"Oh My God," yelled Dee, stumbling into the suitcase she'd left on the floor. She'd flown
overnight from Miami to Venice, transferred to Naples, and taken a seventy-five-minute ferry ride to the island where she'd taken up residence. "Where's my TV?"
She darted like a chicken without a head around the living room/dinette/cooking space. "It was right on this table when I left for the States. And where's the cable box?"
She dived under the tablecloth that hung from the TV table. "Damn! He got the computer, too!"
Dee ventured upstairs to her bedroom. Everything was still in place, but her clothes hung at odd angles in the closet. They'd been slashed.
Of Italian heritage and fluent in the language, Dee refused to be a pushover. She dialed 1-1-2 for the Carabiniere (state police) on the island.
"Carabiniere," someone answered.
"I'd like to report a robbery in my home," Dee said in Italian.
"Not possible. There are no robberies on Ischia. Everyone's door stays open." The phone went dead.
Dee came out of her apartment like a boxer out of her corner. She went down the whitewashed steps to the street beneath her apartment and wound down to the marina.
The driver deposited her at the Carabiniere Station. Dee explained what had happened and filed a report. "We'll come in the morning," the officer said. "This is a very serious charge - we do not have crime here."
"And you've never heard of Mafia in Napoli, either," Dee said under her breath.
Two twenty-year-olds appeared in uniform the next day. They stood open-mouthed, staring at the closet where Dee's clothes hung in shreds.
"There is no crime on Ischia," one said.
"I know who did it," Dee said. "I filed a report last winter. He rents above me and put his cable dish on my terrace while I was in Florida. I pulled it down when I came back and he told me I'd find my apartment gone this spring. Check your files, you'll find my report. There was a witness."
"I'm sorry, Senora, we have no proof."
After they left, Dee spun on the heels of her Birkenstocks. This time she told the taxi driver to drop her at the island's newspaper office. She supplied the reporter with her police report and photos from her closet and TV table. "I will not be intimidated," she said in her final statement that ran on page one.
The following week, Dee had the creepy feeling someone was stalking her. She whipped around and snapped a photo with her phone. The tenant who rented above her was in the photo. She continued to the fruit stand to test melons. When the alleged robber began yelling at her across the cherries, she snapped
another photo. This time he was in snarling position.
She called a Neapolitan lawyer who worked for the American Embassy. "What happened next?" I said.
"Nothing. Italians talk and talk but they don't do anything. The landlord's a strong-arm lawyer on the island. Even the state police are afraid of retaliation. It's standard practice to cable-poach, but that tenant never offered to pay me a dime and he put the dish up without my permission."
At our hotel, one of the waiters called Charley a "Neapolitan at heart." We'd taken it as a compliment till we found out the Neapolitan heart is made of straw.
- Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
- Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.