(a moment of silence broken by shouts from Pasquale the vegetable dealer- "dovete assagiare dovete assiagiare Dai! Dai!")
Woman - Does that guy ever stop shouting?
Mike - He is selling his veggies and he is a local icon
Woman - Look, this isn't Rome or Florence. There are not hundreds of new people everyday coming to this guy's market. Everyone here knows him. Surely that old bag (pointing to a bent-over woman of about 75) does not need to be swayed by Pascal there to buy some greens for her fucking pasta tonight.
Mike - Didn't you need to find an ATM?
Woman - Did I offend you? Are you attached to the little provincial people of this board game?
Mike - You just looked like you needed a little help and I always want people to like it here.
Woman - What are you some kind of salesperson for Apulia?
Mike - In a former life (laughing to himself a bit)...there is a Deutsche Bank less than 5 minutes walk from here, why don't I take you?
Woman - Wow, for some lover of Italian culture you sure know how to rush a girl through her coffee.
Mike - Oh, would you prefer to sit a minute longer?
Woman - I would prefer to shoot my goddamned husband in the face and blame the murder on my maid's free swinging son.
Mike - (realizing this was not going to be easy) Is your husband here?
Woman - No he is at the villa out in the country.
Mike - Is the maid here?
Woman - No genius, that's why WE are here.
Mike - so you could get your family away from the situation?
Woman - You are a sharp one huh?
Mike - Why don't you just fire the maid?
Woman - so I can clean our fucking ridiculous house? seriously?
Mike - sure you don't want a pastry? (woman shakes head no) how about another cappuccino?
Woman - how about that grappa?
Mike - seriously?
Woman - (to the server behind the gelato counter while holding up 2 fingers) dos grappas por favor!
The server looked puzzled and the woman said louder this time "two grappas...grappa please!)
Mike - you do know that was Spanish?
Woman - You do know I could give a fuck?
The server brought over 2 glasses and a bottle of grappa as Mike nodded in approval. The Caffe' Roma had an excellent selection of grappa and amaro and while Mike was typically opposed to alcohol before 5PM it was easy to see that for a writer he would never be able to make a character up like this woman and he figured he should stay for a bit and see where this goes.
In the back of Mike's head he assumed the woman was lying about everything. He imagined the poor husband at the villa playing pool games with the kids and supporting the maid and her family with a home, cars, and even scholarships to college.
Mike pictured this lady as likely losing her shit when she found out about her husbands philanthropy and that she probably went to Neiman Marcus and got herself a Chanel handbag to hide her prescriptions and a Kate Spade wallet to hide the funds she had pilfered from the IRA. Mike knew that she had an uncanny ability to lie even though he had never seen or known anyone like her before. There is just something about a liar that makes breakfast much more satisfying he thought, as he toasted her and splashed the first angry fumes of pure alcohol across his tongue.
Woman - woooh! Lord Jesus take my soul! This shit is awful!
Mike - It grows on you
Woman - How? How could this grow on anyone? It must melt your taste buds so that eventually it is the only thing you can taste. Life as I know it would cease if this grew on me.
Mike - Huh, you are kind of funny
Woman - Now you are going to come on to me?
Mike was stopped in his tracks. It was true he was intending to come on to her. He had to. There was nothing in this bar aside from an earthquake or a shooting that would change his intentions. However, he was not prepared for her honesty
Woman - confident man living in Italy, what are you, some kind of writer?
Mike - actually, I make grappa
Woman - maybe you shouldn't have quit your day job
Mike - What do you do?
Woman - what does it look like I do?
Mike - very little
Woman - you asshole, you make me drink this and I am telling you my sad story and you say something like that
Mike - what if I said you reminded me of a girl I always hated but could never get out of my mind?
Woman - I would ask if she did very little
Mike - another shot?
Woman - only if we can get away from the shouting asshole afterwards
Mike - don't you have somewhere to be?
Woman - yeah, the fucking ATM... remember!
Mike smiled to himself and gave her a wink (in a very corny way) before calling the server over by holding up his empty grappa glass and saying "un'altro volta signore"
Woman - what does that mean?
Mike - literally, one more time
Woman - if only..
Mike - in Italian that is magari
Woman - what is?
Mike - if only
Woman - if only what?
Mike - magari means "if only"
Woman - ok, but I am only staying here for 1 more drink; then I am leaving.
Mike - magari
Woman - you asshole......(to be continued)