La Famiglia

A Godfather-Inspired Allegory

Don Crucifer is livid. “Where is Don Allium getting his information from?” His consiglieri can’t answer. “They continue to beat us in every deal, every trade, every sell and every buy. Who’s their guy?” Matthiola jumps at the chance to please his godfather. “I’ll find out for you, Don Crucifer. I just need access to the vault.”

Matthiola is young and naive. And why does he want access to the vault? His explanation is vague: “I’m going to talk to Don Allium. I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

The Don rejects his plan outright. Matthiola leaves the Don’s chambers ashamedly, but proceeds to carry out his plan anyway. “I’ll show them,” he utters as he heads down the garden path.

Don Allium is in the garden, amongst the daffodils. Matthiola approaches with a confident gait; too confident for such a scrawny brat. Don Allium is instantly apprehensive. Something’s up.

“I’m here to make an offer.” Begins Matthiola. “Tell me your source and you can empty the Crucifer Family vault.” He demands. The Don will either accept the offer and reveal his source – which will pay in dividends in the coming years – or the Don will decline. “You know I’d never reveal my source!” Don Allium rebukes. It’s exactly as Matthiola anticipated. Having failed to secure access to the vault, Matthiola had come prepared for only one outcome anyway.

Matthiola raises a bottle of herbicide that he had cleverly concealed. He pulls the trigger repeatedly. He empties the bottle on Don Allium, covering him from head to toe, and without checking to see if he’s even finished the job, Matthiola turns and walks away. He’s quick and confident. His eyes are fixed dead-ahead. Onlookers scramble to make sense of what they’ve just witnessed.

Matthiola returns to report his triumph to Don Crucifer, but the news has already reached the Don’s ears. It’s a disaster. “Matthiola, my godson. You have brought shame upon your family. The Alliums and the Crucifers have always competed for space. But we have always been united against our common foe. Now that we are divided, watch as our families fall to the might of the Fabaceae family. The war has begun.”

Matthiola is devastated. He has ruined his godfather’s legacy. He has ruined two families. The garden-bed will never be the same.

T.


The Symbolism Explained

There’s an old rule of thumb that you shouldn’t plant onions (alliums) with beans (fabaceae). The former is said to stunt the growth of the latter. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) tend to be harvested later than alliums (onions, garlic, shallots, daffodils), hence Don Crucifer’s initial disdain. He’s always missing out on the best deals to Don Allium!

Matthiola is a genus of pretty little four-petaled flowers in the crucifer family. It was Matthiola who – against the wishes of the Don -unknowingly destroyed the alliance between the two big families, paving the way for the beans to take over the garden. Mamma mia!

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