Act of Necessity
Chapter 8: Waiting for the Other Shoe
I was shaking like a leaf in the wind when I climbed back into my car. I couldn't move and yet I knew I had to get out of there before someone came along and saw me. I forced myself to start the car, turn around, and head back toward Marine Drive. I made a quick diversion to Fraserview Golf Course and after bending the golf club over my knee, I tossed it over the fence into the rough alongside a fairway. I got back into the car and got home just after nine-thirty. I folded the tarp after determining there was no evidence of blood on it and stowed it in the rafters in the garage. It had taken me less time to complete my mission than I calculated. I had one more thing to do before I could call it a night.
"Hi, Francesca, how are you, love?"
"I'm fine. Just finishing up studying for my finance class. How are you?"
"Good. I played hooky tonight and went to a movie. They had a James Bond movie on that I wanted to see."
"Oh ... that's a surprise," she laughed. "You guessed I wouldn't want to go with you. I thought you hated Roger Moore?"
"I do. This was a Sean Connery movie that wasn't part of the franchise. Much more like the books, but it still had all the old villains."
"Well, as much as I like Sean Connery, I'm not a big fan of the killing and mayhem in those movies."
"I know, otherwise I would have invited you to go with me."
"So, how are you doing with your studies?" she asked.
"Pretty good, I think. I've got a couple of tests to write in the next week or so, but nothing I'm worried about. I just thought a night off wouldn't hurt me. I did want to hear your voice, though. That always makes me feel good."
"And I always like to hear your voice too, lover. Will you be coming here on Friday?"
"You know it. Darlene has a date with her new boyfriend, so we'll have the place to ourselves again."
"Gee, I wonder what we can do ... just the two of us," she giggled.
"I'm sure we'll think of something. I'll see you Friday about seven-thirty, okay?"
"I'll be waiting for you. Goodnight, lover."
I hung up the phone and let out my breath. I tried hard to sound normal and since Francesca could almost always tell if I wasn't my usual self, I must have done a good job of fooling her. That allowed me to relax a bit.
I didn't go to bed at my usual time. I opened a beer and sat in front of the TV. Don't ask me what was on. I wasn't watching it. I was dreading tomorrow and the days that might follow. Sooner or later someone would report Aldo missing. Sooner or later his body would be found. Sooner or later the police would want to talk to me. I almost hoped it would be sooner. I was sure the waiting would be very difficult.
The next day was as bad as Tuesday. I couldn't concentrate and a couple of my people asked me if I was alright. I assured them I was and said it was just a stomach upset. They laughed, hoping it wasn't something I ate here. I assured them it wasn't.
No one came to see me that day or the next day. I scanned the papers and watched the local TV news to see if there was any report of a body being found, but there was nothing. It was Friday before I had a call. It was from the Oakridge police station.
"It's Constable Harcourt, Mr. Larson. We're following up on a missing person report. Your name came up due to a report of harassment and threats by a Mr. Aldo Ferraro. Can you tell me if you've had any contact with him in the last few days?"
I'd been waiting for this call and knew what I wanted to say.
"No ... nothing at all, thank goodness. He's threatened both me and my girlfriend more than once. I won't be disappointed if I never hear from him again."
"When was the last time you saw or heard from him?" the constable asked.
"I can't remember the date, but I reported it to your office and two officers came down and dealt with Ferraro and two of his friends. They were standing out in front of my restaurant, trying to intimidate me, I guess."
"And that was the last time you saw or heard from Aldo Ferraro?"
"Yes, that's right."
"Okay, then. That's all I need for now. We'll be in touch if anything else comes up."
That went about as I expected it would, except it was merely a phone call and a brief conversation. They didn't ask where I was on Tuesday evening, so I guessed they hadn't really pinned down when he went missing. So far, so good.
I kept watching the news and the newspaper for any indication that the body had been found or that the police were actively looking for Aldo. Nothing. Over the next two weeks I began to relax a bit and think maybe that the longer it took them to find Aldo, the more difficult would be to track back to when and where he was disposed of. Time was on my side.
In the meantime, the planning for Sam and Gio's wedding was well underway and I received my airline tickets to Rome. We would be leaving the first Wednesday in May. I would be travelling with Francesca, Eduardo and Mama Rosina. Fredo and his family would be with Pietro and his family. They would be leaving a few days earlier to get the children settled. All of us would fly Air Canada to Toronto, then Alitalia to Rome. The train to Perugia would bring us close to the home of the Mariani family. Fredo and Pietro would pick us up and transport us and our luggage the rest of the way.
I'd spent some time looking up the area where we were going and it was fascinating. The little town of Magione was located near the beautiful Lake Trasimeno. I recognized the name as the same as Eduardo's wine importing company. The hilly land was heavily planted. Not just grape vines, but olive trees dotted the landscape near the estate vineyards. Francesca promised me our ten days would be full and we would have plenty of time to sightsee.
It was mid-April, almost four weeks after I'd taken care of Aldo, that I had another call from the police. This time, they asked if I would come to the station for an interview. As far as I knew, the body hadn't been found, but that was only based on my scanning the newspaper and watching the TV news. I was pretty sure any found body would be reported. It didn't happen that often.
I arrived at the Oakridge police station and met with Corporal Rawlings. We went into an interview room and I was offered coffee or water. I chose water.
"Mr. Larson, can you tell us where you were on the evening of March fourteenth this year?"
"No, I can't. I have no idea what day that was."
"It was a Wednesday."
"If it was my usual Wednesday, then I went to work, left just after three and went home. Took a shower, changed my clothes, maybe did some shopping, then came back home. I had my dinner with Darlene, my sister, then did my correspondence studies. Why do you want to know?"
"As best we can determine, that was the day that Aldo Ferraro disappeared. He hasn't been seen or heard from since. We have no suspects other than possibly ... you."
"Me? Why me?"
"The problems you had with Ferraro. The threats and violent encounters that brought about his conviction. His friends say he was obsessed with getting you out of his way so he could get to Francesca Mariani. All that points to you having a reason for him to be out of the picture."
"Yeah ... I suppose it does. But I had nothing to do with his disappearance. Maybe he took off on his own. Maybe someone else wants him gone. Me ... I'm in no position to hassle Aldo Ferraro. I've had one physical encounter with him already, and that was one too many."
"You have no recollection of being out anywhere on Wednesday, March fourteenth?"