Listening to Silence
— Ladies and gentlemen we are getting ready to take off, we are asking you to fasten your seatbelts and turn off all electronic devices.
He noted the slim legs of the stewardess, smiled back to her glance, closed his eyes and rested his back against the chair.
— Dad, we are taking off! Take my hand!
— Sure, baby, do not be afraid. While I am by your side you have nothing to worry about.
He moved closer to his daughter and kissed her forehead breathing in the smell of her hair.
— Dad, I need to occupy myself with something…Please, just do not fall asleep, O cannot sleep in the plane. I am afraid to be alone. Let’s play something!
— That is a good idea, baby. What do you want to play?
— Our headmaster, Mrs Hanogan, showed us one interesting game. You need to tell the story, following the style of one of the famous writers, so other can guess who is this writer.
— Hm, that is an interesting and actually difficult game. I like it. It is a good way to learn more about literature. Tell me, how many authors have you studied by now?
— Not so many. We read books of different authors and sometimes just extracts, when the book is too long. After we discuss how one writer differ from another one.
— That is interesting. What were you reading at the last class?
— We started to read “The Old Man and The Sea”. I liked it, — the girl wanted to listen to the story of her dad about Sicily more than to play. — Ok, let’s play. I want you to tell me about Sicily. You have been dreaming so long to go there but you have never told me about this place. And now we are on our way there and I do not even know anything about it.
He stayed quiet for a minute reminiscing about something. He fixed his dark hair, and as a boy who just came up with some trick, narrowed one eye.
— Well, I will tell you, Chris… If you have already read Hemingway, I will try to tell you as a good old— fashioned Erny.
— D-a-a-d! — the daughter slapped his knee with a disappointment. — I was supposed to guess… Why have you told me? I was supposed to guess myself that it is Hemingway. That was the point of the game!
He flung his arms up and bowed down to his daughter.
— Sunshine, I am so sorry. I was just too excited. I really like the idea of mrs Hanogan. I know! Let’s complicate the game a little bit. You will try to tell my story from the point of view of your writer and we will see how it will change.
— Ok, daddy, let’s consider that you got away with it as always.
They broke into laugh, called the stewardess to ask for cola and sandwiches and moved closer to each other.
— Dad, why him? Why have you chosen Hemingway?
— You know, I decided it from the beginning even though I know a lot of writers. But i want him to tell about Sicily. My story will be linked to the war as it was the first time I was there. And Hem was also a warrior one day, — Chris practically never heard a word about the war from her dad so those words surprised her.
— For example, if it would be Dumas I would have to tell a capturing story, to come up with bright characters and follow them into the intertwined events. There would be a complicated plot with a lot of races, heroic acts, shooting and so on.
If it would Remarque I would go into the details of the horrible war, of the darkness and coldness of that time. I would have to find some humanity, some understanding of the time as it would be a part of a real life together with its horrors and daily wonders, with pin and warmth, with suffering and happiness.
If it would be Bunin it would be a short but a tragic story of love. The love that is short but bright and for sure tragic. Tolstoy would spent all the pages for the detailed description of the battle scenes. With a historic scrutiny he would describe the operation of taking the island back.
But I want another story, I do not want to go into the details of the war, I do not want it to be long. Baby, I want to give you this feeling, this mood. I want you to feel the sun that flames but does not burn you. I want you to feel this lemon smell that you cannot hide from. I want you to hear the simple tune of mandolin while I am telling you… All of it is Sicily, the place where people wake up with the rising sun and go to bed when the flaming red sphere is going down to the see. Is the place where grapevines are protected with the fiercity and warmth as it was a child, the place where each acre of land is caressed by the south sun and the sea breeze.
— Dad, you are so good at telling this! You know so many different authors! I want more, go on! More!
The girl unfastened the seatbelt, got into her chair with her legs and prepared to listen.
— Daughter, you might be right. I feel like I am going back in time, like I am sinking into the time that will always stay in my memory.
In a second he got older, wrinkles appeared on his face but the bright light remained shining in his eyes. It was obvious how hard it was for him to remember it though he would be him without this experience. This memories were like a stamp on his fate, on his life that now was far away from those places.
— It was the year 43, the operation was called “Huski”. At that time it was the biggest navy decant operation in the world. Unlucky landing and six weeks of the shore battles. The army of American forces, of British men and Canadians kicked the opponent army from the island opening the Mediterranean sea ways for their allies. The fascists ran away to the continent and Benito Mussolini, was sustained from the power.
During this operation six thousand people of allies died and regardless the end of the operation we were still surrounded by the ashes of the recent battles. We still felt the importance of this base in the Mediterranean.
We had the total control over the island but still were cautious as the slightest neglect could lead to the disaster.
Christy was listening to her dad with the full attention. The talk about the war was so rare. Each word describing that time was like a little grain in the huge story of this terrible time. Her dad does not like this topic.
On the one hand he could not not remember those days, he did not want to forget them. All that happened back there is what defined his future life. On the other hand he never wanted to put the burden of that time, these horrors on the people who had nothing to do with this terrifying drama. Especially not on his own children who knew nothing but love and peace in their life. That was his contradiction and the constant struggle that was happening in his mind.
— At that time we were inseparable with my friend, James Bedok. He was like a Herakles. This strong and huge. He had a beard and always shaved his head. He was wearing a trophy Japanese head bandage that he took in the battle from one of the narrow— eyed. He was a box champion of the district. Only once in my life I saw him having troubles on the ring. Can you imagine that it happened with the Russian. James finished that fight standing but remembered for a long time. By the way, I can tell you, my baby, it does not matter what your history book say, it does not matter what people say about the Red Army, they have won that war. All our efforts with the Bulldog Winny did not worth anything compared to the impact of the Russians.
— Daddy, do you really think so? You are so devoted to the USA and now you are saying these words.
— My sunshine, the truth is more important that the tried of the person or even of the whole nation to change the history in the sake of its own self pride. This dough was made of the sufferings and lost and it would be abominable not to admit the truth that cost millions of people a life. To deny this truth would mean to deny the God, to deny the life itself, the life that so many people died for.
Christ stayed quiet thinking about the words of her dad. Before she was aware only of the heroic acts of the American army, she knew only the tragedy of the American nation. It felt like her dad just opened her another side of the world, like he opened the curtains of another truth.
— I was nineteen while James was already twenty five. Once he even saved me from our own soldiers who thought that I owed them something. Since that we were close. He was already the senior sergeant and participated in dozens of operation. He was teaching me the military rules, or to be more careful, how to survive in the conditions that could happen to us any second. And I can tell you that this science saved my life couple of times.
James met the Russian several times and he always talked about them with respect. He was amazed by their bravery, their inner strength. He saw how they had to survive.
And after that fight with the Russian they both ended up swinging but standing, they were given a draw. And the same night they made matching tattoos.
— Oh my God, Dad! — Christy jumped from the excitement and held her hands to her cheeks. — That is uncle Jacy?! Yes?!
— Of course, sunshine, it is him.
— I remember his tattoo. I asked him couple of times what it was but he had never replied. But where is his beard? The bold head? God, I cannot imagine him like this! — the girl was surprised that she could not link the senior sergeant James, the horror to all fascists and the box champion with her uncle Jacy, the father of four kids, the kindest person she knew.
— A lot of time has passed since then. You dad also has changed. It has been practically thirty years ago.
Today was a weird day. I was dreaming about Martina. How she was getting married. I have never seen her being grown— up but in my dream I knew that it was her. The small church in Karleon was full of guests and happiness. The person who has never been to a Sicilian wedding would never understand the beauty of the connection of two loving hearts. The shyness of the eyes, the longing for the night, the pure happiness of the guests.
The dream was short and very bright. It left a nice footprint though surprised by its unexpectancy.
I believe that the dreams are the mirror of our subconscious. But there is one question. These dreams are the outcome of our worries and thoughts or they are signs that come to us from the above?
Italy. Sicily. It is true that I am thinking about her all past days. But why this dream? Martina was the one of the brightest memories about this place, about this country. Though my present thinking was linked to different circumstances. The work and nothing else. Though something changed in my heart for one bright second from what I unexpectedly witnessed last night.
Sam Duncan, a man of forty eight years old with smoothly shaved face and carefully brushed hair got out of the plane and stopped for a second. He has not been here a really long time. But he recognized the slightly salty wind that messed his immaculate hair. What he was seeing now differed a lot from what had been here thirty years ago. He was listening and he did not move along the stairs down. Sam remember the taste of the wind and the color of the sun. Even the way he was closing his eyes against the sun seemed familiar. Even though it was hot he put on a hat to save his hair from being completely messed up. He got his traveling bags from the floor and walked down the stairs towards his daughter who was impatiently waiting for him.
He kissed her on the forehead and they joined the flow of tourists towards the airport building.
Sam noticed the “Alfa-Romeo” parked on the taking off line and he noticed the young Sicilian who was leaning against the car. Duncan called his daughter and headed towards the young man not looking at him. Christy was surprised by the suddenly changed route and wanted to ask her dad where were they going but seeing the determination in the way he was walking she was followed him.
“Alfa-Romeo-Alfetta” — one of the latest and the most fashionable car of the south of Italy. In the USA it is a rare case to meet this type of car but Duncan was following the car production business. This model was the best of this summer and was saying a lot about its owner. Moreover, just the fact that the car was waiting on the takeoff runway was clearly saying that the driver was someone special and he came to pick up someone who was even higher on their hierarchy. Thinking about these circumstances Sam exchanged glances with a stranger and kept walking to the car. Even an experienced observer would not notice these barely unseen gestures of the men. Though for them it was a special move, a code that one read from the face of another.
Two men met, exchanged some words, and Fabio, a new acquaintance of her dad kissed the palm of her arm in a gentleman way and put away to the trunk all the bags. Sam did not even touch the luggage showing who is the master here while the man who was waiting for them was showing all the signs of the respect and eagerness to serve. In this one minute exchange of information was not even a trace of indignity or disrespect. On the contrary, each of them had their self— respect even with their different position in the hierarchy.
The dad and the daughter occupied the back seat of the car, Fabio pressed the accelerator and the car moved. After reaching the building of the airport the Sicilian took the documents of the Americans, passed them through all the formalities and in ten minutes they were already on their way to the city.
— Are we going to Catania? — quietly asked Duncan trying not to get his daughter away who had fell asleep in a second on his lap.
— No, you have the best suit of the south of the Taormina’s coast booked for you. In Catania is too hot and crowded right now. For you and for the young lady it would be better to spend time next to the sea, — the man turn around showing his white teeth in a smile. While his eyes stayed concentrated and composed.
Our Deed is immortal. No one has managed to overcome our management. I am not a Sicilian by blood and I am not even an Italian but by fate i ended up with them. The circumstances then the choice had been made and then all my deeds and how I was showing my loyalty and how I was going up the ladder. I was always surpassed how such outnumbered nation, the nation that was not even considered as a country was able to get under control such an important part of the world. They were coming to the USA and instead of living as shadows, as third role people they were becoming the strongest force of influence.
Of course the main reason for it take its root in Sicily itself. I believe in every word of Alfredo Niceforo: “Constant disagreement and the ego without boundaries that are things that are boiling in the Sicilian blood. Every Sicilian is a mafiozy by his nature”. Honor, revenge and solidarity. These three words are the pillars of each family. We are not comrades, we are not friends, we are not acquaintances. All of us are family. Famílies built up associations and then grow up to the syndicates. The oath of silence. Physical punishment as the highest form of the truth and of the way to achieve goals. You can have all the influence and money but you do not worth anything if you cannot protect yourself. All of it will fall down under the cold blood revenge. You will either do everything that is asked from you or you will die.
The art of killing without guilt. It might sound horrible but that how the mafia was built.
The huge part of the world’s capital is owned by us. We are cooperating with CIA and with the governments of countries. Our strategy is to grow. Step by step, year by year we were growing into all structures of the official power, into the biggest businesses in order to get the control over everything. We were putting our people everywhere. Starting from the cleaning guy in the biggest bank group and up to the policeman. And it is impossible to destroy what is already inside of you. You can cut a sick branch from the healthy tree but you cannot save the tree if the root system is affected, if the trunk, the leaves and the roots are affected. Physical force is just a leverage. A leverage to achieve your goals. Power means money. Really good money. And we have only one criteria in business. The profit. And we are always pursuing the place where the profit is the greatest. If tomorrow the business of selling second hand socks will strike we will be there. Nothing personal. Just business.
I came to Sicily at the end of the war. Benito Mussolini was down. Mafia was in a cooperation with him and with the CIA. Both were considering some of The Godfathers as their agents but that was inly a myth. The syndicate was take stakes at the both sides to win in any case. Italian Duche considered himself indestructible, a God, was shooted while we continued our Deed. CIA had to take us in consideration. A lot of operation are held by us for them. We have grown there as well. We are family. We are fighting for our own and we are indestructible.
— Daddy, daddy! Let’s go to the sea. Just look around how beautiful it is here, — the girl was standing in the enormous terrace and without taking her sight of the sea was calling for her dad.
Sam gave the last orders to the concierge and hurried to the terrace. The view was stunning. The huge balcony was drowning in flowers and green leaves. It was hanging above the turquoise bay that was surrounded by riffs with the fisher boats in the distance. The dad hugged his daughter and they kept looking around together. The time was close to be lunch time and the main restaurant was coming back to life. It was just under the terrace so the father and his daughter were watching them getting ready leaning in the terrace fence.
— Daddy, I want to go down! Look how beautifully they are pitting everything! — Christy was looking at the waiter who was putting flower vases on the tables. — What are we going to eat? What is the food here in Sicily?
— Baby, I will have to disappoint you. There are no hamburgers here, but I promise you that you will remember the local food. And then you will be asking me back in New Your to cook some Sicilian food for you.
— Ok, agreed, — the girl smiled and ran back to the room to change.
Sam was standing on the terrace of the best room in “Villa St.Andrea” hotel that was an old castle on the seashore. The bright sun was shining and the territory of hotel was surrounded by the petals of phloxes. With the ancient stone stairs it felt like it was happening in the Medieval times and only waiters with their pristine outfits were bringing the reality back. The wild nature together with new posh style were linking together making it look more like slight American style.
He was standing on the highest floor of the hotel. He saw the bay and a little private beach. Rate guest we pacing along the sand lines, some were reading on the benched while others were walking towards the sea with their towels on the shoulders. Everything was full of tranquility and peace. Duncan knew that exactly in this silence, in this peaceful ideally there is something secret and evil hidden, something that did not stand the noise. Just right here, under the shadow of these olive and lemon trees the power was hidden. The power so strong that it reminded the tentacles of the octopus, the power that was fierce and without compromise, the power that was holding the world in the fear.
Now I will have to look after one big and important business. It is time to get started with something that was waiting in the secret for a long time. During the World War the Second a lot of pieces of art were stolen by the fascists. Mainly from the east of Europe and from Russian especially. Unique art pieces are laying in thousands of boxes in Latin America and Asia.
By 1944 it was obvious that the lost is inevitable. But many were professionals not fanatics so one year and a half before the capitulation they had been already preparing ways how to back off. Actives were bought in Argentina, Peru, the pieces of art were secretly taken away and whole quarters of nazi were built. Mafia was helping them in it and now our task is to control the operation that is the unique in the world. We need to get this art back, all millions of pieces. To get them through our channels to Europe and America and to sell them directly to the private collections or through the world auctions.
Sicily is like a buffer, the territory free from any control except for ours. For decades the drug traffic from East and China to Europe and the USA was going through Sicily. Now following the same paths in the same ships the masterpieces would go back to the world of art after being kept by fascists for all this time. We can treat nazi with all the disgust we want but we cannot deny that mafia business is business. And that business means enormous black money that we cannot just pass by.
They got out from the villa and headed to the funicular. Sam as always was holding his daughter’s hand. Sometimes overwhelmed by empathy the girl was hugging his arm showing her child love.
The funicular road was short. In some minutes they got out on the highest viewpoint and went towards the historic center of Taormine. From far they could hear the mandolin playing, the singers with their simple Sicilian tunes.
On their right there was a little church with a wedding going on. Men in their tuxedos were standing next to the entrance waiting for the end if the ceremony. On their right there was a line of little restaurants. Groom’s friend were glancing back and forth at the glasses of beer that the waiters were taking in and out of the restaurant.
— Sicily, Sicily, Sicily! — the girl let go off his hand and ran forward. — Dad, I want to compare everything I have heard from you.
— Baby, I have not been here in a lifetime, — Sam was walking slowly, listening and keeping an eye on his daughter.
Chris has never been to Italy and now she was surprised by every little selling point, by every street musician on her way.
They were walking along Corso Umberto, the main touristic road of Taormina. It was crowded and loud, music was running from every cafe and the selling point were on the peak of their sales. The posh crowd of people was enjoying the pearl of Sicily.
Duncan needed to check if no one was following them. It was hard to do so in a crowd though he tried.
The crowd was made of same style people. There should not have been any Sicilian people walking around. So he was going from the main street back to the small ones and around trying to remember the faces of people. And if he saw someone repetitively he was calling for his daughter and getting into the nearest store as soon as possible. If no one was following they into the store it meant that this person was not following them.
Sam moved his “borsalino”on the left side and headed straight. This sign meant that he is ready to receive the message. Just in a couple of minutes later the street seller of the balloons fell to his knees in front of Chris playing as he is a lover who was hit with Amour’s arrow. As a gift he gave Chris his biggest heart— shaped balloon. Dad help his daughter to tie it to the belt before they continued searching for the restaurant.
After they got into the room Duncan pierced the balloon to get a little note from it: “The best wishes. I would love to recommend you a nice bar in “Timeo” hotel. Apart from great drinks they serve delicious artishock salad. I am sure you would love it. Sending my best wishes from the motherland and may the God keep you safe”.
He reread the note several times and burned it in an ashtray. The he washed the ashes down the drain.
This message meant that in Taormine, in “Timeo”, there will be an artishock— lieutenant, the head of a small gangster group. He would be working in the bar. To get into the contact he has to use the “my best wishes from the motherland”. This person is assigned to Duncan for the help and coordination of the next move.
And the bottom of the note the little catholic church was drawn. At the top of it there was a little dome. That meant that the note came straight from the dome of mafia.
Now he had to decide how to explain the Christiane the loss of her favorite balloon. The girl got upset but the promise of her dad to go later to the theatre helped. After a couple of tears she was already laughing sitting on the lap of her dad.
I loved to come here during the day, around four or five p.m. the lunch time has already passed and there was still some time till the dinner. The is no people here, no english people who might come to have a cup of tea at this time.
I was always sure that the best bars are in New York. But here it was also decent. There is everything you might want. The wide choice of whisky and the humidor with cuban cigars. I love to sit and think about what to choose and what to order. You do not have to rush. That is the beauty of loneliness. The beauty of having a chance to be thinking in peace. Today he should something light.
After touching a couple of cigars he took “Montecristo” robusto. Just for around thirty minutes before the baby will wake up. For the drink there has to be something light as well not to kill the taste of the cigar. He picked the decade old “Ballantine’s” in a highbowl and with no ice.
The operation is going well by now, everything is in peace. Little slipperies do not count. On the contrary, when everything goes too smooth you get anxious and it it seems that this smoothness was planned by your enemy. And just at the moment when you will relax and believe in your success the enemy will come
For years I have been learning how to distinguish danger by its smell. Just like the chance to make money where other people will not even see an opportunity. I do not know any secret I just know how I can do it. For hours I am thinking about the facts. Just facts to begin with. The smaller is the detail, the shorter was the conversation the more important it can appear. For a serious talk people prepare but they can slip on the details.
The way your vis-a-vis is smoking or how he is holding the cigar speaks about him more than his actual words. After that all this bone shaped facts end up being a feeling. Somewhere down your stomach you feel how an oven start to process all these details. After the brains stays silent and you just need to listen to yourself, to sniff the air, to catch what feeling your body is giving you.
“Cuba” is going good today. That is a rare thing. Far from its origin there is not quality. They neglect the right rolling though there is no better tobacco in the world. If you spend couple minutes for the right enlightening the cigar will answer you in warmth and mildness. I love to smoke in, to sip my drink and then smell the burning tip of the cigar. Your head gets clouded by the light mist. Like the smoke is going inside your skull and relaxes your brain. The proportion here are important so cigar will enhance your thinking not beat you up. Today I did everything right. I have half an hour of thinking and analyzing in front of me. Everything is going well.
Today they were moving to a new hotel. “Grand Hotel Timeo” was in the heart of Taormina, way higher than the sea level. The girl liked our wild beach and it was hard to say bye to it. Knowing that it would happen he decided to spend the first part of the day on the beach. With their bags packed they went to the beach. The morning was sunny though the water was cold. There was a huge contrast between the water and the burning beach stones. Christ was running barefoot towards the sea so her hot legs would splash into the cold water. Sam lied down with the glass of cold chardonne and kept an eye on his daughter. They rarely traveled together but this trip has become the best one in his life because of Chris. The stones were scalding and it was impossible to stand in them for a long time. So the girl was running from the water to her towel. She would kiss her dad on his cheek, lay on the towel and run back to the water.
For a second Duncan forgot about his work and just let himself enjoy the moment. Everything was great. The wine color in his glass was amazing. This color of chardonnay can be found only in Sicily. It seemed like freshly squeezed olive oil. It smelled of the fresh grapevine. He enjoyed the sun, the sound of the sea. He closed his eyes and saw what he wished to see. Then he opened his eyes, saw his daughter running around the beach laughing out loud and he realized that he is happier with his eyes open.
They spent an amazing morning together but now they had to get going.
Christiane did not want to leave this villa. Sam had asked the concierge more details about “Timeo” and inspired his daughter for moving on. “Timeo” was the most aristocratic hotel in the whole Italy. Its history began back in XIX century. Later “Grand Tour” made this place worldwide famous and all the stars began to come here. Wealthy people have their own traditions while traveling around Europe. One of such tradition is visiting Taormina and “Grand Hotel Timeo”.
After Sam told everything to his daughter their decided to change their clothes to something more appropriate, more formal.
Christ chose a pristine dress with matching shoes. They spent an hour doing her hair. Her dad was excited to put a little flower in between her curls. Sa, took a double— breasted black suit with white stripes. He added the white tie together with a double— headed golden eagle as a pin, his white “borsalino” and unalterable cane with the same eagle.
They matched each other. People on the street were checking out them, amazed how strength can go so good together with assuredness and fragileness.
They ordered “Mercedes” from the hotel and got inside it after the doors were opened for them.
The distance between the hotels was not that long, just around four kilometers, but they took some time to arrive. Amazingly beautiful serpentine that was going up the mountain was not letting the car to go faster. Though it was a great chance to enjoy the beauty of Taormina one more time.
— Dad, when will we arrive? — Christ was getting bored with just looking outside.
— Do not hurry, mademoiselle Christiane. The road is short but believe me that it is one of the most beautiful ones in the world? — the driver turned his head to the girl and smiled.
Sam tapped the man on his shoulder and noted that he always like Sicilian people for their undoubtful love for their Sicily, their belief that it is the most beautiful place in the world though they had never been anywhere else. And he admitted that Sicilian people are completely right.
The driver continued proudly:
— At the end of XIX century Guy de Maupassant wrote that if the person had only one day to spend in Sicily, he would go to Taormina. It is not just the place but the place where you can find everything that had been invented by the human race, everything that can seduce your soul, your spirit and your imagination.
Sicilian guy bowed his head and it was obvious that he was proud of his own speech and of the effect that it had on his clients.
— Can you tell us about “Timeo”? — the girl had already heard the stories from her dad but she wanted to compare.
The driver bowed again and continued:
— In 1863 the Prussian baron Otto Heleng came to Taormina to do the art. he was renting a room in private house from some guy called Francesco. The Italian called the house “Timeo” after the ancient Greek who founded the city back in B.C times. Then baron came back to Europe he showed his watercolour art to his friends. It made a huge impression in Berlin, Paris, so artists from all Europe started to come to this place. For thirty years don Francesco la Floresta was making a stunning hotel that hosted the greatest people from all over the world. Klimt, Klee, Brahms, Wagner, Greta Garbo, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, Sofi Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy, Salvador Dali. Starting from 1920th David Laurence was writing his “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” just right here. Since then “Timeo” is in top— five hotels of the world.
There were close. Getting higher and higher they were thrilled to see around the next corner “Timeo”. They have already changed the road to the narrow street. It was crowded so the driver had to beep to get the way. Soon they stopped on the small parking space and realized why there were so many tourists. The ancient half destroyed amfiteatre was going up on the mountain. Apparently now there was a small museum that had a cashier office in the corner and the police guys.
— Daddy, what is it? It is a dead end. We are not planning to live in those ruins, aren’t we?
He did not know the answers and the driver was not saying a word. The driver was just waiting when his passengers will realize everything themselves.
— Baby, we are here. This is “Timeo”, — Sam finally saw a little gate with the plate of “Grand Hotel Timeo”. The building was covered by the trees but he could distinguish the details of the villa.
They got out of the car, went through the open gates to the narrow corridor that reminded the park more than the entrance. Passing the garden they came to the hall. Everything that they had already seen in their imagination was proved to be right. They stopped for a second at the entrance awazed. The manager smiled politely, he was used for this second astonishment at the entrance.
— Welcome to “Timeo”, — don Puparo bowed to the girl, shacked Sam’s hand, took his cane and the hat and followed them to the registration couch.
I would never forget this day. All my further life would be interlinked with the July of 1943. It was our fifth landing day. At those days the result of our operation was so unclear that we were like blind kittens trying to get our position at Gela. Our seventh army under the command of George Patton was trying to control almost fifty kilometers of the shore line. We have already failed the landing. We were not ready for the weather conditions, we lost the signal from our English and Canadian allies. Many people had died even before touching the ground. Some even had died from the bullets of our own people.
I was a part of 505th parachute regiment of 82nd vertical assault. I did not have battle experience but my friendship with Bedok had given me the skills to stay alive. James was already a part of north African campaign and his experience was vital for both if us.
We were holding our positions getting stronger and already planning with our allies the take over of the island.
At that moment we knew that we had a leverage of unexpectancy and our enemy was outnumbered. I had no idea that the outcome of the whole operation would be defined by accurately planned move that would link American intelligence and Sicilian mafia. But that would happen later. My life had changed since the day I had a mission to deliver a package to our allies next to Palermo. We needed to coordinate our moved before taking over the capital of Sicily.
The way took time. I needed to cross the whole island from the south up to the north. I had to cover around one hundred kilometers though by car only forty were possible. After I needed to go on foot.
I had been give some help, a soldier who had even less experience than I had and an old man who knew the island. Jackson, the soldier, did not seem to be of any help. Though the person with a gun can be if great power but not when you cannot predict his actions due to the lack of military experience. Carmelo, our leader through the island did not even seem trustworthy. At the moment of the flourishing power of Mussolini no one from Italians could have been trusted fully. Though our general knew this Carmelo and trusted him enough so send him as our guide.
Anyways I could use any help together with the knowledge that i had received from Bedok. Unfortunately he was out on the intelligence mission.
I remember how he was seeing us off. He hugged me: “Now it is time for you to me the leader. Be careful and let the luck follow you”.
We got out early in the sunrise and in a couple of hours reached the place where we had to leave the car. Our driver let us be and hurriedly headed back to the camp. We had a quick lunch and started our way. We had a full day ahead of us.
I guess that was the day when I had fallen in love with Sicily. The beauty of the island was so outstanding that even the war around could not have hide it. Our path did not seem anything like the road but our guide was a professional. The nature had changed comparing to Gela. It was not better or worse, it was different. Green hills, high grass had changed to rocks. Bright green nature had changed into yellow clay and the sea was nowhere to be seen.
The war is war. We had left to cover less than ten kilometers when we faced our enemy. It was a little group followed by the squadron of Italian nacisits. Judging by their cover, number and the short stop in the woods they were heading the same way as we did.
Our task was to deliver the message and the engagement was strictly prohibited. Especially taking into consideration how outnumbered we were. I remembered James’s words: “Friend, sometimes everything does not as it has been planned. Do not be afraid. That is the way it has to be. If everything is going to well that is the time when you have to be extra cautious. It might have been planned by someone”.
We were crawling past them when we heard some noise. Like a child cry. Through the binocular I saw an old man with a girl. they looked like peasants. they were standing next to the horse carriage that has been searched by Germans. the face of the man was covered in blood and his clothes were ripped, he had been beaten. He was standing on his knees holding the crying girl close to him.
I remember how I felt, I could not move. I was the leader of the group and their were waiting for my order. But I was gripped by what was happening in front of me.
Next second everything has changed. One of the officers hit the old man in the temple with the butt of the rifle. He grabbed the girl and made her follow him. The old man stayed on the ground, laying in the mud with the blood streaming from his head. From my place I could not see if he is still alive.
The girl was left next to the tree with the flask and a loaf of bread. She was calming down. In a bit she asked for a permission to go to the toilet and one of the officers took her to the furthest bushes. I realized that it was my only chance to help the girl. I have the message to my soldier and ordered them to go forward. Even if something happens to him our operation will be done. Nazis would not be following them for a long time in this endangered situation.
When my comrades left, I got out my knife and headed forward. The soldier was pushing the girl. She snapped something back and kept whispering to herself. I was following them waiting for the better moment.
Suddenly the girl bended holding her stomach. The Italian approached her and pulled her by the collar up. At this moment the girl grabbed his fingers and bit them. The Nazi yelped, the girl ran away to the woods and he had to ran after her. the man was overwhelmed by the pain, anger and the eagerness to catch the girl so he did not hear my steps. In a second he was dead. I left the enemy on the ground and ran after the girl.
I got her. She was in a state of shock, she did not understand what was happening and who I was. I had to slap her on her cheeks to get her attention to my uniform and signs. The girl did not understand English while I knew just a couple of Italian words. Though she did not have a lot of choice except for trusting me. The Nazis’ voices were getting closer, apparently they had found the dead body of their officer. We start running and we did not stop until we reached Jackson and Carmelo.
Just when we reached the ally camp I realised what had happened. I was shaking from fear and horror. That was the first man I ever killed. I killed him with my hands. He was an enemy but still he was a human. The English officer saw what was happening to me and gave me an opened bottle of whisky. I gulped from the bottle and fell to sleep.
I was sleeping the full day and night. In the morning I got out of my tent. I saw the old man, the girl and Carmelo. They saw me, jumped from the horse carriage and the girl ran to me embracing my neck. It was unexpected and really touching. We were holding each other in arms when some men approached us.
Carmelo introduced the Sicilian guy as don Callodgano, the uncle of Martina — the rescued girl.
I remember how this Italian man shaked my hand saying that a lot of people would pay a fortune to get a chance of his handshake. But now he was asking for a permission to give me his gratefulness and friendship. The deed that happened last night did not have a price and would never be forgotten by his family. Though he was asking me to say any price I wanted.
I was touched by his words and managed just to babble back that I was a soldier and a man and it is my duty to protect those who need it even with my life. And for such a little princess I would have sacrificed ten of my lives.
As soon as Callo and Martina left Carmelo whispered to me how he found the family of the girl. He was so thrilled as this family had the biggest influence in the whole district.
The old man assured me that I had been so lucky and that more probably my life would change soon. I did not pay attention to it but very soon I realized that it had been true.
Couple of days latter am American plane was flying above Villbaba, an Italian capital of lentil. That was the motherland of Callodgano Vizzini. The flag with golden L was flipping from the wind. The pilot through a small package that was immediately deliver to the mafia boss, don Callo. In an envelope there was a napkin with the same golden L as the plane had.
Details of this moment I got to know layer as I was still recovering from the previous incident. I was in the camp of our allies getting ready for the next attack on Palermo.
Morning of 20th of July was remarked by three tanks that approached the English defense line. I was shell shocked to know that they came for me. Only one officer got out of the tank and stepped forward to me. Others were waiting inside.
Then I heard the order for me. We had to go to see don Callo as our captain had a proposal to him. I was supposed to sit at the front and as Callo owed me now it was unlikely that he would refuse to talk to me.
The meaning of the operation was clear for me though I was still surprised that officers of the army are going to meet him with so much honor. I got even more surprised after i saw the flag on the leading tank with a golden L.
The meeting of US leader and the boss of mafia went well. I did what I was expected to do. Callo greeted me with the whole heart. Then they exchanged the napkins and after a short talk left leaving me in a house of the sicilian.
I knew that I was now a hostage but it did not threaten me. I trusted my management and I was not scared by Callo regardless what Carmelo had said about him. When I saw Martina in the house I lost the last pieces of the precaution and was glad to spend a day in this house.
That was the day when the Sicilian house became my university. Here I started to learn the science that I mailed to the professor title. Here the doors to the completely new world opened to me. The world where I have been living till nowadays. The world with its own rules, that is full of gambling, danger and money.
I am still asking myself what my life would be if I had not accepted the offer. No one was pushing me or threatening. The were looking after me, taking notes and getting information piece by piece.
But back there I had nothing to lose. I did not have family nor I had money. I had no attachments and responsibilities. Just an American dream that was opening doors to the world of wealthiness and happiness. Though the gangster life had never appealed to me. I was born at the time when blood revenges and constant shooting were disappearing. The time when the great Al was moving his last days dying from syphilis and being released from Alcatraz.
But I did have a belief in Sicily and it was only thanks to my first don. Callodgano never pushed, never treated me with kong stories and pledges. He was just bringing me step by step to doors that I was opening myself, by my own will. That was how he gained my trust and respect.
For more than I year I was living in Sicily as a peace agent who was protecting the temporal government. Mafia was gaining back its strength getting united back again and taking everything over.
I still remember clearly how after couple of days of my captivity in Villalba my comrades came back on the same tanks with Callo at front. From the tank he announced to everyone that Sicily is free from fascism.
People were celebrating they admired their don who became a mayor in a short time.
England and the USA could not reach peace by themselves. Though it was in power of several people. And one of them was Callodgano Vizzini.
Getting everything back to the order the mafia was again at the wheel of all power. They were leaking into the government, business and all other structures that were important in Italy.
That was the time I realized that CIA is in contact with the most powerful men in the mafia. That was the time when I entered the narrow circle of trusted people and was explained the meaning of the golden L.
Charles Luciano, called the Lucky one, was imprisoned in the USA since 1936 for more than thirty years.
Luciano was born in Palermo. He was Sicilian by blood but when he had been twelve years old he was sent to the USA, to New York, together with his siblings. It did not take him long to build a career in a criminal business making him the unspoken head of New York.
But in 1936 the prosecutor of the New York state pressed charges and he ended up behind the bars.
Charles was not only the lucky one but he was a great at strategy. He became the key in a worldwide campaign getting himself free in 1946. He spent the rest if his free life in Italy until he died from the heart attack in 1962.
I was participating in this operation in 1943 when sitting on the top of the tank I was holding a napkin with a golden L. I had this flag that was a message from Lucky Luciano himself.
Without resources of the mafia the allies would not take Sicily back as fast as it happened. It was obvious for both, for the Americans and for the sicilian. Thanks to this mutual realization the bond was founded. The bond that made the American landing possible, the bond that got Luciano free, the bond that helped Sicilian nation recover after the Mussolini pressure. Undeniably by that time it was the biggest deal between American government and the mafia, the deal that has changed the way of the history.
When I heard this story my further way in life was predetermined if the most powerful organization, the US intelligence made an agreement with my new family it could mean only one thing. That it is one of the most powerful ones in the world and even the government admit it and support.
The decision was made. I became one of them. After one year I came back from Sicily to the USA. But I was different. The protection from don Callo, his recommendations helped me to link with my new family and to become the ruler of the New York’s dark side.
Claudio Bergamo knew that the American man was arriving today. And it was his duty to support and to follow all the orders from the boss of the other continent. He did not know the name of the person or his intentions. It was not welcomed to be asking more questions than they were telling you themselves. Though nobody could stop him from thinking.
Claudio, or Clo how he was called by the dearest ones, was a young man and by his thirty two years he managed to build a good career in the syndicate. He was cruel and arrogant and still composed. He knew how to control his emotions and he had a sharp mind. All these helped him to go up several steps up in the hierarchy in a decade and to become a lieutenant.
As many “people of honor” he had his civil job, a position that was his cover. He was a chef bartender in “Grand Hotel Timeo” where the public was coming from the highest society levels. He was working at the bar, communicating with all the guests. Though at any moment he could put other bartenders and leave.
Clo knew the importance of the American man to the family as the order came straight from the don himself. During the last years the relationship between the continents was intense. After the fall of Mussolini there was no unity between “people of honor” of America and Italy now more and more conflicts are getting started while money flowing from the other side of the globe have got some extra zeroes at the end. American italians were considering themselves more intellectual, more sophisticated while sicilians were like peasants for them who new only blood revenge.
Since the beginning of XX century when thousands of Italians were flowing over the ocean has passed a lot times, the whole generations have changed. Young soldiers now were born in States and they had no idea of what is Sicily like. The true Sicily was silently watching over the mountains and lemons trees. Old patriarchs would never accept a second role in a syndicate. And as always they cold blood readiness to go till the end whatever is the cost was making them the most powerful people in the world.
Claudio was thinking. The arrival of the American could mean a lot of things. He could have been sent to the continent to solve the conflict between the continents. His arrival could have been a secret. In this case his arrival meant some negotiation and mutual agreements behind the back of the dome. But Claudio was wrong. The aim of Sam was none of those.
The American has been sent here to control the most important stage in the operation of such scale that Claudio could not even imagine.
In terms of this deal any disagreements were forgotten. Everyone knew that they would not be able to cope by themselves. And there was enough profit for everyone. The operations was compiled and controlled by the dome. And it was the proof of its importance and scale.
Duncan has been picked purposely. Everyone supported his candidacy even though the discussion had been on for more than a month. He was American who hat a trust if the new york family and he was also “raised” here. He had been to Sicily and he knew this nation. A lot of people knew and respected him. The leaders knew that he was good at the negotiation process and was lucky.
Clo knew the approximate arrival date and was checking every new guest with the scrutiny.
The day before Duncan’s arrival he had two American suspects. One man of sixty years old booked a lux for himself and a neighbor room for his advisor. And a man who was coming with his daughter to a spacious room with the huge terrace.
Lieutenant did not know who was more likely to be the expected person. The right guess did not mean anything right now. Anyways it was impossible to be mistaken. The meeting was supposed to confirmed by the password. And for the double check Clo had to give the description of the American to the consilier.
But Bergamo was so successful in his life because he always had his own opinion. And he did not trust anyone but himself. He loved to analyze and think things through. This habits not only got him an authority in the society but also had saved his life a couple of times.
He did not have photos of this people but it made the task just more interesting. The old man was fitting the role more. His advisor looked more like his bodyguard. Everything matched except for the part that he was flying from Rome and his room had been booked three weeks ago. The American who was coming with his daughter had already been in Taormine, in “St.Andrea” and had decided to change the hotel. It was weird but taking into account the circumstances of the arrival it was fitting. Just one detail was confusing — he was coming with his daughter.
Claudio decided so: if it would be the guy with the bodyguard, the aim of the visit was a conflict, he had an advice in Rome and now he was ready to fight back. If it would be a dad if the girl the visit has to have peaceful purpose. Not a single father would take his daughter somewhere with her life endangered. It was more likely that this trip was business and leisure combined so it was a peace campaign.
After the dinner as always he was checking the arrangements for the evening “Timeo” cocktail time. He was sure that everything was perfected and started his favorite routine — with two huge pristine napkins he was cleaning the glasses while keeping an eye on people around.
Clo got excited when late at night the sad with his daughter approached the bar stand. After two glasses of whiskey and a cocktail he finally heard the password phrase: “Friend, it is indeed no worse than in the USA. Sending the best wished from the motherland. My friends still cannot forget your “whiskey soire”, — the American smiled with his white teeth and winked to Claudio. After he received the smile back he took his daughter and went away.
If someone would tell me that one day the human world would stop to exist and I was supposed to choose the one person who would get to survive, I would never hesitate to choose her. I guess this is the space. Endless wild tenderness. Tenderness that makes the person the happiest in the world while going through the worst sufferings. Suffering from know the impossibility of being being together till the end of your days. Suffering from knowing that one day some man would appear and he would be more important in her life. I guess it is the true life when you wish the person just to be happy. To be happy with every cell of her body. Sometimes I take her clothes and smell in. The scent so familiar and so sweet. The scent if love, happiness, the scent that is so pure and clean. I make my bed, pit my pillow, put your favorite toy beat next to it and wait for you to put on a pajama. I would tuck you in. I would step by during the night to check on you. Sleep my baby. Sleep my best person in the world. Sleep my daughter.
The first step was the negotiation with people who were responsible for sending the goods to Sicilia and later to America and Europe. The dome confirmed to Duncan in another crypted note that all main arrangements had been done and they were just missing some details.
The meeting was assigned for the morning in a separate room not far away from Sam’s. Claudio was making sure that there would be no eavesdropping and was on his spot. Christy had been sent on a walk with a hotel worker.
The talk did not have an agenda but the men predicted some possible options and came up with signs for each other.
Duncan had a light breakfast with his daughter in a room, put on a robe on his silk pijama and went to the room that had been checked before. Clo was already there laying in the couch with a book full of Silian photos. They had discussed everything yesterday — Sam in the chair behind the table, their guest in a lower but bigger chair in front. It had to be lower so he would not be able to be back at his feet too fast. Claudio was sitting the guest’s back controlling the meeting.
Three minutes after the meeting time someone knocked at the door. Claudio waited for the Duncan’s affirmative nod and opened the door. The guy with a European appearance came in. He had a tan that you can get only out if this continent. His name was Brecht. It was not giving them any information but his German roots. He was pretty tall with a shaved face and a relaxed posture that suited someone who was not at the top of this operation. Also he was not a latino even though had arrived apparently from Argentina or Mexico.
After the handshake men sat as it had been planned. The German did not “read” the move with the lower chair and did not pay attention to Claudio who was at his back. This confirmed that he was not a professional. Undeniably he was trusted to be negotiating here but he was not the one that Sam would never forget in his life. Sam had seen real fascists. Those who did not respect honor. Just a fanatic faith in their uniqueness and cold blood cruelty.
There was no place for humanity in the syndicate as well. But they had rules. And breaking them meant to be banished from the family, being s rogue or even being eliminated. These rules were about common people being untouched. When families were going against each other only men participated. Their families did not suffer and were getting money in case of lost if their bread winner. This rule was letting men to have families without the fear for their lives. Though there was also a place for inhuman cruelty. People who had killed the man of the family would come to his funeral, swearing to his family in their pure intentions and after they would still take over the business of the dead one.
Fascists were different. Everyone for them were like meat. They did not have any empathy. They did not fear the God. Children, women, elderly people were just a part of the animal world for them. And the world belonged to the Aryan nation. Sam hated them. He could not even call them humans.
— Are you ready? Let’s begin. I really do not want to be stuck in this village for more than a week, — the German was too comfortable in the chair so he laid back with his legs crossed and with hatred in his stare.
Sam was keeping silence for some minutes. Brecht lost his patience and said again:
— Have you heard me? I asked you a question.
— Do not rush. Big business does not like to be hurried. I have heard your question and I am trying to come up with an answer, — Sam was more amused by him than threatened. He wanted to kick this upstart but the business was more important. He would fail the campaign if this negotiation would not work out. — Yes, we have everything ready. We are ready to meet your ship in the neutral water, take the cargo and bring it to Messina. Afterwards the cargo would follow our paths to Europe and States.
Sam took the pencil and was showing the planned scheme of the cargo path when the German interrupted him:
— Stop, stop, stop. Messina? We are taking the cargo to Tunisia. Palermo is just across of it. We will bring it there with the commercial documents. After that you can do with the cargo whatever you want.
— Mister Brecht. We are responsible for this step in the operation. And we insist on Messina. Every detail is crucial. Especial details of the security. Messina is controlled by us. Palermo seaport is also ours but the work there is going day and night. There thousands of eyes would see us. In Messina we can guarantee one hundred percent security.
— Nonsense! — the German wanted to stand up and failed. — I was told that you are controlling all Sicily, — Brecht pointed a finger in his opponent, — and now you are telling me some nonsense about the security on your own territory. We are not planning to sail longer than five— six hours. It is up to you but we are not going to Messina.
— I will repeat one more time. We are ready to meet you in the neutral water. The cargo has to come to Messina. That is where starts our traffic, — Duncan remained calm but he started to be annoyed by the neglect attitude of the German
— Mister…I forgot your name. You are apparently not getting it. We are doing our business, it is our cargo. You have an honor to bring it from one point to another, — Brecht’s eye started to twitch and he was trying to calm himself down.
— Relax, we are here to discuss the details. We are interested in the positive end if the operation just like you are. And we would be able to keep the end of our deal only with this rout, — Sam was polite and his voice was firm.
— Why are you repeating the same thing? We decide here what to do. Your Sicilian poshness works only for your own peasants. We are the greatest nation that took over the entire world. And if not for the crazy fanatic we would still have our power and you would be our servants with no right to ask these stupid questions. — The German was losing it and Duncan started to show discreet signs to his partner.
— We respect you but our interests prevail for us. I am not planning to discuss nationalities with you as it has nothing to do with our business. And I have to repeat one more time that the only acceptable rout starts in Messina. If you do not like it, we call off the deal.
Brecht became red from the rage — he could not leave this room without the arrangements being made. He was not a negotiator he has been thinking that he would be able just to press his opponent. But now he was not able to think straight and to make any decisions. There was nothing bad accepting the Messina’s offer but now he could not go back after everything he had said. Having nothing better in his mind he just hussed:
— How arrogant can you be? We have made you strong. We tamed this psycho Mussolini and made him a leader. And then you were running like rats from the sinking ship. Now you just bent over the Americans and now you are crawling in front if them just like you have done with us. And you, — he pointed his finger at Sam, — if you do not understand anything get out of here. Ask for someone smarter.
These words did not need an answer. Any words would mean a defeat.
Sam jumped out of his seat and Clo pressed in the shoulders of the German from the back. Duncan grabbed a pencil from the table and stabbed it into the nose of Brecht. He yelped but did not move. Claudio kept pressing on his shoulders.
Brecht was more scared than he was in pain. This action left him shocked. Pencil went half way through and stayed there while blood was streaming down his face.
Sam leaned to his ear and whispered:
— You could have stayed on this island just for the words that you have said. Let’s consider that I have not heard anything. By the evening I am waiting at what time and when we are meeting your ships around Messina, — he dropped on his knees a pristine napkin and left the room with his assistant leaving the German with the pencil in his nose.
Sometime you just want to rip someone. But these are just emotions. The decisions had to be made with the cold blood. But without emotions there would be no decisions either. The rage might sometimes be a driver to the actions that you would have never be ready for. The real player is always subconsciously searching for the edge to walk by.
I have not restrained myself. But I also did not have another choice. Any other conversation with this animal would have just made everything worse.
After we left Brecht in the room and returned to my suit and waited. His reaction could have been unpredictable but I was sure that I have won.
Till the late evening I did not leave my room waiting for an answer. A couple of cigars and half of the bottle of whisky helped me to wait for Claudio who came at midnight. Germans are ready to bring the cargo to Messina.
It was a small victory and breathed out with a relief. Clo was also satisfied and we celebrated it with another whiskey glass. Getting closer to my companion we were discussing our future plans regarding the operation.
But the new order from the dome got me surprised. I got an encryption that made me doubt the rightness of my chefs.
“Hello, my dear friend. I have a little favor to ask. My friends from another continent are busy with the lemon transportation to Sicily. But they own three thousand dollars in the seaport of Messina. I am asking you to do a favor to my friends and eliminate this debt after the cargo dispatch. Do not bother yourself, send someone from your companions”.
I reread the note about ten times before burning it. The sense was absolutely clear: the dope was ordering to eliminate those people who would be responsible for the dispatch.
Apparently it is the condition if the fascists. They could not let anyone see their faces, know about their existence. For the whole world they were gone long time ago. They have been eliminated from the human kind.
According to the note this elimination was for Claudio to perform. Tomorrow I have to go to Corleone to meet the person who would provide us with people. I have to make sure that all the details were clear for him and I was coming back to America the day when the cargo would be dispatched in Messina.
Now planning the meeting and feeling as a friend of Claudio I could not stop thinking. More probably all of his people would be eliminated, maybe including him. I immediately got sober. I was overwhelmed. All the drank whisky disappeared. I saw now how the dome is eliminating its own people in the sake of enemies. That has never happened before.
They got out after the breakfast. Sam did not want to hurry. He wanted to show to his daughter all the places where many years ago he was protecting the peace of this land. It had been a while since Duncan was driving for the last time. He was a little bit anxious but it was a satisfying feeling. The road was clear and they were driving in a cabriolet with no roof on top of them. Chris was laughing holding her hat. they were singing, playing games and stopping at the gas stations to have some muffins and coffee.
They had been driving for more than three hours when the scenery became more scarce, with rare trees. Villages changed to little communities on the hills. Sam knew that in a couple of kilometers they would need to turn and all the way up the hill. Burned soil was like a warning line between ordinary life and the life full of dark secrets. Like the nature itself was protecting people with a fence, showing to any passersby that it is better not to cross this line.
The black Mercedez with no roof stopped for second before the turn and then accelerated up the hill towards hidden in silence godfathers. Protecting each other the silence and these people got close, they never went down from the hill ruling the world from up there.
Sam remembered this places but so many years have passed that he could have got it wrong. It was already dark and chilling, the level of the gas was close to zero. Chris was sleeping and he was starting at the dark trying not to miss the right turn.
Suddenly the road ended. Like it was a dead end, there was nothing around them. Just rocks, rare plants and a scaring silence of the darkness.
Though in a second after Sam shutted down the engine a man with a rifle stepped out of the darkness. he checked the car, glanced inside and mumbled: “They are waiting for you, hurry up”.
Duncan woke up his daughter and they followed the man into the silence of the night.
It was cold. getting out at the heat of the midday Duncans did not suppose that They would have to be walking somewhere at night. Soon the girl got cold. the scarf of her dad was not helping her and unfortunately he could not share any other clothes with her.
The road was difficult. They were walking on a cross— country road. the man to whom he was going was living in a complete loneliness deep in the woods. it was impossible to just stumble upon his place. Even if you would know where to go his people would have noticed you long before you would even approach.
Chris was shaking. he hugged her trying to share some of his warmth with her. he should have insist on leaving the hotel earlier. But she wanted so much to spent the day on the beach so he could not have protested.
After thirty minutes of walking when they could not bare more, a stone building appeared from the darkness. It could not be called a house. It was like a barn. The territory was surrounded by the cast iron fence. The Italian who they were following whistled a tune and the gate started to open. they saw men with the guns. The bright spotlight was showing the person who just came in but everyone inside were covered by darkness. The security saw them and he was not able to see anything.
They stepped inside the gate that closed just behind them. They went around the building to the porch with a man on it. The dim light was falling down on his face.
Sam recognized Giuseppe Russano. They have never met before but this man was one of the most famous among mafia.
This man was a successor of don Callo. Russano was a peasant who had a strong will and great personal charm that helped him to up the career ladder. His face was on the covers of newsletters. He was overly dressed and was being interviews dozens of times as his career in the government was moving up faster than the one in mafia.
Sam heard the rumors is States that Gina Lollobrigida as he was nicknamed, stopped being a part of mafia as he had become too famous. He was a manager in a bank, a part of Christian Democratic Party, a mayor of a little town. His connections were growing wide and it was suspicious for his shadows colleagues.
Everything has changed since the first mafia war. Giuseppe survived. It was important. But his official career got ruined and he got arrested. After five years he was realised and went completely undercover, controlling his family and business from the island’s depth.
Russano gave his hand to Sam and with a smirk said:
— Let’s go.
Sam took his daughter’s hand and followed the Sicilian to the house.
— My daughter is cold. Could you take her to fire, give her something warm and maybe a cup of hot coffee? — he pushed Chris I little bit forward.
— Yes, sure, — it was like Giuseppe was saw the girl. He kneeled in front of her and touched her cheek.
— My little bird, — he called for someone from another room, — could you please take out young guest with you and get her warm?
I woman stepped out of the room. She was around thirty five years old but the face was still unseen. It was covered by her dark hair. She came to the girl, leaned, kissed her on the cheek and led her from the room.
In a little room there was nothing but a dinner table and a couple of chairs. Ordinary grey walls, no accessories. There was only one shelf on the floor. There was a greenish bottle with the water and a glass on top of it. the only window was covered by the white patch of cloth. The light bulb was hanging from the ceiling.
Russano came out in couple of minutes with a jar of red wine and two glasses with the plate of cheese and bread.
Men sat down
— It has been a while since an American person entered this house. It has been a decade that my brothers from overseas remembered about my existence. Again everyone is powerless without Giuseppe Russano, — he smirked again and it was obvious that he was pleased that someone was sent to him. he was not delusional about friendliness of his American colleagues but the fact that someone needed him from another continent was playing on his ego.
— The business that were are doing now no mistakes are possible. So we came to one person who is the best in it, — Sam saw the ego of his opponent and decided to feed it a little bit more.
— The business complicated but clear. As always poor old Giuseppe has to do all the dirty work, — he gulped the wine and filled the glass again. — We will do it. It is our land and we own it. There is only one question. My reward that I will get from it.
— I would not be talking about the reward as the outcome of the operation is still unclear. We cannot predict how fast the cargo will be sold and what will be the prices. There are so many people in this operation that it is impossible to count the reward of each. I can count for you a fix price for every delivered cargo. We realize the difficulties and we are ready to invest money before the cargo will be sold. Five thousand dollars for each container.
— Five k for every container might be a good price. but not for me.
— We all consider you as our brother whom we respect. So I am not bargaining with you, I tell you straight forward the highest price that is possible. Just the first stage is about moving manually more than a hundred of containers. it is half a million dollars. If everything goes well, there will be at least five stages more, — in a sign of respect sam finished his glass and leaned back in his chair, waiting. Is Russano going to answer first or he will fill the glass first?
Giuseppe paused to think. He was searching for the right answer and he needed a couple of seconds more. He leaned to reach the jar to fill the glass of his guest when he heard a barely noticeable noise of the falling stones. He fell to his knees, rolled twice and stopped next to the wind with a revolver. Duncan was on his position under the table.
— Roe deers, — Russano glanced out of the window to check if the noise was from the animal.
The house was on the top of the hill and was surrounded by stones. It was impossible for the man to come closer to the window without revealing himself with a noise.
— Everything is fine. You are in a good shape, — Sam stood up, put the chair back and sat on his previous spot.
Giuseppe sat on a window sill. He needed some time to recover. he inclined his head and looked at Duncan:
— I agree. What you have done for my family is priceless. We will not be bargaining. You are right — we are brothers.
Sam felt flushed by this confession but just nodded as a sign of respect and gratuite. Siciliano realised that his vis— a— vis had no clue what was really happening and called:
— Martina, my bird, bring us a some more wine.
— Martina… — Duncan could just whisper. he felt like the cold water was thrown at him. This name could belong to only one woman. Or to be clear to only one seven years old girl.
The woman with a huge mop of dark hair entered the room. She brushed away a dark stride from her face and looked at Sam. It was practically impossible to recognise her after all these years. But he knew that it was her.
She ran to him and as many years ago hugged his neck. She knew that he was coming but she had promised to her husband to stay covered.
This meeting shocked Duncan. They were holding each other remembering days of 1943. Sometimes Martina was letting go off her savior but just to look at his face and then to hug him again.
The Italian was not interrupting. He was well aware of this story from his second father, don Carlo, who was also a father to Duncan. But Giuseppe did not know about all the plans of the American. He was calm now, he trusted Sam and he was happy for Martina. he knew how much she had wished to see him again.
Duncan could not get over the anxiety. he was thinking about the rescued girl, about Nazis, about everything that had happened thirty years ago. He remembered Callodjano Vizzini, his family. He was thinking about his present mission on the island. he felt again as cold water fell on him. For the first time in his life he did not know what to do. never in his life he had faced such a choice. His brain knew that it was not a time to be emotional. The deed was the deed. the dome trusted him and he had no other way but to follow the instructions. But he knew that he was not ready to cross this line. He would not be able to betray himself.
Eventually he got over his emotions and calmed down. He was not supposed to decide something right now. He had some time.
Giuseppe interrupted his thinking. he sent Martina to keep doing the home business. men got back to the table to the discussion of the future operation.
It was raining outside. For this places thunderstorms were a rare thing to see. the little barn was excluded from the outside world by the water wall. Two men, the woman and and the girl were in the house like in some other world. Their fates were interlinked and the rain was washing down all the darkness of the circumstances.
One of the most powerful and rich people on the island were standing in the middle of the room listening to the message of the heaven. The drops that were falling from the ceiling for counting the passing time.
The numbness was broken by Martina who entered the room:
— Sam, I think Christiana is sick. She is feverish.
— Oh my God, — Duncan put down the glass and hurried after the woman into the room when his daughter was sleeping.
The girl was laying on a small iron bed under the cover. Sam leaned to touch her forehead with his lips. She had a fever, no less than thirty eight degrees. She was breathing hard.
— Do you have any medications here?
— No, we are being brought everything that we need. We have only iodine and bandages.
— Ok. Can you bring me some water and a towel? I want to do a compress.
— Yes sure, I will, — Martina ran to the kitchen while Sam started to read his own pray.
She was getting worse. She was husking hard. It was getting more difficult for her to breath. At some moment she woke from the fear that she would not be able to breath again.
— Daddy, am I sick? I cannot breath.
— Sweetheart, everything will be fine. You just caught a little cold. You need to drink some warm milk and you will get better, — he went down on his knees to hug her. Martina had gone to the kitchen to prepare the milk.
Chris was barely breathing. The milk had not helped her. She was husking something but her words were not clear.
Sam ran out of the room to search for Giuseppe.
— She needs a doctor. Now. I am begging you bring him! — Duncan was holding his fists together asking for a medical help.
Giuseppe looked at his wife and saw that it was really serious. Silently he went outside.
Sam came back to his daughter. She wanted to cry but she could not. Fear and panic got into her. And from that she was getting even worse. She wanted to hold to her dad but as the result her hands were just grabbing the air.
Sam did not know how to help her. he was helpless and the tears were running down his face. he was taking her into his hands, he was putting her back, he was running out of the room. He was passing by the window praying to God to help her.
Christiana was trying to catch more air. She had to open her mouth wide to breath in. her heart rate started to slow down and she was going into seizure.
Sam was groaning. He wanted to cry. he knew that he was the only one who could help her.
— My bird, my little gummy bear. relax, sunshine. I am here. I am with you. I will help you, — Sa, was trying to talk to her but she was just husking back with her eyes wide open and full of terror.
— Martina! Bring me cold wet sheet! — Sam was yelling. Martina who had been sitting before in the corner hiding her tears ran towards the wardrobe and then to the sink. She brought it back to Duncan.
He undressed his daughter, rolled her into the wet sheet and ran with her into the woods.
He saw a couple of cocktail straws on the table. He always had a knife in his pocket. He was crying. he knew that if she would get worse he would have to do konikotomia. He had never done it in his life. But he saw Bedok doing it. The soldier had choked on meat and James saved him with a poke in between the gristles and a straw.
They were outside. It was cold and rainy. He was standing on the porch trying to calm her down. She was getting better. She was relaxed. He sat on the wet stairs and held her tight, whispering fairy tales. She started to breath, the fear disappeared from her eyes. She was getting better.
The doctor arrived. He diagnosed catarrhal croup. He did s shot, checked her temperature, blood pressure and assured Duncan that she would be fine.
Christiana fell asleep. Sam was sitting next to her bed, listening to her breathing. The rough day was over. It was over now. Tiredness was getting him. He was falling to sleep and jerking up again to check on her. Everything was fine. The illness was over.
“My girl. You are sleeping now. the worst is over now. I have never been more afraid in my life. I was ready to sacrifice everything just to help you. I realized today that I have nothing more precious than you. Now you are better, you are breathing and you are asleep. Do not be afraid, I am here, I m guarding your sleep”.
I tucked in the cover, brushing the stride of hair from her face, kissing her on the cheek. Feeling her small hot palm in mine I knew who am I. I am a father, who is loving without any reasons. I am person who would come for the rescue and help.
“I was not supposed to take you with me. I have to eliminate the smallest of the risks from your life. I wanted to show you these places that are marked by god. I wanted you to get power from here. You are my daughter, you are everything I have. Even though it was the best trip in my life I am asking for a forgiveness. Forgive me for failing to protect you”
I guess it was a lesson for me. I sign. I was protecting my family for all my life but I was also putting it in danger. I always knew my risks but I will not put her in this. If it has been a sign it means that I have to do the right thing. the one that will be followed by my heart and love.
It was getting cold. It was already autumn. Here you always feel the change in seasons. It feels more vivid. Not only in the temperature but also in colors, in silence, in smell. Christy fell asleep and now I can get outside to breath in this heavy smell. The whole island is asleep but i knew that there was something important happening in this silence. Under the cover of darkness people became who they were. Claudio, the bartender, everyone were taking off their masks. Sitting behind their desks, judging the fates of others, weightening money against human lives
I am one of them. But everyone has their own boundaries. Boundaries that are not crossed even from the fear of death. And now I am facing this choice. Just like back there when I was breathing in the same air and making the decision to stay with Sicily forever. But I had been free. I had nothing to lose. Now it is different. I am standing in a crossfire. Whatever choice I make I will hurt someone I care about. But it have not been me who put brothers against each other. I just happened to be between them in a situation when only one stands.
Every third of the cigar is different. The beginning. The middle. The end. You can close your eyes, breathing the heavy smoke and guess which part was it. In this silence everything is brighter. I feel the fire next to my lips and I know I have smoked the half. And finally more sour taste telling me that I have left around ten minutes with this cigar.
The beginning. The middle. The end. Flowing just like a life changing its colors and tastes. Though when we breathe in the smoke we knew how much we have left from the cigar. The life is unpredictable. Everything can end in any second.
The middle has been gone, and it has been gone for the long time. So it will not be so disappointing if the end would come unexpectedly. I have lived everything it was worth living. My family, my business, my dreams. I have it all and the thing that I have left is not to betray myself. Be myself regardless the circumstances or the duties. The decision will be only mine and it will not be influenced by anything but only by true me.
The Duncans spent two days in the Russano’s house. The girl was recovering fast. Young strong body and the healthy air helped. On the third morning the doctor allowed them to go for a walk. The temperature was down, the fever was gone and the voice was coming back to her. They put the lunch in a box, took the cover and a table cloth and went for a little trip to the mountains of Sicily.
The landscape was all about meadows and hills of different height. Burnt yellow grass was covering the firsty ground. There were practically no rains this autumn and as knowing it the sun was shining a little bit more dim. Just a three hour drive from Taormina but the nature was completely different. The colors were different. No so green but with this amazing sunny color that was spiced with the orange glitter.
They were wondering and talking. They were crossing the olive and lemon trees listening to the smell. They were getting on top of the hills to enjoy the view.
After an hour and a half of the walking they picked a spot with a shadow to have a lunch. Christiane like to take care of her father so she started to make the table. As a table they used a little flat hill. They put a cloth on it and got out the cheese, some bread, ham and tomatoes. Sam was admiring his daughter and was taken aback when she got a bottle of wine that she had got especially for him.
The lunch was great. This simple food was connecting them to the surrounding nature. Everything had been grown here. Sam was tell his daughter the origin of every product. How to grow tomatoes, how many times you have to water them, how to milk goats and how to dry meat. And after some sips of wine he leaned against the tree, hugged her a started to tell about the wine.
— It is correct to say “nero d’Avola” instead of “calabrese”, — Sam raised the glass checking the absolute different color of the wine against the sun.
— It is really interesting to listen to you but how can I understand it if I have never tried wine? — she smiled and raised her eyes to her dad.
He got her hint even though he played as if had not and continued:
— “Black from Avola” — is one of the most famous sorts of red grapes from here. Together with “grillo” they are known around the world. I have a secret to tell you, — he whispered, — wine business started back in the fifth century when Sicily was a Greek colony.
There was nothing secret in this information but he knew how to get attention of his daughter.
— Sicilian wine got famous much later. It happened thanks to Marsala and its wine. At the end of the eighteenth century an English seller got into the storm and had to moor in Marsala. He tried some of the wines there and loved them so much that instead of soda he bought a couple of wine bottles. In order to keep the wine from going bad he put a but of distillate in the barrels. That is how famous marsala wine appeared. It was a sensation in England. Even Nelson said once “This wine is so good that we should add to the daily rational if our seamen. So England helped to make the wine production permanent and they started their trade route from Sicily to England.
— Daddy, are you drinking this wine now? — she sniffed the glass of her dad trying to get the smell.
— No, baby. It is a completely different one. After marsala many other types of grapes were discovered. “Black from Avola” is one if them, — Sam wiggled the glass letting the wine to breath and gave it to her.
— What do you feel? Do you hear cherry, plum and some spicery?
— Mmm, it does have a really nice smell. Of course I hear it, — she pretended to understand all of it and did another try looking at her dad.
— Ok, fine, but just a little sip, — Duncan finished the wine with one gulp and poured some drops there for her after mixing it with some water as well.
After the dinner they got sleepy and fell asleep under the tree. After half an hour they woke up, drank some water and continued their trip. In couple of minutes they saw a little village in front of them. Sam knew that there was a mail post with a phone so they headed there.
— Baby, look. Here is the post office. Let’s send a letter home and call someone, — Sam needed to complete a very important stage of the operation where his daughter played a key role.
— Cool. Let’s do that. Can I do it myself?
— Of course, sunshine. I wanted to call uncle Jacy. But if you will talk so better call for Robbie or Amanda and just say hi from me to him.
— Sure, just dial the number, — she sat on the chair waiting for the reply from the other side of the world.
The decision was made. My future life will change or it might even end but there was no other way.
It is just business. I knew who would have been my partners in this operation. I undoubtedly accepted everything as I hated Nazis. It was supposed to be a good deed but it turned around. The dome decided to set their own people up for the sake of money. They decided to kill two birds with one stone: to complete the deal and to eliminate the opponent. Russano was never being fully controlled. They neglected the rule. But I cannot do that. I am not doubting the decisions of the dome, I am not judging. I just cannot do it. I am making my own choice.
To make this decision was hard. To bring it to life will be ten times harder. I have to get off the hook while messing up the plans of the Nazis. We will earn more money. But not they. not nazi.
The deal of this scale will not be forgotten. It can change the geography, the people, the way of realization, but the deal will be done. The outcome is too big to be forgotten.
I have to expose these beasts. At least those ones who will come to Sicily. This time the deal will be called off but it will save Sicilians’ lives. Lots of people will end up in jails but not for long. The biggest problem of this decision was to transfer this information to people who would be able to catch them in Messina’s seaport. And do it without framing themselves. Other way I would be sentenced to death. The main questions are: to whom should I give this information and how? FBI is not an option. We have plenty of our people inside who would figure that out immediately. To give it to our rivals also does not have sense. They will just start a massacre with no predictable result. I also cannot tell this to Giuseppe. To open up would mean to be controlled by him.
But I found solution. Old uncle Jacy, the fear of nazi James Bedok was not a successful selling manager of the air conditioning company, he was a deeply shadowed agent of DEA. He got into the drug control department not so long ago. In 1973 a couple of service that were taking care of the drug distribution were united into the department under the control of the US General Prosecutor.
James knew the prosecutor since the Korean war and he involved him in it as knew James’s war experience in military operations on the Asian territory. My old military comrade under the cover of the air conditioner seller was going frequently to Asia, Latin America. There he was holding the operations of the poppy flower fields elimination, elimination of the weed and cocaine plantations. His task was to eliminate drug production on its very first stage. He was not interested in the transportation or selling it so he had nothing to do with Sicilian or American mafia. Of course he knew whom I became since we were fighting together on the Sicilian hills. But I was not into the drug business so we were just friends not paying attention to our work fields. I know that he knows the general Prosecutor in person and he has the power to do it. He can cover it with a legend about the drug transportation elimination that is actually happening here in Sicily. The problem was that i had no idea how tell him about nazi who were preparing their moor in the Messina’s seaport. The direct call was impossible. He can watched as well I can be watched. Any information leak — I am dead. But i am running out of time and I need to deliver this information while I am in Sicily.
The decision came up. As always my only daughter is my only saviour. In a smallest Sicilian village, in a post office, Christiane called er friends. She was calling at the time when they were at school so the call was picked up by their dad. She talked to uncle Jacy, regretted that she did not talk to Robbie and Amanda. She sent a hi to the Husky cat and added: “here, in Sicily, is just as good as in Nurnberger. I have heard about it in some movie and I have been dreaming to get there. So sad that we will not be able to see the seaport in Messina as in two day in the midday we are flying back to States”.
Saying hi to the cat was a long agreed code between them. It meant that next words would have a double meaning and would be words asking for help. They could not talk more clear. Now everything would depend on how clear my friend will understand my message.
Now everything depends on him and on the God. In two days everything will start and end. But the outcome is unpredictable.
Two last days they spent in a hotel. “Timeo” was full of guests and there were plenty attractions. Sam was worried about how his friend had understood him. But he knew that he had done everything in his power. he decided to let go of thinking for these two last days and to dedicate himself to Christiane. They had gone to the beach of “St.Andrea” in the morning and now they were coming back to the mountains. After the lunch sleep they were getting ready for the dinner.
They were enjoying each other’s company as it was their first trip together. They started to have a new kind of the relationship. They were as different as they were similar. A little world was born between mature strong man and a little tender girl.
They started to have their own traditions. After the beach they were having a rest before going for dinner. For every evening they had a special outfit. Sam was choosing a suit for himself while Chris was getting him the tie and french cuffs. Then they were choosing a dress for her and asking a hairdresser to come. After both of them would be ready they were coming down.
This habit was special. People were not only admiring them but it was also possible to tell the time when they were coming down.
Sam took his daughter’s hand. In the other one he was holding his cane. They were slowly walking down the terrace, looking at everyone around. Sam would slightly raise his hat as greeting while Chris was smiling to everyone, happy and proud.
They passed by the bar where they would always find a ready glass of champagne and a red fresh rose. Getting each their items they were heading to their usual seat in the conner of the terrace.
They knew the menu by heart, but still they were advising each other, talking to the waiter and giving their suggestions to the chef. Christ would rapidly finish everything and already knowing what to order for the dessert she would ask her dad for a piece of advice. Sam was moving his lips, as trying something, before giving his suggestions.
The end of the evening was also amazing. The life music was playing since the beginning of the dinner. They could not just pass by the piano where an elderly Italian was playing in a white suit. They were starting to dance as soon as they were getting into the dance zone. Sometimes they were holding hands, sometimes they were watching each other dancing, clapping.But everyone would stare at them in awe when they were dancing waltz. Every time the music was the same and everyone was turning their heads around to see the most beautiful couple of the evening.
The evening was coming to its end and they had to go back to America tomorrow. Now Sam realized how tired he was.
— Daddy, it is really great here but I am already missing our home, — Christ was getting ready to sleep in her favorite pink pijama.
— I know, baby. I also miss it. Tomorrow we are going home, — he tugged her and laid down next.
— I really liked it here. It was so interesting, — she was practically sleeping already and her voice was getting more and more silent. — Sicily is so calm and quiet. People are different here. And the silence. It knows how to talk here. The sun, the sea, these mountains and the lemon trees — everything is alive. You are like under their protection. And this silence speaks to you. You just need to learn how to listen.
Last words she practically whispered and in a second fell asleep.
— Good night, my daughter, — Sam kissed her on her cheek, breathed in the smell of her hair and went to his room. Tomorrow would be a hard day. He should go to sleep.
What is it all for? Was it worth walking on the minefields all these years? Or you should be as everyone — be happy about simple things in your life? Family, house, work — and repeat. And this is the greatest happiness I was working for. In the greatest number of cases it is impossible to combine these two lives. There is a thin edge that you are walking by. this balance is like a road no thinner than one millimeter. You lost your balance you lost everything. But you cannot and more importantly you so not want to change your road. It is your honor. And what is honor? Follow your path. Whatever it is. To accept it, to make the first step on this path. First it is like a red silk carpet and then it looks more like a field after a bomb attack. But you follow it, you do not get out. This is happiness. The aim is not important. You walk and the quality of the road does not matter to you.
Your jaw is numb from anxiety you are shaking from the feeling of the danger but you know. You are in. And you are happy.
Sam woke up at the dawn. The anxiety was not letting him sleep. Their flight to America was at two p.m. They still had time to pack and to have a breakfast. Last night the cargo had been transported in the neutral waters and now was supposed to be in Messina.
The operation was going smoothly, the Duncans can go home.
Sam was not waking up his daughter, she had a couple of hours left to sleep. He was silently packing. Too slow, to get over his stress, he was packing the clothes, rolling the toyes into the paper and checking every corner not to forget things.
He finished packing. It was time to wake her up. He crawled to her room and stopped for second to just look at her. Morning sun and her loving father’s look was waking her slowly, letting her enjoy the dream and the reality at the same time. Chris was opening her eyes and then falling back to sleep until she realised that her dad was here. She stretched enjoying the beautiful morning.
They had a breakfast on the terrace. In hotel everyone knew that they were leaving and tried to make everything perfect so the latest hours would be greatest. Christiane was given toys, little souvenirs and for the trip to the airport they had a special hotel limousine.
On the way to the airport the girl got a little bit sad. She was missing her home and was looking forward coming back. But now, just right before the departure she realized that she would miss Sicily. She would miss this amazing place where she got to know so many things. Chris was sitting on the lap of her dad looking out of the window, saying bye to the glittering sea, to the friendly sun and to the silence that had taught her to be thoughtful and to be appreciating.
— Ladies and gentlemen we are getting ready for taking off. We are asking you to fasten your seatbelts and to turn off your electronic devices, — the familiar phrase distracted Sam from his thoughts. He helped his daughter to fasten her seatbelt, asked a glass of water and closed his eyes hoping to recover his sleep.
— Daddy, daddy, look! — the plane was already accelerating when the voice of Christiane woke him up. — I feel I just saw uncle Jacy next to this grey plane!
Duncan looked out of the window and saw a military plane next to them on the taking off line. Men were getting out of it without any specific uniform, walking down the stairs towards the military cars.
The first car started to move and Sam saw the familiar japanese head tape on the front seat.
— Baby, uncle Jacy is now in the office counting the profit from his conditioners, — he smiled, kissed her on the top of her head and got again comfortable in the seat.
I do not know what will happen next. In a couple of hours we will land in New York and I will be again walking on this thin edge above the deadly height.
But I am not afraid. I stayed on my way, I did not miss this turn that the fate has given me. I did what I had to and it does not matter what the outcome will be.
This island again silently asked me questions and gave me an opportunity to answer.
— Daddy, I came up with my author, — the plane was getting the hight and the girl unfastened her seatbelt and put her hands on his shoulder.
— What, baby? — Duncan did not get enough sleep yet and he did not know what his daughter was talking about.
— Da-a- ad…We should end our game. Now it is my turn to tell you.
— Oh, of course, I am listening, — Sam finally woke up, turned to her and got ready to listen.
— Be careful, it will be an unusual story. It will not be that easy to guess the author.
— Great, the more complicated, the greater.
— So, — Christ looked up at the sealing then to her dad and continued: — One little girl was flying to different planets in her own jet. She was traveler and she wanted to know the difference between the planets. On her next trip she went to the planet that was called Sicily. She had been told that people there loved the sun, the flowers and the sea, not numbers.
— That is very interesting, — Sam felt something familiar but could not guess yet.
— From one place in Sicily, in an old castle “Timeo” a volcano could be seen. And the most beautiful sunset in the world. The girl really liked sunsets and was always watching them in her planet.
— I think I am close to guess. This girl got a friend on this new planet? Or maybe she tamed someone?
Chris smiled knowing that her dad had guesses but did not know what to feel. To be proud that she was so detailed with her author or that her dad got it so fast.
— Is it Exupery? Remember, we read “The Little Prince” together?
— Y-e-e-s, you are right, — the girl shined and got closer to her dad. — I decided to choose Exupery because he liked to travel. And he saw things differently. And he also thought that kids are smarter than adults.
— Baby, you are right. But in order to get into this completely you have to draw. Do you remember how many pictures were in the book that we have read?
— Right. Let me draw something, — the girl got pencils and the notebook out of her rucksack, got her table ready and started to draw.
At this moment Sam remembered the words of the Fox who was tamed by the little prince: "One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eye."
He asked for the glass of whisky, pulled his seat back and closed his eyes.