Read Black Run Online

Authors: Antonio Manzini

Black Run (28 page)

The pictures?

And then they turn into a movie.

Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. Marina is sitting by the fountain and talking to some boys from Oslo. I still remember. It was a July night. The first time I ever saw her. I decided straightaway:
I'm going to marry her.
Right then and there, I made up my mind, to the sound of the splashing water of the fountain and the gutter punks' dogs that were howling at the moon. This couch is so comfy. And I can't, I shouldn't . . . Should I let myself go? Sure, it's soft, and warm, too. Outside, I think it's still snowing. But I don't want to have to open my eyes. I'll just let myself slip away, little by little. I wonder if this is what dying is like. I've heard that when you freeze to death, you just fall asleep, gently, and never even realize it. That's better than having a tank run over you and crush your head, I'd have to say. Definitely much better.

“I heard the whole thing. You caught them,” Marina tells me.


“Did some idiot suggest you go out and celebrate tonight?”

“No. Luckily, no one did.”

“There's nothing to celebrate.”

“I'd have to say you're right.”

She sits there, beside me. Outside, it's stopped snowing.

“Are you all right, Rocco?”


Marina laughs. “You're good at catching lies, but you don't have the slightest idea how to tell one.”

“You feel like going somewhere, Marì?”

“Why? Where do you want to go?”

“To go take a look at Provence. It's not even an hour's drive from here.”

“And we could indulge in a few fantasies?”

“Right. We could imagine some things.”

“Like we are right now?”

“Like we are right now.”

“Rocco, you do this far too often, do you know that?”

“Yes, I know.”

“It's not good for you.”

“Yes, but without it I can't live.”

“You should try, Rocco. You have to live.”

The rocket that Sylvester Stallone fired into the Vietcong encampment woke him up. Rocco opened his eyes. It was snowing outside. He was stretched out on the sofa, and Rambo was slaughtering a fucking Charlie army.

He switched off the television set. He got up. It had to be two in the morning. Or three. He went over to the window. The snow was still falling, but the flakes were smaller now. The road was white, except for the tracks of a car's tires that had punctuated the blanket of white snow with black patches of asphalt. The streetlamps were dotted with frozen drizzle, and the green sign outside a pharmacy blinked. One frozen hand gripped his heart. The other seized his throat. He leaned his head against the glass. He shut his eyes.

He hadn't taken flowers to Marina in four months now. He decided that next weekend he'd go to Rome. But only for her. For Marina.

“I'm going to take a shower. Marina, would you make me an espresso?”

“Are you leaving so soon?”

“Before the swamp can swallow me up again, my love.”


A few necessary thank-yous. To Patrizia, who believed in it before anyone else. To Luisa, for her patience, and with thanks for all the things that she explained to me, helping to keep me from putting my foot in my mouth. To Patricia, who gave me the push that started it all. To Toni, who in the meantime has become my wife and who makes my life fulfilling. To my father and his paintings, pictures that have stayed with me since I was a little boy, and to my mother, for her mathematical mind. To Marco and Jacopo, who, with my sister, took me up to an elevation of five thousand feet. To Nic and Lollo, whom I can never thank enough, and who stubbornly continue to believe in the things that I do. To Mattia, for the energy and pure talent that helped me to make the book so much better. Last, but not least, Nanà Smilla Rebecca and Jack Sparrow, who illuminate my home with love.

And then a special thank-you to the village of Champoluc and especially to Luigi, Carlo, and the Livres et Musique bookstore, to the Vieux Crest hut, where I started writing this book, and to Le Charmant Petit Hotel, where I finished it.


Born in 1964 in Rome,
is an actor, screenwriter, director, and author. He studied under Andrea Camilleri at the National Academy of Dramatic Art and made his debut in fiction with a short story he co-wrote with Niccolò Ammaniti. He is the author of two murder mysteries that feature Deputy Police Chief Rocco Schiavone, a cop who thinks outside the box and disrespects both his superiors and police department regulations.
Black Run
is the first of these novels to be translated into English.

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Copyright © 2015 by Antonio Manzini. English language translation copyright © 2015 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

Originally published in Italian as
Pista nera
in Italy in 2013 by Sellerio Editore, Palermo.


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Manzini, Antonio.

Pista nera
. English]

Black run : a novel / Antonio Manzini; translated by Antony Shugaar—First edition.


ISBN 978-0-06-231004-0

EPub Edition April 2015 ISBN 9780062310064

I. Shugaar, Antony, translator. II. Title.







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