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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 19 page 14


Vincent opened the box and the first thing to come out was an envelope addressed to himself. Underneath it, stacked neatly, were stacks of thousand dollar bills and a large handgun encased in plastic wrap. A smaller envelope was addressed to Detective Pollard. A plush black satin pouch was stuffed into the side of the box. Vincent opened it to find it filled with uncut diamonds. His face fell. What exactly had his father been involved in?

Pollard said to the bank manager, “I need to speak to Mr. Vanelli in private now. Can you make sure we are not disturbed?”

“Of course, I’ll leave you to it.”

Pollard looked at Vincent. “Maybe you should read your father’s letter first. Hopefully it will explain some things.”

Vincent nodded, tore open the flap, and read:

Dear Son,

First thing, I want you to know how much I loved you. I figure if you’re reading this now, I’m out of the picture. I know you don’t think much of me but I can tell you that everything I did was for you and your grandma. I needed to protect you both. She knows most of the story and she’ll explain what she can. Pollard will fill you in on the rest. Give the cop his envelope and tell him everything he needs is on the zip drive. Give him the shooter and the stones. It’s the evidence he was waiting for. The cash is all yours. I made a lot a dough after I went straight, hell I own half of Little Italy. There’s a will in the box so go see my lawyer and he’ll fix you up. Look after your grandma. Find a nice Italian girl and get married. That’s all I can tell you.


Your father

Vincent read through the letter a second time, then looked to Pollard.

“I don’t understand what all this is about. He says to give you this envelope, something about a zip drive. And the gun and the diamonds. Here, take it. I don’t want anything to do with any of this. Is this money even legitimate?”

“It’s a long story, Mr. Vanelli. For now, let me just say that your father was not what you thought. I knew him for many years. After you were born, he wanted to get out of certain illicit business practices and start fresh. Let’s just say that somebody else discovered that he wanted out and sent him a very unmistakable message that he would never be able to leave the “family.” He came to me right after your mother died. He knew her death wasn’t an accident and he decided to—”

“Wait! What are you saying? My mother was murdered?”

“We both knew it but we weren’t able to prove anything. He swore that he would help us in any way he could but only a few officers in my department knew about it. He didn’t trust anyone. And with good reason. He managed to stay on both sides of the law and took gigantic risks. With his information, we were able to prosecute several criminals. As he got older, the threat of his being exposed declined but he never stopped being afraid of someone finding out and then coming after you. He felt it was safer to send you away to school. Then he let you find out about some of his illegal business activities. He knew it would alienate you and it did.”

“I don’t know what to say.” Vincent slumped back in his chair clutching the letter. “I always thought he was a crook. That’s why I became an attorney. I didn’t want to be like him at all.”