ROUGH DIAMONDS: SS: SIXTEEN

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Marsha attempts to rearrange a Cosmati floor tile in an Italian cathedral and discovers diamonds. She and Grant are then on the run in Italy, running from any number of diamond smugglers who believe that American duo have their stones; which they do, but not for the reasons you might expect.
Anyway, between bouts of fleeing and sex, the two manage to exhaust themselves just in time to find a good hotel and some fine Italian fare.
Oh, yes, then there's the killer with the signature three holes in the forehead. Good shot.
And more.

Submitted: July 04, 2017

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Submitted: July 04, 2017

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 ROUGH DIAMONDS

A Short Story in Chapters

 Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Sixteen

 

Gilberto continued. “There’s a terrific hotel about two canals over, across the Grand and around the corner of the next canal. My uncle is part owner. He’s not there, but if you give Tony this note and my number he’ll call me and I’ll arrange a room for you. It’s very clean, large rooms, great Venetian furniture, big beds,” unable to resist a sidelong look across Marsha’s impressive bow,” and lots of privacy. The food is excellent; the breakfast, but you want to go around to the Merry Gondolier for lunch or dinner. Then there’s a great restaurant across from the Sofitel Hotel, a couple of blocks over. Excellent. They’ll give you free limoncello after dinner.”

Both Grant and Marsha were falling into a dead-tired euphoria, which consisted of listening to the hypnotic speech pattern of this most unusual Italian youth and feeling warm inside with the thoughts of bed, lust, food, quiet and a chance to be unhunted, unwanted, unchased, unpetrified, without terror.

“And then there’s this other restaurant about five more blocks or whatever,” Gilberto was carrying on. It seemed as though he was giving a sales pitch for the City, a righteous representative of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, “ah, well. That’s all I can think of at the moment. But then there’s all the things to see. I can arrange for a reasonably priced guide for you two, and then . .”

Marsha cut in, “Oh, thank you so much, Gilberto, you have beenso kind. I’ve remembered everything you’ve said.”

“So have I," wheezed Grant, “and I really appreciate all this, man, but I’m dead on my feet. We’ve been on the run for awhile and this last episode was a character shooting at us. Not a good feeling. So we’re off to your recommendation for about a three week sleep.”

He managed a dead-on-your-feet laugh. Marshaweakly joined him but was already making for the door at the end of the long wide room holding restaurant supplies including food. 

She was being driven mad by hunger, added to all the other emotions and instincts hammering away on her doors to perception.

“Cool,” summarized Gilberto, “let’s get you out of here. He turned and joined Marsha in her march to the exit. Grant joined them as a straggler. He felt spent. His spirits were beginning to tank along with his confidence. He recognized the syndrome immediately and knew that he had to eat and sleep before tackling any new operation.

Outside the door of the long storeroom, they turned left and Gilberto led them to another left and a door. He quickly opened it and held it for them.

They stepped out into the afternoon of ochre summer haze. The air was sweet with the scents of rose and honeysuckle, pasta, and Venice.

They said their goodbyes quickly with Gilberto insisting on furiously shaking Grant’s hand and being even more insistent on giving Marsha a full tight hug. She was surprised that her breasts, and particularly her nipples, reacted so strongly to the snug embrace of this youth.

However, she had experienced this phenomenon before: when she was exhausted, hungry, and disoriented, she found sex riding right on the surface of her emotions. She uttered a silent ‘hunh’ to herself and released the lad.

Grant was already approaching the corner of the building. She ran to join him. They surveyed the scree of tourists and watercraft, looking for the spot where Gilberto told them they would find a trajeto to take them to the other side of the Grand Canal and point them in the direction of their hotel. Marsha spotted the location. 

They spent extra time insuring that their path to momentary escape from some trigger-happy killer was clear. Only then, did Grant grab Marsha’s hand and pull her beside him as they sped across the open space with their backpacks bouncing and their spirits struggling to revive. 

The trajeto was half-full. They jumped in. The craft almost capsized. Looks of disdain and condescension rained upon their sorry American heads while they apologized and did some form of tugging their forelock, hoping that the passengers would not toss them overboard as a sign of contempt for them and the American way of foreign behavior.

To their credit, the other passengers---eventually---simply sneered, harumphed slightly, or raised an eyebrow or two.

The operator of the service arrived, fully tanked up with several shots of grappa. He smiled a raggety-toothed smile and slurred in Italian, “All aboard.” After which, he pushed off while his passengers shifted their feet to maintain their footing as the craft edged out into the Grand Canal.

The afternoon was becoming more glorious than a besotted lover of Venice could have foreseen.

Every aspect of a perfect day on the water rose to greet the passengers of Alberto’s trajeto. For Grant and Marsha, the suspension of real time soothed their scraped emotions and dampened their legitimate fears.

Both felt a palpable sagging of despair when the trajeto hit and stopped at the dock.

Grant pulled Marsha up out of the craft and gave her a close hug before edging along the narrow way to the land.

Gilberto had given them perfect directions which Marsha committed to her perfect memory. A few minutes later they were registering at the Madonna Hotel. 

Their room was perfect. Gilberto must have contacted his uncle and asked him to tell the staff about Grant and Marsha. His chest was still enjoying the imprint of Marsha’s breasts and nipples. His tumescence was threatening to outgrow his pants.

The room had a view of a canal with several multi-colored houses opposite. Each one had flower boxes containing different plants of the region, veritable hanging boxed botanical gardens of the Veneto. Marsha was too tired to enjoy the view but promised herself that she would sit for at least an hour the next day to closely study each individual offering.

Grant glanced at the opposite side of the canal and saw only security questions. His eyes searched for other eyes in the windows. His senses attempted to sense any threats but his strength appeared to be lessening. Nevertheless, he made a final resolve to do a last check of their surroundings.

He pulled out his super Nikon ACULON binoculars and went to the window. After five minutes, he was satisfied that there appeared to be no immediate threat. He returned and tookMarsha in his arms and kissed her for a long exhausted interval. Then he dropped her on the bed and flopped down beside her

“Food, honey.”

Marsha could feel her fatigue slipping over both her body and her resolve.

“Yes. I know it’s only the afternoon but I think I need to sleep .Food will help. For me, a huge pizza and a carafe of red wine. That should do it.”

Grant laughed as she rolled to her side. “I'm in. And then it’s crash time. We can call these guys tomorrow. I think we need to power up here first.”

“Agreed.”

They washed up, changed into clean clothes, soaked their heads under cold water, and made for the door.

Just to be sure, Marsha checked the directions for the Merry Gondolier restaurant with the desk clerk. Rosanna smiled widely when she realized that Gilberto had been a regular shill for the hotel and her brother’s restaurant.

Nevertheless, she felt compelled to state to the Americans as they left. “You won’t regret it,” then thinking that this was perhaps not much by way of a dynamite recommendation, she added, “you’ll love it. I just know.”

She finished with her best smile, which Grant told himself was damned attractive. He too was experiencing the fatigue–sex syndrome.

* **

Captain Stefano looked from Lieutenant Parducci to Lieutenant Ferrara and back to Lieutenant Parducci.

Lieutenant Parducci looked at her lover partner Lieutenant Ferrara and he looked back at her.

“No.” Leonardo finally flung a word into the silence triangulating the thoughts of the three Carbinieri.

“You mean this is it? Just four dead bodies with an artistic design of bullet holes in their foreheads and nothing else?”  

The Captain was not angry. He was constantly of a sunny disposition, not unlike the sunbathed rolling landscape of his native Tuscany. He was not even disappointed. He was, like his two lieutenants, baffled.

Frappiana and the Padua region of the Veneto were not exactly Chicago or Oakland, but there was a dependable number of homicides each year, enough to keep the station busy and his two lieutenants with little spare time for rollicking in or out of each others bed, a situation that was common knowledge in the station.

Everyone was amused, happy, and relatively unconcerned about the affair. Neither was married and both were respected and admired for their ingenuity when knotty matters of police procedure or investigatory roadblocks arose.

Now, facing their Captain, neither lieutenant could think of anything beyond the Captain’s summation of their progress. Four corpses with a signature line of bullet holes across the forehead. And the two Americans.

“Well, my esteemed colleagues,” smiled the Captain as he tilted back his chair and raised his eyebrows, “this calls for a new approach. How would you two like to go to Venice and take up the trail of these two Yanks the neighbor told you about?” 

Mrs. Silvia Capelli had reported screaming, gunshots, and two fleeing Americans hotwiring a red Alfa and screeching away.

“They are obviously not our killer or killers because they were long gone before the boys were wasted in the olive grove. But they must know something. Plus, maybe they have the diamonds that you are positive are the root of all this, Lieutenant Ferrara.”

That was another endearing quality of the Captain. He was also very polite and democratic with his staff, never pulling rank or even suggesting that there was anything different between him and them other than the extra stripe on his uniform.

“I always appreciate your deductions, Lieutenant; we all do. In fact, they are calling you Holmes on occasion. Anyway, I agree. Diamonds do strange things to people and this seems like an exceptional reaction to the sparklers. But pigs is pigs and so we need to track the two tourists and see if they bump into the killer or if the killer is after them for some reason. 

"Of course, the fact that they aren’t the shooter doesn’t mean they don’t have those diamonds the killer’s after, tracking along the reasoning of yours, Lieutenant Ferrara,” nodding to Leonardo, “ so pack your bags and take a trip to the City, have a look around, ask a lot of questions, and if you need to stay overnight, I’ll give you a chit for two nights, but that’s it. And you’re to spend most of your time on the case.” He winked. Both blushed.

“Yes sir,” managed Leonardo with a knowing smile.

* **

Umberto Gianni moved to greet Salvatore DiMaggio as the latter rushed forward to shake the Don’s hand. 
“Salvatore, my good man, come, come, have some grappa before we start any negotiations—or, in your case, appraisals and the like.” Gianni pushed DiMaggio along with a gentle shove in the small of the back. 

The main salon of the palazzo was charged with Neapolitan midday sunshine. 

Open floor to ceiling French doors permitted the intrusion of an aromatic fusion of roses, honeysuckle, and mint. Occasional wafts of olive spiced the aromatic ambiance of the room to such an extent that Salvatore believed himself to be in aroma therapy while on the job. He forgot the basis of his visit, his intention.

“Thank you, Don Gianni, I will have some. And what a glorious day we have for our business. Is Senor Domono here yet?”

Gianni waved aside a lingering servant, “I’ll do this myself, Santo, thank you. Go have your lunch and be back in an hour.” He gave another wave of dismissal.

 

End of Chapter Sixteen


© Copyright 2017 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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