the family murder case (part twenty-one)

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"You speak Italian?" Erika asked as Joseph went off, gesturing that more bread was to be brought to us.

My employer smiled. "It was my first language. My first foreign language. When I was in high school, my father was taking night classes at a local college, to get his degree, and we decided to learn Italian at the same time. His family was Italian, and he always felt bad that he didn't know the language, so we studied it together, and we tried to speak only Italian around the house. Which was difficult, as you can imagine, at least at first. It must have worked, though, since he's been a professor at an Italian university for many years."

I chuckled. "When they get together, it's always a battle, since he is eager to speak English for a change, and she's eager to speak Italian, so inevitably the conversation goes back and forth like a tennis match."

"Do you speak Italian?"

I shook my head, and Jan said, "What do you expect, he's a Mick. And he doesn't even speak the Irish language." She did speak it, more or less, but I think she felt that would have seemed like boasting to mention it.

We all laughed, and I said, "The only language I can make my way around is Portuguese."

Erika frowned. "Portuguese? That's an odd choice."

"Not really. We've spent a lot of time in Bellona, and they speak Portuguese there."

"I see," Erika said. She shrugged. "That shows how much I know. I always assumed they spoke Spanish."

"That's the most common misconception about Bellona," Jan said, "so don't feel bad about that. But we should–"

Erika shook her head and sighed. "I'm avoiding the subject, I know."

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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