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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 17 page 06


“Geez! Are ya okay? What’s wrong?” yelled the old man’s helper.

“Oh my God,” said Nick, stooping to help the man lying on the ground.

Angie dove right in as well. “Back up a little, guys. Let him breathe.”

She crouched down and loosened his scarf and cradled his head in her lap.

“I need my pills...on the night table,” the old man rasped to his companion.

“Okay, Mr. V,” the giant answered. “I’ll be back. Don’t anybody go nowhere.” He was dialing his cell phone as he hurried to the front desk to get the key and go back up to the suite.

“Nick, call 911. Tell them we need a defibrillator” said Angie, switching into work mode.

“Right, I’ll ring them from the house phone in the lobby. Are you okay with him for a sec?”

“Sure thing.”

Angie turned her attention back to the old man. He looked disoriented.

“I don’t want you to worry. Your friend is getting your pills.”

“He ain’t no friend of mine!” said the old man vehemently.

Angie continued calmly. “We’ll have an ambulance here in a moment. I’m a nurse so you’re in good hands. Can I ask a few questions?”

“Shoot,” said the old man.

“What is your name, first of all?”

“Vito Vanelli.”

“Mr. Vanelli, tell me what happened. Are you feeling dizzy? Any history of heart problems?”

“Yeah, for a few years I’ve been taking Hydralazine.

“Are you in pain right now?”

“I’m always in pain. I’m old. Every day is a pain. What’s your name, miss?”


“That’s a beautiful name. Italian, no?”

“Yes, my father was from Calabria.”

“Hey, me too! Do you speak italiano?”

“No, not really. A few words my nona taught me but I’ve forgotten much of that.”

“That’s too bad. Look, Angelica — hey, you are like an angel. I’m an old man and I need your help before that idiot gets back. It’s like a miracle that you are here. I didn’t think I was ever gonna to catch a break.”

“Sure, what can I do?” said Angie hesitantly.

He rubbed his hands together and pulled off an ornate gold ring. It was shaped like a dragon head with tiny emeralds for eyes. “Girl, see this here ring. It’s the only one of its kind. My son will recognize it. If something happens to me, will ya give it to him? Nobody else, just him. Not my ex, for sure, not her. Just my son Vince.”

“But Mr. Vanelli”

“Vito, call me Vito, please.”

“Vito, nothing is going to happen to you. We’ll get you to the hospital and they’ll check you out and you’ll be just fine. I promise you.”

“Please miss, take the ring. I’m not feeling so good. And Vince, that’s my boy, he needs this to get into my safety deposit box. The number is engraved in the ring. See here.” He showed her the inscription on the inside of the gold band. “It’s at the BMO at King and Bay Street. Got it?”

“Yes, but I really don’t—”

“Ssshhhhh!! He’s coming. Don’t say anything.” He put the ring in her palm and closed her fingers over it. He started to breathe heavily.