time.

Madeleine, somehow I have a memory of you showing me a picture of Ithaca, which has plenty of trees. It's not the same on Yria. Most of the wood around these islands gets shipped in from the mainland. If a person passes up a piece of scrap-wood as he walks into
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town in the morning, he will never find it there going home at noon. Someone told me that Yria's trees were stripped by the Romans. I remember you, being Greek, weren't that impressed with the Romans. But the point is that wood is expensive on the island. So, there I stand, meditating on the windfall of a smashed, collapsed coffin or two; just dry wood; no mystery, stains, or anything to creep you out. The nails turn out to be loose in the sun-parched wood, so I figure pulling the planks apart will be easy. I’ve stacked two of the loosest boards with no work at all when the rattle of a small motor, back on the road, gets my attention. One of the local farmers--his threewheeler loaded with bulging grain bags -- slows down and is staring in my direction. I wave. His reaction is to cross himself and give his motor the gas. "Kali merah (good day)!" I shout after him, feeling like I've farted in church and wondering, under the circumstances, what I should do. Madeline, I could have left the planks where they lay, but when I thought of what I could build with them, I decide, that the "Green" thing to do would be to come back that night, when it will be cooler.
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In the dark, it takes about an hour to pull the rest of the boards apart; and haul them home. From all this, I recover four, brown and brittle looking planks; wider than the usual person’s profile, and about six feet long. Like I said, I’m not picking up stuff indiscriminately -- one of the smaller pieces from the heap has this faint, funny smell. You can hardly pick up on it, but -- just to let you know I’m no rag and bone man-- I leave it anyway. The next morning, at home, I get up and pull out the nails and tacks with a pair of pliers. The shreds of black covering I stuff in a plastic bag to take back to the burning ground. By the time the air starts to cool, later that day, I've straightened the nails; sawed, drilled and screwed the “repurposed” wood, into, a splintery, un-planed, wooden, table-du-partee. After three coats of paint, there’s nothing of coffin wood about it. Once the paint is dry, I have to unscrew the top from the bottom to get the table through the door. Inside, I put them back together, and park my creation next to the east window. It's an instant upgrade of the décor, and I realize that, notwithstanding the reaction of the farmer on the three-wheeler, I’m the
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resourceful one. So, I propose a couple of toasts to myself there in the front room; and by the time I leave for the cafenion that evening, I’m feeling pretty damn justified. When I get back about midnight, I light the kerosene lamp and sit it on the table. I'm starting to strip for bed, and have just stepped back to lay my clothes across one of the chairs, when the lamp whooshes out a billow of blue flame as wide as the table is long. I’m close enough to hear the faint sizzle of my arm hairs singeing. "Damn!" Suddenly, I'm stone-cold sober, wondering how the heck that happened. I dig out my little pocket flashlight and discover the lamp reservoir is totally empty. Somehow, the half inch or so of kerosene left in the lamp has been sucked up in one big ball of flame! Luckily, it doesn't scorch the new paint!

Late the next morning, my captain stops his pickup on the road below the house and uses his bullhorn to let me, and every farm on the mountainside, know the crew is supposed to meet on board the Sotiria
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around four. We will be going out fishing for a few days and still need to load up.

Five days later, I'm back at the house as usual; salt encrusted and sleep deprived, with no prospects of collecting my pay until the next day. All I want is a glass of strong mavro to wash the Aegean sea salt through my innards; plus a bucket or two of well water for the outside of me. What I don't need is the yellow stain beginning to form on the freshly painted table top; and to realize it's going to take at least one more coat! The morning after I get back, a weird thing happens. I wake up knowing it's time to throw that party, and after coffee, I start putting things out of the way in the front room. When, I get to the table, I start to move the book I've been reading before I left, and the thing falls apart in my hands! It had seemed in okay condition when I borrowed it. Anyway, there’s nothing I can do, so I sweep the disintegrating pages into a plastic bag to take back to its owner. A that point I’m more interested in laying newspapers out under the table and slapping on more paint to cover the yellow stain!

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Come afternoon, I walk down to the waterfront, to spread the word and get supplies: bread and batteries for music. Three or four liters of wine is usually enough to fill a first cup for everybody; knowing that in two days’ time, wine will flow, bread will break; dancers will dance and pot will luck. That’s the plan, and it all starts out that way too. A mix of foreign residents and Greeks start to show up, with bowls of food and additional wine, around six. Three tourists adorned in accessories from the Athens flea market show up too. They say they've been invited by somebody at the port, named Reinhardt --whoever that is. By seven, the music is up full-blast; and the joint is jumping. I tell myself: "This is gonna be a party to remember!" and I don't even know what I'm saying …! An hour later, Theo complains to me that the wine has gone to vinegar. "Wha'd'ya mean, vinegar?” I protest, “I just got that wine!" Theo hands me his cup. "Well," I say after a sip, "I wouldn't call it vinegar, per se. What do you want, sherry…? Okay, okay then, we go to the bottled stuff!"
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"This is the bottled stuff." He tells me. About that time, there is a run on the outhouse that uses up the last "lou" roll I have; and outside, one or two people are folded, groaning, and barfing, over the stone walls. "It's not the food," I remember saying, "I've eaten a ton of everything, and I'm fine…” Pretty quick, I’m telling an exodus of pale faces: "Sure, if you're gonna make a run for the home toilet, leave your bowls and stuff; pick them up later." After the last one disappears down the path, I stuff my pocket with a few paper hand-towels I’ve managed to save, and disappear into the hillside gorse with a shovel. When I get back, I'm feeling as empty as the house. I switch off the music which helps, but it's as much as I can do to cover the food on the table, before I lie down hoping my stomach will give me a break.

The next day, I wake up thirsty. The water bucket is empty so I shuffle outside to the well. Tomas, the cat of the house, scoots between my legs heading for his bowl in the front room. I look around and see him make it to the inside doorway, and with no warning
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shoot straight up, twisting in mid-air. He disappears back through the outside door before I can move. Tomas' reaction doesn't make sense, until after coffee, when I go to clear last night's food from the table. Once I take a look under the covers of two dishes, I carry all the rest -- everything on the table -- outside. Not just outside, but away from the house to a dry gully. There I empty a stinking ghoul's feast of food, not just spoiled, but so decayed, that unless you could remember what was in the dishes to begin with, you couldn't guess -- salads, yogurt dips, beans, and worst of all, even my bread. One or two dishes have already hatched maggots! Throwing a bash where everybody goes home sick is one of those bummers that nobody expects. It can make you notorious -- not that “notorious” is all on the downside -- but, there's no upside at all to throwing a wing-ding where somebody dies! Apparently, the bad food had set off a heart attack on one of the tourists. They air lift this poor guy to Athens, but he dies the next morning. So, after busting my butt on preparations, my resourcefulness becomes, in ex-pat patois, Andy's Staphday Barf-o-Rama.

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