Day 5 / Where’s Massimo ?

Dear followers, I have a problem. Massimo has disappeared. He didn’t show up on the Creazee platform this morning and left my colleagues and I without inspiration. Let’s say he left a break in the daily ideas delivery chain. To tell the truth, I am worried. 

You are probably wondering who Massimo is? I forgot to tell you. Massimo is the organizer of “Creazee“, a writing challenge in which I participate with about fifteen people worldwide. Every day, like a guardian angel, he gives us our writing prompts, like the postman the newspapers in the morning. Small precision: these are proposals, in case we don’t have an idea ourselves. They are not mandatory.

But Massimo did not show up this morning. It’s very annoying, not to say disturbing. I had put a lot of effort into this project, and I must admit that I feel a little wobbly. I won’t go so far as to say lost, but I have a terrible feeling. 

I left a message to my colleagues. Unfortunately, nobody has answered me so far.  

What if Massimo was doing it on purpose, in order to test our limits like a course I had attended in the 80s, when there used to be the most awkward experiments in the field of “institutional analysis” and ethnomethodology. The trainers had invited us to a castle in the middle of lost pampa.  But they never came. Then showed up, at the end of the weekend, asking us innocently how it went.   

They probably wanted to test our self-organization capacity, how we would take collective decisions, and cope with unforeseen situations. In short, they held us for laboratory rats. One of my colleagues wanted to beat them hard.  

No, it’s impossible. It’s not Massimo’s style. I knew him to be a funny guy, but not to that extent. Still, it didn’t solve my problem. I spoke to my partner about it. She told me I had to get the croissants at the bakery, as I had promised the night before.  

– Shitt ! I said, while putting my jacket on. 

So I went down the steps of our building four by four to the boulevard’s sidewalk. I walked straight, determined, full of unsolvable questions in my head. What the hell is going on? Maybe Massimo’s internet connection is down. As it’s Easter Monday, he can’t reach us to warn us. But it didn’t make sense. I passed a guy on the street and asked him. 

– Have you seen Massimo? 

He shrugged his shoulders and went on his way. I then remembered that Massimo lived in Rome and that the chances of finding him in Marseille were small, especially with the closing of the borders and the general lockdown. 

So I continued towards the bakery, running through all sorts of scenarios in my head. I told myself that I would propose to my colleagues a Zoom in the following hours—a crisis cell. We could then deliberate and decide what to do. Some of us being in Canada, others in India and others in the Devil knows where, it would not be that easy to organize it. Chit!  I said with a twinge in the heart. 

I pursued the same vein at the bakery by asking a granny if she had heard from Massimo lately. She didn’t take it well. She jumped instantly from introduction to conclusion and threatened to call the police as she was pouring a truck of insults on my head. So I took my legs and ran for my life to my house. 

My wife had prepared the coffee. When she saw me empty-handed, she asked where the hell I had left the croissants.

– The croissants!” I replied, slapping my forehead with my hand. 

My wife knows me well, and she saw right away that something was wrong. 

– Come, sit down, she said to me as if she were addressing someone who was about to be put in a straitjacket. I told her the whole story, slowly, calmly, catching my breath. I told her everything, my fears, the strange feeling that had been gripping me since I woke up. 

– You see, Massimo always leaves us our prompts before going to bed, and here, nothing, I said at the height of despair. 

Then my wife had an idea that I hadn’t thought of. Or that I pretended to ignore. 

– But my darling, maybe your Massimo is dead. 

– Dead? I said, raising my head. 

– Well, I don’t know. But yes. Perhaps he is… dead. 

– Dead I repeated as if installed in Abbey Road’s echo chamber. 

– Have a coffee, my love. 

 If Massimo had passed away, how would he warn us? Who would inform us? I thought if he did pass away, notifying the Challengers of Creazee would certainly not be the first thing on the minds of his family members. It would certainly take a while for the news to reach us. 

I wiped away my tears, puffed up my chest, and told myself that we had to continue the adventure if only to honor Massimo’s memory. To have exercised all this way to stop in the middle of the road was inconceivable. I knew what I had to do.  When the pandemic was over, and we could travel again, we would all gather at Massimo’s grave, all united, hand in hand, around the father of our project. Me and my fellow challengers.  

I drank the last sip of coffee, looked in the distance when a thought crossed my mind. 

What if this was just a damn prank? 

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