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Sunday, 29 March 2015

GAY KISSES AND LOSS OF SIGNAL



My bedroom in the hospice was very spooky. It was a rather simple room with some old piece of furniture, some black-and-white old family portraits hanging at the wall and a window facing a steep slope. The bed sheets were marked with a large cross, freshly painted with red ink. Franchino told me that the old man who used to sleep there, had died a couple of weeks before, so that I was the lucky new tenant of that bed-sit. There were times when I was supposed to sleep there, but I always managed to sneak out and spend the night in the castle. I would have never been able to sleep on someone’s deathbed.  Franchino’s permanence in Curò was coming to an end. In fact he still had just over one week to complete his 10-month social service duty. Before leaving, he made sure I had learnt some basic points to survive during my long stay there. I was told that if I wanted to go home at least two weekends per month, I needed to make sure that Mayor Bassi liked me. The best way to make him happy was to be always ready to help him and to avoid damaging the only car of the town hall that was still intact: the Panda. Franchino told me also that he had to dig the grave of the man who had died in my bed a couple weeks before. “If you make them unhappy, they’ll make you dig the graves too!” He added. When Franchino left to go back to his Venetian hometown, I started feeling lonely and lost in that tiny village on the Alps.

***

My tasks were various. Twice a week I had to axe some woods for Mrs Lombardi, a very demanding lady who was never too keen to thank me for my efforts. On a Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays afternoon I had to go with Romano for a walk. He had the “Down Syndrome” and suffered from severe articulation dysfunctions. Sporadically I had to take a few old ladies to the cemetery, to visit the graves of their beloved, who had left them behind for a hopefully more intriguing afterlife, than the life they had in the village. Those ladies were always very kind to me and they used to give me 10000-lire tips. Eventually Graziella noticed that I needed to get some friends of my own age, as the people I was spending my time with, were normally over 80. She came to me and she told me that she would have closed one eye and let me go out on that Saturday night with Tamara and Pamela. The two local girls wanted to drive to Bergamo, to go clubbing. Both of them used to work for the local post office and for this reason, trusted by the Mayor and Graziella. This trust brought the latter to extend my curfew from 11:30pm to 8am if I had spent my time with the two innocent-looking girls. It was about 11:00pm and I was waiting in front of the castle for Pamela and Tamara. As in Curò one could not get any signal from the “Telecom Italia Mobile” transmitters, I decided to take my mobile phone with me, so that I would have been able to receive all the undelivered text messages that had been sent to me in the two previous weeks. The moon was shining bright and the village was dead silent, a spooky silence interrupted only by a loud dog’s howling. Finally the car arrived in the Piazza Roma. Tamara and Pamela were inside the car and another girl named Carla was at the wheel. As soon as we left Curò Tamara took out some tiny bottles of highly alcoholic drinks from her bag. They started drinking and hysterically laughing and they gave me a bottle too. I could not believe my eyes: those girls were not innocent at all. Pamela had some joints and she gave one to each one of us. It was fun at first, but then I felt that what we were doing was not particularly safe. In fact Carla was driving stoned and drunk at a pretty high speed on a rather curvy public road. From time to time, when the space allowed, Carla pulled the parking break and make the car spinning around like a whirligig. Eventually we reached Bergamo and we stopped over to eat one of those delicious “Piadina al Prosciutto Crudo e Formaggio”. Once there Tamara and Pamela kissed each other intensively and wet. This was my first encounter with the gay hidden society of the small village on the Alps. We smoked some other grass and I started getting the same uncomfortable feeling I had experienced a few months before in Spain. When I realized that I was feeling sick and my paranoia started to dominate my brain. “I will get expelled from the Social Service department. They’ll take me to prison”. The night was long and scary, when we arrived at the castle again I was dead tired and I went straight to bed. Once again I had survived my bad experience and for the first time I realised that my brain could not accept the intake of any drugs anymore.