Some sleep later, some better feelings.
Sunday, mid morning, out for a walk.
Not too cold, not a rainy day, just grey clouds above in the sky.
Not a windy day. Say today I feel comfortable.
Brinks out of sight, a coffee with croissant at L’Abetone, my own grey eyed lover out of reach - deep into her studies.
I just keep walking, feeling the calm of the day.
Some glance at shop windows, garment stores, real estate agents.
A soft touch on my elbow. Mario.
“Come follow me, young lad. We’re meeting people today.”
My immediate thought: the goods for them, money, handguns.
Mario reading my thoughts: “it’s just a preliminary, today. You meet them where they want, I introduce you, some talks. The aftermath is all on you.”
We leave on a small Citroen car, he might have some not connected to him.
We drive around, into the maze of warehouses and sparse small houses in the industrial district of the town.
Most of them regular, but if some goods are stolen this is the area to look for.
We drive into a backyard, as closed gate slides open, we park inside, iron gate swiftly closed behind us.
Three men sitting at a table, ashtrays, empty coffee cups.
The old guy, a wiry, tall, bald guy in his late fifties sands up, greeting Mario with a hug.
They start talking quickly in their dialect.
Me playing the dumb foreigner, but I pick some words. He thanks Mario for easing things a bit to his uncle - no names dropped. I assume the uncle has a leading role in their group, now serving time for some years.
Then I recall an episode my Italian friend told me about the local milieu.
Few crime gangs - family based ones - ruling the underworld here.
Even the wildest Nigerian gangs don’t dare against these families.
One local kingpin of them bashed a Nigerian mob’s head while in prison, permanent brain damage issued, no charge against him, no one dared, not even the prison guards.
Maybe the uncle the bald guy mentioned.
“Now it’s up to you, lad”, Mario says.
Then he leaves, iron gate open and swiftly closed. The small blue Citroen disappearing from sight.
Bald guy shows me a chair, let’s talk business.
“I’m Carlo. Your mentor Mario and us, well, we go way back. So you can talk to us, we listen.”
The two younger ones nodding in silence.
“Mario’s likely told you. I’m a stranger here. I’m here for a temporary business, you might help me in. Some good rewards for your group, not to be said in advance, but’s obvious to me”.
Bald guy Carlo winking, his buddies grin smirking.
“You sound real Italian, great. You look strange. Mario says you’re American. I believe you are more complicated than us. Hope your business won’t have adverse effects on our side of the table.”
Carlo drawing a huge cigar, offering me one.
“Mario told me to be explicit with you guys. Nothing will be against you. So I tell you what I need from you, if this suits you we talk about your fair compensation.”
“We four or just you and me, Carlo?”
Another nod to the guys there.
“My nephews, Gavino and Pietro are my eyes and arms. It’s their father that Mario’s helping a bit to be more comfortable given his temporary situation.”
“You must believe I’m Italian ‘cause i speak so well. Forget America. This is my rule number one. Plus I’m not completely American so leave transatlantic stuff out of your elaborations. Now and forever.”
“A bit more to pay, dude. We don’t even know your name.”
“We set a price for the ride, no extras, no after. You won’t dislike my offer.”
Gavino up for a round of coffees.
I explained quietly my needs.
Some discrete boat to and from the opposite coast.
Maybe some item to be carried, at my own presence only, don’t worry.
Some link there.
No drug trafficking at all, not by me, not by you on the side.
Since I trust you because of Mario, I’ll have to deal with some equivalent of your group there, dependability is the first need..
I’ll need backups there, connections.
I know for sure those ones like weapons, local power but they are old fashioned and they don’t appreciate drug trafficking. Which sound fine to me.
The group there will have some blackmail power, some knowledge. Say some prostitution ring high enough to keep decision makers’ eyes shut when it comes to them.
Carlo said fine to me.
Carlo said 10k for the job, 7 before 3 when done.
Carlo said the Morazzanis.
We are like cousins in different areas.
I said 5 before 5 when done plus 4 pieces they’ve never dreamed of, ammos and maintenance sets included.
He said ok.
I walked back home, called the handyman with a relative as a military a La Maddalena.
5 grands to have 500 g T4 and detonators in two days.
He said yes. Consider it done.
Tomorrow night I’ll drive to the warehouse.
Day after I’ll drive to some place near Tempio to meet the bent NCO, get my T4 plus detonators and stash all these goods down in Palmadula.