The maffiosa

The maffiosa

A Story by Haim Kadman

The 23rd chapter of the thriller "An Irretrievable Step."


An Irretrievable Step

Chapter 23

The trip to Florence was very pleasant and Ray enjoyed it immensely, he booked at the previous Friday a first class ticket that would prevent any possible problem. which might have popped up otherwise; if he would travel in a crowded carriage, and meet people from his own part of the world; which he would not wish to meet in other circumstance, in an enemy country for instance.

He reached Florence at eleven thirty and consulted the tourist office at the train terminal where he should board. As a student he was directed to the cheapest boarding house in Florence the Firenze Vista dall'Alto. He promised the owners a three month stay and, paid in advance for his first month with them. They were very glad to host him and provided him with their best room, and instructed him how to get to the local university of arts.

At about one thirty pm Ray reached the university, and went straight to its main office.

'The studies have already started this morning.' He was told by one of the university secretaries, a middle aged woman that kept browsing in a bunch of papers on her desk.

'But it's lunch break now and you may join your class at two pm, it's the last one at the corridor on your left.' She added and turned back to her papers.

'Do I've to purchase certain equipment for my studies…?'

'Oh sorry thanks for reminding me, here is your equipment, it's included in your tuition fee.' She said smiling and handed him two copybooks, a pad, a booklet and a cheap pen. 'Well good luck young man.' She summed up his registration expecting him to leave her alone with her papers.

He had a snack and soft drink at the university cafeteria with many other students, and at two pm he waited for the teacher at the class open door after most of the students were already seated inside.

'My name is Magdi I couldn't arrive earlier sorry.' He told the teacher.

'What you said you name is?'

'Magdi, Raymond Magdi seniore.' Ray said and went inside.

The classroom desks were arranged in a semi circle close to the walls, letting the teacher a wide space and an easy reach to every student.

In a quick glance Ray spotted an empty seat, went over and sat beside one of the male students. There were some two dozen of them he assessed with a quick survey. Italians most of them, younger than him just like in Milan; about two third of them were males, and not even one swarthy face among them was visible except his own face.

The lesson was carried on in Italian and from the very start Ray realized that he shall have to spend several hours at the university's library, and check the right dictionary to broaden his vocabulary of photography terms. He kept to himself during the breaks but listened attentively to the chats and conversations of his fellow students.

At eight thirty he was back at his rented room, and after a shower he rested on his bed with the town's map, learning his route, and the suitable bus line that would take him to his meeting with Joe.

At five minutes to ten Ray was already sitting in the "I Latini" restaurant, next to a secluded corner table away from the few noisy guests, waiting for Joe's arrival. Hardly ten minutes passed and Joe has arrived, and approaced him with a shade of a smile on his lips.

Ray welcomed him standing up, shook his hand and they sat down right away; doing their best to shorten the greetings' phase, and thus avoid drawing unneeded attention.

'Well how was your first day?' Joe asked him in English.

'Not bad at all, but I'd to stay two hours at the library to study a few photography terms in Italian.'

Joe did not answer just laughed softly, he seemed to Ray satisfied with what he heard.

They ordered each one of them what each of them wished to eat, and waited till the waiter was out of earshot.

'I've brought you a letter take it to the rest rooms later on, and scribble a few words for your parents; and here are some means you must be short of by now, but be thrifty it's a small town and people know each other here.'

At the next morning at ten minutes to eight Ray was already seated with several other students, listening to their lively prattle with much interest and glancing at the female students in his class. He counted six of them and when the seventh female entered she was received with whistles and a few shouts of abuse, calling after her 'Ecco la mafiosa, la Siciliana' (here is the mafia member the Sicilian); with an angry countenance and a sharp movement of her hand towards her abusers, she crossed the classroom and went to her seat at the far wall beneath the windows. With her glossy long black hair and dark eyes, and her temperament she was quite a sight, he thought watching her and listening to her animated conversation with the two other students that sat on both her sides.

It's just nicknames if she was a Sicilian she would have studied in Palermo, or in Rome at the most. She's surely from some Toscan village not far off or maybe a Florentine. He thought and turned to look at the rest of his fellow students.

During the first break he caught her name Bianca Conti, and was amazed by her well shaped body. At lunch break at the cafeteria he sat rather close to her. She chose to seat not far from him with her entourage of two female students that kept her company.

She used him as a kind of a human partition, to keep away the few students that kept nagging her. She was not in some distress she was simply sick and tired of them. He did not think that he interested her in particular, with his swarthy face, his beard that needed trimming and his spectacles, which he never removed, while she was a sight he found hard to keep his eyes off.

@ Haim Kadman 2017 �" all rights reserved.

© 2020 Haim Kadman

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Added on November 19, 2020
Last Updated on November 19, 2020
Tags: suspense, intelligence, espionage, italy, florence, university, language


Haim Kadman
Haim Kadman

Petach-Tikva, Israel

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