Padre Pio: Stigmata Of God - Part 18

INTERIOR SCENE - ROME “IL DUCE'S” ROME PALAZZO VENEZIA OFFICE, DECEMBER 1942 - DAYTIME

The huge hall is filled with Chopin's Piano Concerto #2 In F Minor, superbly played by 16 YEAR-OLD ROMANO MUSSOLINI on a grand piano. From behind his desk on the other side of the hall, “Il Duce” Benito Mussolini is conversing with two AIDES. He turns to his son, Romano.

BENITO MUSSOLINI

Roma' you're playing beautifully, but please a little softer. Either that or I'm going to have to ask these men to speak to me through a megaphone!

ROMANO MUSSOLINI complies and continues to play more softly.

BENITO MUSSOLINI

Thank you, Roma'. You're gorgeous.

(turning back to the men)

So, as I was saying, we have to take immediate steps to maintain the solidarity of the citizens behind the war effort. I can see the cracks in the nation appearing every time I look out the window!

AIDE #1

It is difficult, Duce. Sicily and Calabria are filled with rumours that the Allies will invade Malta and that they will be the next target.

BENITO MUSSOLINI

(swivels around in his chair and speaks while looking out the window onto the Roman Forums)

That goddamn German maniac is not going to be happy until he blows up half the world, with us in the middle of it! The greatest civilization since Ancient Greece reduced to a “buffer zone” for the Teutonic Barbarians...

(stopping in mid-sentence, claps his hands and turns to his son)

Roma' you're great! Maestro Pietro Scarpini is an amateur next to you! Bravo!

(the boy acknowledges the kudos, continues to play and Benito turns back to his aides)

Anyway... this is the hand I've been dealt. The best thing I can do right now is to appeal to the only man in Italy the people will follow without question. I want you to leave for San Giovanni Rotondo in the morning. I will give you a letter to bring to my friend the friar. You hear this heavenly music? It was he who gave my son that gift. Ask him, beg him, get on your knees and kiss his feet if you have to, but get him to agree to my requests!

INTERIOR SCENE - SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO RECTORY, DECEMBER 1942 - DAYTIME

55 year-old Padre Pio sits across from the two AIDES and young FRA VITTORIO. He finishes reading the letter and slams it on the desk.

55 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

(enraged)

He dares to sign it, 'Your friend and loving devotee Benito'! I was his friend when he was ruling Italy with fairness and justice. But I told him many years ago the League of Nations wouldn't last and that we would be tearing ourselves to pieces!

(he rips up the letter and throws it to the floor)

Well, you see, it's happening! This war is a rampaging flood, spreading devastation, carnage and death! May the Lord save us! We cannot win this war for the Germans would have won it. Then we would fall under Nazi slavery which is the most diabolical that one can imagine! But the Nazis will be destroyed because they are cursed by God for shooting our people in the streets like vermin! So now your “Duce” comes to me for help, after he has destroyed Italy! You can tell Mussolini that nothing can save Italy now! Nothing!

(he springs to his feet)

Tell him that my answer is: “You have destroyed her!” God's most vile curse on you and Benito Mussolini and your entire filthy regime! You will not last another year! Now get out of my sight! Get out!

55 year-old Padre Pio throws everything he can find on the desk at the retreating aides who rush to the door in a shower of projectile pens, inkwells, paperweights and cups.

55 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

(enraged)

Out! And never come back! Out! Out!

FRA VITTORIO

(meek and terrified)

Padre Pio! What will happen to our land?

55 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

Destruction and death will fall from the sky. We will be defeated and humbled before the world.

FRA VITTORIO

Forgive me, Padre for the selfish interest. But what does your gift of prophesy tell you will happen to my hometown of Genova?

55 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

(enraged)

Genova will be bombed! How they will bomb that poor city! So many homes, buildings, and churches will crumble.

FRA VITTORIO

(trembling and crying)

Blessed Jesus! What will happen to my mother, my home?

55 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

(placing his hand on the Fra's shoulder)

Be calm, Fra Vittorio. Your house will not be touched.

Continued In Part 19

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