I thought I didn’t have long left on this Earth

After selling my house for £25,000 below market value, just to get a quick sale and to stop it being re-possessed, I went to see a friend of mine in theWest Midlandsand told him what I was planning and he suggested a littleIslandoffMalta, called Gozo.  He told me it was like going back in time, and that it was quiet, and that if I did fancy a bit of nightlife it was just a half hour ferry trip to Malta.

It sounded just right, and I had been toMaltain the late sixties and early seventies when I was first at sea, so Gozo it was.  He phoned a friend of his who lived on Gozo, an English woman who worked for an agency that found accommodation for holiday makers. and all was sorted.

The feeling I had when I stepped off the plane inMaltawas one of pure delight, and I breathed a big sigh of contentment.

I was met by a taxi driver and driven to Marsalforn in Gozo, and that was the best nights sleep I had had in years and years.

The first month was amazing, and I made lots of friends; ex-pats, and Gozitans, and life was sweet.  Then I asked Julie the English agent, was there anywhere I could lay my hands on a bit of cannabis.  She explained that it was very expensive, and she didn’t use it herself, but to go and see Joe Vella, my landlady’s brother, but to be wary of him because he was involved in everything, a bit of a gangster in fact.

Joe owned The Marsalforn Hotel, which was right opposite the apartment I was staying in, and that afternoon I went in and saw him.

He was about fifty two years of age, five foot six or seven, black and grey wavy hair, round faced, and with a big belly and a big smile to match it. That was the beginning of a very good friendship.  He was exactly what Julie had warned me he was, and as things progressed I found out more and more about him.  It didn’t bother me at that time because I never had any intention of getting involved with him in any let’s say, business deals.

Again I will skip over the details, let’s just say we became drinking buddies and he seemed to enjoy introducing me to his circle of friends which included politicians, councillors, and last but not least Morris Qormi, a Chief Inspector of Police, and on many occasions we sat drinking till the early hours of the morning, telling each other about our escapades of the past.

Then, at4amone morning, I received a phone call from Joe.  He seemed excited, and insisted on seeing me there and then.

‘That’s no problem Joe.’ I told him, ‘Come up.’

Looking back on it all, what was said that night once again changed my life, and made me realise that I had been led here, and that this was more than just another coincidence.

I could have gone to a dozen other places in the world, but I ended up in Gozo, and I ended up meeting Joe Vella.

When he arrived he was buzzing, and it was obvious to me he had been snorting coke or some other type of drug. He pulled out a bit of hash and we made a joint, it was weird because he started asking me all sorts of questions.  I wasn’t shocked or anything because that’s the way some people are when they have been snorting powders.

Then the atmosphere changed and he got quite serious and said this; ‘You have cost me a lot of money tonight, and I have had you checked out,’

All I could say was, ‘And what was the result Joe?

He just looked at me and said; ‘Everything was good’, then he come out with this, ‘You know I love you Peter; and I am going to give you your life back, stop taking your medicine you don’t need it, and never have.’

Well I didn’t know what to say, so I just smiled and said ’Well thanks for that Joe, but the doctors seem to think its keeping me alive.’

He started making signs with his hand, twisting two fingers over his thumb, and repeated, ‘I am giving you your life back.  Stop taking your medicine, you don’t need it, and never have.’

At this stage I didn’t know what to say, and then he got up and said he was going home and I walked him to the door.  As I opened the door he put his hand on my shoulder and looking me directly in the eyes, he said, ‘Trust me, I am giving you your life back.’ Then he wagged his finger at me saying, ‘Don’t mention any of this to anyone.’  Then he left.

I just shook my head and went to sleep, I never took any notice of Joe when he was like that, and I thought it was just him puffing up his chest and trying to make out he was more powerful than he was, and completely dismissed everything that had happened, and went to bed.

The next time I saw Joe there was a little change in the atmosphere, only a few moments but I felt it, and I just thought he had woken up, remembered what he had said, and was a bit embarrassed. And none of what happened that night was ever mentioned by me or him again.

It must have been about six weeks when later he started talking to me about getting myself a doctor, and told me he would take me to see his chap called Patrick.

It wasn’t something I had even considered, but it made sense to go, and that’s exactly what I did.  And he was very thorough examining me, and even took blood samples, telling me he would slip them in with his health samples and I wouldn’t have to pay for them, so I thanked him and Joe, and I left.

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