Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Trafficante Ficcione - Part One

Joe Trafficante, the youngest son of an early twentieth century Mafia Don, so fell in love with Cuba when he accompanied his father on a trip to investigate the potential of Havana as a base for future Family operations that he renounced his heritage & became a sea-turtle fisherman.

It was a quiet but satisfying life. He married, had children. He sold the meat from his catch in the local marketplace, held on to the turtle shell until he had enough capapaces to take to Havana to trade with the international brokers for what he considered not luxuries but necessities to improve the quality of his family's life —cloth better than was woven locally, metal cooking & eating utensils, ropes & fishing nets & harpoons. His family accompanied him occasionally, &, in one of those bitter ironies of life, his youngest son, attracted to the glamour of the gaslit gambling parlours that were beginning to proliferate, decided to remain behind & become a croupier. The father, remembering his own past, gave no external show of disappointment.

His fishing trips became longer. He went out further, leaving behind the other boats from his village, though they were with him on the day he saw the giant of all sea turtles, & they were close enough to see him throw a net over it & then try to tire it by forcing it to drag the boat. It was a standard practice with two variations of the same ending, a return some hours later with turtle & with net, or without both.

This time, however, the ending was different. Trafficante did not return, & the local fable that grew about the giant turtle that drew him to his death achieved a measure of concealed fame when it was later heard by a visiting Yanqui writer who used its core as the basis for a story with the slow-paced turtle replaced by a fast fish.

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