29th. April 2013 

What Does The Mafia Use Potatoes For?


"Copyright Owen Jones 2013 (c)" 

By: Owen Jones 

What Does The Mafia Use Potatoes For?

Three days ago, while I was working from home, there was a very loud knock on my front door at about midday. I looked out of the window and saw a big, burly man stepping back from the door, looking at the windows up- and downstairs.

I didn't know whether he realised that the door that he had knocked was to the upstairs apartment or not, but then he knocked the other door, which was for the ground floor flat, even harder. I lived upstairs.

He had waited a few moments and then gone back onto the street without closing the gate. It is one of my pet hates that people do not close the gate because dogs wander in to relieve themselves.

To prevent my lawn being spotted with dog dung, I have to go down and shut it again. The annoying thing is that the gate is left open by all sorts of people from the postman to the paperboy, the milkman and salespeople. It is not unusual to have to go down to close the gate three, six or even ten times a day.

Often, as seemed to be the case with this person, they had the wrong address. Or they just wanted me to change my gas, electricity or telephone supplier. I hadn't gone down to answer the knock because I didn't owe anybody anything and didn't want to buy anything or change anything.

I was glad that I hadn't gone down to speak to him too after he had revealed his true character by leaving my gate open. It showed selfishness and thoughtlessness. He had obviously presumed that no-one had seen him do it.

However, after fifteen minutes, I could stand it no longer and had had to go down to close it. Coming back up the path, I saw a bag of potatoes - a 15 kilo sack - leaning against my front door frame.

Strange, I had thought. They definitely were not mine, so I had assumed that they were intended for the lady living in the flat below me. She was a little deaf, so maybe hadn't heard the knocking. I went around the back of the house to tap Alice's kitchen window.

"Alice, there's a bag of spuds at the front door for you. Do you want me to carry them through for you?"

"I didn't order any potatoes. A big man brought them for you. Foreign bloke, I think. I didn't like the look of him so I didn't open the door. He looked like a mafia hood in the films."

I admitted that I had done the same for the same reason.

I decided to take the sack upstairs so that it would not be stolen before the big man came back to collect it once he had discovered his mistake. I put the sack down on my kitchen table and noticed two pieces of paper.

One was an address label and the other was a hand-written note. Imagine my surprise when I read that the 'from address' read <Moscow, Russia> and the delivery address <Bari, Italy>.

My home was in Barry, Wales.

The hand-written note read: "The boss told me to deliver these to you. He said that you would know what to do with them. I will call back in three days, make sure you're in next time."

I am siting here now, looking at the few potatoes left in the bag. My girlfriend has given the rest to her mother as I am on a diet, but she hadn't told me. I rang her mobile a few minutes ago but there was no answer.

The big man will be back today and I had wanted to return the sack unopened.

I have been worrying what it's all about ever since I read the notes. I had thought about going to the police, but what could they do? Or calling MI 5, but how do you do that?

What nefarious purposes could the mafia use potatoes for? And what was my role in all this supposed to be?

I have not been to Moscow for forty years and have never been to Bari, but the big man would be knocking again soon and this time I would not be able to ignore him.

I can only sit and wait as I stare at the few potatoes I have left.

by Owen Jones

(c) Owen Jones 29th March, 2013

This story may not be copied in any way without the written permission of it's author, Owen Jones, but you may link to it, if you so desire.