Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? Entry #36

November 16th, 2009 by Wordsman


“So, you’re saying that we stumbled onto something connected to some sort of major conspiracy.”


“And now because of what we know—or what they think we know—our lives could be in danger.”

“This is correct.”

“And you’ve been assigned to keep an eye on us and make sure we’re safe, which is why you’ve been following us.”


“Wouldn’t it have been a whole lot easier just to walk up, introduce yourself, and explain all this to us in the first place?”

“We did not wish to frighten you.”

“Frighten us?  Did you not stop to think that it would be much scarier if we thought we were being trailed by a mysterious figure for no reason?”

“Please calm down.  I could say that it was not my intention to be seen by you at all, but I do not believe that this information would bring you very much comfort.”

“Good guess.”

“Tourism is an essential component of the economy of Rome.  It is not good for us to scare visitors by telling them that their lives may be in danger.  You most likely would have tried to leave the country.  This may have put you at even greater risk by drawing attention to yourselves.  This way was best for all of us.”

“Hmph.  But still, after watching us for . . . however long you were watching us for, you must have realized that we wouldn’t have just run off.  One of us would have been even more willing to stay if you just told him instead of hiding.”

“Yes . . . it is unfortunate, but when you work in a job such as mine, stealth becomes a habit.  It is a habit that is difficult to break.”

“I see.”

“Now that my presence has been noticed, however, everything is, as you said, a whole lot easier.  I can direct you and your friend to take actions that are most beneficial to your safety.”

“Like telling us to go to Florence?”

“Yes.  My superiors have felt for some time that it would be best if you left Rome temporarily.  Since there is no longer any meaning in staying hidden, there was no reason for me not to encourage you to do so.  By going to another popular tourist destination such as Firenze, we are able to make it appear as though you are still just simple visitors, unaware of the danger.”

“Ha!  That’s not much of a stretch.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“We’re just as unaware as they think we are.  You haven’t told us anything, really.”

“As I explained already, we are not sure about your situation.  There is no purpose in meaningless speculation—”

“But you must know something!  You didn’t just look down at us from your perch and say, ‘Hmm, those two guys look like the kind of people that are likely to be targeted by a secret, multinational crime syndicate!’  Does it have something to do with the time Jack yelled at the Swiss Guards?”

“I cannot say.”

“Or when we got kicked out of the Colosseum?”

“Please understand.  It is for your own safety that I tell you nothing.  The less you know, the easier it is for you to go on with your lives as if nothing was wrong.”

“Ignorance is bliss, huh?”

“That is one way to think of it.”

“You’ve got to tell us something, though.  What about your name?  Can we get that much, at least?”

“Ah, no.  That is for my safety.”

“You know, it’d be a lot easier for me to pretend that there was nothing wrong with my life if I wasn’t walking around with an agent from an Italian intelligence agency who won’t even tell me her name.”

“If you would prefer it, I can return to the rooftops and follow you from a distance again.”

“No, that’s okay.”

“Do you mind if I ask you a question?”

“I don’t see how it’s fair, seeing as you won’t tell us anything, but sure, why not?”

“Why is your friend so upset?  Usually he is very bright and always talking, but he has not spoken any word since we arrived.  Is he also angry with me because I will not tell you what I know?”

“Nah, that wouldn’t bother Jack.  He doesn’t need you to tell him anything.  He makes it all up on his own anyway.  He’s probably just depressed because we had to leave Rome.”

“He does not like Florence?”

“He thinks that Rome is the only real city of intrigue.  Nowhere else can compare.”

“I do not understand.  Does he not know that this city was home to Machiavelli?  To the Medici House that manipulated Tuscan politics for centuries and produced four Popes?”

“Whoa!  Did you say Popes?  Hmm . . . maybe I was wrong about this Florence place.  Yeah, I get it now.  It seems like Rome is where all the action is, but secretly it’s all run by the Catholic Church in Vatican City and that Medical Family here in Florence . . . and there’s a connection, because some of the Popes were members of that family!  Ha ha!  Come on, guys!  This place might be worth checking out after all.”

“. . . okay, I know you’re new at this, but generally it’s best not to tell him things like that.  Now he’s going to run off and do something stupid.”

“Yes, I understand.  I did it on purpose.”


“Protecting you is my primary job, but we are also hoping that your actions may produce further clues that help us to figure out exactly what is going on.  You have a saying in English, don’t you?  ‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’”

“Wow.  That’s very reassuring.”

“Do not worry.  I am here to protect you.  Nothing will go wrong.”

Matthew sighed.  “That would be a lot more comforting if Jack hadn’t knocked you out accidentally just by swinging a shovel around.”

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