Once on the turnpike, Viola could play her favorite music and watch the city recede in her rearview mirror. Life is a game, she thought to herself and the trick is to out maneuver the lions or maybe to somehow morph yourself into becoming a lion. Visualizing herself as a lion made her laugh, especially when she noticed some white little animals grazing by the side of the road. They were either sheep or goats, but the speed of her car made it hard to recognize the docile little creatures nibbling on the grass. They were safe. There are no lions here and the farther she drove from the city, the more she realized that the lions were behind her, locked in tall skyscrapers and holding poisoned pens.
This short story is the second one from this author about this same character. If you look back through my list of reviews, I reviewed her short story that was part of an Noir anthology called Thirteen Stories. Now Viola is back and she continues to not have one of her best days.
The story starts out with Viola finding out that she has been down-sized…she no longer works at The Examiner as a journalist, but now in advertising. No matter that she’s worked hard on the stories that she has produced. It doesn’t seem to make much difference. She’s being cast down into advertising hell. She leaves visibly upset, leaving behind the lions to rip each other apart. She’s already in pieces.
As she drives out of the city, she doesn’t realize that there has been a car following her. When one of her car’s tires goes flat, the car behind her stops. She thinks they’ve come to help her. Next thing you know, she’s being forced into the back of their car.
She gets taken to a small diner and is seated next to a very sweet looking but crotchety old lady who is not afraid to speak her mind. She speaks of the diversity of this country, how her and her late husband came from across the ocean…she from Italy and he from Germany. She speaks about their children, how each one of them found someone to love that was not part of their same culture. A “melting pot” of love.
So, why was Viola kidnapped? What was the purpose of scaring the crap out of her to tell her about the love of this family? You’ll have to read it to find out. You’ll realize that love comes in all forms, shapes and colours. As a Canadian, we refer to that as a “mosaic”.