Six years of jail. Six years of anger. Of pain. Six years of seeing your life fall to pieces. Your wife has left you for good, even if it was already over between the two of you. But, above all, your son is dead, from an accident.


You were in solitary when they told you. They didn't let you say goodbye. They didn't let you go to his funeral, to cry on his coffin. You'll never be able to forgive them. You'll never be able to forgive yourself. And this you know.


Your name is Furio Moroni. You're 52. And now you're out, free, for whatever that's worth. You can go back to Genoa. And start over, with the three things you've got left: your diabetes and the daily injections of insulin you have to take; the money from the hold-up that a broker friend of yours invested for you;  and your son's dog, Uno. You both found the dog. He was only a mistreated puppy. Fragile. Helpless. Your son loved him. You loved him. Now he's big, and black. A gigantic cross between a Rottweiler and a mastiff. Your sister raised him, and when he sees you again he goes crazy with joy. You take him away with you. He's yours once more.


In reality, you discover there's one other thing that's left. When you go to Irene's it's only to tell her that she makes you sick. She said she loved you. But she never came to visit you in jail. Just one look at her and you understand why. A scar slashes across her left cheek; she's disfigured. A drug dealer who hung out at the club where she worked did that to her. Small fry who had a thing about other men's women. You go to him. You give him a lesson. You don't kill him. You don't want to. You've got enough death, inside you.


Almost without realizing it, you end up getting back together with Irene. You know she understands you in her own way without her telling you or having things weigh on you. She knows how to put up with you. Even without asking you for anything. She and Uno will go away with you when you leave for Australia, that country of great spaces and silences that you've always dreamt of seeing and where you'll try to start your life over. But you should have known: things, for people like you, never go as they should….


At a motorway café, thieves steal your car with Uno inside. It doesn't take much to figure out that it was the dog they wanted, not the car. An animal like that can be worth a lot to someone who deals in dogfights.


You could ignore it all. You could simply leave for Australia with Irene and your money. But you can't. Uno was your son's dog. Uno is the only real connection that you still have with your son.


And at any rate, beyond this consideration, you just can't accept that when something is taken away from you, you don't react. You're not that kind of man. You have to find Uno. For your son. For yourself.


You have good intuition, and through that you can mobilize your old acquaintances. You get a gun. A new car. You track down the thief who stole Uno. You make him pay. You find out that your dog has already been sold and that he's traveling toward Slovenia.


Maybe he's already there. You find a contact in Ljubljana. You decide to leave. Irene tries to convince you to give up. You've got her, you've got a lot of money, you've got Australia and a new life within easy reach. But you don't listen to her. You ignore her tears. You promise you'll be back. And you go away.


You arrive in Ljubljana braving the harsh winter cold, your disease, the fear that all this is a waste of time. Your contact is an ex-call girl who once worked in Italy. Her name in Ana. She's tough. And she knows how to live. She knows what money is worth. But there's something strange and enigmatic about her. Something you don't understand. You give her what she asks for, and she helps you find the place where Uno was left. A pet shop. You try to get the owner to talk, but it's useless.


Ana dumps you. The people behind this story are too dangerous. For her and even for you. You understand her. But you couldn’t care less. You wait for night to fall and you break into the shop. You discover some fighting dogs in cages. You go out and wait, until a van arrives. It gets loaded with the caged dogs and leaves. You follow it all the way outside the City. Toward the snow-covered countryside. Toward a nightmare you had never thought possible.


You discover ditches filled with dog corpses immersed in lime. Abandoned industrial hangars reconverted into concentration camps for dogs. You discover a cruel, pitiless world, for men and beasts. You discover that just to get to Uno you are ready to kill. And to kill straightaway. No second thoughts. In the end, you leave behind a burning hangar, a body, dogs killed out of mercy, and above all no regrets. In the end, you get the information you need: Uno is scheduled to fight in two days in a hangar not far from the Ukrainian border.


You begin a desperate race against time. You drive like a madman, with only Uno on your mind, but the diabetes that you have guiltily disregarded betrays you. You have a diabetic coma. You start to lose consciousness. It’s all you can do to manage to guide the car to the edge of the road where it comes to a stop.


When you wake up, you're in the hospital. Ana is in front of you. They found her phone number in the pocket of your trousers. They called her. She came. You ask her to help you leave. Immediately. She helps you. She doesn't ask you for anything, not even for more money. When you're at the car, she tells you that the gun is in the glove compartment where you left it. Questioningly, you raise your eyes toward her. With the directness of someone who understands without asking, Ana says that she also lost someone. Then she goes away.


You take off again. With your heart racing and a keen sense that there is no time left, that each second is fundamental, you reach the Ukrainian border. You gather together all the information that you have. You find the hangar, where the dog fights have already begun.


Somehow you manage to enter. Inside, it's bedlam. Screaming, barking, a fever pitch, blood, violence, betting, rage. Blind rage. You see Uno in the centre of the ring. He's fighting against another dog. He's covered in blood, but he's alive. He's still fighting. You take out the pistol. You're going to take back what's yours. You shoot in the air, setting off panic. Chaos ensues. You manage to take Uno and to leave with him from the hangar.


They follow you through the forest. In the snow. You're desperate, exhausted. But you still manage to make it to the car with Uno in your arms; you put him in and start off. They're still behind you. They're about to gain the upper hand when in a last-ditch effort, you swerve, driving them off the road and managing to shake them off. After some kilometers, you abandon the car, steal another one where you put Uno, injured and bleeding, inside.


You start off again. And you never look back. You stop only when you're sure that you're safe. You lay Uno down on the grass. You wash his wounds and his muzzle. He opens his eyes. He licks your hand. Finally, all the pain that you've pent up for all these years explodes inside.


You cry and smile at the same time. For your son. For Uno. For yourself. You travel day and night, stopping only for a couple of hours' sleep and for an insulin injection. When you get to Bari it's dark and you're completely drained. You drive to the street where Irene lives in Torre al Mare. Her lights are on. You smile.


It's all over. Now everything can start again, and this time for real. But you should have known: things, for people like you, never go as they Should…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

UNO SHORT STORY

@ COPYRIGHT 2014 LUMINOUS RANGE FILMS