Dante il gatto vagante of course, not Dante the writer who died in 1321.
I published the free sample chapter on Friday, you’ll remember. Several people wrote to say they liked it.
Download it here (.pdf) if you missed it.
‘In via eccezionale’, because we’re talking cats here, which I know is a very SERIOUS topic for many of you (there are loads of cats, and ‘cat ladies’, in our street), I’m going to copy and paste chapter 2 below.
That’s two free chapters then, truly the bargain of the century!
Leaving six more you’ll need to pay for if Dante’s predicament grips you as hard as it did me.
The full version of the ebook will sell at our usual ‘easy reader’ price of £7.99 from next week on.
But this first week only, it’s 25% off (I have to find some cash to pay the author), so just £5.99!
Which works out at a quid each for the remaining chapters – and what can you get for a measly pound these days?
Well, actually… in Italy, you could get a litre of cheap red wine. Which isn’t bad. Or a kilo of pasta…
Talking of money, my eldest daughter tells me that pricing things at .99 is cheap.
According to her, I should price my first volume of poems at £12, rather than £11.99 or £12.99 as instinct would have it.
And she should know, because she’s at UNIVERSITY!
Studying marketing? I ask.
Economics (and stuff), she tells me.
But they’ll get to marketing eventually, when they’ve finished all of economics.
For now, then, I’ll keep being cheap.
And £12, for a .pdf of poems by someone you’ve never heard of?
That seems pretty cheeky.
But still, that’s what the dark art of marketing is for.
And there’s time to raise my profile (see today’s P.S.).
So back to Dante – the second free chapter is here below.
If you like it, do me a favor and buy a copy – otherwise…
one of the neighbours’ cats goes down the well!
Followed by another, and another each day until I’ve recouped my investment.
Capitolo 2. Una gita a sorpresa
Listen to this story: https://soundcloud.com/onlineitalianclub/sets/dante-gatto-vagante
“E ora cosa faccio? Dove andrà questa barca?” pensa Dante impaurito.
Il barcaiolo non si è accorto di nulla e continua a timonare la barca. Il viaggio dura circa venti minuti ma a Dante sembra un’eternità. Rimane nascosto tra le pieghe della coperta, paralizzato tra le casse di frutta e verdura. Non può certamente fuggire da lì: c’è solo acqua intorno a lui!
Mentre pensa così la barca rallenta, il barcaiolo ormeggia e fischiettando inizia a scaricare le casse. Improvvisamente nota un gomitolo di pelo bianco e nero nascosto in un angolo.
“E questo? Che ci fa un gatto qui?” esclama il barcaiolo, “Volevi farti una gita a Murano? Micio… micio… vieni qui!”
Il barcaiolo si avvicina e prova a prenderlo, ma Dante, in preda al terrore, salta fuori dalla barca, atterra sulla calle e scappa a gambe levate.
Corri corri, arriva in campo Campo San Donato. Vede che il portone della Basilica dei Santi Maria e Donato è aperto, quindi si avvicina guardingo ed entra silenziosamente.
“Non c’è nessuno” pensa “per il momento mi nasconderò qui.”
Si intrufola sotto l’altare e si accovaccia.
Che stanchezza, povero Dante. E quante emozioni!
impaurito: scared, afraid of
timonare: to steer a boat
gomitolo: ball of strings
intrufolarsi: to sneak up
Riordina le frasi:
1. non si è / la barca/ accorto di nulla / Il barcaiolo/ a timonare / e continua
2. sembra / ma a Dante / circa venti minuti / Il viaggio dura/ un’eternità
3. inizia / e fischiettando / le casse / Il barcaiolo ormeggia / a scaricare
4. un gomitolo di / nero nascosto / Improvvisamente nota / pelo bianco e / in un angolo
5. dalla barca, / calle e scappa / preda al terrore, / Dante, in / atterra sulla / a gambe levate / salta fuori
6. Basilica dei Santi / Vede che il / Maria e Donato / è aperto / portone della
My wife likes the SHORTER poems, she tells me. After all, with so much to watch on Netflix, who has time to read these days?
My teacher colleague, in contrast, likes the long ones, which make her giggle.
Which just goes to show, doesn’t it?
You can’t please all of the people, all of the time.
Here are the two I market-tested on those ladies.
Which do YOU prefer?
A Tall Man
A tall man
standing at the open door
of a parked car
makes me wonder
as I pass
walking back from the supermarket
on a Saturday afternoon
with a backpack
full of groceries
(mainly wine and beer)
An elderly woman
hobbles towards me, smiling
“Ciao” calls the man
from behind me
making it a greeting
“I didn’t know you were coming”
says his mum.
I’ve been giving some thought
I’ve been giving some thought
to how you should dispose of my remains
after I’m gone, I begin,
knowing that this won’t be
an easy conversation.
Obviously, donate any bits
that are still usable,
there’s a card in my wallet
and the A.S.L. should have it on record.
If it were up to me,
I’d say round up some neighbours
and drop me into the organic trash
preferably on Monday,
just after they’ve emptied it.
Leave it until the weekend
and I’ll be bouncing around
on top of a pile of pruned branches
and hedge clippings
for everyone to see,
which wouldn’t be respectful and anyway
somone would call the Vigili
and get you into trouble.
I had thought I’d like to be buried
back in the UK, but you know,
what with Brexit and that,
I’ve sort of gone off the idea.
Plus, it would cost an arm and a leg.
Keep the money for the grandkids,
when they arrive.
Did you know
that in Britain
you can be buried in the woods,
in a cheap carboard coffin,
or just a shroud?
Bet you’ll miss me telling you
how things are better there.
You can even bury a loved one
in your garden,
if you have one,
though a house with a garden in the south-west
doesn’t come cheap.
Which leaves Italy,
regulated all to hell
so as to guarantee some lobby group
a decent living
milking the rest of us.
If you really MUST deal with an undertaker
tell him you’ll only pay
for whatever’s legally necessary,
ask for a discount and,
if you don’t get one,
say you’ll try his competitors
down the street
and will only be back
if his quote’s the lowest,
just like Italians do
when choosing an English course.
Cremation could be an option,
though I hear it costs more
and you have to book ages ahead
like when you had that epidural, remember?
what will you do with the ashes?
I’ve noted down a few suggestions
in case you don’t have better ideas:
– mix me with some cement
and redo the grouting on the back wall
– cat litter? Though it’s looking as if
I’ll definitely outlast her
– this one’s probably illegal:
use my ashes
to add a touch of wood-fired-oven authenticity
to your home-made dinner-party pizzas
(spread a little of the grit
on a hard surface,
drop the flattened disks of dough onto it,
then pop them in the pre-heated electric oven
and voila, just like in a restaurant!)
– scattering me on the sea
or into a river
would be illegal in Italy, I’ve read,
as are viking-style funerals,
but there’s nothing in the ‘codice civile’ about sewers…
So a model boat bearing the urn
(a paper cup?)
which catches fire ‘by accident’
what do you say?
We could have nordic music.
Obviously, you shouldn’t try this if,
on the big day,
there’s a smell of methane
– my favorite, get the pre-schoolers
to do a ‘glue and ash’ picture
of their late teacher
(show them how to use glue
to draw a stick man,
sprinkle my ashes
liberally over the A4 sheet
while the glue is still sticky,
shake the page to reveal…
the finished ‘memento mori’
is that the term?
Have a dustpan and brush handy)