WHAT WAS THAT GARAGE FOR?
Way back when, about 1961, in Jersey
City, New Jersey, they caught some guy,
for good - big time embezzlement, with
money all over the place. 'Murph the Surf,'
or 'Happy Chandler,' something like that was
his name. Mob stuff, illicit deeds, bad money.
It was all stuffed into this garage they kept,
in the middle of a long row of car fix-it shops.
No one figured for a thing - they just kept a
wreck or two out front, and had hired two
lunkhead kids to be there with wrenches and
hammers and tires. Just to make it look legit.
What a racket. It was funny, because they made
no noise, but it was a racket, run by the mob,
running a racket - taking bets and money, and
never paying off, fixing the take, screwing up the
results and squeezing everyone then to pay up.
Or, if not, take your debt to the grave with you.
Oh boy. There was some real excitement. I was
in Boy Scout Camp when I heard about it all.
Camp Cowaw (that means 'small pine' in some
local Indian tongue, they say). It came over the
radio one morning while we were having breakfast
in that crummy cabin they kept for eating. The
Scoutmaster guy, Mr. Hill, was drinking his coffee.
Then the news, everyone got interested, and every
high intention and high-sounding Boy Scout platitude
went right down the drain. Trustworthy. Helpful.
Loyal, and brave. Yeah, sure, right.