***The Italian from Brazil***
-By Alessandro Gaudiosi-


It’s a hot scorching afternoon in the streets of Salvador. Not even a slight breeze flows through here. Dark clouds seem to be approaching over the horizon. Eight boys who each have an interesting story to tell are playing there only true passion. Their sweat is holy to them. It’s the only drug they can afford but also their only escape… It’s called Football. They dance on a small field which stands in the middle of the old town of Eduardo. The pitch was no bigger than a basketball court. If you were glancing at it for the first time it would only seem like an empty space filled with dry golden sand and dirt. Two small goal spaces lie at either side. It looked more like a slum but to the local groups of kids it was there escape haven. It was their very own miniature football pitch. It was surrounded by old ghetto apartments that carried a vast history of their own. The game being played is always special… everybody watching knew who the best player was but they found it hard to all agree on one because here on this court there were always 2… The brothers from Potenza. They were apart of the only Italian family who live within 500 miles. Alessandro 17 and Adriano 25 were electrifying but also very competitive. They never played on the same team. Every game was billed Sandro vs Adriano...and the other 6 players. The sun is setting and the dark clouds are hastily approaching. It would only minutes before Mother Nature would blow the ending whistle. Adriano was having the better game. He moved gracefully with the ball. It almost appeared as an illusion as if the ball glided alongside his foot. He made his move and beat not 2, but 3 players all in one slick move. Sandro didn’t have much left but ignored his body’s ache and sprinted back to face his brother… He was the last man but Adri knew his brother too well… Sandro focuses and finds his chance… His right leg at full stretch… Aiming for the right, his brother’s signature side, but no…This time it was left. Adri easily turns him and ever so fluently sends the ball into the 1 meter wide goal. The vintage net rippled. Today the team with the black arm bands won celebrating the victory like they had just won a final. Sandro could barely look… Exhausted and down. His brother was his idol, his coach. But today for 75 minutes they were opponents, even enemies. They both knew that in the end the better team won… Adriano, today’s champion, acknowledged his brother, his best friend on the floor with his head down… “You use this too much” he said, pointing to his head. He grabs Sandro’s hand and lifts him up but pinches his brother’s chin with an arrogant yet charming grin. “The best players keep there heads up when the moment is not theirs…You did good today but don’t play like you know what is next…” Ale doesn’t respond with words. He resents how his brother is the smarter and the wiser out of the two. Instead he shows respect by shaking his hand. They share a moment that is rare between two enemies on their field of life…A field of dreams…

As this glorious moment ends their attention turns to the daunting siren of the ghetto devils. The rain is heavy and the sky is covered with dark grey cloud. The police cars, speeding into the small streets start firing there loud semi automatic fire arms at the gang of mostly innocent teens. Adri and Alessandro run past their fallen companions. In shock they don’t acknowledge anything but what’s in front of them. The shooting stalks them and won’t seem to go away. Loud explosions meet with scattering gun fire. The pain was instant. The bullet piercing into his shoulder like he had been stabbed by a think round hook… Adriano has taken the snake bite… He collapses but his fall is softened by the deep wet mud… Sandro in shock tries to help him but is pushed viciously into a small alley way. Adriano screams to his brother “Go!… Go home!!!... I’ll hide here!” Sandro feeling his brother’s pain does not want to leave… He can’t be alone… The blood is watered down with the rain, mixing in the puddles surrounding him. Adriano struggles with his stomach flat on the ground… “Run Ale! Keep your fucking head up and Run! The urgency in his brother’s voice was enough to make Alessandro finally turn and sprint towards the other side of the building, leading eventually into darkness… His thoughts caught up to him as he slowed down and collapsed against a rusty banged up dumpster. He knew that his brother was now dead… Fade out.