Gina’s brother-in-law, Mario, brought them to the main station in Milan an hour before the train departed for Palermo in Sicily. There were some big farewell scenes. Mama Venuti was sorry to be leaving her youngest son but was also looking forward to returning to her family in Palermo. Mario would rather have organised a car to bring his mother back to Palermo, but mama just disliked car rides. She preferred to sit in the train and watch the scenery drift past. Cars were stress machines in the eyes of a Sicilian grandmother.
“You look after yourself Mario and the family. “
“Mama, we are all old enough and can manage quite well. You be careful Mama, you are not getting any younger. Gina give my best wishes to my brother Giovanni and look after mama and Giorgio on the train.”
Gina was used to these family goodbyes. One thing she learnt being married to a mafia boss was that the family was the most important thing in their lives. She had been spending the last two weeks visiting her husband’s brother’s family in Milan accompanied by her mother-in-law and was actually glad to be leaving, although she was not really looking forward to going back to Sicily. The Venuti family were one of the most important on the island of Sicily. They controlled most of the restaurants, building companies, and to a certain extent even the banks. Gina hated them but then she hated Sicily. You were only of importance on that island if you had at least three ancestors in the grave yard and the Venutis did. They had the biggest and most ornate tomb you could think of in the best place in the cemetery. He own family were in a dark corner, almost forgotten, but if her husband Giovanni, knew who her family were, then he would never had married her. Giovanni fell in love with Gina on their first meeting. Gina was not in love with Giovanni, but was willing to enter the marriage with him, as she knew one day the chance would come to take revenge for the killing of her father, brother and grandfather. They had refused to pay protection money to the Venuti gang and their reward was being found on a lonely highway on the Sicilian island with a cactus leaf placed on their bodies where the heart was, the sign for a traitor. Gina was taken to her relatives in Rome by her mother and grew up in Rome, but she had planned an act of revenge on the Venutis all her life. She returned to Sicily as a young woman and had taken work in a restaurant that she knew was a favourite of the Venuti family. She was very attractive and was determined to win the attention of Giovanni Venuti. This plan succeeded and he soon became her husband.
“Come Giorgio” she said to her son, “Say goodbye to uncle Mario and take nonna’s hand that you don’t get lost.” She thought it was a good idea for Giorgio to walk with his grandmother, just to put her in good humour. Nonna Venuti just loved her grandchildren.
They entered the station and took a seat in the waiting area. The station had at last been renovated and an area had been organised for the passengers waiting for their trains. It was large and on one side the wall of windows made it light and airy. Gina remembered the old station which was not so comfortable when waiting for the trains.
“Where shall we sit?” asked nonna Venuti
“I think this would be a good place” answered Gina and walked to the fourth row taking the four end seats on the right as she had been told to. They were near to the toilets and the exit.
“Mama, can I have an ice cream”
“Of course you can Giorgio” and Gina took out her purse to give him the money to buy one.”
“You put your money away Gina” said the grandmother “Come Giorgio take my hand and nonna will come with you to the kiosk.”
“No mama” said Gina “Giorgio is now five years old and a big boy, aren't you Giorgio? He can get his own ice cream. Come Giorgio here is the money”
Giorgio proudly nodded and took the money from his mother.
“You see the kiosk Giorgio. You go to the nice lady with the grey hair who is working at the kiosk and ask her for the ice cream.”
Giorgio wanted to say something to his mother but Gina looked him in the eyes and said “Go, now, no questions” so Giorgio did as he was told. He had been brought up to obey his parents under all circumstances. Actually he wanted to ask his mother why the Euro note felt so hard in his hand, as if something had been wrapped in the money, but decided not to. You do not doubt your parent’s words. He asked the lady with the grey hair in the kiosk for an ice cream. She looked down upon Giorgio, patted him on the head and took the money and gave the change. Giorgio returned to his mother. He did not see that the lady at the kiosk then walked across the station and dropped something in a rubbish container. He also did not see that a man dressed in a suit walked past the container and quickly put his hand in the container to remove something. Gina was observing and felt proud of her son that he managed to buy his ice cream on his own, but she was also a little nervous.
They still had half an hour before the train came and nonna decided it would be a good idea to walk to the platform.
Gina agreed and called Giorgio who had just finished his ice cream.
“Come Giorgio we are now going to the train, but first of all we will go to the toilet and you will wash your hands and face.”
“I don’t want to mama. I am clean.”
“Giorgio, your mother is right” said the nonna.”You will make everything dirty on the train covered in chocolate.”
Gina was glad for her mother-in-law’s support and took Giorgio by the hand and led him to the toilet. She was shaking a little bit, but no-one seemed to notice. They entered the toilet and Giorgio cleaned himself up.
“Where are you going mama, we came in through the other door not that door.”
“This is a short cut Giorgio, just trust your mama and come with me” and they left the rest room through a door opposite to the one they came into. The man in the suit that took something out of the rubbish container was standing there.
“Mrs. Venuti, we would thank you for the information you have given us on the memory stick that our agent threw into the container. The police are satisfied and we now have the mafia family Venuti in our clutches. In no time they will be arrested.”
“I kept my part of the deal, now please keep yours.”
“No problem Mrs. Venuti, please follow me.”
They walked through a tunnel and left the station. A car was waiting and Gina and her son were put in the car.
“Mama, where are we going, where is nonna?”
“It is ok Giorgio, you will now have a surprise. Nonna knows all about it and she will meet us in Rome. We are now going to take a ride in an aeroplane.”
“In an aeroplane, mama. That is what I always wanted.”
and the car drove to Malpensa airport. On the way Giorgio was given some cola to drink and he soon fell asleep.
“Ok, Mrs. Gina, here is your new passport, your son is also included. Your name is now Signora Maria di Penso, the mother of Antonio. We wish you luck in your new life in Australia. Our agent will meet you at the airport when you arrive and you will receive further instructions.”
Giorgio was still sleeping when they boarded their flight to Sydney. The secret service had done their job well and Gina, now Maria, hoped that the Venuti family would spend many years in prison for their crimes.
In the meanwhile nonna Venuti was still waiting for her grandson and daughter-in-law to return as the train for Palermo would soon be coming.
Writer's Block - Challenge #54: Milan