“What the hell are you stopping here for?” barked Marty. “You tryin’ to rape us? You think I’m gay, you Ah-talian faggot?”
“No, no!” Pio laughed, holding his hands out in a gesture of gentility. “I bring you to Camp Sant Angelo like you say so you can get good price. You want to get out here? Nice architecture, molto bello! You get out here you pay me only twenty Euro, you wait for my friend Fico, he take you on his gondola. No? I keep going? Ok, I keep going.”
Soon after the Grubfeldts were almost raped by Pio at Camp Sant Angelo, they found themselves gliding along the canals described in Mrs. Grubfeldt’s magazine. Apartment blocks rose, with washing lines suspended between buildings and hosiery that was more colorful than necessary fluttered like the flags of European promiscuity. Gail shuddered. Though, if this trip succeeded in defrosting her marriage, she would perhaps invest in something silky, she decided.
“Ah, Ponte de Sospiri!” announced Pio. “The Bridge of the Sighs.”
An arch of carved white stone traversed the water between two giant billboards. “Ok, so you cannot see much of the bridge because of the billboards, but look, we have the picture of David Beckham!” Pio saluted David, who just pouted in return.
“We Italiano, we love football!” laughed Pio with a twinkle. “My team, Venezia, maybe one day we buy David Beckham, no?”
Marty grunted. “If by ‘football’ you mean soccer, then it’s a sport for faggots and pussies.”
“Ah, the American faggots and pussies have good taste in athletics.”
The gondola glided under the bridge, and Pio stopped rowing. He turned to his passengers, beaming.
“You kiss now. Kiss your lady, si? Give me your camera, I take photo. Kiss her! This is romantic, no?”
He took the camera out of Gail’s outstretched hand and began to poke at the touch screen display. “You kiss under the bridge! Very romantic. All the local Venetians do it, si, I promise.”
“I’m not going to kiss her with you looking at me like that, you faggot!” barked Marty. “You think I’m gay? Give me that!” He snatched the camera back, but the sudden shifting of his three-hundred pound bulk caused the gondola to rock and he flung his arms out to steady himself, sending the camera spinning through the air like a shot put. It smashed into the brick wall of the canal and thousands of pieces of shattered equipment rained into the brown water.
“Marty!” shrieked Gail. Tears were already spilling down her cheeks. “Oh, Marty, look what you did.” Protecting her newly permed hairstyle, she leaned over the side of the boat to reach for the camera strap that was floating beside them.
“No, signora! Leave it! It is dangerous to lean out of the gondola!” Pio stepped across and grabbed Gail by the elbow to steady her.
“Get your hands off my wife, faggot!”
“Signor, I try to help!”
“Only person touching my wife is me, you hear?” Marty grabbed hold of Gail and held her tight. “You just stick to sailing this boat, you’ve already lost me my camera and I don’t want you to lose me my wife.”
Final episode out soon!
*Featured Image: Gondolier, by Ekaterina Frolova