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misbeliever - chapter 2

by eanna 

Posted: 07 December 2005
Word Count: 2617
Summary: The Job!!!

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Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

Chapter 2
Damn it

Elegant Maria Candelli. That’s how Jacob had always labelled her in his mind. There was no other way to describe the woman. He could have called her beautiful but that would have been a fib. Beauty is a look, a setting, an arrangement of bones, or a matter of taste. Maria was a sixty-year-old woman that could draw the attention of every man in her vicinity, not with looks, but with her power. That was more than beauty. That was… What? Charisma is very male word. So it was with elegance alone that she could be described.
There she was in the centre of the room, actually she stood by the large bay windows but to Jacob she was always the centre, no matter how worn out the phrase may seem. Around Maria the funeral party churned. There were plenty of people there, but less than six that cared a mite about Daniel or his family, who themselves accounted for many of the indifferent. The Italian writer’s own wife -number three- was only there to find out what was in the will. A will, which Jacob knew -if Daniel Candelli could ever have been fully believed- left everything he owned to the homeless of Rome, to which he often claimed that he was a member.
Not a penny to his wife, ‘That woman has far too many problems.’ Daniel had told him, although Jacob was sure that his fortune would have been welcome nonetheless.
Nothing for his Daughter, ‘Her father will no doubt provide for her. She cannot be mine, she is far too skinny’
And, nothing for Maria, his sister and confidant, ‘I would not want to have them pawing at Mari, not if I can prevent it. And anyway she would only give it to them!’

Jacob had a lot of ideas about what people, Candelli included, should do with their money and many of them included giving it to him. But, he had to say that he would be surprised if Candelli hadn’t left them something. Or more likely, he’d left them with the promise of something. Yes, that would be more the old man’s style. Get them scrambling over one another, make fools out of them, keep them busy. The thought made Jacob smile to himself. The bastard had probably arranged some sort of treasure hunt, like one of those awfully dire American movies made so that everyone could praise the fun loving side of capitalism. The smile on Jacob’s face turned into a sneer when he admitted to himself that he would hunt down those clues as avidly as anyone.
‘You’re going to be bitter without him Jacob,’ said Maria, appearing at Jacob’s ear jolting him astart.
‘Your very sneaky today.’ Said Jacob, his face warming to her, ‘is that you funeral sneakiness?’ he looked down at his drink, a shy little boy around such a Queen, no Empress, Queen always made him think of cousin Billy with his wild blue eyes and his dazzling heels.
‘Really Jacob, you think you’re funny.’ said Maria. ‘Why don’t you stop acting like a child, eh?’ Jacob just laughed and Maria joined in. She linked her arm round his and leaned against him. ‘Go on Jacob.’ She said with a conspiratorial lean of her head.
‘Oh no, I’m not in the mood.’
‘Oh, my boy, please. It reminds me of such wonderful fun the three of us had. Please!’ Maria begged, knowing that Jacob was only waiting for her to ask him the correct number of times before doing what was one of his favourite things.
‘Ok,’ he said, ‘who will I do.’ Maria laughed in a ladylike way, that word queen raising its stubbly head again in Jacob’s mind.
‘Do them, no, those ones. Yes, the Agent and Madeleine, oh do!’
‘Very well Maria, for you, anything.’ Jacob cleared his throat and began to narrate:
‘Jacob turned to where Daniel’s agent Hertz, a suspiciously pleasant man, was defacing a fine crystal goblet filled with expensive wine, merely by allowing his bulbous strawberry chapped lips to come into regular contact with it. He was drinking in between laughs and between laughs he was drinking. Hertz was using the wine to disguise how uncomfortable he felt in the presence of a recently dead man’s daughter, and his rushed gulping belied his obvious distaste at having to listen to the shallow little wretch giggle and succeed with small talk, less than an hour after her father had been dropped in the mud. Perhaps I’ve misjudged him, I thought as I turned back to Maria who, as was usual in my company, was attempting to empty her own glass for an excuse to avoid my rapist wit and untrimmed nasal hair.’
Maria thought this was hilarious. If eyes could dance, which they can’t, Maria’s would have been far too busy trying to keep their balance to manage even a simple waltz so physically involving was her laugh. A woman who could laugh and yet seem so mysterious and elegant, that was Maria.
‘Oh Jacob you are so good at narrating.’ said Maria between wholehearted peals.
‘Oh not half as good as Daniel. Do you remember the time he called the conductor of the, oh, where was that again?’
‘Oh yes Prague!’ Jacob laughed, ‘When Dan goes: Ok boys, now remember to play what ever you like, the audience is full of Americans. I’m going to sleep, if you see me pissing myself, crescendo and exeunt all!’
‘And all just before the first movement!’ added Maria.

The two of them laughed again and it was like another party at another time, but like memories of such times, the humour just faded away and the two of them were left with the recollection of it and how it could never be again. The room was full of people, but it was Daniel’s room, and it was empty of him and as such it was empty of everything.
‘Fuck this.’ said Jacob, the scene becoming too much for him to bear.
‘No really Maria, fuck it. I have to go, I can’t stay here, with these…’ Jacob showed her the room, ‘these mourners, Ha, mourners!” Maria gripped his armed tightly.
‘Don’t leave.’ She said. She was brimming with tears.
‘I have to. I’m so sorry’
‘No, I mean, don’t leave Rome, not yet.’ Jacob grew worried, Maria was whispering and her usually chic expression belied her age. ‘I need to talk to you.’ She told him, ‘It’s important.’
‘Absolutely,’ he agreed, ‘I’m staying at the…’
‘Eden,’ said Maria her smile returning, ‘as always Jacob, you are spoiling yourself.’ Jacob shone back at her.
‘I’ll wait for your call.’ Jacob said and kissed her lightly on the cheek.

It was then that Jacob left Daniel Candelli’s old house and he was glad to escape. His skin was crawling. Not just as a result of being in close proximity to the jostling bastards inside the villa, but seeing Maria look so worried had thrown him off balance too. Her brother’s death was the obvious reason for this, but Jacob was fearful that it was not the only one.

After driving back from the Candelli villa near Tivoli, an area that always gave him pause, Jacob found that he’d been too preoccupied to even notice the view of the Roman countryside. Where as before he used to stop near Hadrian’s Villa and go for a walk, maybe even smoke a joint, now he was so full of anger that he was back in Ludovisi before he knew where he was. Damn it, and he could have used a smoke about now too. Jacob parked the rental car and hop-footed across the road as a white Renault sped by, barely missing him. Bloody Italians, their driving was atrocious. Oh well, he could have a smoke in his room, where he would probably be able to forget the day, for a little while


Rajette laughed as he made a u-turn in the middle of the Via Vittorio, causing the supposedly reckless Italians to shout out in disgust. Lives were threatened and the undersides of chins were flicked with distaste, which the Arab thought was really quite funny.
Rajette imagined himself getting out of the car, right there in the middle of the cross roads and showing them how their idle threats were carried out. He envisioned breaking the drivers window of the nearest road-raging Italian and dragging them out onto the road. He wouldn’t even shoot them, no, he would beat them to death with something inoffensive like his mobile. Actually no, those things break easily and he was expecting a call, his shoe perhaps. Now, that would be an insult.
It was a pleasing daydream, but there was, as always, work to be done, urges to be resisted.

The white Renault pulled up across the road from the front entrance to the Eden hotel. Rajette’s mobile phone rang and he pressed the speaker button on his car kit. It didn’t work. When he finally did hear something through the speakers, it was the engaged tone.
‘Zarba!’ Rajette swore fumbling with the phone. After some seconds of techno phobic panic he managed to set the stupid thing up correctly and return the call. There was no answer and Rajette hung up and waited, and the phone rang again. Carefully the little man squinted forward and pressed the little green picture of a telephone.
‘Hello?’ he tried.
‘Having trouble with your phone I see.’ The voice was male, American, and amused.
‘No sir, a… policia was passing.’ Rajette hated to look stupid in front of people, especially when they were paying him.
‘I see,’ said the voice, he did, ‘how are things going?’ Rajette felt that he had sufficiently escaped embarrassment to continue the conversation.
‘I’m am outside the hotel, he is inside.’ Speak shortly, he thought, it is more professional. Don’t sound angry, or murderous, even if you are.
‘Good. Follow him and tell me everything. Goodbye.’ Kanith, Rajette thought, ordering me around like a child, how dare he.
‘Hello?’ he said, wary of making an audible mistake. There was a click and the engaged tone filled the car once more. ‘Kanith!’ Rajette swore aloud this time, ‘you speak to me like that again Amerikan, I kill your mother.’ The flat tone emitted by the phone seemed unperturbed by this. For months now he’d been sitting and watching. Always sitting on his ass like a monkey, an Israeli could do it. It made him furious, but he forced it down.

Work to do, urges to be resisted

Rajette cut off the phone and settled back into the driver’s seat. Yes, he was being treated like a monkey, but he was being paid like a Prince. He’d also made an American connection, which was worth more than his fee. And if he did his job well, Rajette would be sure to make more.

Rajette looked more closely at Hotel Eden’s entrance, he’d been looking all along, unconsciously, the way a person can walk to work without even thinking about the route. He was a professional, even if sometimes the urges got the better of him. It wasn’t as though the white boy had seen him as a careered past, the fender almost touching the Irish man. It was just a bit of fun after all, something to amuse him while he watched and waited. The end, that was the part Rajette enjoyed the most.

The end was never boring.


Approximately two thousand two hundred and two miles, three thousand five hundred and forty five kilometres, or one thousand nine hundred and fourteen Nautical Miles from away from Italy, Rome to be specific, Julienne De fois was feeling guilty.
It would take at least another five or six hours for the Cascades to dry up but he was already dreading the backlash from the locals. He could blame a lot of things for his betrayal of the Bobos and the Lobis and since twelve o’clock yesterday afternoon he’d tried them all on.

Excuse number one:
What am I supposed to do in such a situation? The people of the area need the jobs that the manganese mine can produce. Don’t they?

Answer: No.

Number two:
It is not my fault. Since the fall of Sankara, Burkina Faso has fallen back into the old governmental ways of West Africa. Her ministers are rich. All government officials are forced to turn to corruption to survive. I have resisted it for so long (aside from the Mercedes last year)? If blame is sought, shouldn’t we blame Compaoré who overthrew Sankara and pushed the entire country into decline?

Answer: Again no. And, if any of his constituents were close by and available for comment, they may have added. It’s your fault, you traitor.

Excuse number three was Julienne’s most pitiful. It had something to do with the percentage of deaths related to contaminated water in the Banfora region over the last fifteen years. There had been twelve, but you get the message by now.
Julienne De Fois had betrayed his people and there was just enough honour in the little rodent’s soul to make the knowledge of it unbearable to him.
As a local government official, Julienne was not exactly voted for per sae. He was officially voted into office, but there was never any need for the people to actually go to the poles. The government saved them from the inconvenience of it and were sure that the people were glad that they did.
As a government official Julienne’s task was to see to the welfare of his constituents where their concerns coincided with those of the governing party of course. This left him a lot of time on his hands. Time that he spent talking to developers and other powerful businessmen, chatting and enjoying their money.
These were interesting people to a small-minded man like Julienne, the type of people that built factories on previously under-mined seams of magnesium. The same people that would need workers when the factory was built, and, oh, by the way, they were also the type of people who might very well ask certain questions of their local government official.

Questions like: Where is the nearest river?

And: Couldn’t it be nearer?

The answer was of course: Yes, for a fee. There is a river not too far away. It’s not terribly important to the locals either, you know. And it certainly doesn’t have a three hundred foot, tourist-attracting Cascades feeding from it or anything. Honest.

So, at twelve o’clock on the day before this one, Julienne De Fois had signed the correct forms to have the river diverted and his personal fortune inflated. Today the diggers had already moved in and an old quarry through which the river had been running southwards would soon undergo a change of personality. It would have its southern end blocked and its western wall demolished in that order. And, hey presto, just like that, the poor starving factory would have its river and justice would be done, for three and half stupid reasons.
It was a heart-warming time in Julienne’s life and it was no wonder that the emotion of it would soon prove too much for him. In a week’s time, harangued and destitute, homeless and unloved, Julienne De Fois would kill himself. The people of his district may have been poor and uneducated, but they believed in magic. And, more importantly, so did he. But that is something you’ll be hearing about later.

So, what has any of this got to do with Rome or Jacob Terry?


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Comments by other Members

Anj at 20:46 on 07 December 2005  Report this post

Came to this from chapter 1 (commented on it, not sure you'll get notification though)

There's something about your style I find so engaging and distinctive - you sound like no one else. Loved reading this.

It read a little scrappily though - again, the formatting is slightly distracting, eg

'Ok,’ he said, ‘who will I do.’ Maria laughed in a ladylike way ...

I knew it was Jacob speaking, but when the speech was followed with Maria laughing, I then thought for a sec she had spoken the dialogue laughingly. Putting 'Maria laughed' on the next line would've made it easy for me.

'elegant' disappointed me a little as a description of Maria. I expected a less bland word.

I was really sympathetic to Daniel in the first chapter, but the provisions of his will made him seem, to me at least, heartless rather than eccentric. Is that what you wanted?

Maria begged, knowing that Jacob was only waiting for her to ask him the correct number of times before doing what was one of his favourite things.

this sudden change of POV distracted me.

A woman who could laugh and yet seem so mysterious and elegant, that was Maria.

Most women can laugh ;) 'laugh like that' perhaps?

If eyes could dance, which they can’t, Maria’s would have been far too busy trying to keep their balance to manage even a simple waltz so physically involving was her laugh.

I found this sentence confusing.

Jacob grew worried, Maria was whispering and her usually chic expression belied her age

I'm assuming Maria looks concerned at this moment, but 'her usually chic expression belied her age' suggests she is looking, as usual, chic, and I'm not quite sure of the relevance of the relevance of 'belied her age' here?

By the way, I love that Jacob has a crush on a woman so much older than him (welll, I'm assuming so much older, although I'm not quite clear how old Jacob is); gives him depth.

The Rajette scene is incredibly effective at portraying a chilling man (although I'm not sure having what I'm assuming is an Arab baddie isn't gonna be seen as a bit inflammatory at the mo).

I could cope with the jump from Jacob & Maria to Rajette, but I was struggling to cope with the switch to Julienne too. Other readers might not. I was just wanting to get back to Jacob & Maria too, because I just really like them.

The narrative voice seemed to change noticeably too in the Julienne section ... authorial touches like

a small-minded man like Julienne


So, what has any of this got to do with Rome or Jacob Terry?


made it seem different. I'm not sure if that's intentional or not. Personally, I really liked the humour in those moments.

I felt some tightening would make this easier to read, but also that perhaps the looseness is just your style, and if it is, I'd still read on anyway ...

All that said ... I just loved reading this. It's engaging and intriguing, and your style makes it a pleasure to read.


smudger at 15:18 on 13 December 2005  Report this post
Hi Eanna,

I really like your style; lots of wordplay and crisp dialogue. The plot seems to be developing some interesting twists and turns. There’s the hit man and then there’s the W. African connection. These add to the intrigue and broaden the scope of the piece.

I think this section needs a bit of editorial work though. I spotted the following oddities, which distracted me somewhat from the excellent plot:

‘Charisma is very male word.’ - ‘…is a very…’

‘Your very sneaky today.’ – ‘You’re…’

‘that word queen’ – but you told us he preferred ‘empress’ a little earlier?

‘avoid my rapist wit’ – are rapists noted for their wit? Rapier or rapier-like perhaps?

‘Kanith, Rajette thought, ordering me around’ – ‘Kanith, Rajette thought, ordering him around’ - otherwise the POV slips

‘the white boy had seen him as a careered past’ – ‘the white boy had seen him as he careered past’

‘not exactly voted for per sae’ – ‘…per se’

‘actually go to the poles’ – ‘polls’

I’m really looking forward to the next instalment and to some more hairpin turns.



eanna at 07:58 on 15 December 2005  Report this post
Thanks smudger, I'm a terrible man for rushing through sections when I'm getting ideas.

Thanks a lot, I've used them all - Except the rapist wit part, which is actually a joke (ha ha)


Account Closed at 16:40 on 15 December 2005  Report this post
Love the energy in this - but like others above, I did wonder if there was just too much switching between scenes. I like Jacob/Maria and their situation and also Rajette, but I wasn't as interested in Julienne (who has a woman's spelling of his name??).

Maybe there could be more on those people, and Julienne be left to another chapter?? Is he as important as the others?? And is it therefore going to be a multi-viewpoint novel? If so, I think you might need to let your reader grow accustomed to each character before moving to the next ...



eanna at 11:57 on 19 December 2005  Report this post
Hi Hollie,

Thanks, That guy Julienne is really inportant later on. I was thinking about giving his piece a mini chapter of its own. I guess I have my answer.

It's a big help


Ava at 22:48 on 19 December 2005  Report this post
Hi Eanna, I didnt want to read the next chapter until I was up to speed with this one. I'm certainly glad I did! This is fascinating, a very riveting plot you have here and I found the transaction between all three characters easy to read! Now I loved reading the witty banter with Jacob and Maria (and the fact that shes older makes it so much more original) and his wonderful description of her presence really sets the scene. The only thing I was put off by was Jacob's outburst of "Fuck this" and you can tell me to bog off if you disagree. I just felt such a great flow when I was reading these two charismatic characters conversing with each other and then all of a sudden, it felt like someone else was saying "fuck this", like a sort of bang in the middle when I was reading. I hope I havent offended you and I could be totally wrong.

There is great central thought in Rajette's entrance. He strikes me as a very intense, deep thinker (thats a pretty obvious one sorry) and his independence sets him apart from every other person in this chapter. it was good, i loved reading it.

I really want to find out more about julienne de fois and why he killed himself!

I'll read the next chapter tomorrow, looking forward to it! :)

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