Firenze – An Afternoon

Behind the hotel, Dreyfus opened the car door.  Janet Miller had easily agreed to stay in the room all day and watch Italian TV.

“And no room service!  You’re not going to starve to death in 8 hours.  Eat the Pringles.”

The telephone call from Jonathan McCormick had been a little more difficult.  He had been as vague as always but made his point clearly.  The Italians were not happy with the recent turn of events, and they wanted McCormick to restore the tranquility of their city.  Jonathon McCormick, for his part, assured them that he had no interest whatsoever in whatever was happening in Tuscany; however, as a gesture, he would reach out to his vacationing employee and see when he was coming home.  He also mentioned that it was never a good idea to mix one’s personal affairs with business and that he, Jonathon McCormick, was a businessman.  Dreyfus promised his boss that this would all be over soon and he would make certain that the Italians were pleased with the result.  Then he reloaded his Beretta, reminded Janet – “Nobody through that door, but me” — and left the hotel.

As Dreyfus got into the back seat, he saw a medium-sized Dolce & Gabbana bag and looked forward at the rear view mirror.  The driver was watching.

“Two keys of C-4,” he said and reached his hand over his shoulder.  It looked like he was holding a bunch of pencils.

“You’re a day late.”

The driver shrugged and didn’t comment.  Dreyfus reached forward for the pencils.

“Detonators.  Just break them with your thumb.  The blue line is five minutes and the red one is two.”

Dreyfus looked into the bag.  There were four neat rectangular bars, but what the hell was he going to do with nearly five pounds of high explosives now?  The warehouse job was over, and Jonathon McCormick had just told him to quit doing what he was doing and come home.

“These are your problem,” Dreyfus said, putting the detonators on the seat and making a mental note to rip a strip off Sydney about this.  The driver shrugged again and looked into the rear view expectantly.  Dreyfus handed him another paper napkin from his conversation with Martina Ciampi. “Do you know this place?”

The driver read the napkin.  “Yeah, I know it.  It’s about – uh — maybe,” he drew with his finger in the air, “thirty … forty minutes.”

“Alright, let’s go.”

Ten minutes later, as the traffic out of the city thickened, Dreyfus’ telephone rang.

What the hell?  It was Michael Elliott.

“Hello?”  It was tentative at best.

“How’s Italy?”

Dreyfus chuckled.  “Too much to see but the people are nice.  I’ll send you a postcard.”

“Do that.”

There was silence.

“And?” Dreyfus could hear Elliott smiling.

“And.  Rumour has it that you and your Duchess are running around Italia, masquerading as officers of the Crown.  Do you want to enlighten me?”

Dreyfus thought about it.  This was bizarre.

“Don’t believe everything you hear.”

“Oh, I don’t.  But apparently, there’s a stack of dead bodies with your name on them and I’m told the Federal Italian police are asking questions about the British Secret Service.  You better give me something.”


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