The technical details-the facts-weren’t really important any longer. What mattered were the reactions that ranged from the emotional, to be polite about it, to the downright vengeful threats he was hearing almost daily. He could have dealt with the anger, but the physical retribution wasn’t something he could game plan for. It wouldn’t be practical to carry a weapon in his everyday life. He didn’t even know how to fight, much less use a knife or a gun. He was defenseless.
That’s why he ended up at Ryan’s doorstep. He pressed the doorbell and prayed he was home. A beat or two later and Ryan’s girlfriend, Selma, answered the door. “Hi, Giulio. Ryan isn’t back from work. Want to come in,” she chirped. He nodded in agreement and walked across the room to the couch, feeling the cat twirl through his legs as he went. Selma dashed to the kitchen and returned with Dos Equis and a plate with crackers and some sort of unappetizing dip. He gulped some of the beer and looked blankly at Selma. She ate a bite, then asked what he was doing there. “Just thought I’d pop in at see what Ryan was up to. Been a few weeks since I saw you guys.”
She nodded her head and drank some of her cocktail. It was always a cocktail for Selma as she used to bartend and developed quite a devotion to both the making of drinks and the consumption of them immediately afterwards. “I’m not sure when he’ll be back. You can hang a while if you are bored. I’ve got ironing to do, if that’s okay with you.” Giulio said “Sure. No problem. I’ve got to catch up on a few work emails. I’ll stay out of your hair.” There was no truth to anything he just said, but this was becoming routine for him. He pretended to be typing a reply, when he was actually looking up self-defense videos to watch when he got home.
Selma ironed in the bedroom for at least another forty-five minutes and he sat out on the couch like a rube. He’d almost given up when the door opened and Ryan’s bearish presence bounded into the living room. “Hey, sport. What you doing here?” he asked. Giulio hemmed and hawed, then stood up dramatically and gathered his strength. “I need you to be my bodyguard, Ryan. Starting right now.”
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