I had a feeling that this meeting wasn't going to go well. Once someone gets it into their head that they are going to defy the Bertucci, they tend to get stupid, not listening to anything we have to say. Bringing a Caffarelli to enforce their personal adgenda sounds like a good idea until someone gets hit over the head - namely, me.
I can't explain exactly what happened, but I knew the blow was coming. Normally, if you get hit over the head, you may feel the pain, but you soon forget it. When you awaken, the entire incident has been erased from your memory. That was not my experience.
Not only did I not feel the pain, but I don't think I was actually hit. I blacked out right before I would have gotten hit as if someone was timing the event with a stop watch. I gained some consciousness, the kind of awareness of a vivid dream, before actually waking up. Or, at least that is the way it seemed.
The lights swirled and danced, which caused a bemused expression to cross my face. An array of colors came in and out of focus, combining with each other to create more complex varieties. The colors shifted again when the light became brighter, the colors more vivid. The pendulum swung back, though, and the colors were so dull it was hard to tell the difference between a red and a blue.
After several long, agonizing seconds, the light returned to a normal hue and brightness; the world around me began to come into focus. I rubbed my eyes, wiping away some moisture that had collected. Where was I? Did I get hit over the head? If so, where was the pain? It didn't seem to matter once I saw everything around me in clear focus.
A man in a kind of dress attire stood before me. The lines of his suit were not familiar, though. Perhaps it was a new style, which if that were true, I would need to obtain a sample for the Bertucci empire. After all, I was always looking for ways to expand our family's influence.
Though my thoughts were clear, there was only one question I could come up with to ask him. "Who are you?"
"That is not important, Mr. Bertucci," the man replied. "I have very little time with you. I am sorry for what I have to do next."
Though he gave ample warning, I was not prepared for what he did next. He brought out a long silver colored device which resembled a syringe. Not allowing me time to react, he jabbed the end of the device into the side of my neck.
After a soft clicking sound, he said, "That wasn't too bad, was it?" When I didn't immediately respond, he continued, "It was nice to meet you, Angelo."
Slowly, the world became fuzzy again, the colors around me blending into one another. It was similar to the first time, but the patterns were distinctly different this second time. I didn't smile, either. It was almost as if I was more aware of my surroundings, which didn't help me grasp what it all meant. Perhaps it was all some dream, after all.
The next thing I knew I was waking up in the backseat of my cousin's car.
"Angie," my cousin Tommy said, looking at me in the rear view mirror, using his nickname for me that I abhored but couldn't prevent no matter what. "I guess you weren't hit as hard as I thought with you waking up so soon."
"What happened?" I asked.