It all started in Venice – Episode 15

A note and an opinion

On the way back to the hotel I thought about the idea of killing the Frenchman and dumping his body in one of the back canals.

Of course, that was the sort of unsanctioned act that quite often brought down a well-planned operation and it would not be the first time for me if that happened now.

I tried not to think about that moment in history and to this day still couldn’t say why I did it beyond the fact the person annoyed me.  Those were young and brash days, long since gone from the repertoire.

Still, if he got in the way, or was going to compromise my plan he would have to go, and those back canals were begging for new prey.

When I finally returned to the hotel, it seemed almost stuffy in the small reception area, and the woman behind the counter nodded cursorily in my direction as I passed her heading for the stairs.

She was the sort of person who would miss nothing that happened in that hotel in or out of sight.

The elevator was old and tired, and I didn’t like to advertise arriving back on the floor where my room was located. Again, another memory of a bad experience involving an elevator has made me more wary since.

The stairs, in this instance, were well maintained, without the usual squeaks and groans susceptible to any other hotel.  The fact it was only a few floors and not twenty was also a selling point.

If Juliet was waiting she’d have to be in my doorway for me to fall over her, and as I took those last few steps before the landing, I wondered if Cecilia was back in my room’ waiting for me.

If she was, and Juliet arrived that might throw that proverbial car among the pigeons.

Neither were either waiting or in my room which oddly enough seemed disappointing.  Nor was anyone else who also brought up a memory or two that I’d rather forget. 

Experience was a cruel master.

I looked out the windows over the canal, still able to be surprised by the amount of activity on the water even for that hour of the night.

In a few hours, a whole new group of people would be about those behind the scenes, delivering all manner of goods and services in those early hours before a new day began.

Behind me, there was a very light knock on the door and I swiftly crossed the room and looked in the peep-hole.

Cecilia.

I opened the door and she slipped in before I’d even got it partially open.  She was in what I would call stealth mode.

“You’re up and about late?  Nothing on for tomorrow?”

She shrugged.  “Just the usual, so it’s unlikely they’ll miss me if I’m not there’ or late.  Besides, there’s a producer I keep running into that’s beginning to be annoying.”

“I can deal with him if you want me to?”

“I can deal with him myself.  No.  It’s your girlfriend whose supposedly not your girlfriend.”

“Juliet?  She’s not…”

“Of course not, just ragging you.  She’s suddenly all apologetic, telling me how sorry she was about being catty. Then giving me a hug that was quite unsettling.  Until I realised what she was doing.”

“Not making a pass I hope.”

“It wouldn’t be the first in the last day or so.  I must have that look, whatever that look is.  No.  She gave me this.”

Cecilia held up a small folded piece of paper.

“Did you read it?”

“Do I look like the sort who would read other people’s love letters?”

I took the piece of paper and unfolded it.

It said, and reading it aloud, “I believe you know why I’m here and I can tell you it’s not what I want.  I can’t discuss this with you otherwise he’ll know, so we need another way, perhaps through Cecilia. I’m supposed to deliver you in Sorrento, so we will need a plan to keep us both safe.  Sorry for dragging your friend into this.”

“Not a love letter then.”  She sounded disappointed.  “How could she possibly know that?”

“In trying to get Larry to do something in haste which he has, it was not without its risks.  She’s smart enough, given what she knew of me then, and that Larry has me in his sights, to realise it was not coincidental when I brought his name into the conversation.”

“Forcing an issue sometimes can have unintended consequences.”

“I didn’t want to drag it out for any of us.”

“Have you considered the possibility that this might be part of Larry’s plan, after all, he did tell her to get closer by any means possible.  How much closer could she get pretending to work with you?”

A plan I considered more plausible given the hold he had over her.  Alfie would have told me if such a conversation had taken place between them, but he hadn’t which meant it may have been before she embarked for Venice. 

It made sense, from his perspective and the hold he had over her.  Doing something as reckless on her part without his knowledge defied that threat, making it very difficult for me to believe it was a legitimate offer to help.

“What would you have thought if we didn’t know what we know?”

“It’s difficult to say since I’ve never been in that situation but first thought would be to considered it’s with the customary suspicion we have to view everything with.”

“Good answer.  You’ll be coming with me and lucky for you, you will not have to play nice.”

She smiled.  “At last a role I can get my teeth into.”

“We’ll go tomorrow, so be ready to leave.  I’m sure you’ll devise a good excuse for leaving early.  And watch your back tonight they might have a little surprise in store for you.”

“Not if I stay here.  I came prepared,” showing me her pyjamas under the gym wear.

I shrugged.  The room had two beds.  “Fine.”

© Charles Heath 2022

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