Where did it go?! Emma is on her feet, clutching her bottle of Nastro and looking up at the air conditioning unit. Carly looks about. I think it went – AARRRRGGGGHHH! It seems that she has just discovered where the cockroach disappeared to: under the table. And then out again over her sandalled foot.
Ohmygodthere’sanotherone! Everyone scrambles out of their chairs and into the road where they can easily see any large, scuttling bugs approaching. Giuseppe comes over. What’s going on? Carly replies with one word: scarafaggi. That’s it: the bar staff are all up on their feet, brandishing brooms and hustling us out of the way.
There’s one! Get it! Giuseppe is straight in for the kill, stamping on the bug before it can escape down the heating grille. A grin splits his face in two. Man kill bug! Rrraaaahh! I’m surprised by how easily he squashed it. I thought cockroaches were supposed to be able to survive the apocalypse, and yet one stamp from an Italian cafe owner’s loafer and the bug’s toast. Interesting. Emma pipes up. But – if you kill one, don’t more appear to get their revenge, or something …? Giuseppe doesn’t understand the English words, but he gets her meaning. The grin fades a little. It’s OK, girls, we’ve got it all under control. You just – er – sit over there for a little while …
Later that night. Another bar. Sitting outside, enjoying the last of our drinks. As so often happens, we’re the last ones standing. Or lounging on bar chairs, as the case may be. A man approaches and starts talking to us. He seems to want us to move. He tells us they want to clean the square. We tell him we’re going in five minutes. He looks anxious. But we’re about to clean this area. Do you understand? We nod and smile. I’m not sure why he’s getting so agitated. Usually we just clear away the tables as we leave. He repeats again with more urgency. This time, however, he adds the magic word: scarafaggi. As if of one accord, everyone’s brows clear and we leap to our feet. They’re not just cleaning: they’re SPRAYING POISON. We race inside the bar as the truck starts up and watch through the plate glass window as the square is coated in a fine, white mist. The apocalypse has arrived so far as the cockroaches are concerned. We, however, thanks to the man in the square, live to drink another day.
Image by Xtream_i on Flickr