DISINTEREST IN POLITICS = FERTILE SOIL FOR MAFIA
If you are not interested in politics, politicians also will not be interested in you.
Corruption is like cooking. If cooks, instead of using all the ingredients to prepare a meal, eat the best parts while cooking. Once the meal is ready, everyone, including who prepared it, will be deprived of a great meal just because of the egoism of a few people.
SLEEPING IN A GUEST HOUSE WHERE MY ROOM START TO TRAVEL AROUND
I am in a tiny room in a kind of long-term hostel.
The room has just the space of a bed and therefore is rectangular.
In the middle of the night, I start to feel that the room moves, I look at the window, and I see the landscape scrolling.
I find out that the room is actually a camper, and in front of it, someone is driving and transporting it around.
We go from Finland to Russia, and there we have some challenges to cross the border.
Finally, once we are back, the guesthouse owner is distraught because the people driving the camper room were not supposed to do it; they were previous guests.
A mafia man comes towards me, chasing me, I am not able to fight, I am blocked.
He points his gun to my head, and he shoots.
I wake up.
THE GIPSY WHO KILLED A MAFIA BOSS SHOWS ME HIS KNIVE
I am just arrived at a guest house in the countryside to spend a few days here.
I get welcomed by two tattooed men; one of them is shaved on his head and has a ninja weapon on the table.
The other tells me that he is a Gipsy; he has a big knife tattooed on the arm and wants to show me the real one.
He takes me to his room, calling it ‘studio.’ Taking the knife in his hands, he sits and holds the big weapon in the left palm, starting to shake his leg and telling me about how he killed a mafia head guy in Naples.
The knife is about three hands big, and it’s cumbersome.
Short after, I discover that the stories are just coming from his mind.
This is the last fantasy story.
NAPLES, QUALITY OF LIFE, AND SOCIAL (IN)EQUALITY
The only city in the world where everybody is ‘equal’: Naples.
There, regardless of whether you have a Ferrari or a Fiat panda, it will get damaged by vandals anyway.
The capital of southern Italy can be quite a contradictory place.
From my personal experience, since I grew up there and after lived in many different countries, I would say that Naples is one of the cities with the lowest quality of life globally.
Nevertheless, the peculiarity of this city is the ‘universal’ character regarding the quality of life.
In many southern cultures, the rich have a higher quality of life than the poor, with much less hassle in everyday life.
It’s ironic that in Naples, in contrast with many other communities with similar cultures, the quality of life is low also for the rich, which will have a difficult life there too. Thus, we can ironically call Naples a genuinely egalitarian place, where all experience the same low quality of life, the same troubles, both the rich and the poor.
But of course, unfortunately, the rich will always be better off finally.
MENTALITY TOWARDS THE OLD
There is such worship of old, traditional, conservative, and ancient customs that I often feel I am not old enough to do certain things. Sometimes I think not even old enough to eat a sophisticated dish or a drink.
I am probably not old enough for Naples.
PLAYING WITH THE KIDS OF THE MAFIA’S BOSSES
As a child, I grew up in three different places. Because of a series of odd coincidences, there was a heavy presence of organized crime, in all of them!
In the yard down my home, I used to play football with other kids from the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, and inevitably, a few of these kids belonged to mafia families.
My sister had the same problem. Two daughters of the local mafia boss wanted to be her best friends. So, therefore, whatever she would do, they would always try to be with her.
There was a ballet school where my sis enrolled. The two mafia babies joined it, too, just to be with my sister.
My father would always warn us to avoid spending time with these kids, not because they were bad, but because some rival criminals may shoot the wrong person during a “resa dei conti” (‘account settling’).
I often had nightmares of being involved with some local gang.
I was about 11yo when I was playing football right below my building.
The mafia boss’s kid played with me, he lived in the building in front of mine, and we would often play together.
There was a dispute about the game, as it often happens while playing among kids. And as it often happens around Naples, these disputes end up in little fights.
We start pushing and pulling each other, ending up punching, kicking, and scratching.
It’s funny how, after a fight like this, you feel exhausted, so tired that you don’t even remember the reason why you started to argue.
WORRYING THAT SOMEONE WOULD KILL ME
When you are a kid, you are often scared, even of the most little things. Imagine living, studying, playing, and fighting with people involved with Camorra.
My crime nightmares were really common; their end would always be about someone shooting at me; after that, I would wake up.
One mafia death a day is the this region’s toll; once we have even seen a body lying on the ground on the highway. We were scared even to call the police.
One day, my sister went to buy some food in a nearby restaurant, one kilometer from our house.
As she left the place and walked 400 meters, she heard several shootings.
The day after, reading the news, we got to know that the restaurant’s owner was killed by organized crime.
YEARS LATER, HE TAKES ME ON A MOTORBIKE
Down my home, I cross in the street the kid which I was fighting with. Now he is, obviously, not a kid anymore, as nor am I.
We talk for a while without arguing; he tells me that he works in a restaurant now, proposing to take me on a motorbike to show me where his restaurant was.
I get a flashback of when, in the center of Naples, a con-artist said the same thing. This person told me that he used to do criminal business, but then he changed path, and currently, he was working in a shoe shop.
He proposed to show me the shop, I accepted, and there was the trick.
Once in the middle of nowhere, in the most dangerous, criminal, and hidden little streets “vicarielli” of Naples, he extorted me money, showing me even a knife.
This time is different; this time, I have often spent time as a child with this mafia-born guy.
This time, I learned much more information about my counterpart, and he is my neighbor.
Also, this time, I accept the proposal because I am curious and maybe a bit naive.
He takes me for about three kilometers on a scooter. We pass in front of the restaurant where he works and then he asks me something.
The question is: “I heard you know how to repair computers. Do you want to repair mine?”
I am considering his request, taking into account that he told me he is working in a restaurant, not following the wrong path of his father.
Indeed, he is not involved with Camorra anymore because other people in the neighborhood tell me the same, confirming his statement.
Thinking that there is nothing wrong with helping your neighbor fix his pc, I accept the proposal since he is not a criminal.
THE MAFIOSI HOUSE
His house is right in front of mine; from my window, I face directly to his window, at some 300 meters of distance.
Since I was a child, my parents and siblings constantly told me about those particular neighbors we had in front of us.
They told me to avoid them at all costs. That their home looked the same as ours from the outside, but the inside was quite different.
I was curious to know how his home was arranged and if all voices about them were real.
Both my and his building were municipal accommodations for people escaping the heartquake. His apartment, from the outside, except having fancy sun curtains and a dark aura, was identical to mine.
I go up the stairs of his building, and I look at my home from there; I have a weird feeling of a kind of deja vu, or maybe I am just surprised to see my house from the opposite symmetric perspective looking like exactly his house.
It’s almost like I am now the bad guy, looking at the good guys from there.
Even before entering the apartment, I spot security cameras and an enormous, massive safety gate. Features that I have never seen in any other apartment in this area.
I pass through the gate; it’s almost like the airport security check.
Once inside, I see what I have always imagined:
- Expensive furniture.
- Monitors to view the cameras.
- The mother.
The mother greets me while I enter. I get to the computer, and I do my best to repair it.
I don’t spend too much time at his place, it seems that we both have things to do, so I leave soon after the fixing.
PEPPINO IMPASTATO, A SIMILAR STORY, ENDED DIFFERENTLY
Peppino was also the neighbor of a mafia man.
He also disliked the mafia.
The only difference between him and me is that he was an anti-mafia activist, while I am not, unfortunately.