Sunday, October 30, 2011

is my bagel place run by the mob?

So I'm kind of a weird weirdo who likes to read about organized crime.  I think I can trace it all the way back to watching The X-Files with my Dad as a kid.  Watching a show like that when you're young and don't understand the limits of what the government is actually factually capable of will fuck you up.  Man, I was ready to believe just about any crazy government rumor.  In high school, I did a year long report on the JFK assassination, and would've sworn blind to anyone who would listen that the CIA had done it under orders from Lyndon Johnson.  Of course, once you realize that the CIA had to that point successfully killed like 2 people, it kind of ruins the theory.  So i became very disillusioned in conspiracy theories, but I still had that itch, that wanting to believe there was more happening in the world than we were being told about.  You want to know about a real conspiracy theory?  There was a group of old Italian men that controlled crime from coast to coast, and culminated with the creation of LAS VEGAS.  Think about that.  A nationwide criminal fucking conspiracy, run by a bunch of old men.  How conspiracy theory is that??  If you didn't know there was such a thing, would you even believe it?

The problem with learning about organized crime is that once you've opened your eyes to it, you see it everywhere.  I went to high school in a small town in vermont.  There were like 2 restaurants in town, and one of them was a chinese restaurant.  They were cheap, they delivered to the dorm, and even though I'm almost certain they served us cat meat at times, we ate the shit out of it.  So here's the crime, when they would bring you your food, the receipts were never right.  The front of the recipt would always be a big number, and your number would be written on the back of the receipt, like they were recycling receipts or something.  Like they ran out of clean ones, so they just wrote on the back of a used one.  Here's the thing though, i don't think I ever saw a clean receipt from them, and we ordered all the goddamn time.  So maybe I'm crazy, but I think they were laundering money in that joint.  Here's how that works:

Let's say you sell drugs.  You've got a ton of cash in your house, because who doesn't like drugs?  What are you gonna do with that cash?  If you take it to a bank, the bank is gonna say, Hi, nice money, where'd you get it?  And because this country is balls, you can't just say, well my good sir, I sold a bag of drugs, and I would like to put my drug money inside your bank.  That's where the chinese food comes in.  If you buy five dollars worth of food from them, but they write ten dollars on the receipt, they can take your five dollars, and add it to five dollars of drug money, and now they can tell the bank where the drug money came from!  Oh no sir, I didn't sell a bag of drugs, I sold a big hunk of cat meat to these high school kids and called it general tso's chicken, and they gave me ten dollars for it!  Now, add up five dollars from like 10 restaurants you own, and pretty soon you're sitting on a pile of clean money that you can use for whatever you want.  Probably jetskis. 

So ok, that brings me to the bagel place a block away from my house.  I've lived in the neighborhood for a while, and in that time, the bagel place has burned down twice.  Once maybe I understand, but twice?  They're not welding firecrackers together over a bed of wood chips, they're fucking making bagels.  Now here's where the mob comes in.  I read somewhere once (of course now I can't find fucking where I read this) that the Gambino family runs bagels in this town.  Sounds ridiculous right?  Here's the thing though, the mob has always loved these little niche businesses that they can infiltrate and create a monopoly, and then hold everyone up for cash.  Like the garment industry.  Like the vending machine industry.  Like the garbage industry.  Like the waterfront.  These are all real businesses that at one time or another were controlled by la cosa nostra.  Important industries all, but smallish, you see.  Not a ton of folks were trying to make money picking up garbage.  So they created their own business, and went around to the competition and quietly said, fuck off or we'll kill you.  Bagels are the same thing.  How many people are buying bagel mix?  Full disclosure, I don't know how to make a bagel, but bagels in the city are similar enough that i'd bet they buy like a mix they add eggs and water to and make bagels with.  Well, what if you owned the company that sold the mix?  And what if you charged more than you used to because you had no competitors because they were scared to compete?  Boom.  That's the mob. 

So why specifically my bagel place?  Well, let me be racist for a second, but they're italian.  Even the israeli bagel place a couple blocks up is full of spanish dudes, but this one bagel place?  Wall to wall italian.  Part two, it's burned down a lot, and the mob in the city's always fighting about some bullshit or another.  The five families don't get along, and when they don't get along, shit burns down.  That's how it works.

So yeah.  My bagel place is run by the mob.