"This morning I had a funny experience" the Captain began his tale.
"I was driving in town when I suddenly saw a girl on a scooter. I thought I recognized her, and tried to remember her. Yes, I had once introduced her to a friend of mine. What a coincidence, to meet this one person in a city of 4 million, I thought."
"I was on the way to an appointment I had at 11:00 with a Police General to talk about a security problem.
We had met a few days earlier, and had agreed to meet again next Monday. But I had received an urgent message to come to-day instead.
When I got into his office, I shook hands with him and then he introduced me to a woman in uniform who had been sitting on a sofa in the corner of the office.
"She said: 'Happy to meet again, Caballero!' and I had been rather surprised.
I did not recognize her, so she pointed to the insignia on her uniform which showed that she was from Colombia, with the rank of Colonel.
I still did not know, so she took off her cap and let loose her hair, and only then did I suddenly know who she was.
'I am Maria Forteza de Pilar', she said.
I had met her a few years ago in Colombia at some party, and shortly afterwards again on a plane from Bogota to Cartagena. We had had dinner together and she had told me she worked for the Government."
"So this was not a coincidence?" I asked her, and she admitted that she had followed me to see if I might be involved in drugs, and this morning she had seen my name in the General's appointment book and asked him to change the meeting time.
Talking about coincidences, two in one day!" ended the Captain.
The Professor acknowledged this, and, "talking about ladies,' told about a long-haired lady he had met on a bus in Albania a few years ago. She was traveling with he husband and daughter and had gotten off the bus near the Citadel of Shkodra telling him that the hotel near the bus terminal was a good place to stay. The next morning, after breakfast, he had been surprised to see them sitting in the lobby.
They had invited him to take a trip in a borrowed taxi to the other side of Lake Shkodra, to her brother and family, who had caught a special indigenous fish ('crap') to cook for dinner.
"We had a wonderful time" the Professor said, "Also talked about religion.
"How they were Muslims but also recognized Jesus as the Prophet Isa."
"Most of this talk had to be translated for me by that beautiful lady, who spoke French - which she had picked up when the whole family lived in Belgium for several years. All that time, she had done all their talking in French, and now she had picked me to practice."
The Captain giggled and the Professor was quick to tell him that nothing happened and "that the only one I got to kiss was her hairy husband when he dropped me off at the hotel that night."
"Something did happen, though, because all the time I heard children in the back of the house. When I asked why they were not here, the sister had said that she kept them in another room out of respect for me. I quoted their Prophet Isa saying" 'Let the children come to me and do not impede them' or something along that line. They thought this was wonderful and let in the children who immediately wanted me to take their photograph - I still have it an put it on the Internet," he said.
The Professor went on with the game and asked:
This was met with some ribald comments till the Professor promised to pay ten dollars to whoever at this table would be able to name the seven cities that boast to be the birth place of Homer.
Captain Amon came up with three or four names, while the Professor mumbled some Greek lines he had memorized:
"Hepta poleis .........: Smyrna, Rhodos, Colophon, Salamis, Chios, Argos, Athena"
At that moment, Captain Anon's irritating little cell phone rang.
As was his custom, he walked away and returned a few minutes later.
He showed the Professor the name of the caller: . . . Helena !
The Captain told them how nicely that illustrated his point about serendipity and coincidences.
In fact, he had not talked to Helena for three years, and at this time, it was 04:00 in the morning in Slovenia.. .
"So what did she say?" asked the Journalist.
"Nothing much, she was crying most of the time, that she missed me."