A short "Mafia" story.
As I wrote previously, I going to write a short story about the mafia topic, a story which happened to me when I was living in Sicily. In Sicily as I mentioned in the topic "Mafia" to own and run any shop, or business still today you need to pay u pizzu' ("beak" payment for protection) to avoid one day of finding your shop destroyed by a fire, or worst! The man who was protecting my father shop and also all the neighborhood, one day died, after some time my father "who was terminal ill" died too, leaving to two of my brothers and myself his store. The economic situation wasn't that great all over Sicily (until today not much as changed), the income from my father shop was hardly enough to pay the bills, and bring some needed cash at home.
This brief story, is one of my many personal encounters with these "honorable men" which explains my contempt for them.
One day two guys show up at the store, and I recognized them at once, they were affiliated to a different family clan which after the death of the old boss, the old clan from the neighborhood was absorbed by this new emerging clan. One of these guys approached me while the other one was standing at the store entrance. The one that had approached me said that he wanted to talk alone with me. Then, he put his arm around my shoulders while in the same time he was pushing me inside the store and with a friendly voice he started telling me that I needed some protection for my place. Of course, I new what he meant by then. I had to pay them to get protection. In an ironical way, I was suppose to get protected from the same people who were threatening me. I didn't need much time for an answer. My answer was that I couldn't effort to pay for his protection, hes answer this time came in a serious tone, he said to me that the problem wasn't his, and I had to find the money anyway to pay him. Then, I replayed in response that I needed some time in order to scrape together the sum of money he was asking. "Good boy" he said to me, while he was tapping with his hand at my right shoulder a couple times, "that's the kind answer I like to hear". Afterward, he left together with his "partner in crimes", not before he reminded me he would have returned in the next couple of days, for the collecting. After the departure of these guys, I summoned my brothers and together we took a decision. The only possible decision we came up with, was to close the business for good.
Depiction of a "Honorable" Sicilian man.
You won't see the low level mafioso, or mafia boss walk the streets, the way the do in the States. They won't dress , or talk fancy like their counterpart here, but you'll recognize them by their crude language (which will denote most of the time, they are lacking of any kind of school educations), walk and face expressions. They are full of themselves, they think to be honorable men as, they falsely assume. When they walk on the streets, it's like they own the ground where they walk on, they believe the be honorable because their capacity to act as men. This halo of respectability, is used in their own conveniences as an excuse to perpetrate crimes. The meaning of honor, in their own dictionary has been distorted to fit their interests. The high level mafioso, "it's a big caliber mafia boss" all by himself can be placed in a different category, is smarter than the rest, because he has some level of school education.
He has manner, and a better language communication, but still he wears the image of an honorable man. In reality what they all do, with this fake image of respectability, is to strike fear in the minds, and hearths of the common person.
To the many young Sicilians that, affiliate themselves to a Cosca "mafia family clan" organization, for a false belief of getting a halo of respectability in the attempt, while in reality they all, start a descending road toward a light of darkness, hoping afterward to an ascend toward a light of power and respectability, a respectability revolting around other people sufferings.
There are also, many more young Sicilians, ready to fight this fake images of honorableness. In truth, we all should fight the Mafia's craves, "or any other crime organizations" for power in the face of other people's hard work.
I don't forget my origins, either renegade them, for this reason I promised to myself to keep writing more in the future about the Sicilian people, and the Sicilian culture.
Meanwhile from a Sicilian in heart and mind, I wish you all a Merry Christmas.