Paolo needed to scare the living daylights out of Franco. He would describe how Terry had been murdered and dedigitised and then tell Franco how Tony was planning far worse for him. It wouldn’t just be fingers removed along the way but ears, eyes, nose... plus testicles and cock slice by slice.
That should get Franco to move on fast, or to kill Tony, either of which suited Paolo.
Waiting at Franco’s place when he returned from work, Paolo dropped by and asked the big man if he fancied a beer.
Over several beers, Paolo issued his warning.
“Will you warn Franco or shall I... or both?” Marcia asked Paolo before he left. “There is no way he killed Terry, now is there?”
“We’ll both warn him, although I need to watch my step, because Tony is even pointing fingers at me now in his frustration.” Paolo replied.
“You, Paolo, don’t make me laugh! You’re the last person to murder Terry. I think you’re Tony’s most trusted ally. And you’re too soft!”
‘Excellent!’ thought Paolo, ’Sofia’s kept it to herself.’
Agreed. They would both warn Franco. Paolo would aim to scare Franco enough to force him to disappear.
Marcia led Paolo to the downstairs bedroom. He knew the way already. Inside, she pushed him back on the bed, kneeling to unfasten his belt. He realised that once again, Marcia would be in charge, so he just lay there, compliant.
After she had had her way with him and finally conceded conclusion for him, he probed about her and Franco.
“Franco’s big, but unsubtle. Big and bullish is a good wake-me-up, but control is much more satisfying. You’re the cream to Franco’s coffee, Paolo. Despite your change in plans, it’s been a good start to the week!”
Marcia was smart. She knew the implications of Paolo’s comment. She could go on the attack and threaten him or confound him with an unexpected response. She chose the latter.
“Yes I noticed that as he left. Poor old Franco. The way he’s built, he struggles to keep it all contained. But who’s complaining!” Marcia wasn’t one to be fazed by anything.
“So, Paolo, what have you come for?” she continued, reclaiming the initiative.
“I needed to explain why I can’t make it tomorrow.”
“So why not make it today? An adjustment to your schedule maybe?”
She beckoned, Paolo followed.
Paolo explained that Tony was now convinced that Terry’s killer was still at large and that Franco was suspect number one... and that he, Paolo, had been ordered to tail him closely and report back on anything suspicious.
“What! Franco? That great lump! Now I know Tony’s lost his marbles!” Marcia was adamant that Franco didn’t have the brains for anything so devious.
“Well anyway,” said Paolo, rather matter-of-factly, “the first place Franco went today is right here, your house.”
“Absolutely correct.” said Marcia quickly. “He had to make some adjustments.”
“Yes, I saw him adjusting himself earlier!”
Seeing the new homes site, it was pretty obvious to Paolo that Franco would be there for the rest of the working day, so he drove back to Tony’s, where he parked on the road and pushed the intercom at Tony’s gates.
Marcia, who’d so far ignored his attempts to speak to her on the phone asked “Who is it?” Hearing Paolo answer and implore her that he must speak to her to explain, she said “Persistent little bugger, aren’t you? I suppose you’d better come in.”
On seeing Paolo...”Does Tony know you’re here?”
Paolo shook his head.
In the event, Paolo decided to follow Franco’s van to see where he was headed. Then, dependent upon a subsequent conversation with Marcia, if she would speak to him, he would decide his next course of action carefully.
Tailing Franco took Paolo to a building site for new homes. Franco took his tool bag and headed for a nearby house, close to completion, where he was greeted by another workman who called over to him jokingly, “What time do you call this, Frank?” All Franco said was “Private client.”, tapping his nose knowingly, then grasping his crotch. They both laughed.
Paolo’s discovery and assumptions seeing Franco leaving Tony’s house after a carnal assignation with Marcia (surely?) led him to consider three courses of action.
Report back to Tony his findings and suspicions. That might shortcut the process, shortening Franco’s life dramatically, thereby taking Paolo off the suspects list. (Although Marcia might be punished... and inform Sofia... who might then tell Tony a different story)
Tell Marcia that Tony made him tail Franco, and why.
Or... Paolo could confront Franco and advise him to ‘disappear’, thereby avoiding gruesome death inflicted by Tony (but, importantly underscoring his guilt).
Or maybe all three?
Paolo’s first reaction was to think what work Franco was doing in Tony’s kitchen. Nothing he could think of as when Paolo was last there Marcia proudly showed off her terrific new kitchen.
Paolo didn’t remotely think that Franco would be Marcia’s type, in fact the thought of the guy being there for adulterous purposes didn’t occur to him...
...Until around 11.30 when he saw Franco emerge from the gates adjusting his trousers and unconsciously rearranging his ‘tackle’. ‘Really?’ thought Paolo... then he said out loud to himself “Fucking slapper!”, failing to see the irony of his assertion. “The bitch!”
It was quite early, but a kitchen fitter would be up and away much earlier, so no surprises when Franco’s van was nowhere near the address Paolo had been given. Franco would already be on the job. But Paolo couldn’t risk asking neighbours where. It was anyone’s guess. He could do nothing until Franco got home that evening.
Paolo was glad to be away from Tony. Maybe he could use the time making it up with Marcia. He tried her phone a few times, but she didn’t pick up. He drove over to her place.
And he found Franco’s van.
It wasn’t just Sofia that Paolo had to disappoint. There was also the small issue of his afternoon tryst with Tony’s wife Marcia. He left the office to call her on the pretext of getting Tony a coffee. Marcia was not at all happy. She didn’t believe his story that Tony needed him elsewhere.
“OK Paolo, what day can you come?
“Dunno yet... sorry!” was his unhappy reply.
Marcia disconnected after a cryptic “You will be sorry!”
Things were going belly-up for Paolo. He was bothered. Added to which, how would he tail Franco?
First, find Franco’s white van.
“I’m really disappointed, Paolo. What’s more important than a night with me?” In a turn of events, it was Sofia giving Paolo a hard time.
“Ask Tony.” was Paolo’s answer. “He’s convinced that Terry’s killer is still alive.”
“Well... yes... he is... and I was expecting to have some of that life in me tonight!”
“Franco’s suspect number one now,” Paolo explained, “and you’re not above suspicion either Sofia... Tony’s in quite a state.”
“I know... I was with him yesterday y’know? And I have the means to prove who’s the real culprit remember!”
Paolo remembered alright... and shuddered silently.
“Right now I’m suspecting everyone, even you Paolo, although I reckon you might be too sex-mad and stupid to pull off something like murdering Terry! But I’m not ruling you out. The only one in the clear is Terry’s missus, for obvious reasons.... but that’s a bit convenient too!”
Paolo did his best to hide the fact that Tony had rattled him as well as fucking up his planned sexploits well and truly.
“Sure Tony, no problem. I’ll tail Franco.”
“Night and day y’hear? I want to know even when he farts! And if he starts spending my money!”
Paolo’s instant and visible lack of enthusiasm, prompted by this order from Tony, sparked a mini fit from the boss.
“What’s that fucking look for Paolo? You fucking lost your fucking bottle? Or should it be Franco I’m asking to follow you... and you know what to expect from him!”
Paolo quickly responded, instantly worried that the tables might be turned on him. “No, Boss. I’ll tail him. It’s just that I’ll need to cancel someone tonight.”
“Some tart I imagine!” retorted Tony. “You wanna keep your knob turned off, Paolo... or it might drop off. Or get blown off!”
“I’ve had time to think and now I don’t reckon it was Shaun who did Terry in!” Tony announced to Paolo when he turned up on Monday.
It was disconcerting when Tony was at work before him, and this announcement was unexpected and unwelcome. Paolo had been convinced that Tony was satisfied that ‘justice’ had been ‘done good!’
’Shit!’ thought Paolo.
“It was a bit too neat.” continued Tony, “I told Franco to check Shaun out and immediately, he’s rubbed him out! All too keen to get rid of Shaun. Paolo, I want you to follow Franco night and day!”
So Paolo’s next week was all planned out. Monday evening with Sofia, Tuesday afternoon with Marcia and Livia returning on Saturday. Even if he wasn’t going to see her on Saturday, she would at least be home and he could make contact and arrange his reward... unless Sofia’s warnings were more than jealous wishes.
Monday seemed ages away, but Tony’s bad tempered demands of him before the weekend kept Paolo busy enough. And on the weekend he met some mates, drank far too much and spent all of Sunday recovering.
But on Monday, Tony threw a spanner in the works.
“Why don’t I come round Monday evening and prepare you something to remember?” suggested Sofia. “That way I get you at your freshest... and your Tuesday date will have to work you a bit harder!” She giggled, risking putting Paolo off completely. But he jumped at the idea.
“Yeah... that’s great, nothing like a good meal to get in the mood. What shall I get in for you?” he asked eagerly, not realising his innocent innuendo.
“Don’t worry now Paolo. I’m sure you’ll be able to get something in on Monday!” Sofia’s giggles had Paolo confused.
Then she hung up.
With Paolo on his back foot, Sofia wasn’t about to let him off the hook.
“I’ve just realised that it can’t be Livia you’re seeing on Tuesday because I’m pretty sure she’s not due back until the weekend after, is she? So who is it Paolo? It had better not be my sister for your sake. Tony may not want her himself, but he sure as hell won’t want anyone else near her!”
Paolo’s silence at the end of the line said lots.
“Oh Paolo... silly boy! You’d really better watch your step!”
Now he was worried - really shitting bricks!
Paolo’s response to Sofia at the end of the line was a grunt.... seemingly an affirmation of his unavailability on Tuesday, but then he said “No, Tuesday’s OK. Shall we say 8pm at my place?”
“Now hang on Paolo!” retorted Sofia. “I know you have a hot date on Tuesday.” But then she paused and added. “Mmmm, that means you’re probably in for some ‘afternoon delight’! But hey, I don’t want you shagged out later with me. I don’t want second fiddle. I don’t want to have to fiddle with anything!” Sofia laughed, to Paolo’s acute embarrassment.
He’d been rumbled.
Driven by his rational and carnal instincts, Paolo called Sofia late afternoon after he had busied himself doing Tony’s bidding all day.
“Hi” Sofia answered rather warily on hearing Paolo’s voice. She wasn’t expecting to hear from him quite so soon after their earlier call.
“Are you about tonight or tomorrow or over the weekend?” he asked.
“Wow, Paolo, you’re keen! But ‘fraid I can’t. Babysitting duties over at Marcia’s. I promised.” Sofia wanted time distance before seeing Paolo again. She needed to assess the situation. “Maybe next Tuesday?” she suggested, then added, cheekily, “but aren’t you otherwise engaged then?”