Hiding the Cannoli in Sicily — Page 2
By Kirsten Koza

Creepy Crawley was coming back to the table. I flushed tomato red. I waved to the old lady who was peeking from the kitchen door. “Grappa?” I called to her.

Tucked in our beds in the bone-chilling pensioni, the air was thick with tension. I couldn’t sleep. Malcolm was horny. I could tell by the object poking into my back. No way was I going to have sex. I could feel Crawley listening in the dark. I closed my eyes and called for the starship Enterprise.

At breakfast Crawley suggested we all go down to the abandoned tonnara for a swim. But after breakfast Malcolm bailed. He was sick and wanted to stay in bed. So, now I was down at the stony beach with Crawley—just me, and Creepy Crawley. The cliffs and old buildings loomed over us. The entomologist was puffing on a cigarette. I didn’t know what to say. I decided to go for a dip. I shed my clothes down to my black one-piece and tiptoed into the March Mediterranean. My breath was whacked out of me by the cold. I went deeper and a wave came over my shoulders. That was enough. I went back to my towel and Crawley.

“Can I bum a smoke?” Malc hated it when I smoked.

“Certainly. How’s the water?”

“Invigorating.” My hands shook as I tried to light up.

“Well, I guess I might as well.” Crawley stripped down to his underpants. Then, right in front of me, off came his boxers. I looked away. I looked back. Holy cannoli, the man was hung like a donkey, a stallion, a blue whale!

Crawley hobbled over the rocks. I stared at his white buttocks. I was in a state of shock, induced by the sheer mass of his manhood.

“Woah.” Crawley had entered the sea. “Wo—” a wave had lapped his privates. He ducked under. He turned around and walked towards me. The icy temperature had done nothing to the size of his penis, nothing! It still swung near knee-level. Where had he been hiding that beast? I looked at my cigarette. I looked at the historic towers on the cliffs. My gaze drifted over Crawley again and then darted quickly up to the fluffy, white, clouds.

Sea and clouds

Sicilian Longevity on Display

Crawley and I returned to the pensioni to get Malcolm for lunch. Malc rolled over in bed. So, Crawley and I decided to go for a beer. We sat at an outdoor table at the Scopello bar inhaling springtime between cigarettes. This was uncomfortable. And it was all due to this threesome thing, and well, now, the image of bug-man’s penis kept flashing through my mind. 

“Do you want another?” Crawley pointed to my third beer.

“I think I’m done, or I’m going to fall asleep.” I snuffed my cigarette.

“Why don’t we go lie on the grass?” Crawley nodded towards the small park beside the patio.


Sicily Scopello

We paid and moved five feet over onto the grass. Just as we sat, a smoke billowing bus, belched open its doors and boisterous Sicilian seniors erupted from within. A couple of young women helped the more decrepit onto benches. Another heaved wicker baskets covered in brightly coloured fabric.

“Something tells me these people have their own teeth,” Crawley whispered. Huge lengths of chewy Italian bread were being sliced open. There were whole prosciuttos, capocollos and salamis. There was a wheel of cheese that could support the bus. There were stuffed tomatoes, slices of roasted eggplant and red peppers dripping in olive oil. Mount Etna sized sandwiches were erected and spilled filling like lava.

One of the young women handed sandwiches to Crawley and me.

“Guess how many years have I!” A spry old man in a charcoal three-piece suit danced before me. “What you say if I say ninety-nine years? My birthday next week and I have big party. You come!”

“I was going to guess seventy.” I was flabbergasted.

The old man kissed my cheeks. “Ninety-nine!” he bellowed. There was raucous applause. This was so unlike any North American nursing-home outing.

“My secret? It’s the olive oil!” The man who was almost a hundred beamed.

Pomodori!” An old lady hollered.

 Another yelled, “É tutto il vino!” and they all laughed.

“She said it’s all the wine he drinks,” Crawley translated.

“You guess how old my wife!” The spry man pointed to the woman who’d shouted about the wine.

“You all look so young.”

His wife dumped cookies in my lap. “Mangiate.”

“She ninety. I’m older,” the old man boasted.

She slapped her husband. “Ogni bel gioco dura poco.”

Crawley chuckled, “She just said, basically, that all good things come to an end.”

I was happy for Crawley’s company. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this for the world. I was getting past the threesome thing too and his enormous penis. Or perhaps I was drunk.

A Collector of Stories

Twenty-five years later, it was Malc’s and my anniversary. We were in our unorderly kitchen, north of Toronto. My mess was everywhere; nothing had changed. I told Malc about the elderly couple in Scopello. Then I remind him that he invited a stranger to join us on our honeymoon. “Why did you do that?” I demanded. “Come clean. You still do this. I hate it.”

Malc paused. “Because I’m a collector too, but unlike Crawley, I don’t kill my specimens. I like hearing strangers’ stories. Anyway, that wasn’t our honeymoon. It was before the wedding.”

“But you don’t do anything with the stories.” I was baffled.

“I remember them. You invite strangers now too. You do it bigger. You invited ten women from the internet to bike the Andes with you.”

Crap. He was right. Maybe things did change. Maybe I’d changed. “Let’s go to Sicily. You owe me a honeymoon because according to you, we didn’t have one.”

“Really long flight.” Malc looked unenthused. “Maybe Scotty can beam us there.”

“He won’t,” I rolled my eyes. “I just read that nobody on Star Trek ever said, ‘beam me up, Scotty.’ I reckon that’s why it never works.”

Kirsten Koza
is an adventurer, humorist, journalist and author— affectionately dubbed “the Canadian lunatic.” She’s the author of Lost in Moscow and edited Travelers’ Tales most recent humor anthology, Wake Up and Smell the Shit. She’s had over seventy stories published in books, newspapers and magazines around the world.

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