Amelia di Cielo and the Blackmailer – Part II

Jaycee’s Sunday reflection continues:

(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Amelia di Cielo spent some time in the church without coming up with a solution.

Many times she cried out in her heart, “Dio, Dio, please show me a way to deal with this thing.” But she could not see a solution. She rose achingly to her feet and started out. Just before the door was a shelf in the wall where a small wooden box sat, containing a collection of pictures of saints and other tracts of biblical quotations that would be taken home by the parishioners for their own perusal. Amelia stopped next to the shelf and reached for the box lid.

“Is it in there, Lord?” Amelia looked back to the altar for a moment for she had a feeling . . . then she lifted the lid of the box. It was always half full of those tracts and pictures, but now it was empty, not one in there . . .

“There is nothing in there, Lord!” said Amelia in a disappointed voice. She stared at the empty box and repeated in a fatalistic voice:


“Nothing,” she said again, with a quizzical frown on her face. A small, knowing smile came to her lips and she let the lid fall with a ‘clack’. Her eyes narrowed as she thought the thing out. Amelia turned sharply to face the altar at the end of the long flag-stoned aisle, smiled cunningly, genuflected and skipped, as lightly as someone her age could skip, out of the church.

The priest nearly collided with her as she went through the portal door.

“Ah, a lovely afternoon, widow Amelia,” he beamed.

“Yes, Father, but I trust it will be even better Thursday.” She didn’t wait to explain to the raised eye browed priest and just scurried back to her room at her sister’s house.

Thursday dawned bright and blue. The cool mountain air washed a song over Amelia di Cielo’s heart, her steps seemed to float, and she hummed about her chores with a little song on her lips.

“Ah, my love, that you were with me now,” she sighed wistfully. Today was her saint’s day. Today she would deal with Lay brother Fichi.

She busied herself finishing her customers’ laundry, hung them out to dry between the two shawls, changed to her street clothes and set off in the bright sunshine to meet Signor Fichi outside the trattoria.

Amelia plodded up the slope of the village; stopping a moment, she gazed back to her sister’s house and saw all the washing flapping in the back garden. It looked good; it was HER income, HER living. And there was this pest trying to blackmail her out of even that. “Bastardo!” she hissed. She plodded on to the trattoria.

“Ah, here you are then, widow Amelia,” Lay brother Fichi greeted her. “Well, let’s have it.” he nodded quietly.

“Not here in the street, surely, Signor Fichi,” Amelia replied, “Let us go into the trattoria and you can buy me a little lunch and we will conduct our business in congenial privacy.”

She smiled coquettishly.

Lay brother Fichi narrowed his eyes suspiciously. He tried to fathom this little widow. But such people find it difficult to conceive treachery in their victims, so he dismissed her with a polite gesture of sweeping arm that gesticulated to the entrance of the restaurant.

After the waiter had placed her meal in front of her and gone away, Amelia gazed at the food happily and announced proudly:

“Today, Lay brother Fichi, is my saint’s day!”

“So it is, widow Amelia,” he acknowledged. “So it is. Happy Saint’s day.” And he poured her a glass of wine. He filled his own glass, put the stopper in the bottle, and raised the glass.

“To our little business,” he toasted sarcastically, “and to St. Amelia as well,” he smiled wickedly.

Amelia di Cielo did not smile, but pulled a small packet of tightly wrapped paper from the folds of her dress and placed it in front of Lay brother Fichi. He kept the glass of wine raised to his lips and with his right hand dipped the small packet down on to his lap. He placed the glass on the table and slyly started to unwrap the packet. He undid it with an expectant smile on his face, but this soon changed to perplexity as he reached the centre of the packet.

His mouth opened in wonder.

“But Amelia di Cielo,” he hissed softly, “there is nothing in here.”

Amelia put her fork down on her plate as Lay brother Fichi sat there staring at her. She dabbed her lips with the napkin.

“No, Lay brother Fichi.” She looked sternly at him and then thumped her fist loudly down onto the table. “And there was nothing in the trousers either!” she cried triumphantly.

Lay brother Fichi sat there stunned. Amelia continued, in a voice that drew the attention of other people there:

“And there is nothing in your empty threats. And there is nothing also in your public opinion. I call your bluff, Lay brother Fichi, I call your bluff! I am only the widow Amelia di Cielo – a little bell; YOU – a large hammer; but it is a reputation I will stand on. So wield your hammer, Lay brother Fichi, Mr. Big-wheel in the diocese. Print your insinuations, and by the chime of my little bell, I and all the village will see you fall by them. And I say this: YOU-WILL-NOT take my living from me!” Amelia stopped and gazed so fiercely, so intently, at the man he was thunderstruck by the power of this little widow. He just sat there open-mouthed, staring back.

There is a moment in a confrontation between people, when, amongst all of the rambling argument, a truth comes out and, as if lit by sunshine, it glows. And as sure as while a lie will weaken and destroy, truth gives strength and power to a person or subject. All parties are at once aware of that power – it can even stop the conversation, surprising even the speaker of such truth as if it came of its own accord. Amelia di Cielo spoke that simple truth now. There was a silence in the trattoria . . . people were staring. Lay brother Fichi could see in the heartfelt emotion of her statement that he was beaten. Only a fool would challenge such strength and he was no fool – though he suddenly realised he had paid for her meal!

“Madonna mio,” he gasped, and clenched his teeth.

He stood up to leave, very red-faced. Amelia raised her glass of wine as he pushed his chair back to the table.

“To my Saint, Lay brother Fichi,” she toasted. Lay brother Fichi straightened sternly, took the remainder of the wine off the table, bowed his head and turned to the door, the crumpled paper package still clenched in his fist.

(Image Credit: Armano Bruni; The Bridgeman Art Library)

786 thoughts on “Amelia di Cielo and the Blackmailer – Part II

  1. re; Abbott’s subservience.

    IMO, Abbott is not subservient to Margie BUT to Credlin. At home I imagine him to be bad-tempered, even abusive or violent. His wife and daughters tend to avoid him for fear of his temper, and the less they see of him the safer they feel.

  2. “Focusing on the smugglers is deceptive and hypocritical – it’s a side issue. These smugglers only exist to help people evade restrictions that Europe has put in place. You’re making smugglers into some kind of enemy to be attacked,” he added.

    “For years governments tried to criminalize migration, and now they’re taking the next step. You are militarizing a humanitarian crisis.”

  3. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    This is not a good situation by any means.
    Virgin Australia must be doing something right.
    Another classy performance from Nathan Tinkler.
    Do we really live in a peace loving nation – a look back at our history.
    The signs are not good for public health funding.
    Politics and the Australian language. Take the time to read this one.
    Why the fate of the world’s climate is largely in Australia’s hands.
    I don’t think this guy will go the distance. It’s not a good look.
    Isn’t this just typical? Mongrels like this might get off scot free. Urgent bipartisan action by the NSW parliament is needed.
    Just what the IPA ordered!

  4. Section 2 . . .

    Ben Eltham asks if we are seeing the beginning of Labor’s renewal.
    Michelle Grattan says the troubled times for Abbott and Hockey are far from over.
    The 19 worst things the Liberals did yesterday.
    The BOM staff are more than a bit upset with the government.
    Stephen Koukoulas on the potential effect of iron ore prices on the budget bottom line.
    Abbott deservedly gets some stick from academics over the Lomberg issue.
    “View from the Street” gets right into Lomberg, the hopeless Dutton and the CCA report response.
    Sarah Hanson-Young upsets Potato Head.
    Mark Kenny writes that the opposition is doing what the government should be doing. It’s worth a read.
    An interesting move by Google into the lucrative mobile market.
    Adele Ferguson with another excoriating report into CBA’s handling of financial planning misdemeanours.
    Mark Golding embarrasses us.

    OMG! David Pope thinks Abbott might be making the most out of Gallipoli 100.

    A similar theme from Mark Knight.

    Nice work from David Rowe on the spat between S H-Y and Dutton.

  5. So now , according to Dutton, It’s “troublemakers” on Nauru stopping people getting onto his “boat” to Cambodia…”troublemakers”….how many times have each of any of us being accused of THAT “criminal act” ?..God , all of them..the entire collection of govt’ ministers are corrupt AND incompetent.

  6. Grunt’s been tucking into the magic pudding again!…The hinge-pin of his “direct action success” is presumed on a 100% achievement of success in these auctioned projects…now, as a long time environment person involved in numerous tree-planting projects, both as participator and observer, a 100% growth rate is in the realms of fantasy…even if you are growing in ideal conditions, which, by the very desperation of those farmers in marginal lands who are taking up these projects are certainly not!..then the best you can hope to deliver is between 10 – 75 %…highly dependent of rainfall (marginal farming lands?), soil quality (depleted farming land?) and irrigation (again- marginal land?)…
    I will lay a bet that some of those corporate “Auctionees” were secretly encouraged and funded by the gov’t as a “no-lose” proposition.

  7. Mark Kenny writes that the opposition is doing what the government should be doing. It’s worth a read.

    Kenny accuses Joe Hockey of gradually changing the “Deficit v. Surplus” story 180 degrees around from “a Surplus in our first Budget” to “I have never given a timetable for our first Surplus”.

    Yet Mark forgets some of his own commentary, even advocacy during the minority Gillard government.

    I still richly remember him opining that Gillard had done well in India, but it was a pity that she had a shoe malfunction while there, because that’s all the journos would be talking about. He then proceeded to talk about shoe malfunctions for the rest of the column.

    Any port in a storm, of course, and if the professional scribblers are finally waking up to the monstrosity that is the Abbott government, then I’ll take that as a plus.

    But I do wish they wouldn’t kid themselves that group-think and camp-following isn’t their basic preoccupation. It is. If they see a head, they kick it, all the while feigning “professionalism”. They’re just presenting the facts m’am. Nothing personal at all.

    Ominously, he adverts to the possibility that the Labor National Conference could see a disaster, some kind of policy implosion. There we go again, Kenny’s “all that good work gone for nothing” angle… let’s call it a “policy malfunction”, shall we?

    And who will report this possible disaster as a “disaster”? Why, none other than Mark Kenny and his pals in the commentariat.

    Neat as

    It must be a wonderful job to be able to make up your own story as you go along, and then get paid (quite a lot) to lob it into a major newspaper, free of any constraints as to truth or relevance (unless you count the relevance you bestow upon it yourself), and absolved from any blame or introspection as to how your particular narrative has performed its own double backflip, with pike.

    For the moment, Kenny and his ilk (I don’t count the Murdoch papers) are providing some shelter and calm waters for a full Labor refit, and I grudgingly accept it. But tomorrow, as they say, is another day: a day where “Tony Abbott miracles” and “Labor gab fest policy disasters” could well happen, with equal odds on either.

    Kenny is part of a system that generates and then perpetrates myths and fairy tales from its own imaginings. These are then fed back into the mill as if they were real, to test the reactions of the other players, and to generate more fantasies. Political damnation is never more than an Insiders or QandA quip away. A lie is not a lie until we’re told it’s a lie. Truth is not the truth until it is certified as such.

    Just as politicians are on an endless quest to self-justify, by rewriting history to make it look like consistency, political journalists search for relevance by testing the winds and then creating a narrative that suits the latest gust, tying it in with all previous eddies to produce a body of work that conclusively proves they have never been wrong. It must have been their readers, I guess.

    As I said above: nice work if you can get it. Why bother working for Virgin when there are whores and pimps aplenty at the click of a mouse button? Very clean, very fresh… and always ready to whisper sweet nothings into the nearest ear.

  8. THIS…is one of those moments when the Forth Estate should step up to the plate and do what it claims it is it’s legacy to do : cross-check and confirm the facts and assumptions of Hunt’s figures. It can’t be too difficult to investigate..Hunt has waved these figures about..the question is ; Who are these “Buyers”, what are their propositions (the gov’t appears to have accepted them, so they must know the ins and outs), what are the risks that they will succeed and what of others who continue to pollute without buying a deal off the govt’, what ARE the penalties for cont’ pollution?

    Go on!…get out there Annabell…breakies finished, it’s a long time till dinner…you don’t cook all day, surely?

  9. I admire Michael Leunig’s philosophy of life and his ability to make it clear in his cartoons.

    His thoughts on Gallipoli are so spot on. This, not the jingoism being promoted by Abbott and his crew, is what the stupid sacrifice of war is all about. His cartoon almost makes one cry and so it should.

    Thank you to a real human and a real Australian.

  10. I think Ms Tingle made a spelling mistake in that last paragraph, suggesting that it is the Labor pollies who are worried about a double dissolution…
    If anything a DD would be a more worrying thing for the Liberals, surely?

  11. Ironically , Leone..most of the comments below Mr. Dunlop’s article prove his point!

  12. Bloody hell!

    The NSW Supreme Court has just ruled that the state government’s decision to cancel Metgasco’s coal seam gas exploration licence for the Lismore area was not lawful.

    The government will pay Metgasco’s court costs. No word yet on Metghasco going after comepnsation.

    Background –

  13. Sensible and lucid rationale being ; only a fool could identify with a fool. therefore it must be accepted as fact that anyone who voted for Tony Abbott and the LNP. last election has to be just another fool.

  14. The whole objective of the Cunneen (Is that her correct name?)case was to disembowel ICAC. and so cancel the criminal accusations against all those LNP. members and businessmen…

  15. The awful casualness of LNP. criminal politics, without media oversight will eventually unleash a fearful retribution on any who oppose them.

  16. Nothing in NSW has changed since the days when the Rum Corps ruled the place. Still rotten to the core as far as government and the judicial system are concerned.

  17. Rich wife faces jail for dole rorts

    The wife of a millionaire resources boss has been warned she is facing the prospect of jail after pleading guilty to using a false name to fraudulently claim tens of thousands of dollars in social security payments.

    Julie Bohannan married the former chief executive of Bathurst Resources Hamish Bohannan in 2006, the year after he had made just over $1.8 million in taxable income.

    But the Perth District Court was told that for years afterwards she claimed benefit payments under another name, consistently lying to Centrelink about where she was living, to whom she was married and what they were worth

    Of course, she won’t go to jail. Her husband has hired a posse of fancy lawyers and she will get off on the grounds of an imaginary illness. It’s only poor people who cheat on their benefits who go to jail – they can’t afford lawyers.

  18. Astute words from Edward Gibbon…;
    “History, which undertakes to record the transactions of the past, for the instruction of future ages, would ill deserve that honourable office if she condescended to plead the cause of tyrants, or to justify the maxims of persecution.”

    “It’s all Labor’s fault!!”

  19. God, it’s horrible!..Every now and then, when I feel the old bod / mind combo is up for it, I vasit a couple of those denier / RWNJ sites, just to see what the general chatter is…I dread the day of “interactive internet”..because the loopy, insanity that bleeds from their minds could be contagious!

  20. Another non ANZAC military post. Put up today in advance of ANZAC frenzy.

    On 25 April 1982 Argentinian submarine ‘Santa Fe’ made it to a dock on South Georgia. The intention was to re-supply the Argentinians there. They were being hard pressed by Special Boat Service and SAS. Four RN ships lurking.

    Santa Fe embarked people and made for the open sea.

    Before it could make deep water two RN helicopters, one using depth charges and the other missiles, attacked it.

    After that HMS Endurance used its 30mm cannon on it. Lots of holes resulted.

    The submarine turned around and went back to the pier. Once there the Argentinians got off and bought up a tractor to drag steel cables to tie it to the pier.

    Two or so hours later Santa Fe sunk and took 2/3 of the pier with it.

    In the whole encounter their were no deaths and not even serious wounds.

    The Argentinians were put on a hospital ship and dropped off in Montevideo.

    The polite warning phase. Thing got a bit serious after.

  21. The Idiot has been to the opera – that must have been a first for him. Ballet a couple of weeks ago, now opera – this PM business is certainly giving him an education in the arts.

    It’s a shame the naughty birds in this story are not galahs. That could have inspired some truly wonderful headlines about a galah at the opera.

    Forget the rain, the ‘bloody cockatoos’ are eating the Opera on the Harbour set

  22. A good find from over the road. Comedy with a sprinkle of factual stuff . A look at the bullshit that has invaded ANZAC Day as she is today in ‘Straya.

    Death By Civilisation – ANZAC Day (Episode 1)

  23. CTar1

    ‘…Two or so hours later Santa Fe sunk and took 2/3 of the pier with it…”

    After which the Junta in Argentina announced to the people a brilliantly successful operation in los Malvinas by the Santa Fe had denied any invading British force use of the “vital” pier.

  24. kk

    denied any invading British force use of the “vital” pier.

    That about sums up the rhetoric.

  25. The Metagasco decision has put the wind up North Coast National MPs.

    Kevin Hogan, who took Page from Janelle Saffin in 2013, knows he will be unemployed after the next federal election if he doesn’t ‘do something’. Page takes in part of the NSW seat of Lismore, which the Greens have just won from the Nats. Chris Gulaptis , Nats member for Clarence, had a 22% swing against him to Labor in last month’s election, he is keen to ‘do something’ too.

    The fools should have urged Baird to straight-out cancel the licence, instead of just suspending it until after the election.

  26. Speaking of Sth America. Some spectacular pics of the volcano that has erupted in Chile.




  27. Prepare for a wave of Pommy Alf Garnett’s fleeing to Australia after Tones got this wonderful booster from UK twit Farage. But seriously. It shows you how nasty our policy looks from outside the asylum as this guy’s political fortune is largely based on beating the xenophobia drum.

    “Tony Abbott? He’s too tough on immigration for me, says Nigel Farage

    The leader of Britain’s rightwing Ukip party praises Australian policy but admits some of the methods used to deter migrants are hard to stomach”

Comments are closed.