A Pimp's Notes

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Authors: Giorgio Faletti
you’re doing, and, best of all, you seem to respect boundaries.”
    He points to the door that the guy with the nosebleed walked through a little while ago.
    “Not like some people, who think they’re smarter than me and come to my casino and try to sneak in some late bets under my nose. You wouldn’t believe how stupid some people can be.”
    He pauses.
    “But don’t let’s talk about disagreeable things. Micky tells me you have a deal for me.”
    “More than a deal; I’d say a trade.”
    “I’m listening.”
    I stall for time and light a cigarette. Then I sweep my hand in a gesture that includes everything that’s happening in the warehouse.
    “I’d have to imagine that with all this money coming in, the biggest problem you have is how to spend it.”
    Tano smiles like a cat thinking about mice.
    “We always know what to do with our money.”
    I nod agreeably and continue. And I wonder if he’d have the same purr in his voice and glint in his eye if he were telling someone to cut my throat.
    “All the same, sometimes it’s good to make things a little easier on yourself. I have the name and address of a guy who just hit the jackpot on the soccer lottery and won himself 490 million lire. He’s willing to sell this winning lottery ticket for a modest gratuity of ten million lire.”
    Just to forestall any misunderstanding, I volunteer the terms I have in mind.
    “I wouldn’t touch a cent of it. I promised him that money as an incentive and because he strikes me as an honest person. And, most important of all, a reasonable person.”
    I’m sure that Tano understands exactly what I’m driving at, but he wants to hear it from me.
    “Go on.”
    “Oh, I don’t think there are any difficulties from that point on. If you buy the winning ticket, you have a certain sum of money in hand that you can spend without having to worry. Moreover, it would be tax exempt, since it’s winnings from a state-run lottery.”
    Tano Casale looks in my direction, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even see me. Then he turns his head to meet the gaze of the man standing next to the filing cabinet. In exchange he receives a look of circumspect approval, confirming a decision that he’s actually already made internally. He addresses me once again in an untroubled voice.
    “This we could do. We’d have to look at just how, but this is something we could do.”
    After a pause he turns to the second part of the matter.
    “Now what about you? What do you get out of this?”
    “I just get to keep doing my job without a major headache. There’s a problem between Laura, one of my girls, and one of your men.”
    At this point, everything happens very quickly. The guy standing next to the filing cabinet, a man of average height with bulging eyes and a mouth with a nasty sneer, grabs me by my jacket lapels and heaves me up out of my seat. I find myself shoved against the wall, his deranged eyes about a foot from mine, and his breath, which hardly reeks of violets, hissing his cold fury. I’m not all that surprised. This is fairly ordinary behavior from Salvatore Menno, aka Tulip.
    His boss, from behind the desk, intervenes.
    “Salvatore, leave him alone.”
    My aggressor ignores him and smashes me against the wall once or twice.
    “You nasty goddamn pimp, what the fuck do you want here?”
    Any fuck you’ve got , I reply instinctively, in my head.
    This last would have prompted a round of applause from Lucio, if he ever knew. But I don’t think that Tulip would get the joke. Even if he knew, I still think he’d miss the point.
    Tano Casale stands up suddenly from his chair. He doesn’t yell, but it’s worse than if he had.
    “I told you to let him go. Go back to where you were.”
    Even a psychopath like Tulip shits his pants when Tano Casale speaks in that tone of voice. I can feel the vise grip loosen and I’m free. He walks backward, with my death still dancing in his eyes, until he’s standing next to the filing

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