I bumped into my buddy Stanley – you know, the one who sells bicycle parts now and got arrested by the police a generation ago? We got to talking about movies. He says Robert Deniro is his favorite actor but gets uncomfortable whenever he sees him in certain gangster movies. Naturally, I asked him why.
â€œWhy?!â€, said Stanley, â€œbecause I experienced my own private little ‘Goodfellas’.â€ Naturally, I asked him to elaborate.
“Well, remember when I told you how I worked for the Clerk of the Circuit Court in Chicago back in the early1980’s? I was there full time in the summer and part time during the school year ’cause I had another part time job closer to home besides doing the Maxwell Street thing on Sundays. Hey, a growing kid has got to have pocket money, right?â€ I nodded.
â€œSo, in the Clerk’s Office there was this fellow we all called Uncle Lou. He always dressed real nice, better some of the department heads. He had a certain quiet confidence about him. You had to work yourself into his trust slowly but surely. For some reason, he liked me- didn’t consider me competition, I guess. Now and then, he’d toss tips on the races at Arlington Park and usually they were right on. Made some nice extra dough, you know.
â€œIt came holiday time in December and our office was gonna have a big party. Uncle Lou somehow became in charge of procuring the food. He asked the supervisor if I could help him and the guy said it was okay.
â€œUncle Lou takes me to his car, tosses me the keys and says, ‘you drive, Stosh.’ No one ever called me Stosh except Lou. Here I was a 22 year old young punk, naive but not stupid. He tells me to drive his big, black Caddy to an address on Taylor Street on the Near West Side but that along the way we would make a few stops. At each stop the person he was talking to would always use the word ‘boss’ in addressing him. It suddenly dawned on me that maybe Lou was not so kosher- possibly connected to an organization that I wanted no part of.
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