Hiding the Cannoli in Sicily
By Kirsten Koza

That time when a well-hung travel companion shared a room on a biking trip in Sicily... during a honeymoon.


Malcolm, my ex-boyfriend, was on one knee amongst the rubble in my East London room. My bedroom was basically a walk-in closet where I kept a toppling tower of swords and tap dancing shoes. The only good things about my flat were my eccentric roommates, it was across from a pub, and it was just a five-minute stagger to East 15 Acting School where I was currently performing in Shakespeare’s Pericles.

Malcolm, a Civil Engineer, had flown from his orderly home, north of Toronto, to spend Easter with me in England, and I hadn’t even tossed my clothes into my wardrobe. He was holding an emerald ring. “Would you…?”

My flat was one-hundred percent slum. I’m not being overly dramatic. It was so bad that after we’d been broken into, a London Bobby walked into my un-ransacked room and said, “My-my, look what they did in here!”

Why was Malcolm kneeling? I wanted to kick him.

“Kirsten, will you marry me?”

I could say no. I was twenty-three and Malc, twenty-six. What was the rush? This was a logistical nightmare. Why was he looking at me all doe-eyed? Beam me up, Scotty. I fidgeted on the edge of my crappy single bed. I didn’t even have a toilet seat in my flat. Koza to Enterprise. Malc had gained weight since I saw him in January.


I still wanted to kick him.

Malcolm obviously didn’t know what to say next. “Your production of Pericles was ummm…”

Um is polite.” It was the worst show I’d ever been in.

Preicles Cast

Off to Sicily

It took Malcolm one day to decide he wasn’t spending his holiday in East London. I’d urged him to bring his mountain bike to the UK. That morning he’d left his bicycle at my place while I was at the college, and he took the tube into London. Malcolm returned with plane tickets to Sicily, a map, and a copy of The Rough Guide. This was to be our honeymoon, since we were already overseas and were going to be married in just a few months.

That very same night Malc was refilling his bike tires beside the baggage carousel at Palermo’s airport, and I was fiddling with my broken gear shifter.

“Hello. Do you want some riding company?” An Englishman in his late thirties had wheeled over his beat-up touring bike. He wore jeans with clips around the ankles.

“Sure. Which way are you heading?” Malc stuck out his hand.

“Towards Trapani, along the coast, but just to a nearby hotel for tonight.” The stranger looked at me. “I’m Christopher Crawley.” He saw me eyeing the bug nets attached to his bike. “Entomologist, with the British Museum. Everyone just calls me Crawley.”

“Kirsten and Malcolm,” Malc replied. “We’re heading towards Mount Etna. Opposite direction.” He pulled his map from his pack.

“You know, the traffic will be quite thick that way. Towards Trapani is much quieter and less populated this time of year.” Crawley peered over Malcolm’s shoulder at the map.

“Hmm,” Malcolm pondered. “Maybe we should go the way you’re going.”

I frowned. I really wanted to see an active volcano. And I really didn’t want to travel with Christopher Crawley.

“It’s eleven-thirty. Might as well go find a hotel. Maybe we should share a room to save money,” the entomologist suggested.

“Great idea!” Malcolm clapped Crawley on the back.

What? Had Malc just invited this stranger to share a room with us on our honeymoon? Oh, my God! He had! I shot dagger-eyes at Malcolm. He didn’t receive my message.

A Threesome on the Road Together

Two days later, we were still biking and bunking with the bug doctor. An old lady in black was showing us our room in the Spaghetti Western village of Scopello.


I was shivering after the pedal in pelting rain along the rugged coast from Castellammare. I jumped under a blanket on one of the many beds that butted end to end along the walls. If you opened the desk drawer, I bet you’d have found a bed.

The lady said something about no heat. “What?” I wailed as she left. Crawley rifled through his bags. He’d be used to freezing; the museum paid diddly-squat. He probably had some fingerless, Scrooge-gloves in his panniers.

Malcolm stripped off his wet clothes. I looked at his Schwarzenegger-like chest with disinterest. Crawley was watching him too. I decided to grab a shower before either of them used the hot water.

“We’ll just have to have some grappa,” Crawley pulled the hooch from his bag.

Penne Tutto

“Tutto, tutto!” Another old lady in black was stooped over my mixing bowl of penne “Tutto!” She motioned for me to keep eating. Why wouldn’t she leave? I rammed another forkful into my mouth. I raised my wineglass in salute. She smiled and backed towards the pensioni’s kitchen.

“Excuse me.” Crawley got up to go to the loo.

As soon as he was out of earshot Malcolm grabbed my arm. “Crawley proposed a threesome while you were in the bath.”

Wine filled my sinuses. “Pardon?” I spluttered. “What the hell did you say?” I blotted red wine off my turquoise jacket.

“I reminded him we’re engaged.”

“So! He’s married!” This was not what I expected from a mild-mannered entomologist who wore bike clips around his trousers. “Is he interested in guys too? How would it work?” I suddenly realized Crawley had been looking at Malcolm perhaps differently than I’d assumed. I’d thought it was muscle envy. How were we going to share a room with him now?

“I told him that I had no interest. He’s fine with it.”

“Well, I’m not.” I chugged the rest of my wine. “There hasn’t been a hint. How long has he has been thinking about this? Maybe that’s why he hooked up with us in the first place.”

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Read this article online at: Hiding the Cannoli in Sicily

Copyright (C) Perceptive Travel 2017. All rights reserved.

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Wake Up and Smell the Shit

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Lost in Moscow: A Brat in the USSR

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