Exiting the air-conditioned taxi at Hotel Mezzogiorno, Vinnie stepped into the suffocating sirocco heat, the dry African desert air descending on Sicily like a migrant refugee steaming across the water. According to the driver, not even Sicilians get used to the sirocco, but they expect it like invasions, beginning with the Greeks and now the boat people. “Poveraci. Poor things. What happens to them?” asked the driver, lifting Vinnie’s suitcases from the trunk.
A burly man with a tombstone face lumbered down the hotel path. Vinnie’s jaw dropped. A second man, partially visible, followed.
The first man was dressed as if on a shopping spree at a gangster haberdashery, clad in a garish, triple-X light green T-shirt draped over baggy brown joggers. He clomped forward in construction shoes. Around his seventeen-inch neck hung a silver chain that clashed with a large gold watch on a roller-pin wrist. He shouted from twenty feet.
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