you? The commissario, Palma, strikes me as a nice guy, and a smart one, too. The rest of them, well, theyâre pretty reserved, except for one, an overgrown kid, who seems like a bit of an asshole.â
Piras thought it over: âMmm, that must be Aragona. Looks like he spends a lot of time in a tanning bed and dresses like a TV detective?â
Amused, Lojacono asked: âWhat do you have, bugs and surveillance cameras in there? Yeah, thatâs the one. How did you know?â
âHe used to work at headquarters, and theyâve tried to palm him off on everyone; they even tried to assign him to me as a bodyguard. I knew theyâd unload him there. Heâs the grandson of a prefect, I donât know where, so thereâs nothing they can do to him. Be careful, donât let him drive because heâs a lunatic behind the wheel; I came close to throttling him once. What about the others. Any women?â
There it is, thought Lojacono. The crucial question.
âTwo. A woman who has been at the precinct house for years, and a strange girl, who wonât look anyone in the eye and is something of a gun nut. Why do you ask?â
He imagined her, pensive, lost in who knows what fantasy. They hadnât seen each other recently, but they often talked on the phone. They were developing an odd friendship, taut as a violin string with the tacit, reciprocal knowledge that they liked each otherâa lot.
âNo reason. Just curious. Maybe you can find a girlfriend, right?â
Her tone was nonchalant, cheerful; but her intentions were something else altogether.
âI doubt it. At least not in there. Maybe Iâll find one somewhere else.â
Laura laughed and, for no particular reason, he imagined her breasts underneath her blouse.
âOr maybe sheâll find you, one of these days. Letâs talk again soon, Lieutenant Lojacono. That way you can tell me how itâs going at school.â
Cold and drenched, the lieutenant went back into the trattoria; Letizia was sitting at another table now, laughing, with her back to him.
M ayya opened the door, and noticed that today it wasnât locked the way it usually was.
The notary must have come home late, as he sometimes did, and maybe heâd forgotten to lock up. It had happened before, not all that often, truth be told, but it had happened. She put the grocery bags down by the front door, trying not to get everything wet. A driving wind was kicking up the surf and pushing it right across the street; it wasnât even clear whether it was actually raining, there was so much water in the air.
Mayya thought back to her hometown in Bulgaria, far from the sea, from waves of any kind, where when it rained it was raining, and when it was sunny the sun was shining; here it was never obvious just what the weather was.
She took off her coat and put it in the front hall closet. It was silent and there was no smell of coffee, which mean the signora hadnât woken up yet; strange, it was already eight oâclock: she should have been up and about for at least an hour. Perhaps she wasnât feeling well, or maybe sheâd been out late last night.
For the past few days, Mayya had been worried about the signora. Mayya liked her: she was sweet and kind, she never raised her voice; compared with employers sheâd had in the past, she was wonderful. And Mayyaâs girlfriends, whom she saw every Thursday in the piazza by the train station, made it clear with the stories they told that she really could consider herself lucky.
But her signora wasnât happy. Mayya was sure of that: something was bothering her, something big. Not that her signora ever confided in her, no: she was a very reserved person, and Mayya was anything but intrusive. Still, silences tell no lies, as they said back home: words do, but silences donât. And in the signoraâs silences, in her absent gaze as she stared into space, there was no
Julie Kenner, Kathleen O'Reilly