The well-dressed man, the Mafia representative, began to speak.
that he is willing to pay thousands of liras for information about
the…oh…um…foreign usurpers that are trying to muscle in on
their business. Pass the information onto local family members
(family are different factions of the Mafia), and you will be
protected from reprisals by the usurpers,” Daniel translated.
A big car drew up
and the man and his bodyguards got in and drove away. We all heaved a
sigh of relief when he drove away, it could have been a lot worse.
“What was all that
in aid of?” Nell asked.
“The Mafia are
really rattled about these ‘usurpers,’ as they call them,” Daniel
started. Nell chuckled.
“Puttana is not
Italian for usurper,” she remarked. I smiled. Even I knew what
puttana meant. Daniel blushed.
“Sorry, but he
used names that even made me blush,” he replied.
“Have we stumbled
into a turf war?” I asked. Daniel sighed.
to look more like it, and if Suzanne’s contact is right, motor
racing teams are involved. Not here in Italy; they know better than
to cross the Mafia, who are probably investing in teams to do their
smuggling, but the usurpers are bigger, better and can get the drugs
into Europe quicker and in bigger quantities. The Mafia Don, the guy
who spoke to everyone, is letting the Italian teams know, they want
the word spread among the motor sport fraternity, that they are not
going to take this laying down. Information will be rewarded and
retribution is coming for anyone helping the usurpers,” Daniel
that perhaps James found out who is running this drug ring,
threatened to go to the police or the Mafia, if he drove for one of
the Italian teams, and was killed before he could,” Nell said.
“Maybe. I think we
should get out of here as soon as possible. None of the Italian teams
or drivers are involved in this and crossing the Mafia is a death
sentence here. If the other gang has people here, I don’t want to
get caught in the crossfire,” Daniel said. Nell and I agreed.
We made our way back
to our hotel and started to pack up and make our way back to Nice.
I strolled onto my
balcony and spotted Jasmine by the pool. She was deep in conversation
with a familiar figure, Johnny Markham. Another man soon joined them.
He had a badly scarred face and what looked like the start of what is
known as plastic surgery. Beatrice had told me of this a couple of
years ago; it started helping men recover after being badly injured
in the trenches. I called Daniel’s room and asked him to come and
watch with me.
A knock on the door
told me Daniel was waiting. I opened the door to let him in.
“So what do you
think is going on?” he asked.
“I have no idea.
Johnny I can understand, he’s a friend of Pietro, but what is he
doing here? His teams aren’t here for this race?” I said.
“Any idea who the
scarred man is?” Daniel asked.
“I don’t know.
He’s not old enough to have been in the war and the scars are too
new,” I replied. Daniel nodded.
“I don’t think
there’s anything out of the ordinary. As you said, Johnny and
Pietro know each other. They scarred man could be a cousin or
something,” Daniel replied. I agreed; I was getting sidetracked and
seeing demons everywhere.
Daniel left and I
carried on packing. I couldn’t help worrying about Johnny and
Jasmine. What was Johnny doing with Jasmine, and was he really a
friend of Pietro? I thought back to their confrontation at the ferry
port; something was not right.
I sat down, got my
cards out of my bag and shuffled. I cut them and drew The Moon. I
nodded, just what I suspected: there were things going on behind the
scenes, things were not what they seemed to be. Most importantly, I
must not take things at face value.
We left the hotel
and started to drive to Milan, which was our next stop. We chatted
about what had happened in Brescia, the Mafia making an ultimatum,
and Jasmine, Johnny and the scarred man. Daniel began to speed up
heading for a corner.
happening?” asked Nell.
“The brakes have failed,” he said, frantically pumping the brakes. The corner came towards us at speed. “Brace yourselves, ladies,” said Daniel. I put my head on my knees and waited for the crash.