Let’s talk about Larry.
Over the main, and desert, I told her about Siena and the Palio, painting a vivid picture of horsemanship and rivalry over the course of several hundred years, making it sound so much better than it was.
It the heat, the tight confines of the square, and the large number of people crammed in, it could be quite oppressive.
It wasn’t until after coffee arrived I decided to take a different tack and surprise her.
“You know, back in the old days, when I was working a desk, I used to do research on criminals for task forces. I longed to get out in the field, but back then you had to be a particular sort of bastard to get those jobs. I just didn’t have that mean streak.”
“Any I might know of?”
“One that springs to mind, Larry Pomisor, head of the so-called Waterville gang, though as an organization, is went downhill quickly after Larry’s father died and he took over.”
I’d been watching her carefully, and, yes, no matter how hard people tried to mask their surprise, it never works. I got the hit I was looking for.
“You’re saying he’s not a crime boss?”
“Exactly. He’s little better than a complete moron. Blames me for the death of his brother, failing to understand that he is ultimately responsible. If he hadn’t dragged him into the business, he’d still be alive today.”
“Why would he blame you?”
“He thinks I was at the scene of his brother’s death but whoever told him got their dates mixed up. But Larry is nothing if not pathological in his beliefs no matter how wrong they are.”
I could see she was processing how to deal with this turn of events. Being handed to her on a plate, exactly what Larry wanted me to talk about, I could see she was mid-way between confused and surprised. In other words, off guard.
She now had to come up with questions that were not obvious.
“Not exactly the sort of enemy you want, then.”
“No more than any of the others I’m sure are waiting in line. I was there, yes, but not when his brother was killed, he was alive when I left. It was a meeting his brother called, and we believe he was going to inform on Larry, and Larry had him killed, then pinning the blame on us, and me in particular. His brother never wanted anything to do with Waterville, but Larry never gave him the option.”
“I can’t believe that he would do that, not to his brother. No one would do that to family.”
“Like I said, everything I learned about Larry pointed to the fact he was a moron. His father hated him, and his mother moved to be as far from him as possible. She lives in Sorrento you know. His father was a piece of work, and I first met him on a domestic call-out when their neighbors reported gunshots. She had taken a beating, not the first, and not the last, and I had to say, I’d never seen anyone more relieved when the old man died.”
I wondered what Larry was making of this if he was listening in. He had once told me, in passing, in one of many visits to the parent’s house to intervene, that he would kill his father if he didn’t stop.
But, Larry was all talk and no action and did nothing to stop it. In the end, it was his wife Gabrielle, who finally ended the violence.
When it happened she called me, the most familiar face, and told me what happened. I then told her what to do, and it eventually kept her out of jail. Over the years since our paths rarely crossed, but significantly I was on her Christmas card list.
She had, when she learned I was living in Venice incited Violetta and I over for tea, and we went a few times, but the last was a long time ago.
“He doesn’t blame you for that too foes he?”
“Probably, but Gabrielle can put him straight on that. I should go and see her, it’s been a while.”
“What do you mean? Go see Larry’s mother?”
“Why not? The chances of Larry being there are remote. It’ll have to be after Cecilia goes back home. You want to come, see a bit more of Italy?”
The shock of the conversation direction had finally caught up with her. I’d seen her glancing more than one at her phone, and equally wondering what Larry was making of it.
“Go see Larry’s mother. We’re old friends. I’m sure she’d give him a stern talking-to if she knew he wanted me dead, don’t you?”
“I don’t know. I’ll have to see.”
“Of course. Too short notice.”
I gave her one of my winning smiles, just as Cecilia loomed out of the darkness and came over, dropping heavily into the seat next to me, and complaining, “Well, that was a spectacular waste of time and effort.”
© Charles Heath 2022