Sunday, March 4
I was reminded of the Lottery Man the other day when somebody else vanished.
Frank is one of the few male expats in Positano. We had arranged to go for a hike in the mountains on Monday morning but it was raining. I called him to cancel but his phone was switched off. That’s strange, I though, maybe he’s still asleep. On Tuesday morning it was bright and sunny so I called Frank to see if he was free to go hiking. His phone was still switched off.
Later on I called Micheles office where Frank is often found working. He hadn’t been seen there for a couple of days, Michele was worried and said he would ask around. I called the bar where he always has breakfast, but no, they hadn’t seen him either for a few days. After lunch Michele phoned back saying that his car had been found broken, by the beginning of a mountain pathway in the next village. It had been there for at least a couple of days. Michele texted me that he would go to the police the next day.
The next day! What if something bad has happened? He could be lying helpless at home or in the mountains somewhere, we can’t leave it another day! I marched straight on down to the local Vigili (glorified traffic wardens)office to see if they knew Frank’s address. I explained the situation and before I knew it I had 2 Vigili on the phone tracking down his address. Next thing, they’re putting on their jackets and caps ready to go and see if he is at home, alive or not.
“Shall I come too?” I asked doubtfully.
“If you want too, yeah why not,” said the Vigili.
On the way there one of the Vigili told me rather morbidly that if I hadn’t come to them, and something bad had happened, the neighbours would sooner or later noticed a bad smell or lots of flies. I gulped and thought to myself that knowing my luck Frank would call me in about 2 seconds, which would be quite embarrassing after dragging the Vigili out, but better that anything else that could happen.
My phone rang. It was Jenny who had spoken to the Vigili earlier. “I’ve just spoken to Diana and she said that she had spoken to Frank a couple of hours ago. He’s fine, probably just forgot to switch his phone on!”
Oh, crap! I’ll kill him, I thought. “ Er, scuse me sir?” I said meekly tapping a uniformed shoulder, “ he’s been found and he’s fine.”
“ Oh” replied the Vigili that was driving, “so we can turn around then?”
Did I detect a bit of disappointment in his voice? He turned the car around. As we started driving back towards town another Vigili car came zooming towards us. Oh well, at least Frank was OK. And maybe I made the Vigilis' day just a little bit more exciting…
at 9:22 AM