4 min to read
Sitting on the table in his living room, Lodovico was shuffling cards. A worn-out set, by the use of the last ten years, when free with Anastasia, who grew up keen on card games like scopa, ruba mazzetto e briscola.
That evening ramino was the idea.
The invincible Lodovico had responded with excitement although he felt doubtful, when he noticed the bright look of his niece, triggered by the challenge.
Given his back to the kitchen, he wasn’t paying attention to Anastasia’s noise, walking across the rooms, to get all what was needed. Lodovico only shook when the wind blew his neck and asked her to close the window door.
«Still your neck?» Anastasia asked, worried, while placing a bowl of crisps next to her place.
Lodovico looked at them and disapproved with a groan, as he was afraid they could grease his cards.
Anastasia answered with a bunch of napkins next to the bowl, and showed an innocent smile, before placing his uncle’s favorite beer in front of him.
«I just caught a cold during the last stakeout.» he said while she was sitting down.
«Why you again?» still surprised by his tasks, in spite of his rank.
«I’d rather be there. And this case needed my supervision.»
Anastasia sat down and looked concerned at her Uncle. The way he said so reminded her of those long cases which he never talked about and which made him gloomy, even after the Court final decision.
Lodovico moved the set of cards onto the table, scratched his salt and pepper chin and gave her a reassuring warm smile.
«On you.» he incited her, and the game started off.
Cards out, card changing, waiting for the adversary’s move. The pauses were filled by Anastasia crunching and Lodovico sipping.
Many were the similes between uncle and niece, it was behaviors which none of them could notice, but which their family laughed at and mocked.
As with the cards: their face mimic, depending on who was holding the game, were the same. But they couldn’t realize them on one another.
«You are ridiculous!» said Arturo mocking them while getting to their table.
One hand stuck in his jeans pocket, the other holding the part of the chocolate bar which wasn’t in his mouth already, Anastasia’s brother was ready for his evening. Wearing an ironed shirt, gel styled hair, cowboy boots and a whole perfume bottle on top of that.
Lodovico frowned at him, as he hadn’t been able to understand his nephew’s changing styles of the last five years, overwhelmed by his strong new fragrance.
«So we are meant to be the pointless ones, aren’t we? Does your mother know that the expensive fragrance you made her buy is actually being used as bath foam?»
Arturo grimaced, before getting one more bite from his chocolate bar.
«And why are you eating my snack?» Lodovico asked, disappointed.
«Because this isn’t any good for you. I’m sacrificing my health.»
«Which wasn’t asked for, at all.» he told him off.
«Why are you getting at me if you are losing? Can’t you see you are pulling faces? You behave the same either when you have a bad or a good hand! And you are supposed to be the chief inspector, right?» upset by the scold, Arturo reacted, led by his wild sixteen.
«So what?» Anastasia replied, ironic.
A question which Arturo didn’t answer, while he was jumping onto the sofa before going downtown.
Lodovico breathed in deeply and got back to the game; he was aware that Arturo had taken after his mother and he needed time to blow off steam.
«Shall we raise the wager?» Anastasia suggested.
“Here’s another one taking after her mother!” Lodovico thought while looking at her 18-year-old niece’s angelic face.
How many times had Giuseppina welcomed him with the same smile, starting with a carissimo fratello, only to manipulate him.
«What would you like?»
«Well, if I win, you’ll convince Mum to let me go to England with my friends.»
«Well, what if I win?»
«I’ll wash your beloved car for the next three months.»
«Also, you’ll make a cake for me every week.»
Anastasia smirked, as she thought the counterproposal was harder.
«Well done inspector! So, what do we have here? Gambling and alcohol?» Anita finished putting on her jacket without taking her frowning eyes off her husband.
Lodovico reacted with a shrug, the perfect match for his innocent look.
Seduced, Anita leaned to kiss his lips, cheered by her niece but disapproved by her nephew, still lying on the sofa.
«Arturo, let’s go.» his aunt called him, enjoying their reactions; just different variations of puberty.
The phone suddenly rang and froze them all.
Anita moved first, a few words before handing it over to her husband.
Lodovico answered, he was clear and concise, and he listened carefully, while the others realized that Uncle Lodovico wouldn’t take part to the pizza and cinema evening.
«I’ll be quick.» the inspector confirmed, before hanging up and leaving.