Firenze – It’s Over! (Almost)

Florence is a tourist town, so nobody noticed when a couple of extra ones got out of a car behind a hotel.  And nobody bothered to pause and eavesdrop on their conversation.

“But, Sinclair …”

No!  Just stay in the hotel room.  It’s only for a couple of hours.  It’s not going to kill you.”

“But I don’t …”

“Listen to me.  Janet’s already there.  This isn’t an argument.  Do as you’re …”

“For God sake, Dreyfus!” Emily’s patience was over, “Shut up for five seconds!”  They looked at each other.  Emily exhaled, “I don’t know the room number.”

“Oh.” Dreyfus’ head bobbed.

“I was never in the room.  Kidnapped!  Remember?”  Emily stuck her face forward.

“Alright, alright.  Sorry – uh – 402.  Elevator,” Dreyfus lifted his index finger and pointed it, “Straight ahead”

Emily laughed and shook her head.  She reached up and put her palm on his cheek.  “Go do what you’re going to do.  I promise I’ll stay in the hotel.  Janet and I’ll get drunk.” She gave him a short, sharp slap, “Just make sure you come back and pick up the pieces.”

Dreyfus instinctively grabbed her wrist and bent down and kissed her, pushing his tongue between her lips.  But before she could respond, he pulled his head back and half-smiled.

“Stay – uh — relatively sober.” He nodded, knowingly, raising his eyebrows, “When I get back, this thing is going to be over and we going to go out and see what we can find.”

Emily smiled, “I look forward to spending your money.”  She turned on her heels, and Dreyfus watched her walk away.

In the hotel, Emily walked through the lobby and stopped at the bar.

“A bottle of something red.”  The barman touched a bottle. “That’ll do.  Room 402.”  Emily took the bottle and went to the elevator.  Three flights up and 402 was straight ahead.  Emily knocked on the door with the base of the bottle.

“Jans.  It’s me.  Let me in.”

Suddenly the door was flung open, Emily was hauled into the room and surrounded by Janet Miller — who was hugging and rubbing and crying and hanging on as if her friend was the last lifeboat off the Titanic.

“Jesus, Jans!  Let go!  Let go!  I can’t breathe!”

Janet let her go as the door closed behind them. “Sorry.  Sorry.” Janet sniffed and swallowed, “Hormones.  But I was so worried.  I …”

Emily held up the bottle of wine.

“Never mind.  Look what I found.  Get some glasses, and I’ll tell you all about it.  It was terrible: no orange juice!” Emily smiled slyly.  God, this felt good!

Behind the hotel, the car pulled away, and Dreyfus handed the driver another torn paper napkin.

“We need to get close to here without getting under the CCTV.”

The driver looked at the address. “No CCTV.  It’s a brothel.” The driver looked in the rear-view, “Dedicated to the rich and famous.”

“How rich and famous?”

“Local deities but the kind who don’t want to be seen.”


“Some.  But it doesn’t open until later – around midnight.  This time of day, it’s probably empty, maybe a frontman to chase the tourists away, or,” The driver shook his head, “Maybe cleaners?  That’s all.”

Dreyfus looked down at the bag at his feet.  This would work.

“Get me close enough to see.”

Dreyfus took the cheap flip phone out of his pocket and tapped in a number.

“Pronto?”  It was a woman’s voice.

“The brothers are going to run.  If you send your friends into the streets tonight, you’ll own them.”

“How do you know this?”

Dreyfus ignored the question. “I’m going home.  Consider it a going-away present.  Maybe sometime you can return the favour?”




Martina Ciampi sat at her desk and looked down at the black screen telephone.  She was relieved.  She hadn’t known many men like this Sinclair, and they frightened her.  She was glad he was leaving.  Don’t come back.  But the gamble had been a good one, and she needed to finish it before her son knew what was going on.  She reached forward for her other telephone and tapped a number to summon her people.  Riccardo could tell her all about it in the morning.

A couple of minutes later, Dreyfus looked out the car window at an ordinary street.  There were a few people, window boxes, shutters, a stone curb and a grocery stall down the way.  The number he was interested in had heavy doors, but even that didn’t look out of place.  Dreyfus reached down and tore a fist- sized piece of C-4 off the cake in the bag.  He rolled it in his hands like a small cigar, put on his hat and got out of the car.  As he walked over to the building, he took a detonator out of his pocket and stuck it into the explosives.  At the doors, he jammed both into the gap at the bottom and broke the pencil at the red mark.  As he walked away, he took the telephone out of his pocket, stood at the car and counted thirty seconds.  Then he tapped in a number.  There was a hollow ring and man answered in a language Dreyfus didn’t understand.

“Hi, there.  My name is Dreyfus Sinclair.  The next sound you hear is me blowing the doors off one of your brothels.  In a couple of hours, the police are going to tell you which one.”

There was a flood of English threats and obscenities.

“No, be quiet.  It’s your turn to listen.  Here’s the deal.  I’m tired of playing with you people.  You’ve got a friend of mine, but Lady Perry-Turner wants to come home, now.  So tonight, at nine o’clock you’re going to leave her in the Piazza di Santa Trinita, and she better be …”  There was a loud explosion and — even though Dreyfus was some distance away — he felt the shock wave.  Hmm, too much Semtex!  “I’m pretty sure you heard that.  So, nine o’clock, tonight, Piazza di Santa Trinita.  And we all walk away and forget about it.  Just that easy.  And a word of advice.  Don’t ever cross my path again.”

Dreyfus closed the telephone and reached into the car for the Dolce Gabbana bag.  He lifted it out and walked over to the burning entrance – camouflaged by the confusion.  He looked in.  There was a man lying on the floor, clearly alive but seriously bleeding from the wooden shrapnel.  Dreyfus turned the bag upside down and dropped the unused C-4 at his feet.

“Tell your boss, nine o’clock – tonight.”  He said pointing his finger.  The sirens were already gathering as Dreyfus walked away, folding the bag in his hands.  He got in the car, put the empty bag on the seat and took off his hat and sunglasses.

“Let’s go back to the hotel.”


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