"Fedeltà" drabbles by Neville Hunt

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Reunite

Fedeltà #233

Paolo had a plan. It relied upon careful timing.

Tony received a text:

‘Mr Monelli. We understand your caution and propose the following. Your brother’s location is 1hour 50minutes from the East End. It should be possible to schedule your payment two hours in advance with the option to cancel any time up until the scheduled transfer time, latest Midnight tonight. One of your associates should be able to help. We will be able to verify the payment details and will send you immediately the coordinates for your satnav in order to reunite you with your brother. Your move now.’

nevillehunt avatar

A workable plan

Fedeltà #232

Paolo was a smart guy, blessed with a natural cunning that had served him well so far, but this was going to be difficult. In his earlier planning, and without Livia there to direct him, he hadn't thought things through properly. He was going to need a lot of resourcefulness and quite a bit of luck to deal with Tony's latest demand.

"I'll text them to see what they have in mind," Paolo said, "they must have thought of that." What a lie that was, but texting gave him time to come up with his plan. It might just work...

nevillehunt avatar

Find a way

Fedeltà #231

Having been lulled into thinking he could exert powerful influence on Tony, that last utterance shook Paolo.

“What’ve I missed or misunderstood Tony?” he asked.

“You missed the most important fucking thing Paolo. What are the arrangements for getting Terry back, that’s what!” Tony rasped. “The handover Paolo, how can we be sure the bastards will hand him over? They can’t exactly do it by Bitcoin transfer, although the fuckers are sending him in bits right now!”

“We have to trust them I guess.” was all Paolo could suggest.

“No fucking way! Find a way that works Paolo! Fucking now!

nevillehunt avatar

“If it was me...”

Fedeltà #230

“Should I cough up tonight Paolo? What do you say?” asked Tony.

This was Paolo’s chance, but to make his answer seem considered, he avoided giving Tony a straight ‘yes’.

“Well, they’re obviously pretty ruthless, and I’ve no doubt that if you don’t pay tonight there will be another finger on its way tomorrow. Taking his eyes out and cutting his bollocks off seem extreme and they may just be trying to scare you, but if it was me, it would work! So I would probably pay up as soon as I could.”

“Then you’d be a fucking idiot Paolo!”

nevillehunt avatar

Chutzpah

Fedeltà #229

The response, supposedly from Terry, was enough on its own to convince Tony. It didn’t make him happy though that the kidnappers had raised the ransom by £50,000.

The whole message was sheer chutzpah on the part of Paolo, who had realised he would need a kind of diversionary tactic to get him off the hook for not being able to showcase the living Terry. Upping the ante was inspired, particularly as it raised the stakes quickly, which would be important if he planned to persuade Tony to pay up tonight.

But Tony wasn’t quite ready to concede, not yet.

nevillehunt avatar

Surcharge

Fedeltà #228

The text read:

‘Mr Monelli, your brother won’t be able to speak to you now. He’s currently sedated as his hand is in considerable pain. Before our paramedic saw him we were however able to ask him about his first dog. The question seemed to irritate him. I quote, “What a fucking stupid question to ask given I’ve never had a dog. I’m allergic to them and I won’t have one in the fucking house.”

I’m afraid this has caused us extra work, which we must pass on to you. Your account now stands at £400,000, payment deadline, Midnight tonight.’

nevillehunt avatar

Enough?

Fedeltà #227

Paolo risked Livia’s further annoyance by telling her he had to hang up and would call later and explain.

He risked Tony’s wrath too by taking time out to write the text he would schedule to arrive later on when he was back with the Boss. However, it might have been Paolo’s only opportunity.

The text arrived at 5.30pm. Paolo had been taking a chance over the problem of Tony wanting to see Terry. Tony’s impatience might just have dealt Paolo a get out of jail card. This was it, this would be the acid test.

Would it be enough?

nevillehunt avatar

Hiding something

Fedeltà #226

Livia had been woken by the mobile phone. Her first reaction was to go back to what she saw as a strained call with Paolo the night before.

“You were hiding something Paolo... or someone. If we’re going to work together and be together, then you won’t be able to have secrets from me!”

“I wasn’t hiding anything...”

“Don’t lie to me Paolo,” Livia interrupted, “give me credit for some intelligence. And what are you doing calling me now?”

“I need to know the name of Terry’s first dog.”

“What a stupid question. He’s allergic to dogs. Always hated them.”

nevillehunt avatar

Secrets, secrets, secrets.

Fedeltà #225

This was a challenge for Paolo. He didn’t know the answer. The success of the entire project could be in tatters. Paolo would be OK, and Terry was dead, but the money, so tantalisingly close, might be forfeit without the answer. Tony was cute. He wasn’t telling even Paolo, his closest confidant.

Paolo sent the second text. He had some time he could play with, but without the secret answer he needed, all the time in the world wouldn’t help.

Then in desperation, he popped out for a coffee and called Livia. Maybe she would know.

Livia wasn’t very happy...

nevillehunt avatar

Tony don't like waiting...

Fedeltà #224

The minute Paolo had sent the text, Tony was like a bear on the prowl. He was impatient for a reply as he was aware that a gruesome clock was ticking. At this point, it was more that the demand would go up at Midnight than the prospect of another finger pie would be on its way soon. He needed time to assess the situation.

Paolo needed to get away from Tony to programme an appropriate reply, however, Tony's impatience prompted him to decide he would ask his secret question now to save time.

"What was Terry's first dog called?"

nevillehunt avatar

A watched text....

Fedeltà #223

"Well, Tony, you could ask to see him or ask them a question only Terry would know the answer to... from childhood maybe." This was a risky strategy for Paolo as it depended upon him knowing the answer too. However, the need for Tony to want more proof than just a wedding ring to cough up his cash was always going to be a problem. On the plus side, Paolo was building his trust with Tony. That might give him an 'inside track'.

"Text 'em I gotta see Terry's alive."

Tony would have to wait several hours for their reply.

nevillehunt avatar

Ring of truth

Fedeltà #222

"What makes you so sure Terry ain't been killed Paolo," Tony asked directly.

"What kind of crazy kidnapper would kill the goose.... sorry Tony, would do anything so final as to kill Terry now and kiss goodbye to a potentially much bigger ransom?"

"OK, but how can I be sure they're Terry's fingers?"

"Fingerprints, maybe, DNA, but those might mean involving the police."

"Fuck the police, Paolo, I ain't involving those fuckers!"

"Well I would've thought his wedding ring was pretty convincing evidence, Tony!"

"OK, so what do I do Paolo, what do I do now?" Tony needed advice, quickly.

nevillehunt avatar

Three down; three hurdles still to jump

Fedeltà #221

Paolo may have felt the time was right to press Tony into making the payment demanded by Terry's supposed kidnappers, but three things would hinder this.

Firstly, despite Tony's anguish about what had already happened and what worse fate might soon confront his brother, he needed more proof than three fingers in pies. He needed to be certain that the fingers were really Terry's and, importantly, that he was still alive.

Secondly, and critically, Paolo wasn't working alone; Livia still called the tune and was now a touch suspicious of Paolo.

Thirdly, Sofia and her sexuality was close at heel.

nevillehunt avatar

Pushing an open door

Fedeltà #220

Paolo denied the possibility that Terry was already dead so strongly because not to do so would spell the ruination of his whole scheme, or rather Livia’s... and therein lay another problem that would resurface quite soon.

Tony might have been suspicious at the intensity of Paolo’s denial, but it was what he desperately wanted to hear and believe. Paolo’s response had been instinctive and not thought through, but it might prompt Tony to pay the ransom. Now Paolo needed to persuade Tony that the time was right.

It was the eyes and genitals references that had been the catalyst.

nevillehunt avatar

In too deep

Fedeltà #219

Tony howled. Paolo had never experienced the like before. Tony never lost control. Given his recent emotional upheaval, Paolo was suddenly unnerved by the situation in front of him. He wondered if, with the recent developments and the new person in the wings, he might be in far too deep. He could stop now and the risks might diminish, except for the Livia and now possibly Sofia factors!

Thoughts of getting out instantly stopped when Tony suddenly
declared.

“They’ve already killed him, haven’t they? He’s dead, I know it.”

Paolo was jolted out of his doubts.

“No Tony. Definitely not!”

nevillehunt avatar

Very special deliveries

Fedeltà #218

There was a card in the package. It read: ‘Mr Monelli. We are sorry you have ignored our recent requests for help in returning your brother Terry. Without full funding from you, we are unable to guarantee Terry’s complete return. However, as a special gesture, we are able to return him in stages. You have our Bitcoin account details. Your balance stands at £350,000 if paid by Midnight tonight. Delays are charged in stages at an additional £50,000 per day or part thereof. After 10 days, this increases to £100,000 per day, as eyes and genitalia require very special delivery.’

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Sign of stress

Fedeltà #217

At 9.30am it arrived. Right on time. Paolo took it from the courier and put it carefully on Tony’s desk. Tony just stared at it for what seemed like ages.

“Want me to open it Boss?” Paolo asked.

“No, I gotta do it myself”, replied Tony, more civil than his mood might suggest. Then he unwrapped the parcel, slowly. pausing before lifting the lid. He opened the box not with a flourish but with a sound of anguish Paolo had never, ever heard before. The small pie within had two fingers without, or rather sticking out in a familiar gesture.

nevillehunt avatar

Clocking in

Fedeltà #216

Back at his flat at around 2am, Paolo suddenly shook off his confusion for the time being when he realised that he needed to be at Tony’s office first thing, to be there when the latest grisly delivery arrived. He set his clocks and devices to wake him early before he flopped into his bed for the deep sleep he needed. But what he got was a restless few hours, waking fully before the alarms could wake him.

He arrived at the office at 8.45am. Tony was already there, grumpy, pacing and playing nervously with his fingers. Tony just grunted.

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Gone

Fedeltà #215

“Sofia!” Paolo called after her, “don’t go like that!” But she was gone.

Paolo was dumbstruck. How could Sofia know all that? How much more did she know... and how? Did some of what she’d said ring true? Or all of it even? He was so confused. His confusion was also overlaid with the night’s action, which he’d never anticipated, but clearly needed and craved more. He was sexually satiated right now, but emotionally all over the place.

Making her way across London in a minicab, Sofia reflected on her evening. She rubbed her sore neck, shivered, but then smiled.

nevillehunt avatar

Dangling

Fedeltà #214

“She’s got you dangling on a promise hasn’t she? How long have you been waiting? A month, two, or is it more? Well that might explain tonight’s episode; fuck-hungry and fuck-angry wouldn’t you say?” Sofia’s rhetorical questions kept coming. She didn’t give Paolo a chance to answer. “What a fool I was to think you were gay... you’re in love... that’s far worse! And you’re in love with Livia and that might be fatal!... I’m guessing it already has been for Terry, the stupid bastard!”

With that, Sofia turned and left, with a chilly memento in her handbag.