SETTING: Modern day. A beachside town in Italy. Beach shacks serving pasta, panini, and ice cream. A rainbow of beach umbrellas. A dead end street with a German name – Via Bad Homburg. A bare, dust-filled apartment, long-fallen into disuse.
Act I. Cast of characters.
E– Female, 30. The heroine. Serial expat. Breathtakingly gorgeous.
La Maga Circe – Female, millions of years old. A mountain that appears to float in the sea. Rumored to have been the home of Circe. So named for her resemblance to a witch’s jagged profile. Looms over the town; keeps watch.
The tourists – From other parts of Italy, Russia, Germany, and other European countries. They dance in the clubs along the boardwalk at night and plod around town wearing only bathing suits during the day. Speedos, imprisoning a variety of unsightly male bits. Baggy trunks, with Hot Buttered printed on the back. Bikini tops with the straps worn down. Brown skins. The Italians laugh, the Germans swim even when the water is too cold for everyone else. Double the population of the town from May to September.
Leo – Male, mid-60s. A family friend of the Martinellis who also lives in Rome. Charming, friendly, kind. Instrumental in the early stages of making the ruinous apartment livable. An accountant. Asks: Are you familiar with beans? I mean, do you eat them in America?
Leone – Male, age indeterminate. The local handyman in town who has been hired to fix some of the things that were broken in the apartment. Speaks local dialect, full of “sh” sounds and switches from “o” to “u” as in words like “ora” and “cosa.” Ura. Cusa. Lavatrish. Says: The apartment runs on gas, okay? You need to open the gas when you want to use it and close it when you don’t. Every day – open, close. Open, close. Understood? You understand Italian, right?
The Neighbors – The upstairs neighbors, Eugenio and Maria. Parents to a beautiful little girl named Giada, one. Bafflingly kind to E. Have offered the use of their internet connection, an old red bicycle, and have even invited her over to their apartment for dinner. Spaghetti alle vongole. Swordfish steaks. Gelato. Fresh melon. Lots of wine. Note – it takes E three glasses of wine to start forgetting Italian verbs, and four to start forgetting Italian nouns. The neighbors have given E a bag full of lemons from their tree.
Paolo – Male, early 30s. The man who runs Hotel Circe across the street. Has offered to answer any questions Liv might have; let her use the hotel’s wireless for free before she got the password for the connection upstairs and when she didn’t have change for a three postcards she wanted to buy said: You can pay me later.
Signor Silvio – Male, mid-80s. Paolo’s father; the man who used to run Hotel Circe. He is old now, and no longer “there.” Sits in a wheelchair out in the cortile and glares at E when she passes.
Toto – Signor Silvio’s dog. He lies in the bushes and barks at the motorcycles that putter along the street. A big German shepherd.