My wife had a client named Enrop [Blank] who recently died at ninety something years . Out of respect she always did his taxes for nothing. One of the grandchildren Hugo is a truck driver who came early for his own appointment, I offered him a cup of coffee (he’s a big deer hunter) and the two of us yakked for a while. I happened to say something about Italian cooking and he took mild umbrage – he wasn’t Italian he said, well his wife was, but he was Greek. His grandfather Enrop had fought in the Resistance during WW II and come to the U.S. after. He also said the old man had a lot of stories.
One of the them was about the bizarre death of the President (Prime Minister?) of Greece when the Germans invaded. “Oh Metaxas” I said, ‘that’s it, that’s it, that’s the name” Hugo nodded. Then “how come you know that name?” he asked suspiciously.
I said his heart attack was a famous incident in the early war.
“Oh. Well it wasn’t no fucking heart attack I can tell you that.”
A few minutes went by and I asked, “Well you going to tell me the story the old man told you about the death of Metaxas or not?”
And here’s the story he told:
Metaxas had already beaten the Fascist Italians, who he had no respect for and detested, and driven them back over the border when the German Ambassador showed up at his door in the middle of the night accompanied by the former Italian Fascist Ambassador to Greece.
Enrop was a young Army officer then and part of the guard assigned to protect Metaxas , and may have actually answered the knock. Anyway Metaxas comes out in his bathrobe and the German handed him a note demanding the surrender of the border fortifications otherwise the entire German army will invade at dawn. Metaxas is digesting this when the former Italian Ambassador leans around the German and pokes Metaxas. “See, see you pigshit now you’re going to have to give up.”
Quick as a flash Metaxas grabs the Italian’s ear “you Fascist dog” and just about tearing it off jerks him out from behind the German Ambassador and through the doorway all the while smacking him across the face. The Italian is screaming his monocle flies off and then the false teeth out of his mouth. The German Ambassador follows them inside and tries to stop them but Metaxas keeps smacking the guy. Then the Italian pulls a knife and sticks him in the chest.
Metaxas clasps a hand to his breast says something like “this brave Italian has done for me” and falls backward into Enrop’s arms.
The Italian screams “I have to find my fucking teeth” him and the German scrabble around on the floor, find them and then run out the door.
So begins the Greco-German War of 1941.
Only the Greeks couldn’t let on he was killed by an Italian so they invented another story.