Where does Manicotti and Murder start?
|Where does my story begin? I think Antonio has to already have opened the manicotti stand at the amusement park. That makes sense, There is a bit of drama in whether or not be could procure that, but not as much as what happens in the REAL story, with Gary’s embezzlement and him eventually becoming a murder.
“I think there’s something going on here that shouldn’t be, Boss.” Ralf whispered to Gary as they locked the Handi Mani.
“I’m sure a lot of things go on at an amusement park that people don’t really want to know about,” Antonio told his oldest employee and friend. “A lot of these people at this place are one bad day removed from a traveling carnival. If I were you, I would just keep my distance. We do our job, and we go home.”
“I know, Tony,” Ralf said. He was one of the few people who could call Antonio by his childhood nickname. “But when I was talking to Rita before my shift….”
“That woman is more problem than you need, friend.” Antonio countered. “You’d do well to stay away from her, I think.” Antonio knew, though, that Ralf had a soft spot for the ex-wife of the amusement park owner’s nephew. He also knew the nephew, Gary Archer, was more problem than even Antonio wanted to take on.
I think this is where it needs to start. It is a bit of foreshadowing that allows me to still tell most of the story, but also does not start somewhere boring. Maybe Rita comes running up to Ralf as they are getting ready to walk out of the main gate. She tells Ralf she needs to leave with them because Gary is looking for her. Every the drama queen, Antonio allows Rita to hitch a ride back to town with him and Ralf. Maybe he offers to take her home, but instead she asks to be dropped a local water hole – one where Gary is also known to frequent.
“Is that something you really want to get involved in?” Antonio asks Ralf as they drive back to the restaurant.
“Of course not,” Ralf said, a little to indignantly for Antonio’s liking. He shook his head. He felt like Ralf was falling hard for Rita. He just hoped she didn’t break his heart. He knew, all too well, that could send Ralf back to the bottle. Bad in the day, when the restaurant was young, Antonio had time to help his friend back on his feet. Not only did he not have the time or the patience anymore, but he knew better than to enable someone. He would be forced to just sit back and wait until Ralf wanted help and wanted to get his life back together. He was not sure, his age, how many more times Ralf’s health would hold out to it all. It was almost the end last time, he thought, opening the back door of Antonio’s Bistro. The duo would check to be sure everything was ready to open for lunch tomorrow before heading home for a few hours of rest before getting up to do it all over again. It was the industry they had both chosen, Antonio mused. More like Antonio had chosen the industry and the industry had chosen Ralf. But either way, there they were, working side by side to take care of their customers and the staff.
I think the next day Rita does not show at the park. She has been there every day, but she is not there that day. Ralf tries to call her, of course, but she does not answer. He worries about her, but has to keep his mind on his work. Antonio can see he is preoccupied and asks him about it.
I think Rita shows up eventually. She is probably drunk, and may still be on a bender from the night before. A rift will start between Antonio and Ralf when Ralf asks to leave early to take Rita home. She is very drunk toward the end of the night – where she got her alcohol, no one knows, but she is markedly more inebriated than in the beginning of the night. Antonio agrees, but knows this is a slippery slope. The last thing a recovering alcoholic needs is an alcoholic woman on his arm who is recently divorced from a dangerous man with a criminal background.
So, I think this is where the story starts. Rita will have some sob story, of course, about how Gary followed her around all night and she had to find a place to stay and all of the typical drama of that kind of woman. Ralf will fall for it, and the wedge between he and Antonio starts to be driven in.