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Canoli Spumoni Gets Way Epic by Andy Palasciano

     Canoli and Pizelle were walking through the piazza when they looked inside a gelato shop.  There was a sign that said, ”Open Mic Poetry and Free Gelato.”  Canoli looked inside the brightly lit shop, which stood out in the night, dim-lit piazza.  Canoli told Pizelle, “Free Gelato sounds good,” and they went inside.

     The owner liked dogs so Pizelle was able to get in no problem.  Canoli followed behind Pizelle.  She walked in slowly and looked up to see two of her classmates from her second grade class.  “Samara,” Canoli said.   “Have you done your homework for tomorrow?  Mrs. Vincenzo is pretty strict.”  Samara said, “Mrs. Vincenzo is reading her poem next and she told me if I read I would get extra credit!”  Canoli looked up to see a table full of gelato that was free for the taking.

     Mrs. Vincenzo stepped up to the microphone.  And, just as she was about to speak, a leak from a pipe in the roof began to leak down on the stage.  Mrs. Vincenzo said, “This is my big chance.  I can’t let a little water stop me!”  The water cascaded just beyond and behind the microphone.  After Mrs. Vincenzo read her poem, she said, “Who’s next? Who wants to grab the hot mic?” “This is the most exciting poetry reading I’ve ever been to,” Canoli told Pizelle.  “There is an element of danger.”  Samara ran up on stage and yelled into the mic, “Samara is way epic!”  The crowd cheered!  Samara was a star and she got extra credit for sure.  Samara read her poem and the crowd loved it.  She went back to her seat and spoke to Canoli, who was having a hot chocolate and enjoying the show.  Canoli told Samara, “I didn’t know you were a poet.”  Samara said, “ And I didn’t know we would see Canoli Spumoni in action,” as she pointed to the gelato table.  It was Old Man Jenkins!  He had his arms around all the tubs of gelato.  He bent down, picked them up and went running into the night.   Canoli said, “Put down your Danish Pizelle, we’ve got work to do!”  They both bolted out the door in pursuit. 

     Old Man Jenkins ran around some jugglers carrying torches and then juggling torches.  Canoli watched him go over a canal bridge and by a man’s front door, who told him to watch it in Venetian.  Old Man Jenkins didn’t know the secret dialect of Venice as he was not a Venetian.  Canoli watched him skirt up and alley and lost sight of him. 

      Canoli went in the square where the local Venetians hang out away from the tourists and asked them in Venetian if they had seen Old Man Jenkins.  They said they hadn’t.

     Canoli went back to the Poetry reading and saw the empty table where the gelato had been.  Samara told Canoli, “It’s ok, we’ll get him next time.”  “Time! That’s it!” Canoli said.  “We have to get to the top of St. Mark’s Tower!”

     Canoli, Samara and Pizelle walked up to the top of the tower and had a view of all Venice.  “We will find him from this vantage point for sure,” Samara said.  Canoli used one of the telescopes and looked down every canal.  There was a man hunched over pushing a cart that looked suspicious to her.  “What is that man selling?”  Canoli said.  He was covering his face with his jacket.  “It’s him!”, she said as she caught a glimpse of his profile.  He was hiding amongst the tourists.

     Canoli, Samara and Pizelle got down to the street he was on and Canoli spoke to a local woman she knew, in Venetian, and told her what was going on.  The Venetian woman pretended to be a tourist taking pictures and walked down the street looking for Old Man Jenkins.  She yelled, “Can I buy some gelato from someone?”, but no one replied.  Then she shouted to Canoli in Venetian, “I don’t see him yet.”  “Won’t someone point me to some gelato?”  She winked at another local who sent her toward a man she saw with a cart.  This local woman who pointed her in the right direction shouted, “I haven’t seen anyone with gelato.”  And then she said, in Venetian, “He was over there.”  And then all the locals on the street caught on and acted like tourists taking pictures.  They said, “Oh where can we buy some gelato?”  And, in the secret dialect, they all said, “Canoli, he is right here.”  And they pointed him out to Canoli.  Canoli ran toward where they were pointing and old Man Jenkins peeked out from under this jacket and saw Canoli and ran away, leaving a cart with all the gelato covered by a blanket.

     Canoli, Pizelle and Samara returned to the Poetry reading with all the gelato.  Mrs. Vincenzo told Canoli and Samara, “Now you are both getting extra credit for sure!”  Canoli and Samara and, Even Pizelle, had a cup of gelato and celebrated.

Andy Palasciano was born in Connecticut and has lived in San Diego for sixteen years, where he is a part of the Full Moon Poetry Circle. His work has appeared in The Penwood Review, The Journal of New England Writers, and the San Diego Poetry Annual.