- Aug 25, 2002`That was a very brave thing for you to do,' said the nurse. `And
I'm proud. Not everyone would have the courage to do what you've
`Me, courageous?' Gio asked.
The nurse was giving him a sponge bath. All he did was lie
there, half-awake and too lethargic to move. The wash cloth felt
warm and damp over his shoulders.
`I don't think I'm all that brave,' he said in dim, drugged
voice, lying flat on his stomach.
`I said I'm not brave.'
To his colleagues in the New York Mafia he was a player well-
respected for his business savvy; but he did not think being
a `player' made him brave. His dalliances with the government
infrastructure, and the corrupt politicians therein, made him a
useful go-between in their drug smuggling activities; but he didn't
think being a `go-between' was brave, either. He had never once met
with a drug trafficker in a dark room, never touched drugs, never
directly dealt it or sold it, and indeed stayed as far away as
possible from Vince Serenghetti's drug underworld. Heroin was, to
him, a means to an end, not a life-style.
He thought of Elizabeth, the crown jewel of the Sinclair
family, tip-toeing through life like some ethereal gamine, siphoning
crucial, Top Secret information from her grandfather's filing cabinet.
`That girl's firecracker!'
`What was that?'
`But she's wrong. There is no CIA drug conspiracy to silence
the inner city masses.'
`You're talking in your sleep, Giovanni.'
`Am I?' he mumbled, unaware that he was.
Tides and tides of beingness washed over the length of body,
drawing him irresistibly into the liquid-floating sensation of a
shallow, half-conscious sleep; and it was a sleep filled with
dreams. Mental images appeared and disappeared around him, ebbed and
flowed through his mind, hovered like floating spectres moving
through some dark, semi-transparent mind-substance composed from
thought. He dreamt of the alley behind the Grand Emporium, of the
thunder and lightning, and of men kicking him and stabbing him in the
alley, and of himself lying there, above pain and suffering. There
was only divine silence, a feeling of release. Lightning knitted the
clouds without sound. He was dying in the alley that night. And
dying, he found, was the easiest, most natural, more cowardly thing
he had ever done. It was fighting death that was hell.
The nurse rung the washcloth over a dish of hot water. He
knew the water was hot because he had awoken and saw white tufts of
steam rising from the dish and from the washcloth which she twisted
in her hands. They were beautiful hands. She had shoulder-length
blond hair, wide child bearing hips and a sensual Rubenesque body
type that had a terrific way of re-establishing his contact with
Her beautiful hands turned his limp, wet, helpless body.
Now, he was lying face-up on the mattress.
`These drugs are something else,' he said.
`Are you queasy?'
`Oh yeah.' He yawned and smiled dazedly, rather embarrassed
by his nudity. The feeling of defenseless humbled him. Shyly, he
reached for a newspaper lying on the bed stand.
The nurse gave him the agitated look of a school mistress.
`What are you doing, Giovanni?'
`I'm checking out the news, sweet heart.'
`You can read the paper when you're well. Put it down.'
Smothered across the top of the newspaper, in the local news
section, was the headline: Giovanni Migliazzo Turns Snitch, Informs
on the Mafia. That was all Giovanni read before the nurse snatched
the paper from his hands. He did not say anything at first. He
lowered his arms, dismayed. A feeling of dread came over him.
`When did I inform on the Mafia?'
`There'll be time enough to deal with those matters,' she
said, and placed the newspaper on her nursing cart. `You need to get
some rest. Doctors orders.'
`Sheila!' he grabbed her arm in desperation. `When did I
inform on the Mafia? Tell me.'
`Yesterday. You don't remember?'
`No, God no. Sheila, what does the article say?'
`I don't know. I haven't read it, yet.'
`How did the paper get here?'
`The District Attorney must have left it here, when he
visited you an hour ago. You were asleep.'
Giovanni grabbed the paper from the cart. The article read:
A respected member of the business community, Giovanni
Migliazzo, shocked the Prosecutors Office yesterday, when he claimed
that Vince Serenghetti (long suspected the Godfather of the
Serenghetti crime family) also has ties to the Muscatatas, a Black
Shirt group suspected of a recent fire-bomb explosion killing three
left wing extremists.
The Red Confidantes hide out, located in Venice, was
destroyed in the February blast. The Reds, as they are called, are
an arising communist movement encouraging radical trade union
reforms, public transportation strikes, class struggles, and other
social reforms publicly denounced by the Church.
The General Hospital reports that Mr. Migliazzo is
recovering "nicely" after life-threatening injuries inflicted upon
him April 3, in an alley behind the Grand Emporium restaurant. No
suspects have manifested in the assault case.
"All efforts are being made to protect Giovanni Migliazzo
from possible retribution from the New York Mafia," said Sgt. Moro of
The last sentence enraged him, and in a tirade he bunched up the
newspaper and threw it against the wall. There was nothing the
police could do to protect him. The Mafia, he thought, will track me
down. They'll kill me, and I'll be there all over again. He would
return to that place he visited in the alley, the place he visited in
his brush with death: a sheer black nothing, vast and un-ending.
That he had once fought-off and conquered the Nothing no longer made
him feel so brave.
Chapter eight, "Sirius Chronicles," copyright 2002. Mathew Morrell.
All rights reserved.
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