Julia and Valentina Leone had gone to see the fortune teller for fun, a laugh to lighten the already sunny lives of the two beautiful, dark-haired teenaged beauties in the tiny village of Mollarella. If anybody ever asked, they always said they were from somewhere big and famous like Licata. But really, they were from Mollarella. The fortune teller didn’t ask them where they were from, the one eyed old crone was a seer; she didn’t need to ask.
When Valentina had met Marcu, she had told him that she was from Licata. Julia, on the other hand, obeying some strange yet strong impulse, had told Giovanni Messina – that foreign rogue from mainland - the truth. She was just from Mollarella, she admitted, almost shamefacedly. It didn’t matter. He had never heard of either of places, these mere specks of fly shit on the map of Sicily.
Julia had always believed that this was the source of her good fortune and the ill fortune of her sister. That seminal lie, that seminal truth-telling. And, of course, the old fortune teller had foretold it all. Using a peculiar deck of Sicilian tarocco, she had seen the whole sorry story unfolding inevitably in the spread of cards before her. The ill fortune of the Trafficante, the good fortune of the Messini. They had laughed at the time. “The old bitch had to change her story every other time! She can’t tell two people the same tale twice. Still, we are both going to meet tall dark handsome strangers!!” they had chuckled as they walked all the way home along that bright, beautiful coastal road to home, long, long, long ago.
When her grandson Carmen had left Camden for Miami, she had warned him. “Non passare troppo tempo con i trafficanti. La famiglia di mia sorella è maledetta. Maledetto ti dico!”
Big Jim Messini had to explain it to him.
“Yer Gran’s sayin’ don’t spend too much time with her sister or Vito, they’re all cursed or something. I dunno, even other Sicilians can’t understand them Mollarella dames, let alone me.” his completely naturalised Grandpa had laughed. “I’m from Catanzaro, I’m from fuckin’ civilization!”