story chapter2

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story chapter2

Post by burdick » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:00 pm

Story chapter 2,

The street sounds of Turin hung heavily in the room. Without a word, the lawyer walked over to the office door and locked the door, then he used the intercom to tell the receptionist to cancel all of his appointments for today, and that no one was to disturb him.
“the house of savoy has experience with gems,’ he said. “The crown jewels of savoy/Italy are now in dispute and they sit custody in the Bank of Italy. It is said that they are worth 2.5 billion euros. It would be best, I think. ,for the contents of this box to stay ‘unknown’ for a while. Antonio, please make a descriptive list of what Signore Aimone Makonnen has just found. Do not identify the major piece however, you could be mistaken”
“Ah yes, now that you point it out, I must be mistaken”, he replied I n a flat voice.
He took some tools from the case he brought in with him and set to work. He finally produced a list:

double rose cut 137.27 carats. Yellow diamond
7rose cut 35.85 carats white diamond
10 Peruzzi cut 53.77 carats mixed colors diamond
Irregular polished 68.15 carats clear emerald
6 Peruzzi cut 33.73 carats fine Alexandrite
9 Cabochons 17.48 carats dark blue star sapphire
27 cabochons 206.83carats red Carnelian

The lawyer made a couple of copies and all three men signed all the copies, the each one took one copy for his private records.. Antonio said:” all of these are old stones, with outdated cuts. All would increase in value by being recut….except of course the cabochons. The little rose cut diamonds are about 5 carats each right now. Once recut they would be worth about 10,000 euros each, as they are now about 7,000 euros each.
“Do you know what you want to do with the stones?” asked the lawyer.
“Put them back in the box and back with you, until I can think it over. Perhaps the firm can advise me?”
“Yes of course, that is a wise plan.
You can move into your new apartment right away. The flat is furnished, and clean. I think it will take us some time to come up with a suggestion for you about the stones. You will need some more funds, I think. Would you accept 20,000 euros for three of the little diamonds?”
Aimone was delighted to get the money. The lawyer wrote him out a check for the amount, and made the necessary notes on the inventories, and then he walked to the door and unlocked it. He opened it and said to the receptionist;” would you give the keys to apartment number 14 to Signore Makonnen and have someone take him over to it and make sure everything is alright for him to take procession of it.” He turned to Aimone and said:
“I find it somewhat ironic that The Duke instructed us to give you a residence , and that the one selected is on the via XX settembre, which is , of course, when the House of Savoy captured Rome in 1870. I hope you find it satisfactory, it is above a business we own, but quite nice and near here.”
Keys were collected, papers signed, and since it was a nice day, and the address close at hand, the assigned person escorted him to via XX settembre. At the corner of XX settembre and via Pietro Micca was a pretty pink and white three and a half story building. Aimone was introduced to the caretaker, and then went up the stairs to the apartment, all two and a half stories of it! His guide then told him to make himself comfortable, and that he would check Aimone out at his hotel, and bring his things to him as soon as possible.
Aimone started his exploration of this new wonder. The building was on a corner, and so was well lite with many large windows. There was a living room directly off of the entry hall, which also connected with the dining room, a large coat closet, a very large study with a piano, hi-fi set, and large screen TV, a desktop PC (checking, he found it had high speed internet access) and the staircase to the next floor up. The next floor contained three bedrooms and two luxury bathrooms, many closets (starkly empty) , and a staircase to the top floor which contained only empty rooms, with a Spartan bathroom. Perhaps at one time the top floor was used as the servants’ quarters. Everything was clean, and ready for him to live in comfort
Things were moving just too fast! He needed to sit down and think out some sort of plan for his future. He sat in an overstuffed chair in the living room. He closed his eyes to concentrate.
He was fast asleep when they came in and unpacked his bags for him.


Karagoz was just finishing painting the trim bone white in the outside hall when Nigar came down the stairs. The place was really starting to have some class. Nigar had hired an interior decorator to pick the colors to paint the interior of the house and it had changed the dark gloomy hall into a light living space. Karagoz was given the job of painting, and far from being a odious task, he really enjoyed it.
“I have some good news for you.” She said , handing him a check. “You hit the jackpot with Susan, and she is very pleased. …but of course, you worked your way out of a job too.”
The check was for $20,000 as agreed.
“in a way, that’s too bad, I rather liked Susan”
“She felt the same way, and it is quite likely some of her friends will be requesting the same type of service. We are working out the details now”
Karagoz felt uncomfortable with the exchange, and in a mean spirited manner he asked: “good. By the way how are you and Eli doing?”
“That is really none of your business”, she said calmly and without a sign of a blush, went back upstairs.
(That was really dumb of you, Karagoz, he thought. What up with you? Jealous? Maybe feeling a little small right now? Do you have double standard for men and for women, perhaps?
Nigar never seems to hold a grudge, so I guess things will be ok there. The stairwell is finished now. They have the 4th floor apartment fixed up, so I had better start painting it. The extra rent should make her happy. She was lucky to find this place for sale when she did. They don’t seem to be on the market at any price now, and the rents are outrageous! I guess the east village will soon go the way of the west village in being swank.
I’ll paint ‘til about 3 pm and then go down to my place and start fixing supper. Hacivat said he would be here about seven. It will be good to see him again. It’s been a while!)
His kitchen was a joy to work in. Karagoz liked to cook, maybe even better than he loved his food. He was to cook the Sunday supper for the firm this time, and he wanted it to be GOOD, so he was going to try it out on Hacivat
He cut the bacon rind off, and cut the rest into lardons, then simmered the rind and lardons in water, then drain and dry. The lardons were sautéed in olive oil .next he added 3lbs of 2-inch cubes of browned beef. one browned (sliced, of course) carrot and onion. The beef and bacon went into a casserole, with salt and pepper. The whole was sprinkled with flour, and then put into a pre-heated oven for about 4 minutes. Removed and tossed contents, then returned to the oven (325 degrees). after about 10 minutes, he added three cups of Cotes du Rhone ,beef stock to cover all, then tomato paste ,garlic, thyme, and bay leaf, all brought to a simmer on the stove top.
Then, back in the oven (covered casserole) at a slow simmer for about 4hours. While that was cooking, he heated a skillet, added butter and olive oil, and sautéed about 20 small white whole onions , covered with stock and cooked. He set those aside and then repeated the same process with a pound of mushrooms. The meat was done. He drain the liquid, removed the meat , and cleaned the casserole.
The meat was returned to the casserole, and the onions and mushrooms arranged on top of the meat. The liquid was s skimmed of fat, and reduced so it would coat a spoon lightly.
Pour over meat in casserole and keep hot.
Hacivat arrived !
Karagoz cooked a pot of noodles and served it with Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon!
“Pretty good.” . Remarked Hacivat.

After supper, (Karagoz thought it would be fine for the four of them on Sunday, perhaps a little more, and the noodles would be better with a little olive oil and fresh parsley,. He would freeze the left-overs from this meal and use them as a quick lunch) they went into the front room and had coffee.
“Have I told you about the woman I am dating?’ asked Hacivat
“Do you mean the 17 year girl?”
“Don’t be stuffy! Her name is Cheri Jones and nobody sees anything wrong with the two of us dating . She’s a beautiful woman, talented in music (voice and piano), and much more mature than her age. (Karagoz thought he could see Hacivats’ eyes glaze over). She had me over to her house for dinner with her family, and they were ok with us dating. Her father teaches at Pratt and is a successful abstract painter……….

Hacivat went on (and on, and on) so Karagoz just tuned him out, drank his coffee, smiled and nodded from time to time. They spent the rest of the evening in pleasant conversation. Karagoz didn’t bother telling him about Susan.
The next day the paint for the fourth floor arrived with the interior designer. Karagoz went up to get any instructions he should have to paint the place. A tall thin flamboyant man was flitting about with a black marker in his hand.
(a flaming queen, thought Karagoz)
“ah, there you are” he said.” I am Antonio, and you are the dear boy to help me achieve my triumph!.....are you gay?”
“no” said Karagoz.
“Pity” said Antonio.”I have marked all the rooms and the paint cans so you will know what to paint and where. All, except the front and back rooms which need my special care.
(they were in the back room)
Antonio walked over to the window and looked at the room, then went over to wall closest to the window, and two feet from the wall in which the window was, drew a remarkably straight line down it and wrote” 1” on the side closest to the window and “2” on the side farthest . Going across the room he repeated his action. Walking about three feet from the line into the room, he drew another line, “2” on one side, “3” on the other. On the interior wall he wrote “4”.
“I have the paint marked. Be just you use the correct ones. Come!”
He flounced from the room, and went to the front room, where he repeated his performance with “5”,”’6”,and”7”.
“there! Wonderful! Call me when you are done, or have any question” and made a classic “exit stage left”out.


The Casas family sat around the supper table after supper that evening. Papa said , “let’s talk about Eulalie and the year ahead for her. It’s going to be a big year for you. In a couple of weeks you go back to school (3d grade, this year!), and you have a few more performances to give in’ the children’s hour’”.
“ I know, it has been so fun, and I hear that Miss Wilmot is a wonderful teacher. “. Said Eulalie.
Mama nodded,”yes she really is. She reviewed her lesson plans with me and this year the state has content standards for visual and performing art that you will enjoy. One thing I would like for you to change is the amount of time you spend on the computer. Educators are suggesting that no more than 3 hours a day be on the computer, the rest of the time should be out of the house.”
Eulalie thought for a moment. “I really don’t think I do much more than that. I play with my wooden Victorian dollhouse a lot. Now that I have more friends we could do group skip rope or hopscotch. The only computer games I really like are muzikazoo and jungle puzzle….sometimes ‘online children’s game’. I could do my ‘fashion angels make-up and hair design sketch portfolio’ outside. Does that count?”
Mama laughed, “Well, do that and we’ll see how it works out for you. I think you did very well in your role as Mary, you got good reviews, and it didn’t take over your life. Is there anything you think you want to do that papa and I can help you with?”
“Not yet. I like playing the piano, but I don’t know if I want to work at it yet. I really like acting best.” She left the table, grabbed her jump rope and went outside.
She jumped to a rhyme she had found on the internet:
“I had a little puppy
His name was tiny tim.
I put him in the bathtub, to see if he could swim
He drank up all the water,he ate up all the soap, he tried to eat the bathtub
But it wouldn’t go down his thoat.
Miss Susie called the doctor miss Susie called the nurse
Miss Susie called the lady with the alligator purse.
In came the doctor, in came the nurse
In came the lady with the alligator purse.
Mumps said the doctor measles said the nurse
Hiccups said the lady with the alligator purse.
Miss Susie punched the doctor miss Susie kicked the nurse
Miss Susie thanked the lady, with the alligator purse.’
She went through the rhyme several times, planning who she would get to play the doctor ,the nurse and the lady.

While Eulalie was outside, Emerico and Laurita sat at the table, drinking their coffee.
“ She will soon be eight years old, it’ really hard to believe” ,mused Laurita
“I think she will like the .digital piano that we found for her birthday present”
Emerico smiled and remarked,
” You know, it is very strange about her memory. Once she has heard or spoken a line, she has it. It is the same with music. She can hear a tune once and then can hum or sing it…..and remember it. On the other hand, she has a normal memory for numbers, or anything visual, like art..that doesn’t make a sound. When she does math problems she has the habit of speaking the problem as she writes it down.”
After she judged that she had stayed outside long enough to please Mama , Eulalie went inside and to her computer. She put her earphones on, and booted up itunes, went to “radio”, then to “Haze,FM Latin”, and smiled. The music rolled on in lively Latin rhythm.


Aimone walked north on via XX Settembre to via Giuseppe Garibaldi, where he turned left and walked to Coso Palestro.and entered the Deutsche Bank. He asked to speak to a bank officer to open an account with the bank. He handed the check to the officer who said:
“We have two accounts that would be appropriate: a Personal Banking account and a
Private Banking account. May I suggest a private account?”
It seemed that that account was designed for a wealthier person and would be the best. The bank was international and one could move funds easily between countries. There was not, however a branch in Ethiopia. The account was opened and the check deposited. A credit card would be sent to his home address here in Turin within a few days, and 2000 euros (46,840.9028 birr) transferred to his bank account in Addis Ababa.
When he entered the apartment, he saw some papers on the table in the entre hall. It informed him unless instructed otherwise:
1) The apartment would be cleaned daily. (including washing dishes, making beds,and doing laundry,
2) Shopping would done for him if he put a list on the kitchen table. The cost of the items would be deduced from his monthly pension.
3) if he wished, the pension could be directly banked for him if he gave them the bank account to credit.
4) a telephone number was listed if he needed questions answered or information.
Aimone walked to the telephone and dialed the number, and asked the man who answered if he knew when the savoy firm would be wanting to meet with him again.
“I am sorry Signore, I am merely the person who has charge of the care of your apartment. All other questions for you are to be answered by Signore Victor Adige; I will connect you with him now.”
(a rather long pause)
“ah sig. Aimone Makonnen, we are still debating as to how to advise you. Is there a problem?”
“no problem at all, “responded Aimone “, I wondered if I could use the time to go to London briefly.”
“Quite alright, your case is not an easy one to solve, and the time……. say about a week, would give enough to more wisely advise you.”
After the usual Italian polite exchanges, Aimone hung up.
Two days later, he walked out of his b and b near the British Museum, where after making a few inquiries he was taken to a small office. The man behind the desk, stood , shook hands and offered him a chair. However, if he were a traffic light he would be bright red.
“I understand that you want to study some of the 74 codices donation by the Church of England Missionary Society in the 1830s and 1840s by Isenberg and Krapf , and then may request copies made of them”, he said in a very north country accent.
“yes , those documents and the12 manuscripts from the bequest of Robert Curzon, and 18 from the Wellcome Foundation in 1961 and 1970.have never been properly research nor, I think, valued”
As Aimone spoke the traffic light changed to amber, then green
“Your English is very good” the bookish person remarked.
“Thank you, as a child I went to The Grove (harrow, you know)” said Aimone, thinking “God, I had forgotten how the old concept of ‘class’ still underlies modern English activities. I had better get a red and blue school tie while I am here in England.”
He was soon in a tiny carol with beautiful documents in old geez, and making copious notes (in pencil). He spent about three days in intense work, and then returned thankfully to his comfortable home in Turin. There was a note on the table that Signore Victor Adige would be pleased to meet with him at his convenience.
It was a very nervous Aimone who sat down with sig. Adige the next morning.

“the problem that we face is how to sell the gems that you have.”sig. Adige said. “we have had much experience in this field, sometimes without success. The large diamond is indeed the major asset and its’ greatest liability. The smaller stones are all old cuts, and have attracted no interest by their disappearance, and will be relatively easy to sell. Indeed, as far as we can find, no one has ever noticed them.
The large stone is famous. It is the Florentine.
As to the Florentine, the first owner of the uncut stone is said to have been the King of Vijayanagar (now Narsingha) in southern India by the Portuguese Governor of Goa, Ludovico Castro, Count of Montesanto,. I was an uncut stone then. Later, it is said to have been (uncut) with Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1467 .
When it was first cut It was owned by the Medici Family . Later it passed into the Hapsburg Crown Jewels; at the time, it was valued at $750,000. , the Florentine was taken by the Imperial Family into exile then it was thought to have been stolen and taken to South America with other gems of the Crown Jewels. then it was rumored that it was brought about 1920,to the United States and was recut and sold. All great gems (and this is one) have a past of uncertain ownership, where procession is 90% of the law. The10% can be very difficult to deal with.
It would be a mistake to reintroduce her to the world here in Italy at this time….especially anywhere near the house of savoy. . The stage in which she would best be claimed would be the United States of America. It is lucky that the house has a friend who could deal with such an introduction in New York city.
What are your wishes? Do you want to keep any of the gems?
“Would you like us to help you sell them?”
“Absolutely !”
‘Very well, it has been decided that the house is to be keep clear of all action and knowledge of actions concerning the contents of your little box. I alone (as your lawyer) will deal with this little matter with you. Just keep me informed of your presence, so I can pass on information as it becomes available. My services will be paid by the House of Savoy. I have been told you have an account with a local bank. The House wants to distance itself from this box and its’ contents as soon as possible. After this meeting they request that you remove it. Perhaps a bank box is the safest place and if you wish a guard will go with you when you transfer it we will send one with you.
I thought at first it would useful for you to take out citizenship with Italy, but that, after discussion was seen as unwise. Is there anything more?”
“no” said Aimone rising , “I think I will either be here, Ethiopia , or London, and I will leave a telephone number with you where you can reach me at any time.”
“’until we meet again, then”


Hagar was away on her many visits out of the city, and Karagoz was responsible for the “doings “ of the house while she was gone. It was late fall, the day was bright and clear, with a gusty wind that blew the last leaves from the trees in the nearby Stuyvesant complex. He had finished the painting of the fourth floor apartment several days ago and Antonio was coming today to oversee the delivery of furniture and the other “details “ needed to finish the job. Karagoz had to admit that the painting plan designed by Antonio made the apartment warm and alive during the dull damp days of winter. All of the floors had baseboard heating, but the original fireplaces in the front and back rooms had been converted to gas heaters and were sometimes necessary..
To keep in shape, he joined the 14th street Y, near the town and village synagogue (there were a lot of synagogues in east village!). The fitness program was great and the pool was pretty good. He had tried buying stuff at Associated Supermarkets, which had good stuff and well stocked but the prices there were outrageous. All in all, life in the village was good (but expensive).
Work done for the firm was enough to keep him busy. There had been no more requests for “additional services”. Mr. Jacobs had used him once…taking a small package from a man upstate to the Fifth Ave jewelers exchange, located, strangely, on W 47 Street.
Hacivat and he continued to meet from time to time, but Hacivat s’ Ph.D. committee had accepted his dissertation and set the date for him to defend it in December. If that wasn’t enough, the light of Hacivat’s life (Cheri Jones ) had been accepted at Juilliard for the study of ‎ voice, (leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts ). This had been a surprise to everyone because Julliard accepted only about 5% of those who applied. Additional problems were generated when Cheri started spending a few nights at Hacivats’ apartment. In keeping with all this, Hacivat merely quoted Leonard Bernstein:
“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.”

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