I took the Sunday drive up to San Luis Obispo in my Chevy SSR to visit Isabella’s father, the mafioso Roberto Benigni Vittorio Stararo. Or “Vito”.
The county sheriff pulled me over.
“You don’t know what you’re getting into James,” the sheriff said.
“Just hand me the ticket so that I can be on my way,” I replied.
The sheriff wrote up the ticket and gave me another warning: “I better not see you or this piece of shit vehicle in my county again.”
I pulled up to Stararo’s estate. His wife came out to greet me.
“I’m Michaela Sabine Stararo,” she said. “Vito is fox hunting. He’ll be joining us shortly.”
She was wearing a white blouse tucked into her equestrian pants with boots. Her figure could make a man wish he wore roomier trousers.
Michaela invited me in and offered a Chardonnay.
“Are you Isabella’s mother?” I asked.
“Her step-mother. Poor girl. She never got to know her real mother,” she replied.
I took a sip of the Chardonnay. It was Laguiche, ‘09.
“It must be rough being an LA detective,” Michaela said.
“If people quit disappearing and fucking around on their spouses, I’d be out of a job.”
Vito walked in with his Winchester. “È questo il detective idiota assunto dal mio socio?” he said.
“The fuck did he say?” I asked Michaela.
“Vito welcomes you into his home,” she replied.
Vito had to of been 90 if he was a day. Michaela was clearly a distraction from that fact. Still, tough old man. He pulled out a cigar and poured a Chardonnay.
“Quindi questo perdente pensa di poter trovare mia figlia?” he asked.
I looked over to Michaela.
“Vito is prepared to give you all the information you need to find his daughter,” she said.
“I need to know her entire background. Who her friends are. Her lovers. Her enemies. And any enemies that you might have, Mr. Stararo,” I said.
“Chiamami Vito,” he replied.
We talked for hours discussing the case. We went through the bottle of Chardonnay. Then another. Then came the brandy.
As I prepared to leave, Michaela came up to me. “LA is a long drive,” she said. “Why don’t you stay in the guest house. I’ll have the servants prepare it.”
Why not, I thought. It sure beats sleeping in a burned down apartment building.
As I was laying in bed, Michaela came in wearing a silk robe. She slowly walked towards the bedside.
“Stanotte siamo solo io e te,” she said.
Michaela dropped the robe and climbed into bed.