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It doesn’t seem to make any difference! When you are really tired you don’t sleep well. I tossed and turned and slept a little and went through the same cycle a few more times before finally deciding to get up for the commuter 06:30 train to Rimini. Breakfast was interesting, a sort of cross between English, French and continental. Still I was at the station by 06:15 and it was pleasantly warm and not too crowded. As is my usual habit I stood back against the wall of the waiting room and observed my travelling companions to be! Nothing untoward! Varying levels of stress indicated by fidgeting. There was one guy who seemed out of place. It wasn’t the business suit, there were plenty of them, nor was it his thick black hair, that also was common enough. No! It was the fact that he was around 6’ 4’’ and 180lbs with an unsightly bulge under his left armpit. Shit!!!!! They are watching everywhere! Or maybe they just got lucky with my passport! So I would have to deal with him before I got on the train or I have a feeling I am more likely to end under it rather than in it! Unlike me he wasn’t against the wall, just a metre or so forward of my position and 20 yards to my right, where the train would be coming from. All wrong in my view! Amateur! I eased myself towards him very slowly, watching most carefully, checking the platform for any buddies he might have. Unlike the other people on the platform he wasn’t carrying a bag or case of any description. Another indication that his intention was not to travel! I was only ten feet away from him now and the train was due in 2 minutes according to the electronic sign above the platform. I had halved the distance between us and decided he was vulnerable above the left knee.
The train was bang on time and quietly slid towards the platform. I waited until it stopped and the hydraulics made its customary exhalation before I stamped hard with my right foot just above his knee. At this point the passengers were in front of us and boarding the train. The blow I had delivered was guaranteed to shock and injure seriously enough to stop him from following me. I heard the bone, ligaments and tendons snapping under the force of the blow, along with a yelp of pain. He went down like a ton of bricks. I skipped passed the fallen man and was watching him from the departing train before he knew what was happening. He would get better eventually, maybe! Although that knee would bother him the rest of his life! No one was taking much notice of me because all the action was behind them. I stayed at the back of the train. There was a seat next to a dozing commuter. I sat down and emulated his behaviour but my eyes were wide open beneath hooded lids, and every nerve end was jumping.
I now had time to think and what I was thinking wasn’t good. The guy from Fano would be contacting the Torino people and reporting the incident. They would be at one of the next stations. According to the stylised map above the windows, which was not unlike the tube in London, there were four stops before Rimini. Pesaro was the first and judging by the fact it was represented by a blue square, like Rimini, and the others were small red circles. I estimated about 15 minutes from Fano, so we should be quite close so probably not an option for being picked up yet. We were nearly there. After that it could be any of the stations but Rimini would be busy and it is easier to get lost in a crowd.
The bottom line is I think that I have made a mistake. Yes the train is quick and direct, but it’s a closed system and once on it anyone is easy to find if you have the manpower and the Torino’s certainly have that. The train started to slow as it approached Pesaro. I got up and stood near the back door of the carriage. I was in the last carriage so I could look forward to spot any potential problems! As the train stopped and the doors opened I stepped on to the platform. There were quite a few people getting on but few alighting. There was no obvious tail or reception committee. I left the station quickly taking care not to attract attention. I was a way out of the town centre and needed tourist information as soon as possible. Then I had a spark of inspiration. An Internet café! If I booked and paid online there would be no easy trace of where I am.
I headed towards the town and after an hour of casting around I found what I wanted. I bought a coffee and logged on. Europcar had an office in the town. I ordered a car and arranged to pick it up within 2 hours. It was that easy. Now I needed to get a map. I left the café and found the shopping area. There was a large letter ‘I’ signposted that eventually led to the information office in a basement beneath the town’s museum. There were maps. I found a local Marche area map, a map of the country and a street map so that I could find Europcar. I paid cash and left quickly.
I had about an hour to kill so I went to a department store that I had passed and bought jacket, trousers and shirt that I changed into in the changing rooms. I needed to change my appearance. I got some strange looks from the sales girl when I presented her with the tags off the clothes and paid cash. I put the clothes I had taken off into the bag I was carrying and headed towards the car hire shop. I had booked a middle of the range family saloon with a big diesel engine, in silver. I checked in my passport and when it was returned headed off. I had hired the car for 5 days so there would be no panic when it didn’t come back straight away. Besides I was hoping to have returned it to a similar place in the UK in much less time.
It was obvious that the coast road and motorway were no good to me. I left Pesaro and headed inland for ten minutes and found a place to pull over. I did a little map reading and decided that I would travel across country towards Florence for several reasons. It was not on a route out of the country for me; it offered me three modes of escaping Italy; and, finally I had never been and always wanted to go! Looking at the map it would not be an easy journey. Most of it was on minor roads and was quite a distance - it is going to take some time! The scenery would be good as I was crossing the mountains. I reckoned on one overnight stop but decided, if I did, I would sleep in the car and pay cash for food. Slumming it! After my recent experiences I knew it wasn’t safe to broadcast my position by paying with plastic and I wanted to move quickly so a hotel stop was out of the question. I reckoned about 130kms was all, about 80 miles but it was so tortuous a route I didn’t like to put a time on it. Three hours and I would be heading toward late afternoon again. I could fly from Florence; get on the high-speed train, or drive. Driving offered greatest flexibility. Perhaps it wasn’t wise to do any sightseeing in Florence, under the circumstances!
I programmed Florence into the Satnav and set off again. I was assuming that I had gained some daylight between my pursuers and myself. Maybe that was foolish! They obviously had a very considerable network in the area. I kept watching in the mirror as well as driving carefully but quickly. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. No point in attracting some twitchy traffic policeman with links to the Mafia!