There were eight of them on the terrace, sweating in their emerald tailcoats. Dinner plates had been discarded, congealing taramasalata stabbed with fag butts, torn pita breads swollen pink with spilt claret. The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’ blasted from the CD player, drowning out the evening sounds of the Corfu peninsula – the chant of cicadas, the distant ebb and flow of the Mediterranean, steady as a heartbeat. Above, the Milky Way glowed eerily, but none of the group was looking up. They were staring instead at the three-inch gecko lying motionless beneath the outside lights.
‘Slops,’ hissed the group, ‘slops, slops…’
As the song reached its final verse, the young man knew he was running out of time. He crept towards the wall, black shoe in one hand, seeing moths fluttering around the light fitting. Then he let fly. His aim was true, a fast bowler’s length and line – the reason, his brother would always insist, that he was allowed to run with this crowd at all. A slap detonated above the music as the shoe hit the wall, then fell to the ground.
‘Did he get it?’ someone called.