Professor Hubnoth had called an emergency meeting that Moshe Cohen – an avid reader of English Romantic poetry - would later refer to as The Immortal Dinner, as it reminded him of that illustrious meeting on 28th December 1817 in Lisson Grove at the house of the famous painter Haydon who had invited his poet friends Wordsworth, Keats and Lamb for dinner. None of the present day guests could claim any literary fame, but there was male bonding induced by lots of alcohol, just like two hundred years ago, and likewise there was an unexpected guest towards the end of the evening.
An angelic butler, ordered by the professor from a questionable website, served drinks and food, wearing nothing but a bow tie and an apron. The professor himself was wearing a beautiful ivory colored evening gown and some serious jewelery around his neck, on his fingers and in his ears. You could say he was slightly overdressed as the rest of us – apart from the monk and the butler - were all in jeans and shirts.
“Good of you to come at such short notice,” the professor started. “From the reports that have reached me I understand the village is about to be split in two: our half on this side of the roundabout and their half on the other side. This is not what I had in mind. Furthermore I hear that almost all of the new inhabitants will be Jews. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Jews. Live and let live, that's my motto, but it seems some of them have different thoughts on how this village should be run. It looks like it is going to be us against them.” Professor Hubnoth paused and looked around the table to make sure his words had sunk in.
“Us against them... you make it sound like there is a war on. A bit premature, don't you think?”, Erik said.
“Maybe, but we'd better be prepared. We're the minority here. Therefor I have bought all the land between La Casa Embrujada and the village. Together with a developer Marcelo and I have found we are going to build houses and cottages. The land around that mansion on the hill will be turned into a golf course and the house itself will become a hotel.
“That'll take years,” Erik said. “What will we do in the meantime?”
“One year is all it's going to take. All the plans have been approved, we start next week. But you're right, we need reinforcements. Perhaps you would care to explain why do we not have guests in our properties, Erik?”
Erik gasped for breath. “What!? I'll tell you why. One: we have no website, no advertising, an incredibly stupid and offensive name – Polla Dura – really! Two: You want nudists to come, you wear woman's cloths, Moshe Cohen wears a Dominican habit. We have a an almost naked butler serving food and drinks, a kosher butcher selling pork, an angry Jewish restaurant owner who calls everything an abomination. It's a bloody nut farm, a mad house! Who would want to spend the night in a place like this?”
Professor Hubnoth was slightly taken aback at this outburst, but recovered quickly.
“You forgot to mention the man who dances with ghosts, Erik,” the professor said with a soft voice dripping with sarcasm.
“That's private,” Erik protested.
“Private and for all to see. Everyday, around sunset. What will people say?”
Moshe Cohen had not taken part in the discussion so far. Now he raised a finger and said out of the blue: “I get more content with my lot which God knows is rapturous beyond imagination.”
“Can't we invite some friends to come and stay with us,” I suggested. “That way we can increase the population and stand a chance at the elections.”
“Good plan, Yohst, make it happen,” said the professor as he sat down.
“We'll set our lives upon chance and bear the hazard of the die,” Moshe Cohen proclaimed in a sonorous voice, probably quoting some Romantic poet.
At that moment there was a loud knock on the door. “Can I come in?” somebody yelled. It turned out to be Elia ben Oso-Pardo. “Let's talk,” he said and sat down.