The Italian Papers

A continuation of collaborative writing with a community I was engaging with in 2015. After working from words in Slovenian, which we did not know the meanings to, we repeated the process with words in Italian, which we did not know the meaning too (except Stephen perhaps.)


September 20th, 2015

Stephen, Hannah Ruth, Chris, Misa


The Name of a Person

Catturata was a long way from town. Her jalopy emitted a series of sounds beyond its usual vocabulary for several days now, but Catturata was obsessed with designs for her next conquest, and had dismissed them irritably. But now the jalopy refused to budge. She furiously hopped out and banged her fist onto the hood. She wailed and shook her fist at the heavens, and rain began to fall. “Well”, said Catturata, it is no use, we will have to hitch hike. So here she was standing on the side of the road with her newly shaved head turning bright red when the rain gave way to a blaring sun. Nobody stopped for a long time. She just about gave up hope when a guy on a Harley motorcycle approached with a thunderous commotion. As he came closer Catturata realized that she was facing the most boring-looking Harley rider she had ever seen. His wingtips were slightly scuffed, and his grey flannel trousers were a trifle baggy about the knees, but what was most tedious was his milk toast half-smile. Only her dear departed Daddy’s half-brother had been grazed with such a soporific countenance. But he had last been sighted at a convention of Amway distributors half a continent away. Her mind played for a moment with the various courses of actions she could take next and she decided to table all thoughts and trust her gut. She gave the Harley driver a BRILLIANT smile, and something magical happened. His smile matched hers and seared her heart. It was quite lucky that a few happy magical creatures were looking on, Bim, Bam, and Boz. Creatures similar in power to leprechauns they winked their eyes in rapid succession and sealed the deal. These star-crossed soul mates returned to the jalopy where Cattura’s designs for her next conquest were spread on the jalopy’s hood, and the two happily mapped out what next adventure they would like to partake in together – abandoning all other plans previously made. What happened to the Harley and what happened to the jalopy, we leave for YOU to imagine about.

CATTATURATA in Italian: to capture, seize, arrest


The Name of a Person

Moglie was my favorite person in the whole world. Maybe this sounds extravagant, but honestly, the reason I loved her was that she was so very ordinary and dependable, in a pleasing way. I met her ten years ago at a church bake off. She had brought her Grandmother’s chocolate brownies, as she did every year. They never won her a thing, but she didn’t mind. They meant the world to her, those brownies, and she was convinced that the judges didn’t know what they were missing out on. When Moglie decided to pass on the recipe to just one person before she died, I was the recipient. Two cups of flour, 1 ½ cups of elated sugar, 2 cups of camel’s milk, a cup of cocoa, 2 eggs with yolks separated from whites and whites whipped till fluff, and 2 tbs. of baking soda. This all seemed ordinary enough. Where was the element which made these brownies pop? The moment I asked this question I was hit with a blinding migraine, and as I made my way to the cabinet I tripped and fell flat on my face. I awoke with a package of frozen cranberries plastered against my nose held there by my recently divorced spouse, who just happened by to collect his stamp collection, and found me out cold in the kitchen. The moment I awoke and pulled the now defrosted berries from my swollen, broken, and bruised face, knew I had found my secret ingredient – cranberries. I rushed my ex out of the house along with his moth eaten incredibly boring stamp collection and dumped the berries in the batter, along with an entire container of ground cinnamon that my ex had given me for Christmas the previous year. Believe it or not, the brownies were delicious! Though I have come to terms with the fact that they will never be that good again, only because, never again would revenge taste so sweet. Never again would I buy a jar of cinnamon. At least not for a few months.

MOGLIE in Italian: wife, bride, spouse


Baby’s name

Portato is the name of Pope Francis’ favorite baby in the protestant church of England. The Pope came to know Portato in a round about way. He came to lead mass at the Santa Barbara mission and was interrupted by the laughter of Portato all the way across the street on the mission lawn. Portato was crawling rapidly towards a small black and white Shitzu. Pope Francis stopped the mass so that he could perform a miracle. By now the shitzu had half swallowed Portato and the kid was screaming his lungs out. Pope Francis acted quickly. He gathered the mission’s world renowned choir and they stood around the half-swallowed Portato, humming soothing tones. In a booming and somewhat quavering voice, Pope Francis prayed aloud for the masses to hear, as well as the little Shitzu, “oh, blessed Shitzu, have mercy on your lunch, for Portato is a living, breathing, loving thing who will sorely grow to care for you very well if you give him the chance. Holy Spirit, he continued, “I pray thee release Portato from this deathly grasp!” and “plop!” Portato was free again. Portato did indeed grow up to care very well for Portato, as well as his progeny, who were invited annually to celebrate Pope Francis’s favorite holiday, which is a secret holiday, only known within the Vatican’s inner circle. It occurs on April 19th, without fail, and it occurs at the Vatican in a secret chamber where all those invited to the celebration are allowed to bring one guest who is NOT Catholic so that they can secretly take in new ideas. Pope Francis is working on becoming a dog whisperer and looks forwards to his retirement from being a Pope.

PORTATO in Italian: talented, adroit, gifted


A medical condition

O my god! I can’t stand it! Not Spettacoli again! I can’t stand the thought of having to go to the surgeon and have them removed. The last time it was so extremely painful. I must think of an alternative. What if I randomly opened a medical dictionary and chose my next disease would guarantee as well as ensure that I would never contract Spettacoli again. I decide to take this course of action and headed directly to Chaucer’s bookstore by bicycle and skateboard. My beloved rode his bicycle with his big behind offering good purchase and I held on with my left hand with both feet firmly planted on my longboard. We chose to take a small flask of Armagnac as well, in case the line at Chaucer’s was exceptionally long. Fortunately, we were almost alone in the hold bookshop, except for an elderly gentleman in a rather worn tweed jacket with very worn leather elbow patches, and a teenage girl attired in a way that would have aroused some sarcastic remark from my mother, God rest her soul. Once, in fact, my mother had been an exotic dancer in the Filmore in San Francisco, but like an ex drug addict, she would no longer tolerate any nasty exposure of skin. Anyway, we were now out of Armagnac. So we decided to ignore all the symptoms of the disease and head for Trader Joes for another bottle of the French Liquid Gold.

SPETTACOLI in Italian: a show, a production