"Greece!" she shouted. They were on the foredeck heading into the wind. He could tell she was about to lift off.
"How about not freaking the other passengers," he said.
"Greece!" she replied.
"It's got groove, it's got meaning," he agreed. "But we're going to Italy."
"Well," she said, not liking to be wrong about anything. "They've got greasers there, too. Don't they?"
"Don't get cute," he said.
"Whoops," she said. "Too late."
"George W. Bush," he said, "enemy of the state."
"You live in the future too much," she said. "Calvin Coolidge is president now."
"I'm getting bad vibes," he said, "just thinking about 1929."
"So don't! Such a schmuck you can be," she said, shaking her head. "It's the Roaring Twenties already. Enjoy!"
"You need a cheap cigar, you gonna talk like that."
"What can I say?" she said. "My people were Polish Jews. I grew up in Brooklyn."
"And I'm the Queen of France," he said.
"I thought I noticed a little more... flamboyance lately," she said. Then stopped, reflected. "Alright, so we're going to Italy. OK. But Greece is the way we are feeling."
"Classical," he said.
"Timeless," she enthused.
"In that case," he said, "why are you giving me tsurris about Calvin Coolidge?"
"I'm going to fly," she said. "I can't help myself." And she took off. Only a couple passengers were still out on the deck. One was an old sea-dog looking fellow. He stoppered his flask of rum and hurried below. The other was a boy of about ten. His life would be changed forever. She was graceful in flight, he'd give her that. Actually, he'd give her just about anything, but he seldom let it show.
"I can see my house from up here," she called.
"Really?" he shouted back. "Where do you live?"
"In that house over there in Greece," she said, pointing. "In Lower Macedonia, I think."
"I went to a Lower Macedonia Baptist Church once," he shouted back. "It was at 5267 Teals Mill Road," he called, "in Chesterfield, South Carolina." But it was getting gusty, and he doubted she'd heard him.
"I wish you could fly too," she said, swooping over him. Dive-bombing him, really, he thought. He'd had to duck.
Women, he thought. Never satisfied.
"It's so perfectly lovely up there!" she said breathlessly, coming in for a landing a few minutes later. "Let's go get loaded."
They went down to their stateroom and broke out the grog. A Bollinger Blanc de Noirs Vieilles Vignes Francaises 1997. Not bad, he thought, even if a tad anachronistic. She rolled out a map on the table in the center of the room and started drawing in a route with a purple magic marker.
"Oh look!" she said, "It's only 250 klicks. We could drive that!"
"Well," he said," we could if that wasn't a Google map and those roads hadn't not been built yet."
"Shit," she said. "But I suppose the train would be more romantic."
"I can see that Point A is Genoa," he said. "But what's at Point B?"
"Locarno," she said. "Here, let me show you." She unfurled another map, this one showing more detail.
"Now you can see that Point A has become Locarno," she said. "It's a relative thing, you understand. Point A can be in different places. Sort of like algebra or quantum mechanics. One of those things."
"Aha!" he said. "And now I can see Ascona, too, just to the South and West of it."
"It's been a lifelong dream," she said. "I'll tell you all about it in the next chapter."
"Great," he said. "I'm looking forward to that, because as of now I have no fucking clue why we're going there." He looked at the maps again. "Or where we are now, for that matter."
"I tried to show you, but it said 'We could not calculate driving directions between Alexandria, Egypt and Genoa, Genoa (Liguria), Italy.' So no dice on Google Maps, I guess."
"Probably for the same reason that we're having to take a boat," he said.
"You could have something there," she said. "But here, I can show you this way." She unrolled yet a third map, this one much bigger, and took up a red magic marker this time.
"See where it says 'Al-Iskandariyya' down here in Egypt?"
"Actually," he said, "it looks like it says 'Al Iskandariyah'."
"Well, my spelling came from Wikipedia," she said. "And anyway, Al-Iskandariyya, Al Iskandariyah, what's the fucking difference? It's Alexandria to white people."
"I'm not white," he said. "Surely you must have noticed."
"Don't give me that," she said. "You know what I mean. People who just happen to be black aren't necessarily Black People. You feel me? Look at Condi! Look at Clarence Thomas!"
"So what? Now I'm a neocon Oreo?"
"Relax, Sugar," she said, pushing him down into the chair and kissing him in a most multiculturally sensitive way. "I just meant you wouldn't be calling it Al anything. But perhaps we'd better not take this any further, lest the wrath of Allah, the gracious, the merciful, should befall us."
"Good thinking," he said. "Good catch. I think it's just possible some of the Valued Readers are from that region, and we're in deep enough shit as it is with the Joan Rivers thing."
"Joan Walsh," she corrected.
"Who the fuck ever," he said.
"Don't get upset now," she said. "We're just passing by Greece. Look, you can see it out the porthole."
"Greece is the word," he said.
"Word!" she said. "The fuckin Logos! It's a very spiritual place."
"My ass," he said, sullenly. And how else would you say "my ass," he wondered.
She filled his glass. "Here, drink some more of this bubbly," she said, "and meditate in my direction."
"That's what she said," he said.
"That's what I said," she said. "What is wrong with you?"
"I guess I better shape up," he said, "if I'm gonna prove that my fate is justified."
"Don't worry," she said. "You're the one that I want."