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When the Devil is Smarter than I am

By
When the Devil is Smarter than I Am
In Brooklyn, in the Roaring Twenties, or at least that’s what they called it, if you were an able bodied man, you were in the mob. The mob had their hands in everyone’s pockets. I worked at a hardware store as a stock boy. I guess I was a smart kid, at least compared to the dopes that went to school with me. One day after work I was asked if I wanted to use my muscle and my brains, and make some money in the process. As it turned out it was the best thing that could have happened for me. My family was suffering. We had no money; the mob was the only place that could give me a solution to that problem.
So I went to work for the mob and advanced quickly, just as they told me I would. I know what most people think about mobsters, but let me tell you about the mob. I noticed that the people we took stuff from or did stuff to were all bad people. The money we made helped us. It helped our families and it helped our community. We were like an unofficial government and loyalty to your government paid off. I understood that and I advanced because of it. Believe me, I made some enemies along the way, and I knew people were watching me.
The cops were always around. We quarreled, and every once and a while if one of us had too much to drink we might rumble with them and get thrown in jail for the night. But we owned the department, and had the cops eating out of our hands. We always knew what was going on, thanks to our guy on the payroll. But when our inside guy had a heart attack they replaced him with a “good guy”. We called him that because he had never dabbled; he never even picked up a dollar off the ground unless it was to hand back to the one who dropped it. I guess when he realized that he was working where the mob had control he went off on his own to do something. We didn’t know what it was so immediately we had to assume he was coming directly after us. Now of course we had people on the inside but they couldn’t get close. He brought in new people who we didn’t know. Those people came from nowhere and were unrecognizable, they were shadows, completely invisible, so obviously we had some trouble. Trust from family to family declined, we didn’t think any of them would betray us but when our operations started to suffer we knew that someone was on the inside giving us trouble. I was the one put in charge of finding out who was loyal, I deserved that. I was always looking out for the family so it was only natural that I be given the job of protecting it.
In our family there were only four people who knew our plans and could feed the information to the cops. First off there was the Don, and he was the one that approached me so I could rule him out. The second was his niece, Emilia. She had an interesting story; her father was the head of the family until he got shot in a police raid. After that the Don took her in and helped her, he had sympathy. She was in the running to take over the family when the Don was out so it just didn’t make sense for her to be snitching us out to the cops. Third was a guy named Charlie. You can never trust an Englishman surrounded by Italians. He, of course, was my first choice but what if he was the guy that you love to hate and I was just too stereotyped about the blonde guy. Last was me, so naturally I could rule myself out. It was a tense time for us, with this new cop putting his hands around our neck we needed to make a move fast.

So I started my investigation. I told the Don my plan and he told me to be careful, that if I was wrong about whom I was accusing, I might find myself hurting in his standings. It’s never good to be hurting in the Don’s standings, that’s how you wind up staring at the inside of a coffin. So I had my lower man, Darrel, do a job and I kept what I was doing a secret from Emilia and Charlie, I figured if I could do some jobs that no one knew about the snitch would try to get close. As it turned out the snitch did try to get close, they made a slip up and showed that they cared about being out of the loop a little too much. I told the Don I knew who the snitch was and asked him how he wanted to handle it, if I should take care of them or if I should let them plead their case. The Don told me that no one would be able to explain away a betrayal so they would have to go. I knew what I had to do, but the Don told me that he wanted to see it done personally. He told me to set up a meeting with the snitch. He told me to say it was the preliminaries of the biggest job we would ever do. The Don is a smart man, everything he has ever told me to do always keeps the wool over the opposition.

I was in the car next to the Don, looking outside the window at the dark streets. I thought that they would seem lighter, we were about to take back control of our own empire. We pulled up into an alley next to another car, there was a slight drizzle. I told the Don to remain in the car, he could watch what happened. The snitch got out of the car and I couldn’t help but smile knowing that the end was near. I had a hand on my colt .45 on the inside of my coat. I shook hands with the traitor; he asked what all this was about. I told him that the snitch was found. He stared directly back at me and a look of utter surprise appeared on his face, and I knew it wasn’t him, I was wrong. When the puzzlement showed up on my face, the Don got out of the car and was furious. He pulled a gun from his pocket and said that if I didn’t have the guts to kill the traitor that he did. I stopped the Don, an old man of sixty he wasn’t that difficult to stop. An argument broke out between the three of us. As we stood there, I noticed the sirens getting louder and louder. I knew that we were done. The cops exited their cars and had their guns on us. As he got out of the car, the captain yelled for us to surrender. When the cops had us in cuffs, Emilia got out of the captain’s car. She stared at the Don and something struck me. I looked at the Don and he told me to save the questions. In the jail cell the Don told me why Emilia betrayed us. He explained to me that the night Emilia’s father had died he, the Don, had tipped off the cops to the job that Emilia’s father was doing. The cops were able to kill Emilia’s father and the Don took over. So it struck me hard that tonight, the night when my brain failed me, was purely about revenge against the Don. Emilia had somehow managed to trick me and make it seem that Charlie was the snitch. She brought down the biggest crime family in Brooklyn just to enact revenge. So there I was, lying on an uncomfortable bed, outsmarted by the devil.

I was worked over then, but like I said the Don is a very smart man, we conspired. I testified against him and got out of major jail time. It took me years but I got to this point, I am at the top again, with a new name. Al Capone is what they call me now. Emilia has long been in the ground and that new police captain is now the police commissioner. And we are at war, now, just as much as ever.



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theblondechickThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 19 at 2:37 pm:
This is pretty amazing! I love anything about the roaring twenites (I even have a story written on the site about it), so naturally it appealed to me. I love how you reallly gave me an  insight on what it would have been like to be in a mob. You really put me in the time period. Awesome little twist at the end. Good job!
 
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