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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 1, March 2019
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Alexis Rotella
Arnold, Maryland, USA


The Last Supper

Having lived in Italy three years, we're two heartbroken expatriates looking for comfort with nowhere to go but back to the States.

We make one last trip to our favorite hotel restaurant, where we had dined dozens of times. Our favorite dish – panzarotti (broken stomachs) of ravioli oozes with mozzarella smothered in a delicate cream tomato sauce. But this evening my meal is a turnoff. A dead fly in the salad is drenched in vinagrette. And the main course contains the wing of an unidentified insect.

I call the waiter over, point first to the salad, then the pasta. He whisks away our plates. Within seconds the owner, with whom we’ve exchanged pleasantries in the past, transforms into a raging rhinoceros. He charges toward us while pushing a cart that contains the two courses. The disgusting elements, of course, have been removed. He glares at my husband. "Your wife has good eyes, but mine are much better. I don’t serve dirty food in my restaurant."

"But it was there," I protest.

Instead of an apology, he proclaims, "Here in Italy, Il padrone sempre ha ragione." I tell him in America it's the customer who’s always right.

Snowy owl
its shadow
stains the snow

As we walk toward our car, the full moon rests on the lake where we had picnicked so often. Il padrone appears at the door. The red dot of his cigarette burns a hole into the night. He jots down our license plate number while he wishes us a good night’s sleep, for tomorrow we will be behind bars. He assures us he knows every cop and judge in this tiny town.

Our laughter subsides upon phoning our friend, Signorina LaPorta, who has lived in this village her whole life. She tells us he is indeed well connected, that we could be detained from leaving Italy. But, she assures us she will take care of the matter. As Secretary of the Rotary Club, she will assure him that we are an honorable couple. If he does not rescind his threat, she will guarantee the Rotary Club never holds another affair at his hotel.

"No problem, Signorina, I will send the lovely couple champagne and roses in the morning."

Gregorian chants
nothing in this world
makes sense

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