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Chapter 27

Cardinal Vignola was angry. No, angry wasn’t the word. He was pissed, although that word didn’t really cover it either. Goddamn it! How the hell was he supposed to keep his church safe and together if people kept coming along and fucking things up?

Marin, for instance. What a colossal waste of flesh. All he had was one simple job, he had one simple job-go and find out if this Father Cass guy was the real deal-and he couldn’t even do that. No-the goddamn tabloids sweep the story, and he’s left holding his limp dick in his hand. Jesus, what a loser! Then, before I can take care of him, before I can teach him a valuable lesson and make use of him, the fucker goes and dies! Christ, I wouldn’t put it past the pussy to have killed himself, just to get out of taking some heat for screwing things up.

Now I’ve got to take care of the whole mess, which is what I should have done in the first place, just like always. The whole damn Vatican would fall apart if I didn’t keep things running. Who fixed things when they tried to mess with our banking? Me. That’s who. Who got things back on track when they tried to admit to anything and everything when a couple of priests turned out to be pedophiles? Me, that’s who: goddamned kids. And I can fix it now. This Father Cass guy is the antichrist and anybody who says differently can burn in hell, now or later, it doesn’t matter to me, because that’s the way it’s going to be.

My church is going to be safeguarded and protected as long as I’m alive, end of story. So I guess now is the time to call in the big guns. Time to call in ’Ndrangheta, and I’m just the man to do it.

“So, Damiano, it has been a long, long time, my friend. What brings you to Sicily?”

“Ah, Pasquale. You know my bones are old. At this time of year they enjoy the heat of the south. How is your family?”

“All good, all good. My great-grandson, Antonio was confirmed this past April. He’s a good boy. My grandson, Emilio is moving to Boston with his family. His wife’s family is in business there. Jewelers. I wouldn’t go myself, but he’s a man, he does what he wants.”

“True, so true.”

“So, Damiano. You’ve been here for two days. You must be warm by now. Are you returning to Rome soon, or is there something else?”

“You know me too well, my friend.”

“We made our first communions together, Dami. What do you need?”

“I need help for my church, Pas.”

“Our church. What kind of help?”

“There is a priest in America performing miracles.”

“That is amazing news. Should I be in church thanking our Lord?”

“No, Pas. Our Lord has nothing to do with this man.”

“I see. I’ll make a call.”

“Will it be difficult for you?”

“No. I make a call. They call one of the ‘Invisibles’; job done.”

“I knew the church could count on you.”

“Of course. Limoncello?”

“On ice?”

“Is there any other way?”

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