Chapter 11: Research

Photo: P. Choudhury

Summer was coming early. It was only early May, but it had been hot since mid-April. Attention spans and teachers’ tempers were short as everyone’s interest in academics melted. The dress code was relaxed to let students leave their jackets in their lockers, but sweat drops still ruined handwritten assignments and lecture notes. Continue reading

Chapter 10: Tennis

giardino degli aranci“Are you still sure you can handle a full-sized book, Joe?”

The Cavaliere del Piave’s thick eyebrows and his height even seated put more fear in Joe than perhaps the man intended. Behind his desk, with the view of the City out two large windows and surrounded by the space and light of his office, the magnate exuded power more directly than in the intimacy of dinner the week before. “Business letters are just between me and my correspondents; this book has to cut a bella figura for the whole Group to the world.” Continue reading

Chapter 9: Ostaria dell’Orso

TAXIOn Saturday, the rain stopped around noon, as it did for a little bit every day now. Spring was just around the corner. The wind blew hard all afternoon, but by sundown it was just a breeze. Nancy and Joe took a taxi to their dinner meeting with del Piave. Continue reading

Chapter 7: Almost caught

“This may be the last one this year,” Nancy said as she handed Joe another letter from del Piave. “He’s taking his family to Argentina for Christmas. They have relatives there.”

“Well, this one’ll put gas in the Vespa until he gets back,” said Joe. Continue reading

A Christmas greetings to the followers of this blog

Dear follower friends —

Today is 25 December, which many know as Christmas, but which has a long history among humans as a time to celebrate: Saturnalia, the Winter Solstice, and when the lunar and solar calendars align: Hanukkah, Eid-el-Fitr, and the birth of the Prophet. I, for one, was very happy to see the Winter Solstice come and go, with its dramatic full moon, but also bringing in longer days and shorter nights, even if only a few  minutes at a time.

It is good to give thanks and to appreciate our friends and one another. So please accept my heartfelt thanks for your loyalty as readers and my best wishes for every happiness in the year to come.

Smooth roads and tailwinds,


Chapter 6: Sandra

On the 8th of December. Joe got home early. With the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on a Friday, many of the students’ families were leaving town for the long weekend. In a rare miracle for the occasion, the rain had stopped in the morning, though showers were predicted on and off for the weekend.It was the first day since he bought the Vespa that he had not been rained on in both directions. The new poncho he bought worked better than he expected at keeping his clothes dry. He folded the poncho and stashed it in the compartment of the scooter before walking upstairs. Continue reading