They waited several minutes until they were sure Nino was asleep. Don tiptoed to the bedroom they shared, down the back hallway of the cabin. He cracked open the door. Before he could shut it, snoring rang out, so loud it sounded like a hydraulic pump had run amok. Don returned to the kitchen. They both released nervous peals of suppressed laughter.
“You son of a bitch! Why didn’t you just admit it? You know I’m a terrible liar,” Don said, his voice low. Mauro looked toward the hallway leading to the bedrooms.
“Did pretty damn good if you ask me,” Mauro said, his voice also hushed.
“How the hell did you pull the color trick with the vanes?”
“Trust me,” Mauro said. “Tell you later.”
Don just looked past him. He stared at Aldo’s chair, fixating on the worn fabric of the armrests. Aldo, his beloved uncle, a man who saw things as black or white; absolutes—the man had never so much as told him a harmless fib. That was his chair.
Mauro ran his fingers through his prematurely thinning hair, seeing the fleeting look of contempt on Don’s face. He knew it was for the shame of being pulled into Mauro’s lie. The shooting may have been Mauro’s act, but now the lie was just as much Don’s.
“OK, what? Spit it out, cuz.” Mauro said.
“I just wish you would’ve told him. If you would’ve told him, he’d have understood,” Don said, glancing away as he spoke. “We should’ve told him.
Making up that other guy … it’s not right. If we told the truth, he’d understand.”
“If. Well to quote both our fathers, ‘If my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle.’ Just let it go. It’s over. We’ll skate through unscathed,” Mauro said.