I stood outside the hotel lobby watching the snow blanket the parking lot, turning it into an almost pretty sight. I had been playing backgammon inside with a large and rowdy cast of characters, some of whom, like Floki Busson, mother of Arpad, and Leonida Goulandris, are veterans of the great games of the past. Others are of more recent vintage, like John Sutin, who read about the 300 Spartans long ago and applies their theory of no surrender to the game.
Having watched Sutin accept a double that even Hitler in the closing days would have dropped, I went outside for a breath of air when the caravan arrived. Five long cars filled to the brim with flunkeys born under a bluer sky than that of northern Europe. The problem was that the precious cargo they were guarding and flunkeying for had taken off his shoes. Two on each side of the car were busy putting them back on but they were having trouble. It seems the precious one was asleep and kicking them off the moment they had managed to slip them back on his little tootsies. The doormen, all three Spaniards and very nice, were wearing their blank, Roman Abramovich expressions.
Then, finally, it was time for the little s**t to emerge, and I watched dumbfounded as a ‘little s**t’ did emerge and was hustled up the stairs and into the lobby. The ‘ls’ was around 20 years of age, tiny and dark, and dressed badly, like young people dress nowadays, boutique-like, or Prada-lousy. He was accompanied by his enormous entourage up to the sixth floor — which had been taken up in its entirety — and upwards to the penthouse.