by  Gianfranco Menghini

Max. The scot free


Shark or better, caiman, we become when the ambition, the aggressiveness of living, the injuries also indirectly, deeply affect the psyche of a strong and aware of our destiny. If, then he, to a certain extent, feels himself like a shaman, here comes the character of the very young Massimiliano (Max) Seleni. Who, obliged to live an existence of hardship in a country that offers no alternative but to be a bakery boy, makes, almost unconscious, his first theft, which will allow him to take a train to get to the legendary Milano. A post-war Milano where everyone would have the ambition to grow up, will manage to crown, at least in part, his dreams. Max’s, for a while, is quite modest. Being able to scrape together a nest egg to help the poor family with the purchase of a house, since they have always lived in a warehouse-store and, for him, open the road to the success. To achieve it. However, he must face pitfalls and accept compromises even with the Neapolitan underground. A providential friend will help him, who will become more than a big brother for him: Marcello.Together they will first tackle a hard work of transporting construction material, then smuggling cigarettes from Switzerland, sell a truck and with the proceeds, since the two friends make a joint cash, they will get the acquisition of a building to a price ridiculous and, finally, with its sale at ten times the price paid, the big deal: the purchase by the US command of a beautiful military transport ship, which over time and with the help of the good shipping agent, Amilcare Barca and Salvatore, an officer of the merchant navy, will transform Max into a wealthy ship owner, even if his character is massively hardened by the loss of his dear brother, killed prodigiously in a shooting ordered by the Neapolitan Guappo of Rocco Prevete, their acolyte in a bribe operation. Max will never forgive that crime and to oppose it. He will marry her good-looking sister. Having become rich in billions, he will find a way to put into action. What imposed himself by long ago and for a whopping 60-year-old itch sells all his ships and throws himself into the political arena, coming to become head of government, flanked by experts, who will be friends as long hi will not be…

Read an excerpt from the book


Those huge popular blocks of flats, that long wide road which cuts the provincial native big village in such a way meandering so much even though he was born in, sometimes had been itself there momentarily lost, the wandering around the ancient streets, he felt the nausea. How could one live in a similar world? Full of roar for the most heterogeneous and wrecked motor vehicles and for certain egocentric pedestrians and cyclists who, as well to reach their destination, do not hesitate to bump against the neighbor neither to grant priority to those having the right and, finally, that hostility towards the unknown people, due to a diffidence bordering on the selfishness and e haughtiness, infused him an accentuated anger which, if he could, should eliminate them all from the face of the Earth.  But why did he must see the world by a negative point of view? After all, he was young and full of promises and, usually, at his age, we did not be, like a man who has passed the halfway that, if not quite rightly endowed by the birth, becomes disenchanted. Max no, since it seemed that mother nature would give him that shaman instinct, where the sorcerer reads the destiny in the eyes of the men, while he had acquired the faculty to foresee his future, rather dark at the time, in that country where he had always lived.  He must leave and, as soon as possible. But how to do it? He did not have one lira nor owned anything, not even a gold little chain which all the boys wear, a tangible reminder of one of those religious sacraments to which they are subjected far from their will. If he owned  it, perhaps by selling it to Sor Mario, that small jeweler in the neighborhood, a guy who had no scruple about accepting brief jewels of dubious origin, he should have enough to mount on a train to reach a big city and there, certainly, should find a job and to scrape up the sum he needed to get where had been imposed himself and, by the force of will and sacrifice, to create that future to which he felt destined.  In the whole his brief existence – barely nineteen years old – albeit living in the indigence caused by the recent war, he had always behaved worthily. I followed and passed the exams until obtaining the coveted, for the father, the middle school title, having no resources, had arranged himself with a hundred mini jobs which had made him independent of the request to the parents of those coins of which all the boys of his age needed. Besides, even if he had asked for them, his father should not be in the position to give them to him, perceiving only what was necessary to eat because, fortunately, that kind of habitation, which was the accommodation where they lived in three, was of their property, a remnant of prewar ease. There was something making him restless, like a being who during the gestation would undergo an astral influence and if not that, in another mysterious way he would be chosen as a receptor of an extrovert character as a man passed to better life by not too long, because his thinking was rather modern, indeed, it was anticipating the future.And it was that vision which infused him, the shiver and the acute desire to be himself elsewhere, as happens in certain animals of the species of the eels and salmons. Only that for those who are worth the instinct, while in him not realizing that they are going to die, nor realized they are going to die, while in him little was the instinct and much the reasoning. So that, he must find the means to guarantee himself a journey and to arrive at that place, still mysterious, which should represent the starting point of his ascent.  The site where he had lived so badly was fit to grant him the opportunity earning enough money to leave forever, providing to accept the job as a boy-baker by sor Mazzeo, who would hire him indefinitely, with the wage at the end of the month, salary which he should compel to hand over to his father. Therefore, an unacceptable solution, since the little part that his father should leave him should not serve his purpose and, finally, a month of waiting should be too much. He felt the urgency to leave as soon as possible. An insistent voice like an alarm signal which would urge him, the night just passed had woken him up. He got out of the bed and went into the kitchen to get the morning ablutions and, once dressed, had asked himself why having done all those things at four o’clock in the morning. Although he would be careful not to make the slightest noise, his mother had awakened and, hardly come out of the tiny bedroom, she had surprised him, already dressed up in every detail.  “What are you doing, where are you going, you seem this the time?” She said, whispering this improbable rosary, as she would not expect an answer.  “I have an appointment …” mumbled the young guy. “Going to Sor Mazzeo? However, dressed in that way … I do not think …” He replied, taking advantage, she was still clouded with sleep: “He gives me the apron and trousers.”  “Yeah!” I mumbled the woman, while ruffling the hair and, without a further question, gave him a sign of assent and went back to bed. Max, diminutive of a high-sounding name his father had imposed upon his wife the day after his birth, in the illusion the son will become the heir of his many dreams of greatness, did not induce to linger himself, but slipped the door quickly and went out into the narrow alley. Desert, foul-smelling and barely lit by a half-moon…