There are some very odd rules here, in this end of town. There are metal benches and stone slabs that are also used as seats, but to sit on the backed metal chairs, you have to be alone, despite adequate space for three or four people. The parties of two are then designated to the concrete, where they must sit, straddling the wide rock, facing each other, some sort of mating ritual, I suppose. All the while, amidst those generally passing through, tour groups come around, and the guide explains the rules and gives tidbits about who’s been caught sitting incorrectly.
Gatherings greater than two persons are allotted to the sprawling lawns that surround the towering cathedral. It’s not long before the lawn hits capacity, as everyone there is laughing and slapping knees, scratching backs, what have you, leaving them pouring into the spaces reserved for the singles and pairs. The authorities quickly rush in, brandishing Billy clubs and plastic shields, to pound the communal mob back into its place. Those standing on the outside don’t care too much for this at all, and while they cry out and push back against the bashings, those in the center continue to enjoy their afternoon, not hearing the pleas of their peers over their own lighthearted chatter.
Slowly, reports from the lawn’s fringe make their way inward, sticky bits of flat bone passed from person to person, until the biggest talker, whose centered himself in the crowd, and the only one with enough room to move freely, having set his biggest, strongest listeners as fence posts around him, leaving a decent sized plot, which he uses all of during his continuous, amplified discussions. These can even be heard at the lawn line, where, occasionally, a hushed fatigue falls over those administering the beatings. The beaten fallen silent many strokes ago.