Sunday, December 16, 2012
Friday, April 06, 2012
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Friday, February 13, 2009
Sunday, June 08, 2008
MOB SISTERS - Victoria Reigns
Eyes glinting at the barrel, Harry Sutro cocked a .357 magnum and held it pointed it at Victoria Winters' temple.
"Very fucking funny, Harry." Vic moved out of the line of fire with a disdainful look. "I hope for your sake that piece isn't loaded — or automatic."
"Hell, no. Think I wanna blow my pecker off? Shit, an automatic could jam."
"Listen, put down the firearm and let's talk."
As Victoria's bodyguard, houseman/henchman, jack-of-all-trades and steady bed partner, Harry Sutro also doubled as her unofficial male consigliere. Vic relied heavily on his advice, even though being a man, he was ineligible to officially join her female mafia borgata. Dr. Caroline "the Cow" Stoll, Vic's consigliere of record, didn't have much time to counsel, so Harry's role had expanded to encompass areas that the Cow would have handled had she not been so absorbed with her cardiac patients. If the other three LFM capos of New York's "Four Families" knew how intimately involved with Vic's operation Harry was, they would disapprove. But then, there was a lot about Victoria that caused the others to lift an eyebrow — to which Vic said, fuck them.
Victoria's short brittle laugh was a snigger. She wore a soupçon too much lavender eyeshadow rubbed onto the lids of her narrow and darting, deepset cinnamon colored eyes. When she smiled, which was seldom, the effect was cold and fiendish. One corner of her mouth raised to curve slowly under while the other side remained immobile, formulating a twisted and uneven, diabolical grin.
One of the most colorful mafiose, Victoria took to the La Femmina mob the way a basking shark takes to a school of fish. As one of the outfit's most astute businesswomen, she displayed brilliance in her inaugural rackets of fencing, hijacking, pornography and piracy.
She was slender and tall, 5'11 in stocking feet. Though it often seemed she carried a non-removable chip on her shoulder, men found the ice cold sex she projected interesting, and in fairness, her sometimes offputting exterior was a defense. Behind her back, she was called Vic or Tip O'Neill, sobriquets she disliked, preferring the regal Victoria.
Victoria plopped down at the kitchen table and contemplated space. Lighting a cigarette, she began smoking in compulsive gulps, blowing rings out in spurts. She was rough and edgy today.
"This Jasmine Shields is too much," she complained to Harry about her biggest rival, the skipper of one of New York's other three mafia families. "Trouble is, she's got influence in her corner and it makes a difference. She sure can get a guy by the balls."
"Well, you got me by the balls, baby — you know that."
"You're different, Harry. You're a guy I can fart with. What I'm talking about is getting the kind of guy you can't fart with by the balls."
Harry started cleaning his gun. He was always cleaning things. In fact, he was the cleanest man she knew — he was a born homemaker, constantly vacuuming, dusting, washing dishes, putting garbage out, doing the laundry.
"Harry, you know my goal is to become the biggest powerhouse in heroin in the tri-state area. But it takes cooperation, and thus far I'm not getting any from the other Four Families."
"I keep telling you, what do you need those bitches for? Your crew can out-perform them any day of the week."
"That may be, but we La Femminas are an organization, we rely on each other's support — that's why we mobilized into a mafia in the first place. As you know, Terri Cutler's boyfriend's uncle, Tom Kelly, is head of the longshoremen's union. This SOB could work something out for me to use the docks for bringing the stuff in, but Terri hasn't come through."
"Your own captain, Georgia Jensen, is Mike Giordano's girlfriend, and Mike rules the Jersey seaports. I still say Georgia should be able to swing things for you."
Vic shook her head. "You know how hard Georgia tried." Mike Giordano was a captain in the Genovese family, which already had heroin coming through the ports Mike dominated, and he was not about to get into a conflict of interests with the male mob. "Anyway," Victoria said, "Giordano's such a big male chauvinist he doesn't even want Georgia involved with narcotics."
"If only you could reach out to Anthony Zino."
"Don't I wish."
Zino, a powerful captain in the Lucchese family, controlled the airports. His iron grip on Local 295, the union that supplied manpower for the flight terminals and warehouses, enabled him to put the squeeze on any national firm operating out of any airport in the whole USA. With just one phone call, Anthony Zino could paralyze the entire American transportation system. He was the heaviest guy in unions on the east coast. While a prison sentence had precluded his rise in the official labor movement, he was the man who called the shots from a ringside table. People cooperated with this guy or else. Zino had made mayors and judges, put congressmen in office.
Unfortunately, Jasmine Shields had gotten there first. As her mentor, Zino had been opening doors for Jasmine in finance, the schmatte trade and in food distribution, working out union contracts with truckers, arranging introductions to suburban bankers who'd make compensating balance loans in exchange for rented CD's and money under the table. He sent a lucrative fat rendering deal her way, enabling her group to purchase byproducts from his kosher meat business, which were then used to manufacture detergents that with his assistance would be pushed in the supermarkets under the no-brand label. It was hard to accept Vic was closed out of this action, just getting a small override.
But that was Jasmine for you. You couldn't trust her. For instance, there was the cocaine situation, on which Vic suspected, even though she had no proof, that Jazz and her consigliere Sandra Martinez were jointly screwing her. Their pipeline was flowing unabated, a gold mine. Ok, so Vic was getting a nominal override, but why should she have to settle for chicken feed when Jasmine and Sandra had the lion's share? Well, Jasmine Shields might have cornered the cocaine market, but goddamnit, she wasn't going to get the better of Victoria on the heroin. This time, she would control the deal.
Vic said to Harry, "Jasmine's jacked me around for a long time, but it'll all come to a head in Beirut soon — "
End of next month, they were holding a policy summit in the Lebanese capital. Here, Vic was counting on meeting another connection of Jasmine's she wanted to exploit, Maurice Hirsch, one of the most influential men in France, a low profile, quasi-shady billionaire who secretly financed heroin on the side. Jasmine had long promised action from Maurice's corner, but thus far, zip. "I don't know why Shields has been pussy-footing, but just let me get to Hirsch — I'll make it happen. And don't forget, there's Hirsch's partner, Charles Cestrari." A Corsican drug dealer, Cestari owned the largest casino in the middle east right in Beirut. She wanted to corner one or both of these guys, get things rolling.
"Listen, Harry, I was thinking about a project for you. Charles Cestari visits New York several times a year. Ask around, get a line on him."
"Sure, hon. I'll get right on it."
"And while you're at it, I'd like a wiretap on Anthony Zino's lines. Not his home in Queens, but the joints he hangs out at, particularly the San Carlos Hotel."
"A piece of cake. Honey, we're not giving up on Zino — who says Jasmine has exclusive rights? We just gotta figure out a way to give the guy something he wants."
Harry always had her best interests at heart. He was one of the wisest decisions she ever made. He was a complete switch from any of the previous men in her life, especially from her late, longtime lover Joe Lo Bianco. Joe was a dapper dresser, whereas Harry had lousy taste in clothes; Joe was exciting, a guy you said yes to, Harry a man who took orders. It took a while to appreciate Harry's true worth, but he exemplified everything a good man should be — affable to have around the house, domesticated, a good homemaker, and always ready when she called for action in the sack. He was also an amateur lockpicker and wireman of no mean ability. Added Sutro credentials were an ability at karate, massage and marksmanship. Perhaps his major talent, however, was his tongue.
And a propos of what she'd said about farting, it was true. There was the old adage that a woman should find somebody she could fart with, and Harry certainly filled the bill. Not only did he give no objection her farts, he even found them attractive.
The first time she brought him up to the penthouse, right after picking him up at one of her massage parlors, she found out in short order what a fanatic he was on cleanliness. It was after midnight, the lighting was dim, but his eyes didn't miss a trick. "This joint's a mess," he said, indicating clutter, dust and disorder. "Honey, under these circumstances, I could never get it up."
"Sorry," Vic shrugged. "Maid service isn't my thing."
"I really wanted to ball you, but like this — no way Jose," Harry said. "You got any supplies around here?"
"You're kidding," he scoffed when she handed him a bar of Ivory and an old sponge that fell apart to the touch. Consulting his watch, he said, "Look, I'll be back in a while."
She thought it was a brushoff -- he was probably impotent anyway -- but lo and behold, forty minutes later, he returned from an all-night supermarket carrying a bag of cleaning equipment. He went to work moving furniture, vacuuming walls and ceilings, scrubbing under rugs, even behind picture frames. In five hours, he waxed the floors, washed the dishes, did all the laundry and changed the sheets. While he was working he told her all about himself, how he'd been toiling as a pallbearer in a mob-owned mortuary, specializing in carrying duplex coffins in which the rub-out victim was placed under the displayed body of record. You needed strong guys to carry these heavy duty doubledeckers. Corpses disappeared without a trace this way. It was foolproof. Victims would be six feet under in a matter of hours, long before they were stiffs even, much less before anybody realized they were even missing.
The sun was rising when he finally put everything in the cabinets and sat down for a well earned cigarette and can of beer.
"You must be exhausted after all that."
"Nah. Just give me a few minutes and you'll see." His porcine eyes turned erotic, or as erotic as Harry's eyes ever got. "As it happens," he said, "I got the fastest tongue in the east," he winked, "and my tongue never gets tired."
As a matter of fact, he did and it didn't.
Later, as they lay in bed, Vic explained how she earned her living. "In a way, you could say what we're doing is revolutionary, inasmuch as we're organized along business lines, like General Motors. It's probably the first time you've heard about a group of women like us before," she said. "Those wise guys wouldn't let us in their mafia, and we wouldn't let them in ours, but let me tell you that in a lot of ways, we're on our way to being even more powerful than the male mob. Any dude who gets involved with me has to understand my lifestyle and fit in with it."
"I hear you," Harry said.
"Women in so-called crime is a long established reality. Females have been dealing dope for a long time — the biggest drug dealers in California are women, most of them ours. Women have traditionally functioned as madams, run brothels and casinos, been couriers and mob fronts," Victoria said.
Harry licked his lips. "Sure, I know women can do all this, as much as the males who've been hogging the action."
"The difference with us LFM's," Victoria said, "is that for the first time in the history of the world we have an organized cartel of women."
"Mazeltov," Harry said. "Who could blame you? Look at how the establishment operates — can these people throw stones? States are into gambling and shylocking; what are most banks and credit card companies but legal loan sharks? You gonna tell me they don't have a racket? Who gave them permission?" Harry loved the idea of her organization, and wanted to know everything about it.
"We take vows of omertà," Vic said, correctly emphasizing the last syllable of the traditional mafia word for silence which most people mispronounced, "so there's lots you can never know."
Harry said, "Listen, I'm a feminist. Everything a man can do a woman can do, if not better. A female mafia, is that a helluvan idea. Sure wish I could join."
"Being the wrong sex, you can't, but off the record, you can be an unofficial part of my team, my male associate."
"You got a beautiful set up," Harry said. "I mean, what law enforcement officer is gonna go after you? Even if they considered it, all you'd have to do is fuck their brains out to get yourself off the hook."
Harry was a treasure, worth his weight in gold, supportive of her aims in life; it was he who even encouraged her to make useful outside sexual liaisons.
"You mean you wouldn't be jealous?"
"Nah. What's nookie among friends? Can anybody begrudge a little head here and there?"
At first Vic wasn't sure she wanted to play that angle. She'd fought hard for her independence and wanted to keep it that way. She was a strong woman who, goddamnit, didn't have to take crap from any direction. She and Harry had had a number of discussions in this vein, Harry's contention being that she should use her cunt to advantage, while Vic argued it was a point of honor to make it on her own wits.
"You got wits in your pussy too," Harry pointed out. "If you don't use it, you lose an edge that every other female out there, despite what she may profess, is cashing in on. You're cutting off your nose to spite your face."
Given her enviable status in life, she thought she was long past that bag. "Harry — I've been down that road and learned the hard way."
"Listen, if you're smart you can call the shots and still fuck these guys in every sense of the word, and that's how you should look at it. This may be a female mafia, but who's to say getting the right man in your corner isn’t still one of the best ideas a lady mobster can come up with? You see how your pal Jasmine operates.”
“Still,” Vic argued, “look at my accomplishments, look at all I’ve achieved.”
Victoria’s troops were the best. She had a fabulous crew of tough, aggressive don’t-take-no-crap-from-nobody, ballsy winners. Her girls were producers, whether they were working contraband cigarettes smuggled up from the Carolinas, precious gems, loans, gambling, hooking or you name it. She had a group of footsoldiers adept at hijacking and a team who ran the car theft end of the business, and owned chop shops in two boroughs and two outlying suburban counties. She had been in the avant guard of the gay revolution with her out-front, no holds barred homosexual bars, and she had some pretty decent porno action going too. In fact, the living room table was loaded with X-rated scripts, and just last month they'd shot a hot Perfumed Persian Garden erotica video in this very apartment, a steamy followup to her smashingly successful Cunt's Guide to the Kama Sutra offering.
Her penthouse suite at the Woodward was incredible -- rent controlled, dirt cheap, with a wrap around terrace that offered a view to kill for on all sides. On a clear day you could see the five boroughs, Jersey, Connecticut, Westchester and Long Island. There were eight rooms. Harry tended the rooftop garden where a hardy crop of marijuana grew alongside the pretty flowers and plants that were his pride and joy.
Vic had done all the decorating herself and was proud of the results. The color scheme was antique gold, baby blue, apricot and white. Velvet, the main fabric, was draped everywhere, carpeted, upholstered and hung. The floor was covered in wall to wall blue carpet and tiles, and there were gauzy apricot curtains. Chandeliers hung from a filigreed ceiling, and in the long robin's egg blue and apricot harlequin tile entryway were two surrealistic murals of naked people in languid poses painted by one of her crew members, an artist who'd taken up crime to support her creative habit. In the center of the living room stood an oversized, polished Carrara marble statue of an idealized blond goddess — herself — posed with bow and arrow, knee-high sandals and a clinging Greek-style garment, leaning against a Corinthian column. That statue was so perfect it could have been sculpted by Praxitiles; instead it was the work of another one of her artistically inclined borgata members — Hoboken loan shark Mary Beth "Shybaby" Fudderman. If the art scene weren't such a scam, Shybaby wouldn't have had to embrace a second career as a shark.
The three other New York area LFM crime chiefs, Jasmine, Terri Lynn Cutler, and Joe's daughter Laura Lo Bianco, though skippers like herself, lacked her brilliant managerial skills, and their soldiers weren't the workers her team was. Vic's was an operation like no other. She was putting in 18 and 20 hour days and it was paying off handsomely. Take the phone room, for instance.
At one end of the penthouse, just off the kitchen, they'd torn out a wall of the former utilities/laundry room which Harry had then painted a delicate shell pink. After that he'd installed fluorescent lighting and put in banks of bootlegged pastel-tinted phones, ten lines in all, all of them illegal. Her phone people sat in plasterboard cubicles manning calls all day long, tending to a burgeoning commodities business. Gang members on the horn bought and sold stripper oil and discarded, dirty left-over petroleum mixed with heating oil for use in schools and hospitals; made-in-Portugal "scotch whiskey;" and gold with forged hallmarks under LME.
Vic had at least two dozen phone room legwomen on her rolls working staggered shifts. They were doing all kinds of deals — contracts on iron oxide pigments, sludge piles in West Virginia, gob piles in Kentucky, coal mines in Tennessee; she had them pushing precious stones; shrimp and other frozen foodstuff from South America; her phone crew had just closed a supermarket deal for Ecuadoran coffee, and using counterfeit collateral, had recently financed the purchase of some tractor assembling plants in the midwest. In addition, they were selling American made cars to Arab countries at inflated black market prices the Arabs were more than pleased to pay.
Cement, rice, sugar, paraffin, fruit juice and railroad ties were but a few of the staples her troops were pushing now, and they were making great money from them.
Every day Victoria's time was occupied with a myriad of tasks, hopping between her penthouse home and her other headquarters at two social clubs, one downtown on MacDougal Street in Little Italy, the other on Vernon Avenue in Long Island City, where her Queens crew hung out. A typical day might find her discussing a hijacking with Millie "Bug Eyes" Newins, for instance, a car theft problem with chop shop owner Darilyn "Four Fingers" Houston, or going over a few shylocking moves with Alexis "The Cat" Knight. Uptown, downtown, east side, west side and all around outlying territories, Harry chauffeured her in a Ford Galaxie, and waited patiently for her to transact business.
Somewhere along the line, he found time to go out shopping for fresh produce, tend to the planning of healthy menus, do the vacuuming and dusting, walk the dog, wash the clothes and dishes, water the plants, and see that fresh flowers were on the tables.
A fabulous gourmet cook, Harry loved nothing more than puttering about the kitchen. Tonight, he had whipped up a tasty pasta al pesto dish, followed by steamed filet of sole veronique, baby carrots julienne, and a lightly tossed salad vinaigrette. Vic's guests were her underbosses and official consigliere.
Following an enthusiastically received dinner, Vic said, "We have business to discuss, ladies. I've asked Harry to sit in, because I value his opinion, and five heads are better than four." No one objected, so Harry joined them in the trophy room for an evening of plotting, planning, and scheming. Her girls had it in them to do big things, and Vic wanted to move some of them presently involved in rackets into something higher class, like narcotics.
Vic's actual consigliere, the physically large, rawboned Caroline "Cow" Stoll, M.D., a graduate of a Spanish-speaking Caribbean medical school, had interned at Metropolitan Hospital, done her residency at Queens County General and now was in private practice as a cardiac surgeon. A high school dropout who never went to college, the Cow seldom even attended med school classes since she spoke no Spanish and thus couldn't understand what was going on in the lectures anyway. It was a miracle she'd learned to perform complicated surgical procedures — heart bypasses, angioplasty, implanting pacemakers and the like — since the school had no cadavers, but somehow the Cow did manage to get a medical degree, now prominently displayed on her office wall, and in fact enjoyed a flourishing East Harlem practice. With a bi-lingual clientele of mostly Puerto Ricans, even her Spanish had been improving recently.
A gifted surgeon, Cow had the most phenomenal hands — long, thin, artistic — that looked like they were always performing feats of prestidigitation, even when engaged in mundane activities like writing out a prescription for Quaaludes.
Like many in her profession, Dr. Stoll's greatest asset was her intuitive knowledge. If anyone had the calling, Cow did. It was a reflection on the system that she had to go the route she did. But the Cow was a healer and she cared, in fact was so dedicated she treated inner city patients gratis. Not only that, she was always running off to third world earthquake-prone countries like Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador to help poor devastated natives. Stoll was a humanitarian soul, unselfish and altruistic. Well, she had to make a living somehow, didn't she? La Femmina mafia deals were her answer.
In addition to her medical practice and La Femmina responsibilities, the Cow, a gifted musician, sang second soprano in the New York City Physicians and Surgeons Choral Society, where her thrilling mezzo could give both Marilyn Horne and Jessye Norman a run for the money. Now Cow's Amazonian-proportioned body occupied a large armchair, and she had donned her most serious looking horn-rimmed glasses for the meeting.
To Victoria's right was her captain, Georgia "Legs" Jensen. Bosomy, sloe-eyed and blowzy, clad in a micro-mini skirt, Georgia, in blue-tinted shades, sat inhaling contemplatively, blowing fat smoke rings across the room. She seemed far removed from the Union City rackets she ran, including a shylocking concession out of a south Jersey bar whose flashing neon signs advertised topless dancers. Georgia always looked as if she'd spent the better part of the week rolling in the hay. A slack mouth and benign expression added to her fucked-out appearance. Occasionally she would reach down to stroke the fur of Marlene Dietrich, the German shepherd bitch who accompanied her everywhere and passed easily for a seeing eye dog, although she was not. On the fourth finger of her right hand Georgia wore an enormous ruby ring, the gift of her boyfriend, New Jersey labor leader and Cosa Nostra mobster Mike Giordano.
Grey-haired Rose F. Dyson, mob moniker "Rosie the Pelvis," was a good woman, a heavyhitter who owned and operated a thriving funeral parlor, the Shady Grove Mortuary in Valley Stream, Long Island. One of Ro's greatest satisfactions in life lay in dressing a corpse to give it the right appearance for its final scene on earth and sendoff to the Great Beyond. Cosmetics were Ro's specialty. A while back she was doing makeup for a TV studio in Manhattan. When they moved to Hollywood, Rose was invited to come along, but she preferred running her own scene on her own turf. The mortuary was it. With help from female mob money, she now owned the business, and was so good at it she'd been elected to serve as Vice Chairman of the Tri-State Morticians and Casket Association. The versatile Pelvis was not only a premiere funeral director, but also active in the Nassau County Cancer Society as a fundraiser, and an 8 handicap golfer at the North Hempstead Golf Club.
Displayed against purple velvet in the trophy room was Vic's gold plaque award for being elected, some seasons back, "Miss Kosher Hot Dog" at a Miami delicatessen, along with Harry's collection of ancient weapons — jewel-encrusted samurai swords, daggers and such; one of Sutro's hobbies was weapons, including esoteric Asiatic torture instruments, the latter exhibited in another room.
The group plotted for the next couple of hours, covering various aspects of gambling, loan sharking, prostitution, commodities, financial deals, and other weighty matters.
Enterprises were going well; nevertheless, as skilled an organizer as she was, as great a team of heavy duty earners as she was overseeing, Victoria urgently wanted to shake loose from the bottom of the rung rackets to concentrate on clipping coupons and enjoy the ease of money floating in without a lot of effort. Establishing a powerful narcotics set up was the major purpose behind all high level meetings recently. Dope, that would give the bankroll and independence she craved for herself and her team. Now, while she had the drive, energy and motivation, she had to get it all moving. Her vision was limitless. But a number of basics had to be worked out first.
"Why can't Zino be used for the airports?" the Pelvis wanted to know.
"He's paranoid because of government surveillance, so he's trying to stay as clean as possible in that area for the time being. At least this is Jasmine's story."
"What do you want to bet he's letting her cocaine in?" Cow remarked.
"Mike is still resisting our using the Jersey seaports, and I doubt I can change his mind. He's adamant," Georgia said. "But inasmuchas it's going to be difficult to get direct local cooperation, why lock ourselves into the ports of New York and New Jersey? So we take delivery elsewhere and ship east via Amtrak, Federal Express, UPS, the post office, Greyhound — or use mules, or whatever."
"Sure, we devise alternative routes from the south or use small airfields and so forth," Rose agreed.
Vic said, "It's just that keeping close tabs helps, and local cooperation would cut our overhead. Using circuitous routes, transhipping to entrepots won't be as cost-effective."
"Besides," Cow agreed, "who wants to work these elaborate routes half way around the world and back again, from Europe to Hawaii to San Francisco, then Amtraking to the East coast — think in terms of efficiency. This is a business, you have to run it like a business and watch the bottom line."
"We could bring it in in containers to the ports without clearances," Georgia suggested. "They only do spot checking."
"An idea worth considering," Harry said. "However, one slip up is all it takes. Better safe than sorry?"
"In any case, the upcoming Beirut meeting may well advance us on one front," Vic said, "and I think I may have an idea for a hook into Zino. I believe I may be able to change this guy's mind. Stay tuned."