Saturday morning. So groggy. Had taken a sleeping pill too late the night before, battling jet lag. Woke briefly at 7:00 then dived under again.
The doorbell. What? Not that I had heard my doorbell before. This was a rented apartment in Venice. I took off my sleep mask and rubbed some of the crust from my eyes, but I was still in my tank top and shorts. Through the peephole I saw two policemen. Huh? So of course I opened the door, trying to keep most of my body behind the jamb.
Slim young cop #1 said something in Italian. My Italian brain was not yet awake. “Parlo un po’ d’Italiano,” I said. “Sono Americana.” I thought I saw a third cop on the stairs to the left. I registered blue uniforms, red trim, neat hats, and short haircuts.
He switched to smooth English. “Have you seen this man?” he asked, holding out his phone with a black and white photo of a young white guy with short-cropped curly hair, wearing large, rimless glasses.
“No, I don’t know him,” I replied.
“In this photo he is maybe younger. Do you live here?” Number One asked.
“No, no, I’m only a tourist. I’ve been here five days,” I said, like that explained everything. This was one time I didn’t want to be mistaken for a local.
They let me disappear back behind my door at this point, and I gratefully climbed back upstairs to bed. I played in my head various narratives that Guido Brunetti might have considered: “Is this American tourist faking it? Does she know more than she says? Did she meet this guy last night over a spritz then dump his body in the canal? Is she reading, perhaps, Thucydides?”
I fell back to sleep and dreamed I was hiding a fugitive.
But then three days later, as I descended the stairs of my apartment building, I passed a man in a blue shirt going up. “Salve,” he said, and I looked up to notice his white skin, rimless glasses, and short, curly hair.
“Buon giorno,” I replied. Seemed like I had seen him somewhere before.