A Made Man
By Ben Potter
DECEMBER 12th, 1954
I remember when I first joined the mob. It was late February in 1946. I was listening to Dean Martin's "Winter Wonderland" in the taxi. I just got off the train. I fought in the war in Germany. I was a cook for the U.S. army. I know that that it wasn't the best job but it was all I could get, and I enjoyed not risking my life. A piece of shrapnel got stuck into my arm and I was sent back. Tommy, my good friend was waiting for me at his apartment. The day I turned into a man, was the day I had joined the Mafia…
FEBUARY 21st, 1946
It was great to be back in King Bay. I remember the warm breeze in the summer and the view of the ocean from my apartment. I was on my way to go meet my friend Tommy. Tommy is a good guy, good heart and pretty smart. I have been friends with Tommy since high school. We did almost everything together. It would be good to see him again. When I got to his place he was outside waiting to greet me.
"Marty! How are you my friend?" Tommy asked. He came over to give me a big old 'man' hug.
"I'm good, how have you been?" I said. He looked at me with a funny stare. A stare that could only be explained one way. Confused. He seemed confused with my question. Like I had asked if he had got married or something. Realizing that I was still waiting for a response he answered,
"I've been good. You look cold come inside". We walked up to his apartment. It was about two level's up. I walked into his apartment and I was amazed by how much stuff he had. When I left for the war when he was still fighting to make ends meet. He showed me where my luxury suite was. I was going to be sleeping on the couch. We talked for a while. I finally had the courage to ask Tommy how he made all this money. I assumed a friend got him a job at some sort of fancy restaurant.
"So Tommy, you've got a real nice place here" I said.
"Thanks Marty, I've been making quite a bit of money recently" he responded in an unsure tone.
"So what pays the bills?" I asked.
"I've been doing some jobs" he said in a mysterious voice.
"What kind of jobs" I asked, trying to get an answer out of him. "Never mind Marty, you must be tired, I'll tell you in the morning, okay?" That night I kept trying to figure out to myself, how is Tommy making all this money? Is he doing something illegal? Or is he just really good at his job? I woke up the next morning and went to the fridge to find some food for breakfast. I found a sandwich and a Cola. After I finished, I went to go take a shower. It was nice to be back in King Bay. The cool breeze of the ocean travelled through the window and brought a warm welcoming feeling to me. They say the war will change you, but I really didn't feel any change at all while being in the war. Tommy walked into the kitchen.
"Hey Marty, how are you buddy?" he asked in a happy tone.
"I'm doing pretty good" I responded.
"How was your sleep?" Tommy asked.
"Great, the couch was very comfy". He chuckled for a little and went to the fridge.
"Did you want anything?" he asked.
"I had some food before you woke up, but thanks anyway" I said. I didn't want to confront him about jobs or work right away, but I really wanted to know how he was making so much money, because if it was work I was willing to do, I want in.
"So what's the plan for today Tommy?" I asked.
"You wanted to see what I do to keep the fox away from the door right?" he asked.
"Yes, very much" I said.
"Well today I thought I would introduce you to the man who gives me jobs. Do you remember Harry Martino?" he asked.
"Wasn't he that guy who went to jail three times for grand theft?" I questioned.
"Yes sir, that's Harry. He got out of jail about two months ago and I am working for him now" Marty stated.
"Don't you think that is a little dangerous?" I asked.
"Marty, I'm making big bucks from this guy and it might be a little dangerous but I think I am in a safe position right now" He started to get a little angry with me.
"So what exactly do you do?" I asked.
"Oh Marty, I do lots of things. I can go from popping guys to robbing from greasers to shooting down head-quarters. I do lots of stuff like that" He said in a firm assertive voice.
"That doesn't sound…well you know…legal. I mean I though you did jobs like work at restaurants and get big tips but I didn't think you actually killed people".
"It's the greasers Marty. They think they are above us, you know right?" Marty asked.
"What exactly are we Tommy? What do you mean by 'They think they are above us'?" I asked. What exactly was he talking about? Who were we? Why did he refer to me as being part of their group? "The Mafia Marty," Tommy replied.
"We are the Mafia; we do deeds that make all of us money. I thought you knew this." I was astonished. I couldn't believe my best friend that I had known since high school was a part of the mob. "It's totally safe Marty, why are you all shaken up over this. Last month I made close to twelve grand. You could make even more if you worked hard at it."
"You are sure that this is totally safe?" I asked.
"I promise Marty, would I ever lie to you?" He asked. I hesitated. Tommy was a good guy and all but he could sometimes be untrustworthy.
"Ya, okay I guess your right" I said still very unsure about what I was getting myself into.
"Come on, let's go see Harry" he opened the door for me and we walked out. What had I got myself into?
APRIL 19th, 1946
I thought that when I met Harry I was in a world of trouble, but I hadn't got in trouble with anybody yet. I made about thirty grand in two months and I was able to afford a place of my own. I was living the life I never knew I could obtain. I was making money and I was turning into a man. I was living by myself, learning new things and most importantly, I learned how to use a gun. Like my dad always said "You turn into a man when you learn how to use a firearm". I am not sure why he said this but I think that what he said was true. In March we met a guy named Henry. He sold military issue weapons like Grenades, and he would always say to us
"Like my mom always said, you can never have too much ammo". I don't have any idea why his mom would say something like that, but Henry was a good guy. I guess you could say that I enjoyed doing what I was doing, but really, I wasn't that happy. Sure I was happy with the money I was making, but I felt like what I was doing was wrong. Maybe it was because what I was doing was wrong. I think I stayed in because of the exhilaration and excitement of the jobs I did. I was making lots of money and I don't think I could process what was happening. But it didn't matter. It was a Sunday morning. I got a call from Tommy.
"Hello" I said.
"Hey Marty, I don't got time to talk. Meet me at the Vito's bar in fifteen minutes. You got that Marty" he said it in a very rushed and assertive voice.
"Ya, I get it, I'll see you soon". I got dressed, got in my car and started to drive to Vito's. When I got there I saw Tommy and Harry waiting outside for me. They walked me in and we went up to the top floor. We were very secluded so I assumed we were about to talk about something serious.
"Marty listen, Harry is on the line for thirty grand" Tommy said.
"What? Are you guys kidding me, what the hell did you do Harry?" I asked.
"I made some deal with Mr. Chao," Harry said. "But then I turned and now they are after me, if I don't pay them the thirty grand they are going to kill me Marty" he sounded worried, why wouldn't he be. Mr. Chao was a big Chinese business man. He is the leader of the Triands in King Bay, and trust me you don't want to screw with the Chinese Mafia.
"What the hell did you do to make you owe him thirty grand?" I asked furiously.
"It wasn't Harry's fault Marty, he made a deal with Mr. Chao and he didn't realize that if he backed out, they would come for him" Tommy said.
"What was the deal?" I asked. I was still shocked that this was happening.
"Does it matter Marty," Harry asked. "They are going to kill me anyway" he seemed worried.
"Not if we come up with thirty grand" I said quietly.
"How are we going to come up with thirty G's Marty? You got thirty thousand dollars lying around your crummy little apartment?" Tommy asked furiously.
"This isn't my problem, I shouldn't even be here, I shouldn't have even joined your stupid gang anyways, even if it was going to give me a lot of money. It's not worth going to prison!" I yelled.
"Well you can't back out now Marty, you're in and you can't get out, those Chinks are out to get us. All of us." Harry said.
"How long do you have to pay them?" I asked, a little calmer now. "About 72 hours" Harry said.
"Let me think about this okay, I'll talk to you guys tomorrow. "See-ya guys later." I said picking up my coat and walking out the door.
APRIL 22nd, 1946
We had decided what we were going to do. We were going to ask them for just a little more time. We had about half the money already. It was no use to fight them because they had connections with the police department. One call and we were done for. We met in Central Park. A nice park, peaceful, but not for long. We saw Mr. Chao sitting on a park bench. It was just him. Or so we thought. Harry sat beside him while Tommy and I sat on the bench across.
"Mr. Chao," Harry said. "We have most of your money but we need just a little more time." Mr. Chao looked at Harry with a stern look. If looks could kill.
"I do not want to give you any more time. I gave you enough time." He was getting mad now.
"I realize that Mr. Chao but I just need a little more time, maybe like two more days." Harry stated.
"I do not put up with crap like this. Now boys!" Yelled Mr. Chao. Suddenly about fifteen Chinese henchmen jumped out of the bushes by us with knifes.
"Go for the man in the blue suit!" yelled one of the henchmen. Harry was wearing a blue suit and suddenly three henchmen ran up to Harry and stabbed him. After Harry fell to the ground Mr. Chao and his henchmen got away in 3 cars. I ran over to help Harry while Tommy tried to follow the cars and taking pot shots. I remember saying to Harry
"You really screwed up man". We both chuckled and I remember smiling at him for a while. It may have been twenty seconds but it felt like twenty years. Even though Harry was a very impatient, mean and irresponsible guy, he was friendly and he was like a father to me, and he was good to me.
"Promise you will take over" Harry said.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Does it look like I am going to live Marty? Come on, I am in great pain I…I…" and right there, he fell into a sleep that would last the rest of his life. I couldn't believe it. Tommy ran back to us.
"I couldn't get them they were driving too fast, Marty we have to get out of here, I think the cops heard the gun shots." He saw me crying. "What's wrong?" He asked.
"I think Harry is dead" I said. Tommy was absolutely speechless.
"Alright let's just go" I said. We got into Tommy's car. I had trouble getting Harry into the car so before we left Tommy helped me put him in the back.
"We have to stop by the hospital" I said.
"Are you crazy," asked Tommy. "We can't go to the hospital; they will wonder what happened to him. I know a doctor that can help us from his house. It's up on Tahoo Hill." We quickly drove up to Tahoo Hill. When we got to the house Tommy rang the doorbell.
"Who is it?" asked a mysterious voice.
"It's Tommy, Harry's been stabbed, he might be dead" He opened the door and we walked inside. "Hey thanks for letting us in Vinney" said Tommy.
"Anytime Tommy you are my good friend, and so is Harry. So what happened?" Vinney asked.
"Well, today we met with Mr. Chao. Harry was trying to convince him that he needed more time to get his money for him." I was just sitting in the corner. Silent but observant.
"You made a deal with Mr. Chao?" Vinney seemed surprised.
"It seemed legit Vinney. He thought Mr. Chao was actually going to go through with the deal," Tommy was absolutely out of breath while he was saying this. "and besides, it's not like Mr. Chao is after us anymore. They got what they wanted" Vinney looked at Harry's body for a little while.
"I can't really help him. He has already lost a lot of blood. At least ¼ of his internal blood. Unless somebody has the same blood type as him and is willing to give him some of their blood, he will not be able to live." Tommy started to cry. I was still in the corner observing. I don't think I had the right blood type and even if I did, I wouldn't have saved him, because even if I did decide to save him, those Chinese gangsters would come back for him as well as Tommy and I couldn't take that risk.
"What do you think Marty?" Tommy asked curiously still sniffling.
"I…Ummmmm…" I didn't know what to say. I loved Harry. He was like a father to me. I didn't want to let him die but I knew what was going to happen if he survived. I asked Tommy to come over to the corner I was in. I told him what I thought and he agreed, though Harry was closer to Tommy than I was to Harry. We told the doctor to have him cremated. Willingly he agreed and he said that he will give us the ashes. It was one of the worst days of my life.
APRIL 25th, 1946
It was the day I attended Harry's funeral. I as well as many others, were at his funeral. He had lots of connections. After the funeral Tommy drove me to his place for a drink.
"Hey, Marty. I got a plan." He said it as if somebody was watching him.
"What the hell are you talking about?" I replied.
"We are going to raid the Chinese guy's clubhouse. On the 30th we are going to shoot every one of those Chinks." Tommy said furiously.
"I don't think that is a good idea Tommy. They outnumber us by an outstanding ratio." I was surprised Tommy actually wanted revenge against these guys. He didn't seem like he wanted revenge on them. But now it was clear he was furious. "Come on, just one more gig and then I swear we are done. Both you and I are very well off with money and if we run low we will do little jobs. I say let's kill them." I paused. I thought about it. What were the consequences? Would we be caught? All of these questions. I couldn't believe I was considering this. I was about to commit the biggest crime of my life.
"I'll do it," I said still unsure. "Let kill those ass holes!" Still unsure about what I was about to do, I agreed and went to my room to take a nap.
APRIL 30th, 1946
It was the day I was going to regret for the rest of my life. We woke up at 6:00 am. We had everything planned out. I shouldn't let Tommy plan our missions. They are usually last minute and are extremely unsafe. If I knew this day was going to change my life I wouldn't have participated in it, but I did, and there was nothing for me to do about it. I couldn't back out. At 6:45 we arrived in China Town.
"Okay remember, you go in from the south side and I go in from the right. Then, we kill any henchmen who are in our way and we meet in the ballroom. After that we go upstairs and shoot the piss out of Mr. Chao. You got that Marty?" It seemed complicated even though it wasn't.
"Ya Tommy, I got it after the first twenty times you told me the plan. But let's make it quick okay? I don't want the cops to show up right while we are leaving."
We shook hands and then we went to our separate sides of the building. I entered through the south side of the building. I knew that they left the windows unlocked because it gets pretty hot in that building. I entered and I saw two Chinese chefs entering the room I was currently in. I immediately took out my Les Bowman Rifle and shot both of them with only two shots. I learned how to aim from Harry. After that I walked into the next room. I was only about two more rooms away from the ballroom. I walked into the next room but while I opened the door about three henchmen caught me and yelled something angrily in Mandarin. I ran to take cover while the henchmen started to pull out their guns. I was shocked that these henchmen carried guns since this was a surprise attack. I mentally imaged where they were and took a chance and successfully shot at each henchman. They fell to the ground and I headed towards the ballroom. Nobody was in this room so I entered the ball room where I saw Tommy waiting for me.
"Hey, what took you so long Marty?" asked Tommy.
"Let's just get this over with okay?" I replied.
"Alright, follow me Marty I know where Mr. Chao's office is" said Tommy. I followed Tommy upstairs to a private room that had a nameplate on it that said 'Mr. Chao'. We walked in and saw Mr. Chao at his desk staring at us.
"Well hello gentlemen. How are we all doing today?" Mr. Chao asked in a curious voice.
"Shut the hell up old man!" yelled Tommy.
"Can I help you boys?" asked Mr. Chao.
"Oh,you know exactly why we are here, don't play innocent with me!" Mr. Chao was still sitting at his desk quietly.
"Let's shoot his limbs off!" yelled Tommy. Then, I don't know why I did but we both pulled out our guns and shot Mr. Chao. I don't know why I did it. I didn't actually think I was going to murder this guy. I stood there for a while processing what I had just done. I stood there and stared at the body for a while.
"Tommy, I think you should look at this," I said while walking behind the desk. Tommy and I both saw a panic button under his desk. "He called for the police!"
"Let's get the hell out of here, the cops are gonna show up any minute!" We both ran out of the room. "You go right and I'll go left." said Marty. I ran to the right hallway and I could see the window ahead of me. I ran as fast as I could because I could hear the Chinese henchmen running behind me. I pried the window open when suddenly I felt a touch on my arm. I looked beside me only to see three armed cops behind the one grabbing my arm.
"You are going to be going to jail for a long time buddy" said one of the cops calmly. Obediently I allowed the cop to handcuff me as I walked into the cop car. I knew I would regret this day.
DECEMBER 12th, 1954
So here I am, writing in a prison cell. I am not sure why I am writing. It just feels right, you know? I am not sure who I am writing this for, or even why I am writing it, but I do know that this information could be helpful. I definitely regret what I did. I am not sure why I did it, but I feel better knowing that the man responsible for the murder of my friend will hurt no one, no more. As for Tommy, I have no idea what has happened to him. He might have got away from the cops. I miss being with him. He was my best friend. I am being charged for murder and for stealing of almost $50,000. My consequence, I am sentenced to 30 years prison time, I was and still am a made man, I became a man when I joined the Mafia…