Here’s the thing.
Every time I close my eyes, I see something different.
I’d like to think the cinema of my dreams is playing a double feature but it’s a bit like a comedy cartoon night on Fox.
But these dreams are nothing to laugh about.
Once again there’s a new instalment of an old feature, and back on the treasure hunt.
Nadia Cossatino was the one girl Alex Benderby couldn’t have for obvious reasons. The Cossatinos and the Benderby’s were sworn enemies, each running the more nefarious activities in their parts of the city.
Of the two, it was widely known if you crossed a Cossatino, then you were dead, or worse. Nadia’s older brother Vince was the most feared kid in school, and people like Boggs and I kept well out of his way.
That being said, there was one occasion when we had been caught in the crossfire, and present, accidentally, at a showdown between Alex and Vince, over Nadia. Alex, as he was wont to do, pushed his luck too far, and found himself on the end of an ultimatum.
Which usually meant a fight in one of the old wharf sheds.
Boggs and I just happened to be in the shed, looking for anything that might have been left behind, when the two warring parties turned up. Vince and four members of his gang, including Nadia, arrived and Alex with several of his shortly after.
As soon as he saw Vince, Boggs bolted, leaving me like a deer staring into headlights. I tried to hide in one of the old offices, but Nadia, not one to sit still, not probably interested in the beating Vince was going to hand Alex, came wandering in.
I prayed she wouldn’t see me.
“Who is that?” She knew someone was in the room.
I poked my head above the dusty desk.
She seemed unsurprised to find me there. “Smidge. That’s what Alex calls you, isn’t it?”
I shook my head. Even she was calling me by that name.
“No, It’s Sam.”
“Smidge sounds better. What are you doing here? Come to see the fight?”
“No. Just looking around, plenty of history in this old building.”
“It’s just a dump.”
“Perhaps I should go. I doubt Vince will want any witnesses.”
“You a friend of Alex?”
I thought we went to the same school, but perhaps I was wrong. Maybe this was Nadia’s twin. I was going to set her straight but remembered Vince was just downstairs, and after he dealt with Alex, maybe he’d want another hapless soul to beat up.
But as usual, my mouth got the better of me.
“You know as well as I do, I avoid both Alex, Vince, and you like the plague. I’ve seen what happens to people who simply glance in your direction.”
“So Smidge has a backbone. And not a friend of Alex, obviously. Good to know. Keep your nose clean and out of matters that don’t concern you. Leave. You were never here.”
She was right. I was never there.
© Charles Heath 2019-2021