International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Life
was unashamedly unkempt. I always thought I was like the adverts
for second hand clothing well used but clean. I continued
to daydream in the brilliant sunshine whilst drinking the worlds
best coffee in the Via San Marco. Lega Umana, the poster
said, best pop act of 1981. There was something compelling
about the phrase Human League. I wondered whether the
Pope would sit in the top berth as a matter of course, or would
it be Martin Sheen as the worlds top earner. How could it
possible be the Pope if women were barred from their own league
An extremely jittery lady woke me from my dreamy interlude.
do sit er
No I have no time. My name is Sister Carmel. I understand that
you are investigating the death of Monsegnieur Dwyer?
I will meet you here at one oclock sharp. Then we will walk
to San Pietro Vincoli. I must go, I have to cross the bridge now.
With a hardly discernable wave she was gone. I went to my room to think.
I thought about my earlier audience with Cardinal Paolinni. I remember
thinking that his eyes did not seem to work in harmony, they were rather
like two ends of the same bridge, worn down by the constant traffic
over the years. He told me that Dwyer had worked in finance at the Vatican
but was sent back to England after having been discovered with a chorister.
The only lead in the murder of Monsignieur Dwyer and his boyfriend,
was that the naked boy had crawled to a drawer to pull out a coin of
Pope John Paul the First which had been struck just two years earlier.
He then fell back and died clutching the coin in his right hand and
an orange table cloth in the other. The police believed the coin to
be some sort of clue.
As I approached the bar door I was followed in by someone who was vaguely
Hello Jim fancy a coffee?
I know you, youre a
...thats right, and Ive got a proposal for you
Im afraid Im meeting someone. I sat down at
my usual table.
Sister Carmel?... He sat down in front of me. 'She was found drowned
in the Tiber about an hour ago.
I just find this very weird. I investigate a small time murder
in London, which leads me to Rome. Then a nun is murdered and Im
picked up by MI5. This is one equation that doesnt figure.
Not a bad analogy my friend. It does add up just that you
forgot a pretty large sum on the right.'
Youve lost me.
Power! And because its political power thats exactly
why Im sitting here. You see this is not a simultaneous equation,
its a three dimensional quadratic equation. You think cause and
effect. Not here. This isnt pinball, its Einsteins laws
of time and space; shares are bought in China, a nun dies in Italy,
3000 nazi war criminals are given new lives by the Vatican. And all
these games happen above the board.
Not only have you lost me, your moving much further away.' I told
You are sitting in the real-time arena of arguably the most powerful
organisation in the world. Remember the old thing about America sneezes,
the world catches a cold? You know this because of democracy. What you
dont know is that it was the Vatican that spread the virus.
I thought Israel was the powerhouse.
Ah, a general misconception, there are many more Catholics in
the US than Jews, and its wealth is in the hands of its people. Therefore
in times of stress it takes endless meetings, endless arguments
and endless chess movements before the whole process is back to exactly
where it started. The Vatican has almost infinite resource, the control
of the world mafia, and spooks in every single country. They are accountable
to no one and can act within seconds.
I thought they were accountable to God?
Again my friend your lack of theological knowledge surprises me:
They are God, well allegedly, and are charged to do His will.
Ok thanks for the lecture but I dont see what this has to
do with me or the Pope?
the Pope has been a sort of saintly puppet in all
this since about the mid forteenth century. Pope John Paul the First
thought hed put a stop to the power structure he lasted
just 33 days. And where you were a week ago no-one in any kind of power
would give a monkeys foreskin, but where you are now is persona
Are you trying to tell me that history isnt history unless
the Vatican have sanctioned it? JFKs death?; WW2?'
Of course it takes at least two to tango, but youre getting
the idea. You may not have realised it but you were weighed in
the balance earlier today, just like Nebuchadnesser.
Dont be so melodramatic.
Listen Colson, Im going way over my brief here. If they
had even the slightest hint that Sister Carmel had passed information
to you, you would now be in the morgue and you wouldnt even get
a column centimetre in your own paper!
And how do you know she didnt give me anything?
Because you would be several shades paler and would have attempted
to leave a lot earlier, and I wouldnt be meeting you because like
I said you would be in the morgue.
Sadly, you may have a point, but why are you here?
Her Majesty, unlike things Vatican, has a very keen sense of honour
regarding subjects that help even the lowest members of her household.
Im afraid youve lost me again.
Didnt John Plod ask you for help in the London Paedo case?.
God yes! Yes Chief Inspector Loudon
Amazing really, I wouldnt have expected John Plod to have
seen the connection between a papal coin and Italy, but I guess miracles
are bound to happen in this particular line of work
weve spent too long here already.
As we left through the front door the spook gave the bartender a nod
and moments later a small Fiat pulled up.
Streuth, I had at least expected a Lamborghini.
Dont believe everything you see in films
most of its
rubbish. A Milanese hitman couldnt possibly imagine anybody else
but a Roman driving a Fiat 500, and if anybody else was, they would
either be an escapee from a lunatic asylum or Spanish
you ask I havent a clue; they just think Spaniards are very strange.
On the flight home I felt neither nervous nor talkative. I turned on
one of these new fangled CD players and was listening to the lento from
Vaughan Williams fifth symphony. Both the experience and the music were
fascinating, but when interwoven with the events of the past few days,
seemed subliminally to explain everything: The whole point of which
was that there was no point. We and all our ideas seem to drift like
rivers over the lands, burbling, bubbling and sparkling our arrogant
way to the various seas of death - where our dead ideas mingle with
others through the centuries of mans struggle - chiefly with himself.
And so as I trudged home that night lightheaded and disorientated, I
realised something that everyone involved in this affair had overlooked.
The main clues for me were: Pope, bridge and the colour orange. This
now suggested to me that these murders had not been carried out by the
mafia, or temporal associations. They had been sanctioned under the
same papal bull that John Paul the First had declared just
four years ago when he had mobilised the hounds of God to
bring the Mafia connections to an end. Though murdered shortly afterwards,
it was clear that his message had not died with him: It was the Dominicans
who had performed the murders. They had been given a licence to kill
centuries earlier in order to wipe out heresy. They could only perform
such acts by crossing the bridge over the pit of burning
souls the offortorium that Dante had borrowed
for his Inferno. Carmel had already given me what she had intended.
As soon as I got in, my answerphone was beeping with 15 messages. I
went through them until I came to one from my spook friend.
Just thought Id let you know that a leading
Italian Banker has gone missing and his secretary committed involuntary
suicide by apparently jumping off his fourth floor balcony claiming
that the bank was the biggest global organiser of ponzi
credit. Since he is one of the four biggest cheeses in the banking world,
this means that the Vatican has just dropped his bank on one of their
marble floors. Oh my! Good talking to you
Although hardly in, I decided to go for a drive to clear my head. I
drove fairly aimlessly in my new Audi Quatro. I loved driving along
Millbank when it was empty and smelling the tide in the river, I looked
at the clock on the dash, 4.10am. I looked up and was startled by blue
flashing lights just as I passed Temple station. I stopped in front
of the police car, and found an old friend of mine in charge.
"Well, look what the tides thrown up; Jim Colson
I to assume that murderers are now cut deals with writers for a percentage?
"Ive just this minute got back from Italy, and yes itll
sound strange but I was just passing."
"Matey ere was Italian himself, quite a rich one as I can
My stomach tightened as I saw the body lying there with a brick still
visible out of the fly of his trousers
I noticed that he had been
hung with thick orange plastic rope, the type found on building sites
presumably where the bricks and rubble came from.
"How do you know its murder John?"
"Well although weve not established a great deal, it would
not be possible for a man of his weight, and wearing those shoes even
in daylight, to walk on that scaffold and to pull himself up to that
point, to then throw himself into the river below. Even without five
bricks and several kilos of Paddys best mix.
"You said that hes Italian?"
"His names Glen Roberto Calvi" according to the passport,
although we are not convinced by it.'
It was only as I returned to my car that my blood seemed to curdle.
I noticed the name of the station - Blackfriars. That would mean that
the body was hung underneath the pulpit of the Blackfriars Bridge. For
Blackfriars read Dominicans! I sat down in the drivers seat and immediately
threw up in the road.
realised now that much of what my spook friend had said was probably
true. A blackness grew within me from that day, and I have come
to hate institutional power. I looked over to the east facing the
way Calvi had done before he had disappeared under the Thames. None
of us grow up I thought to myself, we simply become more sophisticated
in our playground games. Then I turned around and drove home.
© Paul Valentine
Paul is studying for his Masters in Creative Writing at the University
Dantes Inferno http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/utopia/index2.html
St Peters Squared: Roberto Calvi and the P2 Affair http://leozagami.wordpress.com/2008/06/21/st-peters-squared-roberto-calvi-the-p2-conspiracy/
Question of the day The first Calvi Mystery: Was his death suicide or
Stories in Dreamscapes
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