HERAKLION, Greece—The first time he despaired of his debts, Vaggelis Petrakis drank a poisonous brew of beer and gasoline
Mr. Petrakis turned pale, took his car keys and drove off. His wife ran behind the car, screaming for him to stay. His family searched for him throughout the day and night.
Mr. Petrakis collected his hunting rifle from home and wrote farewell notes over four pages of an old calendar. The banks had destroyed him, he wrote, and he had lost his honor over the check affair. He warned that others on Crete would suffer his fate.
«Please forgive me,» he wrote. «I love you very much.»
At 5 a.m., Mrs. Petrakis heard her husband’s dog whimpering in an olive grove by the field where he kept his animals and used to go for peace of mind.
In the dark, she tripped over him beneath an olive tree. He was still alive but, with a gunshot wound in his head, could no longer speak. He died in her arms.