fabio montale in the darkness of marseilles

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One evening, we went to Les Gouges for Ugo’s twentieth birthday. Miles Davis was playing Rouge. Manu took a package out of his bag and put it on the table in front of Ugo.
“Your present.”
A 9 mm automatic.
“Where did you get it?”
Ugo looked at the gun, but didn’t dare touch it. Manu laughed, then put his hand back inside his bag and took out another gun. A Beretta 7.65.
“Now we’re all set.” He looked at Uno, then at me. “I could only get two. But that’s no problem. You’ll do the driving. When we go in, you stay in the car, be our outlook. There’s no risk. The place is deserted after eight o’clock. The guy’s an old man. And he’s alone.”
It was a drugstore on Rue des Trois-Mages, a side street not far from the Canebière. I was at the wheel of a Peugeot 204 that I’d stolen that morning on Rue Saint-Jacques, in the rich part of town. Manu and Uno had rammed sailor’s bonnets down over their ears and had put scarves over their noses. They leaped out of the car, just like they’d seen in the movies. First the old guy put his hands up, then he opened the cash register. Ugo collected the money while Manu was threatening the guy with the Beretta. Half an hour later, we were drinking at the Péano. On us, guys! Drinks all round! We’d bagged one thousand seven hundred francs. …
Soon, our pockets were full. Money was no object, and we blew it on girls, cars and parties.

from: Total Chaos

About a Lost Man in a Dark City

Fabio Montale is a cop in Marseilles, living and working in the dark underground of Marseilles, where all the losers and the criminals feel at home. His family is from Italy and went to Marseilles decades ago, but the Italian flair is still alive. Fabio vividly remembers family weekends with lots of delicious food and wine, however, these times are gone. What remained is his passion for good food and cooking.

His family wasn’t rich, they barely scraped a life out of hard working in the harbour and in factories. Fabio found friends in his quarter, one of the run-down parts of Marseilles. All the boys dreamed of a golden future, mainly a future with money to be thrown around. So it isn’t astonishing that he and his best pals started a career in crime. This was about the 1970s.

However, Fabio later found his passion in becoming a cop, a cop trying to establish law and order, a cop without any bribery scandals. Nevertheless he resorts to violence whenever necessary – from his personal point of view … far too often and far too violent. Now he undergoes the 1990s when everything seems to have changed to the worst.

At the end there are only corpses, too many dead people, if innocent, if collateral damages, if involved in crime, if organizing crime …

It’s a trilogy set mid of the 1990s where Fabio loses the best friends from his youth, women he once loved and still loves vanish or die, and finally he loses his life. All is happening in this dark part of Marseilles, these quarters Fabio knows by heart, even the new quarters with their housing blocks filled with immigrants where you’ll seldom find police present.

Fabio prowls the dark alleyways, the gloomy bars, the run-down houses … his job at the police dangles on a string. He tried to be more some sort of social worker than policeman during the last years as it seems, but the police bosses don’t seem to be interested anymore in his activities to care for youths especially. His team vanished into thin air.

Then there is a murder and … Fabio suddenly loses his best friends, both of them, who had a career in crime. Also suddenly Lole reappears in Marseilles, a woman of the past, a woman all the three of them wanted. Fabio lost her to his friend, but now his friend is dead. He dreams of a life with Lole which of course never happens.

Fabio, as I mentioned before, has a passion for good food and also for wine and whisky. Besides this he loves women although women like to bring trouble in his life. During the trilogy women on purpose as well only accidentally make waves resulting in crime and murder around themselves and especially around Fabio.

Violence is a matter of course in Fabio’s life. He was born in a society full of violence and crime – and nothing changed during the decades. People get hurt, man get beaten up, women get raped, people get shot or their throats get slit – consistently, more and more … and nobody seems really to care.

After the death of his best friends and Lole’s departure into Spain Fabio resigns and retires in his small cottage at the sea, very near to Marseilles. He is devastated and only women can tempt him to dive back into dark Marseilles.

He deals with immigrants, especially Islamic fundamentalists with terroristic ambitions. Local crime bosses try to start their personals vendettas or gang wars to simply gain more influence. The Mafia is everywhere and strikes back whenever their businesses seem to be touched. Fabio is amid of all these fights and aggressions and meets all the murder victims. He knows many of them or they even were his friends. He learns that violence rules the game and the quarters of dark Marseilles more than ever.

The police is in the background watching what happens and sometimes operating some covered missions. Fabio is far from these operations, only at the end when the corpses pile up he learns about it. Also there are policemen working for whoever pays …

At the end anybody is a loser or better: there are no winners in dark Marseilles except of the Mafia or some few hard-boiled men or women … Fabio doesn’t belong to them.

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a faint cold fear thrills through my veins ... william shakespeare