If I had known that I was seated next to the Mafia Boss of Los Angeles, then I would have listened with sharpened ears, and repeated bits of explosive headline blood curdling stories to my girlfriends. That would have placed myself, my father and my friends in jeopardy. An informant from the government may tag me on the way home from school, or tag one of my friends, or an enemy of the Boss, may pick me up from school and not bring me back. Everyone is suspect: an informant, or weak enough to become an informant, a loose lipped wise guy, a bragging connected businessman, a friend of a friend, a cousin of a brother, and a daughter of a gangster. We are all potential targets of this organization known as the Mafia, Mob, syndicate, Costa Nostra, or our thing. Growing up in this circle of gamblers, killers, fixers, enforcers, bookies was like growing up in a novel, it was a fictional tale all the way, until the end of my father’s life. There is a drop down board that appears every time I write about our family business that reads, “ How dare you open my life to the world, what do you know? You know nothing little sweetheart, and that’s the way I planned it. “ “There’s no such thing as the Mafia! If you ever mention that word again, you’re leaving this house!” I melted down to the floor, and he was ominous as God standing over me. I would never mention the word again, I promised, and I would never believe in the Mafia. So, I became a writer of our secret interior life.


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Saratoga Springs, New York - Arthur Gonick, Editor

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