It all started in Venice – Episode 16

A change in plans

I couldn’t sleep.

It wasn’t the fact that Cecilia was asleep in the next bed, though it was a little unsettling, more it was the series of events that got me to this point.

Something didn’t add up.

I had one of those sixth sense moments, one of the times when I did close my eyes, and in looking down on myself, tied to a chair, with Larry holding a gun to my head screaming it was all my fault.

In that scenario, it had been far too easy for him to take me.  And in the final moments of that reverie, before I opened my eyes, there was a blurred face in the background, the face of the traitor.

Only I could not get a clear view of who it was.

The bottom line, it was a trap.  Everything pointed to it, and while I wanted to believe what I had decided was the right option, Cecilia was right.  I had been out of the game too long’ and Rodby was right to send a set of fresh eyes.

Juliet was a pawn, coerced to do Larry’s will because of her brother, and her note was a story no doubt conceived out of careful planning on Larry’s part.  He was hoping I would treat him like a moron.

And the irrefutable truth of the matter was that Larry was not going to stop, not unless he had a compelling reason to.

It was about 2 in the morning when I got out of bed and shut myself in the bathroom, and sat on the floor seemingly staring into space, but running scenarios, like I used to. 

An hour later, I had a plan.

The first call was to Alfie who was, by a quirk of fate, still awake.

“This had better be good.”

Awake, but in a cranky mood.

“Larry’s in Sorrento with his family isn’t he?”

“Wife and eldest daughter.  The son is in Milan at the moment visiting another relative.  Why?”

“You’re going to have them picked up and taken to a place where we can talk.”

“Are you mad?”

“Quite sane, I assure you.”

“Rodby warned me this might happen.  Taking them is nigh on impossible given their security.”

“Not where I’m intending you pick them up.  Just assemble a team and wait for my text on where and when.”

“Rodby will never OK this.”

“Tell him it’s an opportunity not to be missed and to send his best interrogator.”

Without another word, he hung up. 

Rodby might think I was a little radical, and at times I was, but my successes outweighed the failures, and he had always wanted to get Larry into a one-on-one to answer some questions.  If he tried not to overthink it, this could turn out to be a genuine opportunity.

The second call was to Larry’s mother.  She had always been a night owl and I suspected she might be at a party somewhere given the rowdy background noise on her phone when she answered.

I said, “It’s been a while.”

Silence.  I had the awful feeling for a moment that she might either dismiss me or simply hang up.

Then, with a lot less background noise, she said, “nnn, how lovely to hear from you again.  I was sorry to hear about Violetta.  I came to the funeral but thought it best not to intrude.”

I had not seen her but I knew she would have come.  And she was right, I was in no fit state of mind that day to address anyone.

“I appreciate that.  Thank you.”

“Now, I know this is not a social call because my son is here and I’ve been waiting for a call.”

“Sorry.  I should have called you sooner but it’s been difficult especially to talk to those who knew her, and yes, it’s about Larry.  For some reason he’s decided to come after me, blaming me for his brother’s death.”

“No surprise to me, though.  It’s become his latest obsession.  The reason is obvious, especially to family.  The provisions of his fathers will come due in three weeks’ time, and if it’s proved that one brother killed the other, then he forfeits his half of the inheritance, and we are talking a lot of money and property.”

“You know the truth about his bother as well as I do.”

She had asked me to try and convince Fabio, Larry’s younger brother, not to join the family business and I had convinced him that it was his mother’s wish for him to go back to Italy where her family lived. 

That was when Larry stepped in and forced him to do one last job.  Larry should have been at the delivery, not send his brother in his place, and it did occur to me that Larry knew it was going to go bad.

I followed Fabio there, and witnessed the deal fall apart, the buyers were expecting Larry, not his brother.  But that was not the worst of it.  An armed gang came out of the shadows and started shooting.  I tried my best to protect Fabio, taking out the armed gang, but Fabio had been hit, but not fatally and even I left him, before the paramedics arrived, he was alive or conscious.

What happened from the moment I left him and he arrived dead on arrival at the hospital was only something Larry could explain.  I had provided his mother with physical proof of Fabio being alive at the meeting, and she too had questions that Larry had never adequately answered. 

“He will not believe me, and because if who I am, he has turned the others against me.  He has become smarter in the last few years.”

“Who’s helping him, I can’t believe he’s capable of doing all this on his own.”

“He says it is, actually bragging about it.”

“I was surprised Brenda and Valentina came with him.  She hates you.”  Brenda was his American wife, the daughter of Mafia Don, Valentina the daughter.

“And, that’s the hell of it.  You know the saying misfortune makes strange bedfellows, well, she tells me he’s having an affair, but I got the boys to have a look into the matter and it’s not an affair.  She is the head of a rival gang that’s been incrementally taking over our turf and now I know why.  She’s got him dangling in a string.”

A lot can happen in a few years.  The only rival gang that I could think of was the DeBortino’s.  If this woman was a problem perhaps the seeds of my plan could be extended slightly to help her with her problem and get rid of mine

“I want to get Larry off my back, and you want to be a good mother-in-law so perhaps we can help each other.”

“What do you have in mind.”

I told her, and at least she didn’t snort at the idea.

Then, after thinking about what Larry’s mother had said I sent a text message to Alfie asking for a deep dive into her life and business, and if she had any dark secrets.

Another idea had come to mind.

© Charles Heath 2022

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