Linguine with a side order of Business

Started by Frederico (Freddy) Gagliano at Oct 09, 2020 12:44 PM
February 26, 1924
155 Views
14 Posts

Frederico (Freddy) Gagliano

Gangland Boss
408
?Years Young
17 Posts

I'm a businessman, see. It's just a rough business is all.


Berlini's Restaurant

Early afternoon

 

   Freddy Gagliano slurped down some more wine, just a short pause really before he pitched back into that heaping mound of linguine and clams on the plate before him. But Giuseppe Berlini, owner of this joint, always doled out big helpings. And his Italian cuisine was always delicious plus good sized, Freddy approved. So it was that the Italian gang boss was there in attendance once more, it was one of his regular haunts.

Freddy always sat at the same table, a bit further apart from the rest of the customers and strategically located so no one could even see if he was there or not from the big bay window in the restaurant front. It was a big table seating up to six people if necessary. For Freddy never ate alone. Besides his bodyguard there was usually at least one or two other members of his entourage and then often guests. They were usually there for discussing business deals. Freddy found everyone was in a better mood if they were enjoying good food while ironing out business details.

Situated in the dining room were two other of his most loyal men who were observing not only the crowd for suspicious signs but getting first look at anyone entering thru the front door. Freddy believed in being careful and he had good reason for it. Being a gangster was a dangerous career. He himself had been the target of more than one assassination or hit  attempt over the years. But there he was, still enjoying life and still in power.

Today besides enjoying the fine pasta, he was expecting to meet with a young and upcoming fellow Italian mobster. They had never met but Freddy had decided that needed to be changed and contacted the fellow. All that remained now was a little chat and Freddy would get the measure of this one. They could either agree to work together or at least mind their own business or.....

He would have the sonofabitch dumped in the Everglades for the crocs to have their own little lunch.

 

 


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Vito Trafficante

Bootlegger
28
?Years Young
17 Posts

"You got a fresh mouth for a broad."


Vito pulled his Packard right up to the front entrance of Berlini's restaurant and parked it a little further up. He cut the engine, which died with a cough and a splutter; not out of character for even the most technologically advanced cars of the day. As he stepped out and onto the sidewalk, onlookers gasped. Some were impressed with how well dressed he was, others were appalled at the fact he'd parked blocking a public hydrant. Vito paid no mind to any of them, pressing on to Berlini's.

Inside, Italian music played, accompanied with the buzz of Italian and English conversations. The place was busy, he could see why Gagliano liked it. It was safe, the kind of safe that could put even the most paranoid mind at ease. Vito adjusted his tie and stepped aside to speak to the Maitre d', a short, middle-aged, mustachio'd Italian man that was extremely well presented and spoke with an accent.

"Welcome signor, my name is 'a Luigi Calvo. You have a reservation or you are 'a meeting 'a somebody?" The man asked.

Vito nodded. "I'm here to see Mr. Gagliano, I believe he'll be expectin' me."

"Oh, of course, of course. Mr. Trafficante, no?" Luigi asked affirmatively.

"Please, call me Vito." Vito said, patting the man on the arm.

"Of course Mr. Vito. Please, this way." Luigi uttered with a smile, gesturing for Vito to follow.

Vito was led to Freddy's table further back in the joint. Truth be told, Vito hadn't even seen where he was sat until now, it was tucked away and secluded. Two of Freddy's bodyguards intervened before Luigi could seat Vito, one of them placing their hand on his chest to step aside. Nervously, he complied. Vito had already raised his hands in the air, he knew this routine, he'd performed it himself hundreds of times and even had a few sketchy characters frisked that he was meeting himself. The men went through his pockets and patted him down, taking a switchblade from him. His gun was left in his car in a box under the driver's seat. Finally, once the search was complete, Vito was permitted to sit.

"Anything 'a to drink, Mr. Vito?" Luigi asked politely, eager to get away.

"Sure, I'll dip my bill. Get me your best hooch." Vito said with a smile as he took his seat opposite Gagliano.

Vito sat patiently and waited for Freddy, who was clearly enjoying his linguine, to speak.


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Frederico (Freddy) Gagliano

Gangland Boss
408
?Years Young
17 Posts

I'm a businessman, see. It's just a rough business is all.


Freddy's bodyguard looked up and noticed their men frisking a well dressed gentleman, "Hey boss, he's here."

"Ahhh good, good. Let's see what he's made up then huh?" Freddy smiled then looked up from his repast to eye the newcomer. Smart dresser, handsome enough well except for that scar. But some ladies liked that sort of thing. He was young but not so young as to be some in over his head punk. So far, so good. The man reached the table even as Freddy shoved another mouthful of clams and pasta into that maw of his.

"Anything 'a to drink, Mr. Vito?" Luigi asked politely.

"Sure, I'll dip my bill. Get me your best hooch." Vito said with a smile as he took his seat opposite Gagliano.

Vito sat patiently and waited for Freddy, who was clearly enjoying his linguine, to speak.

That didn't take long.

"Hooch? What kinda place you think this is? This is a classy restaurant and they only serve wine. Precisely what should go with this fine Italian food," Freddy declared having swallowed quickly.

"Bring him a glass Luigi and he can share my bottle."

"Of course, Mr. Gagliano sir," the man practically jumped to obey.

Then he gestured with a wave of his free hand, "So you wanna order something to eat then? The whole fuckin' menu is great."

Whether Vito knew it or not, Freddy's men were well aware that their boss was testing this pisano. Would he pass or fail?


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Vito Trafficante

Bootlegger
28
?Years Young
17 Posts

"You got a fresh mouth for a broad."


Vito raised his hand as he got situated, gesturing to first to Freddy and then to Luigi, a signal to the nervous host that he was quite comfortable drinking wine.

"Most places I frequent don't got wine Mr. Gagliano, but you're right. Good Italian food should be accompanied with good wine. So I thank you." Vito said with a respectful nod and a hand on his chest before continuing. "I actually axed a few people about this place, uptown types - shame they was mum about the booze here, but they recommended some food. I been lookin' forward to ordering the linguine all day - I can see you got excellent taste."

Vito motioned with his hand towards the clams and pasta that Freddy was enjoying.

A few moments later, Luigi returned to the table with a glass for Vito and poured him some from Gagliano's bottle. Vito gave it a gentle swirl before taking a sip.

"É molto buono." Vito began with an approving twist of the head. His eyes shut and then suddenly opened again. "Luigi, come back in a little bit, eh? Mr. Gagliano and I should talk some before I order any food. That way we can enjoy a meal as friends, not strangers."

Vito knew that he had been summoned here because Gagliano had made inquiries about him and in turn been advised that Vito was a serious and ambitious man. Vito had done his own homework and knew fine well that Frederico Gagliano was the wealthiest mob boss in the city and arguably the most powerful too, to be taken very seriously and approached with the utmost respect. Vito had thus far only worked with the only other boss in the city that could have possibly challenged Gagliano, Francesco Moscuzza, who many considered Vito to be a top lieutenant of. On paper, however, Vito was a freelancer.

Again, out of respect, he waited for Gagliano to respond.


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Frederico (Freddy) Gagliano

Gangland Boss
408
?Years Young
17 Posts

I'm a businessman, see. It's just a rough business is all.


The young man passed this test of Freddy's with flying colors, showing a proper respect for Italian tradition and being smart enough not to argue with his seniors. Yes, they all broke the law in their occupation but didn't mean you didn't follow some rules. Least that was Gag's take on things.

"Very well then, Vito....I can call you Vito then?" it was a rhetorical question of course because he already did just that but to even things out, he added, "You can call me Freddy, all my friends do. And I'm hoping we can turn out being good friends, right?"

Gagliano raised his glass then drank some before going back to the topic at hand - business of course.

"So then, Vito, I been hearin' lots of things 'bout you. Good things. You been makin' a mark here in the city it seems. You and ....Moscuzza. You n' him, partners?"

Actually Freddy knew the answer to that one, Vito was a lieutenant of the older Mafioso. How loyal a lieutenant he could only guess. That was one of the reasons Freddy had wanted this sit down, to judge the man's personality, manner, and yes, ambition.


Liked 1

Vito Trafficante

Bootlegger
28
?Years Young
17 Posts

"You got a fresh mouth for a broad."


Vito gave a slow, polite nod to indicate that he was happy for Freddy to call him by his first name. He knew, of course, that it wasn't an option to be addressed any other way but consented nonetheless. Vito raised his glass in unison with Gagliano and spoke.

"To friends."

Freddy then elaborated that he'd heard much about Vito rising through the underworld, in particular how he was making a name for himself in Florida and Miami. Vito, somewhat pleased that he'd finally attracted the attention of perhaps the biggest mob boss in the state, was hiding a humble smile behind a face that said he was enjoying the wine and the company, nothing more. He knew that Moscuzza would be brought up at some stage and simply had to take the bull by the horns.

"I work with Mr. Moscuzza on occasion, yes. He and I have made a lot of money together. Some would have you believe that I answer to him, no doubt, but the true nature of our relationship is quite different, I assure you. He allows me the freedom to operate in my own territory for a percentage of my action. A tribute, like in the old country." Vito explained, wanting Gagliano to be clear of the facts. He went on. "That may surprise you, that I've never climbed in to bed with him when the opportunity was always there, but I want to forge my own path, not follow one laid out for me by a benefactor. As the great Machiavelli once said 'never was anything great achieved without danger', I'm sure you know that better than anyone."

Vito hoped that he'd given Gagliano a true sense of how serious he was and the limitlessness of his ambition. He knew that he was safe to speak openly about Moscuzza here, given that he was a rival of those he shared company with at the table.


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Frederico (Freddy) Gagliano

Gangland Boss
408
?Years Young
17 Posts

I'm a businessman, see. It's just a rough business is all.


The two men then toasted flashing smiles, how sincere only they knew, as the other men at the table sat there also looking quite pleased. Now, make no mistake, Freddy Gagliano could be as vicious as most other gangsters but this was how he liked his meetings to be conducted. Over good food, washed down with fine wine, and pleasant conversation. Less male ego involved, people were more willing to talk.

"I work with Mr. Moscuzza on occasion, yes. He and I have made a lot of money together. Some would have you believe that I answer to him, no doubt, but the true nature of our relationship is quite different, I assure you. He allows me the freedom to operate in my own territory for a percentage of my action. A tribute, like in the old country."

"Of course, of course," Freddy nodded then let him go on.

"That may surprise you, that I've never climbed in to bed with him when the opportunity was always there, but I want to forge my own path, not follow one laid out for me by a benefactor. As the great Machiavelli once said 'never was anything great achieved without danger', I'm sure you know that better than anyone."

"Well, I more figured you for a ladies man when it came to bed partners," Freddy quipped, much to the amusement of his men.

"And yeah I heard of that Machiavelli guy, wrote a famous book back in Italy, right?" Freddy was definitely not a well educated man but it had not seemed to hurt his success any.

"But I get yer point, Vito, I get it. It's a good one. In our trade we gotta take risks. Doesn't mean we gotta do somethin' crazy though. You always need to .....how's that one sayin' go?  Look before ya leap? I like a man who is more than just brave and bold, he's gotta be smart too," Freddy declared.

"You smart, Vito? Cuz if you are smart, you will keep on bein' a success but you won't let that go to yer head, kid. Don't push inta my territory or mess with my business and we should get along just fine. There's enough dough in Miami for all of us," he smiled.

Then his smile faded, "Well....most of us anyhow."

Freddy was getting to the real reason he invited this man for this meeting.

 


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Vito Trafficante

Bootlegger
28
?Years Young
17 Posts

"You got a fresh mouth for a broad."


Vito flashed a faux smile, though nobody would have detected it as he followed it with a chuckle, joining in with Gagliano's entourage at his own expense. Gagliano was entitled, as a boss, to make a joke or two; to break a younger guy's balls and enjoy the pleasure of watching him have to laugh it off. Luigi was hovering around, hoping to be able to take Vito's order of food now but could see that this was not a good time to do so and disappeared again almost as quickly as he had appeared. Vito smiled and nodded along to the jokes before Gagliano went on to mention Machiavelli and the point Vito was trying to make.

"That's right, he was an inspirational guy, a formidable diplomat. Wrote The Prince in the fifteen hundreds. I grew up wit' books in Sicily, before we came to America." Vito explained to Freddy, who was no doubt not clued in on his history. "Guy said all kinds a' wise things. Like uh, 'the first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him', shit like that, you know?"

It was an indirect retort. Vito had brains and balls - and now every person at the table knew that too. He hadn't insulted anybody but at the same time he'd insulted everybody who was smart enough to realize how nuanced it was. Vito suspected nobody would. Gagliano gave him a small lecture about expansion of territory but Vito wasn't stupid, he knew the score, he'd been a man of the streets since he was eleven years old.

"As I say, I got my turf and that's that. I ain't no stunad. I pay Moscuzza a cut and everybody goes home happy." Vito said with another respectful nod and a raising of his glass once more. "A salute."

Freddy's tone eventually changed. It seemed sinister, he'd talked about how there was room for everybody in Miami but introduced a tangent as his jovial face which had moments ago been making jokes smeared away and was replaced with almost a frown. Vito waited patiently for Gagliano to speak.


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Frederico (Freddy) Gagliano

Gangland Boss
408
?Years Young
17 Posts

I'm a businessman, see. It's just a rough business is all.


"Grew up with books huh? I grew up with rats in that fuckin' tenement we lived in," grinned Freddy, "But yeah, books is good. You seem like a well educated young man. That's the future, right?"

Freddy got the implicit jibe in Vito's line about judging someone by those he surrounded himself with. He might have gotten pissed off about that snark but in truth most in his gang were not the brightest sorts, he didn't have them for their brains or their book knowledge. He had them because he felt he could trust them and for their willingness to do what they were told, including killing people. The gangster trade was brutal and there were a lot of folks who just didn't have it in them to actually kill another human being. Freddy couldn't use those people.

Freddy raised his glass again to Vito's toast then got down to the point finally.

"Happy.....yeah, happy is good. Who don' wanna be happy, huh? But right now, Vito, I will level with youse. I ain't happy. In fact, I am really very very upset. Not at youse of course."

He reached for the cloth napkin and slowly wiped his hands as he continued.

"We're in agreement then, we got a good thing going here in beautiful Miami. But you ever heard of a bunch called the Sorleys? Not our people of course."

He meant Italians.

"But a bunch of redneck hicks fresh off the farm who think they can barge inta Miami and do whatever they want. And it sure looks like what they want is to muscle in on the bootleg business. Now, if you ain't heard of 'em yet, you probably soon will. You and Moscuzza both."


Vito Trafficante

Bootlegger
28
?Years Young
17 Posts

"You got a fresh mouth for a broad."


Vito shrugged.

"We didn't have a library or nuttin', just a couple books here and there. Mio padre... I don't even remember his face. He was a fisherman, we lived on the coast, we was poor but we managed. When I came here, I was ten years old. I got used to rats - and I got used to fuckin' killin' rats too. I ain't never seen a silver spoon until I took one out the mouth of some stunad over in Coconut Grove."

He was speaking metaphorically, of course, having burgled many of the homes belonging to wealthy people in North and South Coconut Grove as a younger man. Though petty burglary was now beyond him, it was an important part of his becoming a career criminal and taught him valuable skills that apply to a wide range of situations.

The moment for breaking balls seemed to have passed, Freddy didn't appear to have reacted to Vito's response so Vito figured either he didn't get it, got it and decided to move on, or got it and was impressed with the cogliones on Vito. Whatever happened, Vito was satisfied that he had defended himself without giving Gagliano a reason to have him killed on the spot.

Vito toasted again with Freddy. "A salute."

Freddy continued, explaining to Vito that he wasn't happy because a family of hillbillies had emerged from the dark side of Florida with the intent of bursting onto the Miami bootlegging scene and taking business and customers away from Gagliano's empire. In truth, Vito had heard of some trouble but it had not come to his door. He ran a very tight ship in his neighborhood; people who stole from their own people were punished severely. Crime, with the exception of business extortion for protection which was a big source of revenue for Vito, was forced out of the the few blocks he ran; even dope peddling, as lucrative as it was and as progressive as his feeling about it were, had to be done outside of his territory.

Vito was more than willing to deal with some outsiders, but he had questions. He'd nodded along to what Gagliano was saying and was listening intently throughout Freddy's confession of distaste for these hayseeds.

"So, why me?" Vito asked, then gestured to one of Freddy's burly bodyguards. "Why don't you just get some of your big hitters, like Babe Ruth here, to go break every bone in their fuckin' bodies?"


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