In My Father’s Words

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In My Father’s Words

B.M

03/07/1938 – 18/10/2018

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Last Tango At Tescos

Silvio was unhappy.  Moodily he stared into his glass of blood red Sassella.  It was a good wine but his mind was elsewhere.

“Hey, Silvio.  What’s your problem?  You look as if you’d heard that the Prime Minister isn’t going to resign after all.”

Silvio looked at his friend of thirty years and gave a small painful shrug.  “Luca, what can I say?”

Luca pulled up a chair and sat down next to his friend.  He took the fork from Silvio’s hand and speared a mouthful of his lasagne.  “Is it my food?  You insult me, Silvio, by not eating.  No the food is bellisimo, as usual.  What bothers you, old friend?”

“It’s that bloody woman, Carmel.  She’s driving me crazy.  All my life she has never stopped nagging me.  Let’s go and live in England, Silvio.  Let’s go home to Italy, Silvio.  No, we go back to England, Silvio.  I tell you Luca, I could cut my own throat.”

Luca raised his hands and lifted his eyes to the heavens.  “Silvio, Silvio, you were told, all those years ago.  Don’t marry her.  She is a foreigner.”

“She’s from Torino.”

“Si, exactly, the north of Italy, a bloody Austrian.”

“I wish she was dead, or I was dead.”

Luca poured himself a glass of the Sassella.  “Hmm, not bad; I must order some more.”  He put his hand on Silvio’s shoulder.  “You really want her dead?”

“As God is my witness.”

“Don’t bring God into this, it makes me uncomfortable.”

“Well, he would forgive me, he knows what I go through.”

“The family could arrange it for you.”

“You mean your son, Carlo?”

“Carlo?  Carlo?  I don’t mean Carlo.  He thinks he is an Englishman; hates Fiats and watches the cricket on the TV.  No, the FAMILY, from the old country, Sicilia.”

“You know someone from Sicily, here in Epsom?”

Luca raised his finger to his lips.  “SSSH.”  He looked around the busy restaurant.  “Sometimes the Chief Superintendent comes here.  I give him free wine.  Very useful if the English yobs want to smash the place.  I know someone, Arturo Ballerini.  Taking a rest from Palermo.  The weather is too hot for him there, if you know what I mean.”

“Would he meet me?”

Luca shrugged, spreading wide his hands.  “We’ll see.  Tomorrow, nine o’clock.  Be here.”  Luca got up and finished the wine.  “Ciao.”

The following evening, at the appointed hour, Silvio was seated at a dimly lit corner table.  About 9.15 a tall, dark haired, unshaven man shuffled over to him and sat down.  Silvio spoke.  “Signor Ballerini?”

“Si.  Arturo.  The English call me Artie; you know how they shorten everything.”

“Luca tells me that you can do a job for me?”

“Si, si.  I am what the English call a titman.”

“I think you mean hitman.”

“Ah, I always get that wrong.  I kill people.”

“Have you killed many people?”

Artie spread his hands expansively.  “Many many.  The Swedish Prime Minister, that was me.  And the nancy boy politico in Holland.  Me too.”

“Will you shoot Carmel?”

Artie shook his head.  “No I strangle, I think.  Tell me about this she devil.”

And so it was arranged.  Carmel went shopping every Sunday morning at Tesco’s.  Artie took a photograph and tucked it into an inside pocket.

Silvio felt happier than he had in years.  “How much will it cost?”

“Silvio, you are a friend of my friend, so, to you, almost nothing.  But I am a professional, and, you know, I have a deputation in Sicily”

“You mean a reputation?”

“That’s right.  So, signor, I must charge you, a small fee.  Ballerinis don’t assinatatino, assasin….kill for nothing.  So, one pound is my fee.”

“One pound?”

“Si, si, only one pound.  I don’t like euros.”

The following day Artie followed Carmel to Tesco’s at Leatherhead and while she was bending over examining the Polish tomatoes, he crept up and strangled her.  An elderly woman shopper rushed to her assistance but the blood lust was on Arturo now, and he strangled her as well.  The store manager suffered the same fate before the Police arrived and after a fierce struggle arrested Ballerini.

The following day the press was full of the terrible incident at Tesco’s.  The headline on page one of the Daily Telegraph screamed

“Artie chokes three for a pound at Tesco’s.”

Written by BM

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