Character – Eu – Eusébio – Stripper with the Masters of Disguise
Eusébio is a gorgeous Portuguese footballer injured out of the Premier League. While retraining as a physio, he does odd jobs in the garden of a Lisbon museum, Museu de Arte Antiga.
Then someone makes him an offer he can’t refuse.
Extract from The Chemical Reaction
It wasn’t just the colour of his skin that made Eusébio stand out, but his size. Six foot six with broad shoulders and the muscle tone of a serious athlete, he found it difficult to blend into the background.
Not that he made much effort to hide. With multicoloured dreadlocks and multiple piercings, billowing African robes over tight white jeans and pointed snakeskin shoes, he turned heads wherever he went.
As a professional footballer, he’d once embraced the nightlife of Lisbon. Dinner in the Bairro Alto where the best bacalao – dried salt cod – could be found, then down to the river and one bar after another, winding up at Frágil or Alcântara-Mar, bypassing the long queues, waved inside without charge. When the lights went down, and the volume of the music ratcheted up, Eusébio was the first on the dance floor. He left the club with a different girl every night.
Plenty of people recognised him from his days playing for Benfica, a brief and unhappy promotion after a stellar season with the juniors. A knee injury sent him to the bench before he’d scored a single goal, and then a complication with a botched ACL reconstruction ended his professional football career before he was twenty.
ANTIQUE-CHINESE SPINACH GREEN NEPHRITE JADE FU FOO LION DOG
Europium metal – Atomic number 63, atomic mass 151.966
Named after the continent, Europium is one of the rarest of the rare earth metals, soft, ductile and highly reactive. Paul Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran, (what a name!) started the path to discovery in 1892. Fellow French chemist Eugène-Anatole Demarçay suspected that samples of samarium were contaminated with an unknown element which he isolated in 1901 and named Europium.
Europium is used in the printing of euro banknotes. It glows red under UV light, and forgeries can be detected by the lack of this red glow. It’s also used in low-energy light-bulbs to give a more natural light, in lasers and in thin super-conducting alloys.
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The Chemical Reaction by Fiona Erskine is published by the PointBlank imprint of Oneworld and is available here