About the Author

Dave LeBlanc

Toronto-born Dave LeBlanc has been writing weekly as the Globe and Mail’s “Architourist” since 2004. His work has also appeared in international design magazines. He is an award-winning producer of radio commercials, and in 2014 – 15 he hosted Where Cool Came From on iChannel.

Books by this Author
Falconi's Tractor

Dom knocked on my door and asked me to come downstairs. It was the first time I'd heard him speak that day. He led me downstairs to the showroom, but I almost tripped on the last stair because the overhead lights had been turned off; only the red tractor in the window had light on it (and I noticed that the blinds had been drawn, something I'd never seen before) and there was candlelight coming from the middle of the showroom. Both desks had been pushed to the walls to make room for the four of us to gather around the candles. I thought we were going to say some prayers for mom, but that's not what happened."Dom and Gina, you already know about this, but Freddy, we wanted you to be part of this ceremony too," Small Carm said, his voice steady despite the flickering light giving him two sets of fish-lips. "Well, it was Dom, actually, who said you are old enough to take part and understand how serious this is." Dom nodded gently, like he was in church. "Today has been a real test for our family," he continued, "but I know we are strong enough to get through it." He then pulled out four items: a pin, a small paring knife, a wooden handle with three beaded strings attached to it, and an odd, rawhide necklace with two brown squares on either end. One square had old-looking script on it, and the other had a picture of what looked like a saint. He placed the necklace around himself so that one square was on his chest and the other was on his back, and then said to me: "You ever have a friend that you liked so much you pricked each other's fingers and became blood brothers, Freddy? Well that's what we're going to do here, and then we're going to promise something to each other, okay?"I just nodded dumbly.He then took the paring knife and cut X's into the palms of both his hands. He flinched but didn't say anything. Almost immediately, a little string of red pearls appeared on the clean tile floor, which soon turned into a puddle. Dom then held out his hands, but Small Carm cut an X into only one of his palms. He must've gone deeper, however, since Dom quickly sucked in some air as he watched the blood quickly curl around his forearm. Before I could protest on Gina's behalf, Small Carm switched to the pin and produced a tiny dome of red on one of her palms. He did the same to me: one little prick right in the centre."Now hold hands, everyone," he said, scanning all of our faces. He took Dom's bloody hand with his dripping right hand, and Dom took Gina's, and Gina took mine, but it was what he did with his left that was really weird. He picked up the wooden handle with the beaded strings and began striking himself on the back with quite a bit of force. Droplets of blood from his open wound were flinging through the air, hitting walls, windows and furniture."Our mother, Rosabella Falconi, is gone," he said in the same kind of tone I'd seen in horror movie séances. "But her love lives inside all of us, and we must protect and cherish that love. There has been scandal, and disrespect, but we must protect our proud family name. FALCONI."Thankfully, his voice then changed back to something more normal. "And the way to do this is by keeping her death a secret. Dom, Gina, again you already know this," he said, then turned his gaze to me, "Freddy, if anyone asks about our mother, you tell them that she has gone missing, and we are doing everything we can to find her....capisce?"

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