Andrew McCallum Crawford on more of the weird and wonderful…

The Weird and Wonderful World of TEFL  #16 – #20


It's late. The place is heaving. The barman has a pony tail growing out the front of his head. We're with a Canadian tourist. 'So what do you like about Greece?' he says. 'Easy,' says Mark. 'I can walk into any bar in this town and I know I won't get hassle.' I go to the jacks. When I come back, the barman is standing on the counter, pummelling some unfortunate punter with a length of wood. When he's done, he props the wood in the corner and slicks back his pony tail. Mark gets another round in. The Canadian can't take his eyes off the body twitching on the floor.

# 17

Danny's the man. He reminds me of my dad, which is strange, because Danny plays the guitar and looks like David Bowie. 'I've actually met him,' he tells me. 'When I was at Uni. He wasn't very famous then. I had to ask him how to pronounce his name. 'Bowie', as in 'Bowie knife'.' I'm impressed. 'That's nothing, though,' he smiles through his big squint teeth. 'You should hear Bowie's story about meeting me.'

# 18

Saturday afternoon, and the sun is beating down. We're at a table on the pavement. The phone goes. It's Danny's wife. 'Yeah, it'll be a while yet,' he tells her. 'We're still on the first one.' He sits down. 'Must be a bummer when you have to lie to her like that,' I say, as Danny prises the top off another bottle. 'Not at all,' he says, and counts the empties at his feet. 'It's still the first crate, int it?'

# 19

Danny works at the British Council. He's laughing. 'Get this,' he says. 'The Director reckons there's too much drinking going on. He put a note on the fridge in the staffroom. 'No more beer in here!'.' Fair enough, I think. Teachers. Alcoholics all. The Director's a bit of a dick, though; he reckons he can play the cello. 'Did it work?' I ask. 'Oh, yes,' Danny smiles. 'When I opened it this morning it was full of wine.'

# 20

'Right,' says Ray. 'Tonight's the night.' It's Ray's 21st. He wants to pop his cherry. Danny reckons he knows the score. We fall into a taxi. The place is down the fish market. We climb the stairs. There's music behind the door. Mozart. I'm shitting myself, even though it's not my party. Danny pushes the wood and we fall inside like the three stooges. A fat, naked old woman is sitting in a wicker chair, red under the light. She shakes her head. I don't know how Danny feels, but I'm relieved. Ray stomps down the stairs. Still a virgin.

* Andrew McCallum Crawford is a Scottish writer who lives in Greece. His work has appeared in Lines Review and the Athens News. His first novel, Drive!, a comic tale of 1980s Edinburgh, rock music and attempted murder, is available from Skepdek Publishing.

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