CULTURE

MEGAPHONE

Here it's the third week of the garbage strike and Athens has begun to smell. Bright-colored trash bags fill the curbs and alleyways, and we have learned to step over the rubbish and avoid the blocks that have become unnavigable. We know which stretches are particularly foul – a stretch along Mavili Square, or the entire top end of Monastiraki. Odos Athinas is a sea of trash, and Omonia is ghastly but we don't go there anyway. May has gone from unseasonably cool to raging hot, and the garbage is melting. In front of the museum it's like yet another installation project.

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DREAMS, An excerpt

People still believe in the Devil and hope to see him in the whites of the convulsing epileptic's eyes. This time, though, something is not right. I don't know what, I just feel it. I get up. A plump man wearing glasses and a plaid jacket is helping me.

"Thanks," I say, "I'll be fine… It's just a regular seizure."

"No comprende," the man smiles.

A punk kid stands up and silently points at the plastic seat. His baby face is unusually kind.

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TEMPTED BY NATURE

I am one of the last ones. Everything has been wiped out. Only ignorance and oblivion remain. And green, so much green. Now that I've seen I know: the eyes of the Devil are green. I am one of the last lettered ones. And I don't have much time. I am a pagan because I worship the Lord. But a new era has come from the west. Whence the night comes. And where Evil feels at home. The conquerers came by sea. With black boats and smoking herbs. More fearsome than Muslims. Now in the churches, they dry herbs, grow mushrooms and breed bees.

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SONIA'S GANG OF BOMBERS, An excerpt

I came downstairs in Ewan the Fatty's penthouse. No sound there. The Fatty had tiptoed out to his workshop. My ears were still ringing from my conversation with Graziella. It was as if I had been scalded by salt water, my teeth were numb and I felt hungover even though I hadn't had too much to drink. I wanted to make myself a cup of coffee and take advantage of my mate's crammed fridge, but that meant I would be late for work.

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COMICS FOR EQUALITY

A group of Danish hipsters are struggling to figure out why their Finnish friend has left them so abruptly ‒ is she plain rude, was she offended by something they said, or is this just the Finnish way of saying goodbye. An African immigrant saves a Greek girl from a burning house but is chucked out by the prejudiced mother because of the colour of his skin. A group of scientists are quarrelling violently over their opinions.

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BAG BOY

My husband loves old-fashioned meatloaf: two parts beef to one part pork, three eggs, a cup of breadcrumbs, a dash of half and half, and a blanket of bacon and ketchup on top.

Back home – in Pennsylvania – the recipe is called Mom's Love.

Here – in south Florida – it's so blasting hot I could fry bacon on our swimming-pool deck. Yet I still decide to make Mom's Love, because I miss home and the way its name sounds like a train that'll never stop: Lackawanna, Lackawanna, Lackawanna.

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OLD CARS, NEW CARS

He is an amateur photographer, passionate about taking pictures with his FED-4 (Russian rangefinder camera, produced from 1964 till 1977). This camera has a sentimental value to me and I still use it from time to time. Of course I will not comment on his photographic skills, probably I cannot be objective enough to do that, since to me all of his photos are nearly perfect.

old cars, new cars

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ALICIA THE FAT WITCH

Right across the street lived Alicia, the fat old witch. When she had nothing else to do, she would fornicate with the Devil. Loaded with bags and old-fashioned suitcases, she had come all the way from Kazakhstan. Her real name was Alyona Kashcheevna. She knew all sorts of magic and spells, so in no time she managed to ensnare an old widower, Mr Stavros, who used to be a butcher. As soon as darkness fell and the honorable citizens settled in front of their TV sets, Mr Stavros would start clearing his throat suggestively towards Alyona: "Come on, come on!"

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