It was my day off, so among other things, I went to do some grocery shopping. As I passed the bookshop Cavallotto, I stopped to listen to an author speak at her book launch. About 20 interested listeners followed her line of commentary, sitting round in semi-circles.
I heard the flavour of her speech: ‘…I Siciliani e la questione dello stato /…Sicilians and the issue of statehood.’ An elderly man stood up suddenly and interrupted her from the back of the room: ‘Noi Siciliani non abbiammo uno stato dagli’anni ’50 / We as Sicilians haven’t had a state since the 50′s.’ There were hums of approval.
I left and waited outside at the pedestrian lines to cross the road towards the supermarket. A young woman was also waiting and a pick-up truck stopped to let us pass. The three men in the pick-up truck watched her ass carefully, meticulously and made observant comments to each other. The woman seemed to feel the eyes watching her and stopped mid-way turning round to offer a suitable hand gesture to her audience. This was greeted by lots of shouting from the truck before they watched the conclusion of the show.
At the meat counter of the supermarket, I was about to choose a suitable cut when a Chinese woman approached me. She pointed at a piece of pre-packed meat which bore the word “filleto” and was clearly confused as to what it might be, she said with great effort: ‘Pollo?/Chicken?’ ‘Si’ I responded. She appeared to be using one of her very few Italian words. Satisfied, she put it in her basket and moved into the pasta section.
Immediately another woman approached me, this time an old Sicilian woman, small, bent and angry. She held a huge sausage. ‘Guarda, e’ tutto grasso!/ Look, it’s all fat!’ she announced, holding the huge fatty sausage at a distance and shaking it with a look of distain on her face. There seemed to be nothing to say, so I just utilised a suitable hand gesture. She did the same, then added ‘succa mincchia!/cocksuckers!’ and walked away.
I made for the checkout immediately for fear of being asked further questions. The angry old woman stormed between isles talking to whoever would listen. The Chinese woman was nodding and waving at the checkout as her incomplete Italian had reached its limits. The young woman swayed back out onto the street to capture the eyes of more truck drivers. I left with my groceries.
John P Brady writes short and long fiction, articles and formally a blog about life in Italy, where he lived for 6 years. His first book, a collection, entitled Back to the Gaff has been published by Roadside Fiction.
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Back to the Gaff
Scandalous Narratives of Contemporary Ireland
Back to the Gaff is a collection by author John P Brady, which describes the excessive and outrageous nature of Irish night life.
Meet an array of eccentric individuals who populate the bars of Dublin, living lives of decadence and abandon. Their frolics inevitably lead to a trip ‘back to the gaff,’ which in Dublin-speak means gravitating towards someone’s place of residence where the depravity continues.