Meet the Podrufio’s
Wednesday, 23rd July
Two guards with a police dog each stood by a pair of large sophisticated iron gates as Idris and John drove in a black SUV through the statues that ornamented the big mansion, the magnificent estate had three swimming pools with a spectacular view over the lake. John noticed the presence of many gardeners and a few armed men.
“Loads of security in here,” said John, “The old man must have got many enemies!”
“Yeah, it wasn’t like this until the day after you saved him,” said Idris, “The boss fired the other guys and hired these bad boys when he realised that one of his competition, Tobriano means business. It’s a fortified wall in here, these boys wouldn’t even let a mosquito come near the fence now!”
“They look like they could eat a tiger alive!” said John referring to the guards.
“My thought too, buddy! Oh and um…John,” said Idris, “That thing I told you about the boss’ daughter, it’s no joke, okay? Some fool got fed with lead weeks back for raising his hand on the precious gem.”
“Is that right?” asked John.
“Damn right, my man,” answered Idris, “And that fool was actually the supposed-to-be future son in-law!”
“Hmm! That’s cold!” John added.
The car pulled up front at the mansion. Idris and John got out, one of the guards made a move to frisk John.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Special guest here,” said Idris, “You do that, the boss would cut those fingers off, Tony!”
The guard moved back staring at the men. John followed Idris into the mansion.
“Aah! John! Finally, you are here,” said the Director as he welcomed them, “Sonia, go get Diane,” talking to one of the maids, “Diane! Martha!” he cried out loud, “John Death is here!”
“Good morning, sir!” said John as he shook the Director’s hand.
“Morning, John!” responded the Director, “You got here just in time. My daughter was just about going out! I hope you like your new place.”
“Oh, it took my breath away, sir. I super love it.” said John, “Woke up feeling like a prince this morning.”
“Oh, trust me,” said the Director, “I know that feeling.”
“Daddy,” said a soft tender voice.
The men turned.
“Ah! There she is!” said the Director.
As the young and beautiful Diane made her way gently down the stairs in her red dress, John was bedazzled by her sight.
“Isn’t she beautiful?” said the Director as he smiled joyfully.
“Yes,” responded John, “Yes, undeniably!” Briefly lost in a world of fantasy as Diane walked down smiling, wearing the most beautiful dress he had ever seen which had an enormous paillettes that created a mermaid impression. Diane’s smile expressed one thing only; that she need not make any apologies for her curves.
“Honey, this is the man!” said the Director, “I want you to meet John Death!”
“I feel alive now,” whispered John as he smiled.
Diane tried to cover her teeth in order not to fully give in to his jokes, but anyone with a good sight could tell that he got her right where he wanted with his good sense of humour.
“Hi, John!” she said, “Daddy told me a lot about you,” she stretched her tender hand for a shake.
“Did he?” John gave a smug look, “Forgive me, but I always find it hard to lie, especially when swept off my feet by the mere sight of…”
“Beauty?” interjected the Director as he place his hands on their shoulders, “Maybe you should teach her how to play golf, son!”
“Oh, so you’re a professional just like daddy, I see!” she said.
“Trust me, if playing golf was flying a shuttle I’m that toddler trying to get off his cradle!” John responded with a smile, still trapped in her beautiful big blue eyes as he held her hand, “I’d also like to make one confession; at the moment, I feel like a nation that has lost its defences.”
“An honest man? Now, that’s a rare thing these days!” she replied looking into his eyes!”
“I’ll be in the pool room if you need me, boss!” said Idris as he cleared his throat. The Director nodded in response then turned to John and Diane.
“Young people, anytime you meet you feel like it’s love that makes the world go round!” he said as he excused the two, “John, I want to introduce you to someone. I’ll be waiting for you in here, once you’re able to escape from that Alcatraz!” laughing as he walked into another room.
“It seems my father likes you,” she said as she retired her hand from his grip.
“Some nobodies sometimes get lucky to be loved by some somebodies!” he said, “What made you think so?”
“Because daddy has never made anyone cancel their plans just so they’ll get to welcome anyone!” she replied.
“It feels good to know that one doesn’t need to look up at the skies at night to gaze the stars,” he said.
“What do you mean, John?”
“You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid my eyes on!” he said softly.
“Wow!” she sighed, “I have a feeling you have been down the dungeon for as many years as you’ve lived in this world, John!” she smiled.
“John!” hollered the Director, “Haven’t you subdued the guards yet?” his laughter echoed through the mansion.
“My father needs you,” she said, “Suspend the theatrics for now. Another time, Maybe?” as she walked through the foyer.
“Where can I find you?” he asked.
“Haven’t you heard, John?” she said, “Daddy says everybody should stay home today in order to welcome the superman!”
John kept staring at her curves as she cat walked towards the exit overviewing the lake. As soon as he remembered the Director was waiting for him, he quickly tiptoed to meet him.
“Ah! He finally made it!” Joked the Director who stood in front of a giant painting, “Come,” he took a sip of water from a glass, “I want you to meet someone special!”
John walked and stood not far from the Director, “Is this?” staring at the big beautiful painting of an older looking woman.
“Yeah,” said the Director, “Diane’s mother!” he smiled at the painting as he picked his reading glasses from the small artefact table below the painting, wore it and looked at the painting with such deep affection, then sighed, “Martha passed away when Diane was just a little girl,” he said, “Her exit from this world totally changed me! Oh! Martha, what a woman! She had a heart that’s far much bigger than the world!”
John smiled and tried to act sympathetic.
“Her heart was too good and too heavy the world could not carry it,” added the Director, “The world is not a playground for good people, John! I learnt that the hard way!”
“I’m sorry for your great loss, sir!” said John.
“Ah! Nothing to be sorry for, son!” he said, “I used to be like you when I was young, you know; so full of energy, trying to channel it in order to make the world a better place and all. Not until the day God took her away from me! Now, Diane is all I’ve got, she’s the only good thing left in my life, son!”
John was speechless.
“I grew up poor,” said the Director, “My dad wasn’t really the go getter type. Just a peasant, and my mother? She died of cancer,” he pursed, “We were so wretched my father couldn’t look me in the eye after mother passed away. But you know, sometimes no matter how hard life hits you, if you stay strong and stand tall on your own two feet, life will quit the fight and give you a break, and that’s when I met Martha while working the field one sunny day. The bus she took broke down near the fields and while the driver was trying to have it fixed, she came to me asking for water to drink.” he smiled, “When I first saw her, she knew if anybody was to ask me my name I wouldn’t be able to remember it,” he wiped the tears from his eyes as he manage to suck his pride in, “She never cared about my background. Even when I proposed to her three years later, knowing full well I was still struggling, she said yes!” he smiled, “Well, she uh, jumped into the wagon and we continued the struggle and start a new life together!”
“I really don’t know what to say at this moment, sir” said John.
“I am a man of many adversaries, son!” he said, “And for men like me, everyday gotta be treated as the last day, you know! Men of many foes have got only two problems; the clock’s always ticking, and you can’t trust anybody!” he sighed, “You can call me a paranoid old punk but when you are in line of my type of business, you’d watch your back even against your own shadows!”
John looked at the Director and then set his eyes on the painting again, “She’s beautiful.”
“Come over here, son,” said the Director, “Let me show you something!” he removed his reading glasses and placed it back on the small table along with the glass of water he was holding then walked towards a large glass window.
John walked along and stopped right behind him.
“How would you like to look after something precious for the old man?” asked the Director, referring to Diane who was playing with a puppy outside the mansion.
“I um, you mean?”
“Yeah, my daughter!” he responded, “I have a feeling the tectonic plates beneath my feet are going to shift a bit from the way things are going and to be sincere, son, I know this may sound rather odd but, you are the only one I can trust for now!” as he turned and looked straight into John’s eyes, “Can you do that for me?” putting his hands in his pockets.
John sighed, looked at Diane and the puppy, “Sure, sir! Anything for you!”
“I can see you two have already acquainted yourselves, so I don’t think she’ll be a headache to you in any way,” said the Director as he turned and faced the lake smiling, “Your work starts right now, son!”