Attilio Bolzano's White Shotgun tells the story of the Sicilian Mafia in its own words, words taken from bugged conversations, trancripts of pentiti confessions, recordings from the proceedings of maxi-tirals, media interviews and suchlike. It spans the period from the Mafia civil war of the early eighties to Toto Riina's bizarre attempt to make war on the Italian state in the mid 90's, a move which revealed that the Italian state could move decisively against the Cosa Nostra when it felt its core interests under threat.
Since many of the words used by Mafiosi are lies and evasions, it's often difficult to get a clear picture of what is actually going on at any given point in time. But if Mafiaspeak is unclear, it is often evocative. Asked why a colleague never rose through the family ranks, for instance, one underboss commented that the man concerned "shoots like a God, but has the brains of a chicken", a wonderfully disturbing image.
Anyway, what I want to share with you here is a list of the items found in the hideaway of the last big Mafia boss, Bernardo "The tractor" Provenzano, by the Carabinieri unit that arrested him, to wit:
Three paper holy pictures showing Madonna of Sorrows Sanctuary Corleone; one paper holy picture showing Madonna of Grace of Corleone; one painting in a brown wooden frame captioned Weeping Madonna of Syracuse; one small painting, unframed, with the caption Madonna Queen of Hearts; two holy pictures showing Madonna of the Rosary of Tagliava; seventy three holy pictures showing Christ with the caption 'Jesus, I trust in You'.
One CD player; the soundtrack of the Godfather Part Two; the album Songs of the Smurfs.