Expo Riva Schuh
Inspector Limone sipped an
aperol spritz and looked across the Piazza 3
Novembre to the entrance of the Hotel Sole. In
the absence of a Hotel Upper in Riva del Garda,
this was the accommodation of choice for
delegates attending the International Shoe Fair,
Expo Riva Schuh.
The Fair was always a
potential flashpoint as highly strung footwear
designers vied for fashion prominence. Last year,
four exhibiters from Calabria, the toe of Italy,
had been assassinated by a delegate from the
region of Puglia, Italys heel. The
perpetrator had used bootleg Grappa, laced with
Limone had been assigned to
ensure that, this year, all toed the line.
indicated that there were plans afoot for Luigi
Slingbacci to eliminate his arch rival in the
high heel eveningwear category, Giuseppe Pumpello.
It was known that Luigi would take this step
today, but not when or how.
Limone saw Giuseppe leave
the hotel and wondered if his cane concealed a
knife. The risks of the Fair were such that most
participants employed some form of self
protection. Luigi followed just a few yards
behind, guarded by his young Rottweiler, Etto.
Limone rose and jogged
hotfoot in pursuit across the Piazza Catena where
he followed the men onto a ferry. The required
turn of speed winded him, and he reflected on the
need for a personal trainer, maybe even a pair.
Luigi sat down on the
foredeck, directly behind Giuseppe. Although
Limone recognised both men from photographs, he
had never met either and so was able to take a
seat unnoticed next to Luigi and his dog.
The Rottweiler growled at
Limone. Still, Etto. Heel! commanded
Luigi in a strong regional brogue.
That brogue was a fine shoe,
Limone noted to himself as Luigi put on the other.
A stiff breeze blew across
Lake Garda, building waves that caused the Verona
to toss and roll during the crossing, and even as
the boat docked at Torbole.
Giuseppe and Luigi remained
seated as other passengers disembarked. Suddenly,
Limone noted a puff of dust kicked up from the
deck in front of Luigis right shoe. He
realised immediately that the brogue concealed a
dart gun. This was a shoe-ting!
At that exact moment, the
ferry pitched with the impact of another wave.
The dart missed the back of Giuseppes leg,
ricocheted from the iron boat side and struck
Etto, who was at once a hushed puppy.
Limone lept to his feet,
drew his gun and levelled it at Luigi.
Remove your shoes, he ordered.
Its a shoe-jacking!
shouted frightened witnesses, familiar with this
phenomenon from the time of the last Expo Riva
Schuh. Panicking passengers left their shoes and
fled barefoot down the gangway onto the quay.
Before departing with his
prisoner, Limone stood atop the gangway and
quickly composed a farewell speech to the crowd
on the quayside. He explained the true nature of
his actions, police determination to defeat pedal
criminality and the legal right of those present
to reclaim their footwear.
Four days of the Fair
remained. Limone knew there would be other
incidents. Today, however, he was gratified that
he had snatched victory from the jaws of
defeat, and, when addressing the crowd, had
also hatched a valedictory from the laws of