Finally, we’ve all settled down. It’s not long before there is peaceful breathing interspersed with a couple of snores. I feel a smile curve my lips. I wouldn’t be anywhere else. The smoking room has become a boudoir for one night that contains six crazy Italian adventurers and a dog. All of whom are lying horizontally on sofa cushions that have been placed on the floor. We’re surrounded by a border of furniture, reminiscent of a circle of wagons protecting travelling pioneers.
“Ah, ah, ah!” A Shona-accented male voice stutters out in surprise accompanied by a rattling of glasses on a tray.
Immediately, Bambi, who has been lying beside me, springs up and commences fierce barking. Eugenio dives across to hold onto the dog, as the white-uniformed black waiter with startled big eyes backs away, his tray of crockery precariously sliding.
“Shamwari! Friend! Don’t be scared. I have the dog. She won’t hurt you.” Eugenio uses a Shona word to reassure the waiter.
He disappears all the same, and we hastily arise. We all quickly set about putting the furniture back in place, except for Cirillo, who peers out of the smoking-room door before slinking away to the bathroom to get changed.
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