The Long Lost Mayor

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As I try to decide what to wear today, I hear Artemis yelling at Athena again. This is not something out of the ordinary, as Artemis seems a bit annoyed since we had to leave the French Alps and move to Italy. You'd really think that living in the country of wine and pasta would have a positive impact on her, but I guess some people are like that. You can't make them happy, no matter what. If I had to guess, I would say that the reason she is so angry all the time has something to do with that investment banker chick she left behind, but I try not to pry. Too much. 

As Athena and Artemis keep shouting to one another, I try to envision myself in pink chiffon, but opt for jeans and a silk blouse. It doesn't feel like a pink chiffon kind of day. I reach the back of my closet, looking for my black pumps, when I hear Athena yell something about Marco Ricci. I jump at the name, and bang my head against the top rack. I curse and grab the first pair of shoes and make my way downstairs.

"Good morning, everybody! I hope you slept well!" I really, really hope they can't tell my shoes don't match my blouse. I should have taken the time to coordinate better, but I need to know what is going on.

"Maybe for you!" Athena answers with a smirk. "Not so much for Ricci."

"Who?" I ask somewhat absentmindedly as I sit down.

"Marco Ricci. He was in the news last week. Oh wait! I forgot. You only watch Fashion TV." Artemis throws a newspaper my way and gets up from the table. The front page of the Sicilian newspaper shows a photo of a dark haired man in his 40s, giving a speech. The title proclaims "Sicilian mayor missing." I skim the article for any more pieces of information. Apparently, the mayor of a little town next to Catania, where we live, was presumably kidnapped by Mafia boss Ernesto Fieri. That seems possible, seeing that Fieri was gonna run against Ricci, having decided that being a mayor would be better for his business. The only problem is, I was on Fieri all night last night. I mean I was surveilling him.

"Ricci's been missing for a couple of days now," Artemis says as she pours me a cup of coffee. "It seems like Fieri didn't want to wait for the elections anymore, and decided he would be sure to win."

"Are you sure about this? I don't think it's in his best interest to have his political opponent go missing like that. I'm sure the other Mafia bosses wouldn't be too happy if Fieri would ruin their agreements with the police." I mustn't let them suspect I know more about this than they do.

"The timing is really odd," Athena agrees. She reaches for an orange and starts peeling it with her long, French-manicured nails. "It might be Fieri's lieutenant, Giovanni Capodanno. He stands to gain if Fieri is locked up for this; he could take Fieri's place as head of the family."

"I guess you're right." I let my words hang in the air. She isn't right. Capodanno would never speak against his boss; that would literally be suicide. And Fieri's whole reason for running against Ricci is that he will testify against Luca Romano, another Mafia boss. Fieri's testimony will lock Romano up for life, so Fieri has made arrangements for his departure from the island. He is trying to keep everybody occupied with his political career, so they won't look too closely on his other actions. He bought a one way ticket to Brazil two months ago, for an alias he uses. His wife and son are to follow him a month after his arrival, to make sure everything is in order. However, he is unaware that the Brazilian president and the Italian prime-minister are working towards signing an extradition treaty. I am one week away from locking up both Romano and Fieri, but Ricci's disappearance only complicates things. And where in Hades' name are my black pumps?

***

I call my contact down at the precinct, Michele, and he only mentions that Ricci has been missing for less than 24 hours, but he was supposed to appear at a gala honoring women in the Second World War yesterday and he failed to show. His wife has a friend who writes for the Giornale di Sicilia, and they both hope that targeting Fieri would solidify Ricci's position in the election.

That's it! I was going to wear my black pumps at the gala, so I put them downstairs, but then I got a phone call from Michele saying that they had Fieri having dinner with one of the girls working for Romano. I race downstairs and change my shoes. Fieri's dinner guest gives me an idea.

***

I let the door ajar to my room and go inside to make a phone call. I wouldn't dare close the door, as little-miss-know-it-all Athena likes to listen at my door. I reach for the phone and dial Michele's number. As I pace around the room, waiting for him to answer, I notice Athena hovering in the hallway. Her slim figure is standing in the doorway, probably trying to hear my conversation. I hang up and open the door wide with a creak. She jumps at the noise and pretends she was just walking past my room, adjusting her step at the last minute. I bite back a laugh and phone Michele again.

"So, I've been thinking," I say, using my most convincing bimbo voice, "what if Ricci wasn't kidnapped? What if he is just hiding?"

"What do you mean?"

"The captain is Ricci's brother, right? Do you remember when you mentioned that Ricci was acting weird around the captain's wife? And wasn't the Captain's assignment over yesterday, even though he was supposed to be gone for another week? Something tells me that if you think of some sort of emergency and get the Captain to come into the office for an hour, our lost mayor will find his way back."

***

I make my way downstairs, trying to retrace my steps. When did I last wear my black pumps? I guess it was about a week ago, with that whole Ricci fiasco. Artemis is reading the newspaper aloud: "Italian Mafia boss arrested in Sao Paolo". Huh. What do you know.

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