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My Friend the Gangster

This is a true story.

We called him Don Magill which was not his real name. Short of wearing a sign that read "Cosa Nostra" he couldn't have been more obvious, well at least to me. He was always impeccably dressed and barbered. He had a deep gravely voice with just a trace of an Italian accent. His car was a long black Caddilac.

He held court every afternoon at one of the local twenty four hour restaurants. If you saw him at a table you couldn't just walk over and sit down, you had to wait to be invited. Once seated he would relate the best Mafia stories I had ever heard, but always added, "That's how I heard it." Doing that was a lame attempt to distance himself from the actual events and give the impression that he was just relating the story and had no other involvement.

We were talking about our family on one occasion and I happened to mention my grandfather. He had immigrated from Sicily as a child and worked as a shoemaker. To my shock and surprise, Don Magill knew him.

 I remember it was the year that I had lost my job and went on unemployment compensation while I worked on the haunted house project in between seeking employment. October thirty first signalled the end of the Halloween season and the closing of the haunted house for another year.

The date for the large celebration that always accompanied the end of the season loomed and I needed to rent a tux. To my dismay, my unemployment check had not arrived and I didn't have the funds for the deposit.  I went to the restaurant to look for my buddy "Dr Radio" to ask for a loan. He was working and always offered to help me out.

I quickly discovered that he wasn't there, but Don Magill was. He invited me to join him and I asked if he had seen my buddy.

"Do you have a problem?' he asked in a quiet voice.

I told him about my predicament and he just smiled.

"You need a loan? I can help," he replied.

He reached into his pocket and extracted a stack of bills tied with the same blue rubber band that they use to tie up vegetables. He then extracted a few twenties and placed them on the table.

"There you go," was all he said.

I was beside myself with relief and happiness and must have thanked him a hundred times.

"I'll pay you back I promise," I said as stood up.

"Oh, I know you will," he said in the same low voice with just a trace of an Italian accent and I felt a chill run through my body.

I left the restaurant and headed to the tux shop. As I was passing my parent's house I saw the mailman just leaving the stoop. I went inside and low and behold there was my unemployment check. I flew to the bank and cashed it and then headed to our hangout that was right next door. I was overjoyed when I discovered that Don Magill was still there.

He waved me over and I placed the money he had given me on the table.

"You don't need it? he asked.

"No, I got my check," I responded.

"If you need a little extra you can keep it," he went on.

"No, that's all right. I don't want to be in your depth and owe you a service," I responded truthfully.

He stared at me for a moment before he picked up the bill and returned them to the stack.

"You a nicea young man, but you watch too many stupid movies," he responded.

 

 

 

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