In the apartment next to the strange not-old lady live a couple who keep themselves very private. He works sometimes with Mikhaili's son on the buildings. She is rarely seen but they have cats. Lots of them. And lately they have acquired a puppy. A nice looking little dog but not very bright. There is going to be trouble over that dog. The just don't know how to behave with a dog in a village. There are sheep everywhere and the dog runs around sometimes untended. He means no harm but ...
In the rented apartment that lets directly onto the road Iris lights another Camel, Stanley has gone off to work on the buildings this morning and once more she is alone. The TV is on. CNN is on the TV. Afghanistan or Iraq or somesuch. It's just her and the dog again. It's a lovely day and she'd like to go to the beach but she doesn't like to go out without Stanley. Someone might speak to her - in Greek. No. it'll be another day of washing and ironing. What to cook for tonight? It wasn't supposed to be like this but they ran through their savings so quickly and now Stanley has to work otherwise they'd have to pack everything up again and go back to Manchester. "We've moved 5 times in the last few years". It wasn't supposed to be like this. She slumps at the breakfast bar and sighs. The little dog looks up at her imploringly. That's her third cigarette and still there is no sign of her taking me out for a wee. She knows that there's an opened bottled of gin in the fridge. It beckons but she resists. "Mustn't drink before 6 in the evening". It's a rule they've made for themselves. That's where all the money went last time. That and going out. "We don't go out much, nowadays". She catches herself talking to herself out loud and administers a silent reprimand.
Iris rouses herself and gives the dog a nod. "Just let me get myself dressed". A parody of a smile about her mouth. The little dog runs over to the door and begins to scratch desperately at the jamb. "Bobby, you stop that now. In a minute. I said: We'll go out in a minute" she says in the world weary voice that the little dog knows so well. In all the time he's been living with them, ever since he left his mum at that nice taverna down by the seaside he has never heard her change her tone, Nor him. It's always the same bored, flat, wide-vowelled monotones. The little dog sometimes thinks he will burst his bladder waiting.
At last! She is behind him now, and she has the lead in her hand. Thank God for that! She bends down and a wave of vertigo engulfs her. Her head swims, her temples thud and gall rises in her throat. "Wait there Bobby - I'll be back in a minute". And so Bobby waits, Listening to the sound of dry retching from behind the bathroom door that swings in the north wind. "Humans certainly choose their times to bark". He fixes his gaze on the swinging door, trying hard to take his mind off of his full bladder. Full to bursting. She comes out, at last, and she is wiping her spittle away with some kitchen towel which she scrunches in her fist as they finally leave the house. Her lips are white and her eyes are red. The little dog makes it as far as the first post on the pergola before lifting his leg and letting go of a stream that he felt sure was going to drown him. And then they lurch right.