A CARPET OF COLORFUL BLACK LEAVES
Saul was in charge of raking the leaves which in that season ____it was late November___ continued to fall like rain from the lindens, the poplars, plane trees, and oaks. The gardens had to be cleaned and also the sidewalks and the street ( had to be cleaned).
Yet he, Saul, felt displeasure in destroying those wonderful carpets of leaves that looked like works of art created by chance. Seeing fleeting at a certain distance, as happened to those who passed on the street, these carpets of leaves seemed all or mostly made of yellow leaves, with a few brown leaves scattered here and there. But to see them up close as he did, who blew them into the collector, they weren’t made only of yellow and brown leaves.
Reddish leaves, purplish leaves, gray leaves, and verdigris leaves peeked out in the expanse of yellow. And there were BLACK LEAVES as if they were charred. These black leaves were below the most superficial layer of leaves together with the water-soared leaves of a brownish color, these were all wrinkled, and shrunken. The BLACK LEAVES, on the contrary, they lay flat, intact in their shape ( form), even as if petrified(as well as charred).
That morning his cat Pippi followed him and started chasing something in the expanse of leaves in the garden adjacent to the third building on the main street. It was something very little, perhaps it was a very small animal, a little lizard, a tadpole, or perhaps an insect. His Pippi was capable of performing interminable whirling ballets when he started hunting for even a very small insect like an ant or a mosquito. WHAT was his Pippi chasing? Saul couldn’t understand it. He couldn’t see anything but the frantic wriggling of his cat, which did not stop for a moment. He decided to grab the cat by the scruff of the neck. Pippi was clawing at what looked like a yellow leaf….but it wasn’t a leaf, it was instead a yellow glove. Pippi was scratching with his fingernails (claws) in a small round hole in the yellow glove. Saul snatched the glove from the cat’s paws. A very little bullet slid out of the yellow glove. When he took the almost tiny bullet between his thumb and forefinger Pippi let out a long high-pitched meow, as if someone had stepped on his tail. The window of an apartment on the first floor opened and a middle-aged woman, all disheveled, leaned out the window, her elbows resting on the jamb, she started to shout like a mad woman, making begging gestures against Saul. But WHY she resented him so much? “ That bad cat! Ah, what a nasty cat! Your very bad cat woke up my little grandchild with his screams! Ahhh! My little grandchild who slept like an angel! And he is now crying, poor little one! Ahhh that nasty cat! SHUT your bad cat UP, or I’ll come down and choke him! I strangle him!”
“Oh, I’m sorry….I apologize….oh, I’m so sorry, excuse me, if my cat meowing woke up your little grandchild!” Saul said in a mortified tone. “ But, hey, look WHAT my Pippi found here in the garden: A BULLET!” He added, showing the bullet he was holding in his hand, between two fingers. “ A BULLET!?! But what do you want to tell me? It will be a button or any other trinket….There can’t be bullets in our garden! We tenants are all decent, indeed GOOD PEOPLE! We are not criminals! ”The woman yelled, more pissed than ever.
Meanwhile, Saul couldn’t shut Pippi, which kept meowing.
“ No doubts that you tenants of these buildings are all decent, good people. However, someone must have fired this bullet. Moreover, my cat also found a glove with a hole that looks just like A BULLET HOLE…..” Saul said “ maybe we have to call the police”
“ Oh, you and your cat! Fuck you both! What do you think your cat can find here in the garden if not, at the most, a dog poop?”
Saul that morning, after having raked the leaves he came back home, carrying with him the bullet and the yellow glove with perhaps a bullet hole. He didn’t go to the police but he came to know that the middle-aged woman who had looked out of the window was Mrs. Jolanda R., who lived with her son Ruggero and her little grandchild Paul. Her daughter-in-law had been kicked out of the house since she had made horns to her husband, Mrs. Jolanda’s son. No one knew anything about this young woman, Marlene, since she had been kicked out of the house. Many people suspected she was dead or, more precisely, she had been killed.
Three mornings later, when he went again to rake the leaves, which continue to fall, Saul took care to observe the layer of the leaves below the superficial one, the layer in which there were
numerous BLACK LEAVES. And it was precisely on one BLACK LEAF that he found a long red painted nail. The few times he had seen Marlene, Mrs. Jolanda’s daughter-in-law, he had noticed her long red painted nails. Saul picked up the red-painted nail and, together with the bullet and the glove took it to the police station to report what he had found in the garden adjacent to the building via Strozzi 78. He told also about Marlene, referring that nothing more had been heard about the young woman since he had been kicked out of the house by her husband.
Unfortunately, Saul did not know that the police inspector to whom he reported was Ruggero R., Marlene’s husband, who had not only kicked her wife out of the house but also killed her.
Saul didn’t come home from the police station where he had reported. He disappeared too. His body was found after months under a carpet of fallen leaves. To cover his body there were a lot of BLACK LEAVES , but there were also yellow, brown, gray, reddish, verdigris, and purplish leaves.
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