An illustration of Mr. Rivuci.

What you don’t know …

[An INTERVIEWER and his crew trudge allow a narrow rocky path etched into the cliffside of a remote coast. A small shack overlooking the sea can be seen ahead of them. Two cameramen carefully keep their cameras on the interviewer, working the angles, while the boom operator, struggles to contend with the fierce wind all the while struggling to keep from tripping over. A fifth member of the crew, the TRANSLATOR, the spitting image of Sophia Loren, walks behind them.]

INTERVIEWER: So, we are here on the remote coast of Newfoundland today to talk to a mysterious man named Carlo Rivuci. Mr. Rivuci, an orphan, six decades ago was diagnosed with not only crippling polio, but syphilis, and gangrene. It seems Mr. Rivuci lived a rather colourful life. According to locals however, he feels no pain and has never exhibited a single symptom of either one of his afflictions. Indeed, the locals attest that he seems to lead a completely normal life, not that they are are able to converse with him mind you. Whether he followed his doctor’s advice and prescriptions in the first place remains unclear. At the ripe old age of eighty-eight, still unable to speak a word of English, he lives a mostly hermetic life in his small shack overlooking the sea. We have brought along our translator so that we may be able to talk to Mr. Rivuci today and hopefully begin to understand his secrets.

[Mr. Rivuci, seeing the camera crew outside, opens his little shack. He is dressed in overalls, and wears a messenger cap and wide-rimmed oval spectacles. He is a kind, healthy-looking man, sporting a large thick moustache. He has the light, supple, yet wrinkled body of a man who has worked the land all his life. He smiles to the cameras and beckons everyone in.]

RIVUCI: Buongiorno! Benvenuto! Pranzo?

[Inside, Mr. Rivuci sits down at his small dining table, and bids everyone else to sit. He is beaming, a picture of health. It seems he lives quite a stoic existence in his little shack, dried fish hang from the rafters, fresh bread and vegetables and fruit laid out across the table, a little pot belly stove blazing. Mr. Rivuci strokes his large moustache, looking back and forth between the two cameras. It seems he is enjoying the attention.]

INTERVIEWER: Mr. Rivuci, can you tell us how you do it? How have you survived all these years? And yet, you feel no pain, nor suffer any physical defect? Polio, syphilis, AND gangrene! Did you recover? Does it not hurt?

RIVUCI [FROWNING]: Non capisco.

TRANSLATOR [TO THE INTERVIEWER]: Eh?

INTERVIEWER [TO THE TRANSLATOR]: You don’t have to do it with the accent. [HE TURNS TO MR. RIVUCI.] Mr. Rivuci, how have you survived so long?

TRANSLATOR [TO RIVUCI]: Come hai sopravvissuto?

[Mr. Rivuci simply looks at them all, bemused.]

RIVUCI: Ho solo ottantotto anni.

TRANSLATOR [TO THE INTERVIEWER]: He say he only eighty-eight.

INTERVIEWER [TO RIVUCI]: How have you survived with polio, syphilis, and gangrene?

RIVUCI: Polio? Sifilide? Cancrena?

TRANSLATOR: Sì! Polio? Syphilis? Gangrene?

INTERVIEWER: Polio. Syphilis. Gangrene.

RIVUCI: Non ho capito bene.

TRANSLATOR [TO THE INTERVIEWER, EVEN MORE FLAMBOYANT THAN BEFORE]: Why you a bring dis up a with a me, eh?

INTERVIEWER [TO RIVUCI]: Polio is an infectious disease. It can make people crippled. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. Surely you’ve heard of it? Gangrene is when your body tissue dies. Horrible, horrible stuff. It’s devastatingly painful. We can’t believe you’ve survived so long with all three.

TRANSLATOR [TO RIVUCI]: Sono malattie. È doloroso. [TO THE INTERVIEWER] I’m telling him it’s very painful.

RIVUCI [STROKING HIS BEARD, FROWNING]: Sì.

TRANSLATOR [TO RIVUCI]: Hai polio, syphilis, gangrene.

RIVUCI [STILL STROKING HIS BEARD, HE SMILES]: Sì, capisco. [IN A MOMENT MR. RIVUCI’S EXPRESSION CHANGES TO A LOOK OF FEAR. HE GRIPS HIS THIGH IN PAIN AND FALLS OFF HIS CHAIR] OW! OW! OOOOWWWWWW!!!

[The cameramen and boom operator scramble for a good shot as Mr. Rivuci rolls around on the floor, screaming at the top of his lungs.]

RIVUCI: IL DOLORE! IL DOLORE!

TRANSLATOR: IT HURTS! IT HURTS!

[THE END.]

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