THE BLAME GAME
by Shaun Costello
“If a potential political opponent scares you, blame them for every disaster in the book. Some of it is bound to stick.”
The philosophy of Karl Rove
1861…The Federal Garrison at Fort Sumter, South Carolina was fired upon by Confederate Militia, which began the American Civil War. The Secretary of State was William Henry Seward. Was Seward blamed for the Civil War? Hardly.
1914…Arch Duke Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, which began World War One. The Secretary of State was Robert Lansing. Was Lansing blamed for World War One? Hardly.
1941…The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, causing America to enter World War Two. The Secretary of State was Cordell Hull. Was Hull blamed for World War Two? Hardly.
1975…In April of that year, the last Americans were evacuated from our Embassy in Saigon. America had lost the war. The Secretary of State was Henry Kissinger. Was Kissinger blamed for losing the Vietnam War? Hardly.
1979…The American Embassy in Tehran was overrun by Muslim extremists. 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days. The Secretary of State was Cyrus Vance. Was Vance blamed for the Hostage Crisis? Hardly.
1983…The American Marine Barracks in Beirut was bombed by Muslim terrorists, killing 241 U.S. Marines. The Secretary of State was George Schultz. Was Schultz blamed for the bombing? Hardly.
1998…The American Embassy in Nairobi was bombed by al Qaeda terrorists, killing 224, including 12 Americans. The Secretary of State was Madeleine Albright. Was Albright blamed for the bombing? Hardly.
2001…On September 11th, al Qaeda terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. 2,996 innocent people lost their lives. The Secretary of State was Colin Powell. Was Powell blamed for the 9/11 attacks? Hardly.
2012…On September 11th, a date that was hardly a coincidence, Muslim extremists attacked the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, lost their lives. The Secretary of State was Hillary Clinton. Was Clinton blamed for the Benghazi attack? Absolutely, and by every opportunistic, right wing conspiracy theorist on the planet. All the previous disasters listed above took place in another era. Before amoral right wing gangsters like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove would redefine political tactics forever by perfecting the art of mud-slinging to a degree unheard of in American politics. Nixon’s dirty tricks teams were minor league compared to Cheney and Rove.
In 2003, the CIA sent Ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger, to substantiate the statement made by President George Bush in a State of the Union Address, that Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium from Africa. The Bush administration was desperately trying to justify its plans to invade Iraq, and there was no evidence of any of the weapons of mass destruction that Bush and Cheney had been peddling to the press, and to Congress. Wilson found no evidence to support Bush’s claims of the African/Uranium transaction. Cheney, Rove and Scooter Libby all tried to persuade Wilson to fudge his report, which
he refused to do. The White House upped the ante, and began threatening to ruin Wilson unless he lied to Congress. Wilson still refused. Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA covert operative. When Cheney found out, he met with Rove and Libby and they hatched a plan to leak Plame’s CIA identity to the press through right wing columnist Art Novak.
Novak outed Plame’s CIA identity in his column. Bush’s CIA Director, George Tenet, was ordered to fire Plame, which he did. Plame’s covert networks were rolled up all over the Middle East. No one knows how many of her agents were assassinated as a result, but there must have been many.
Wilson made enough noise to get Congress to have a Special Prosecutor appointed. To save themselves from the embarrassment of being involved in any of this, Cheney and Rove threw Scooter Libby under the bus. Libby was ordered to fall on his sword. Revealing the identity of a covert CIA operative is a felony. Libby was found guilty of Obstruction of Justice, and two counts of Perjury. He was sentenced to pay $250,000 in fines and thirty months in federal prison. The sentence was, of course, commuted by Bush.
Let’s return to 2012, and the Benghazi affair. It was well known that Hillary Clinton intended to retire from her post as Secretary of State by the end of that year. She loomed large as a potential Presidential candidate in 2016. Polling data told the RNC that she was a 500 pound gorilla that they could not defeat. She enjoyed enormous popularity. When Benghazi happened, Cheney and Rove swung into action. A Congressional investigation was held to determine who was to blame for the deaths of the four Americans.
Hillary Clinton, still Secretary of State, appeared before the committee and the innuendoes began – subtle at first, then pretty blatant. Cheney and Rove met with key Republican congressmen. If they couldn’t beat Hillary in an election, they would defeat her in the court of public opinion. Four Americans were dead, and it must be Hillary’s fault. Karl Rove studied at the school of Joseph Goebbels, who had all but invented the Big Lie Theory. If you lie loud enough and often enough, sooner or later, people would begin to believe you. So, Congressman Trey Gowdy’s preposterous Benghazi Committee began its assault on Hillary Clinton. It lasted four years and cost American tax payers a fortune, and when it was over, the final report absolved Hillary Clinton of any blame for anything. But the damage had been done. The televised committee accused Clinton of so many offenses, so many times, that some of the mud began to stick. The RNC even arranged to have the mother of one of the Benghazi victims speak at last week’s Republican Convention, where she blamed Hillary Clinton for the death of her son. Either they paid this poor woman to accuse Clinton, or promised her something she needed, or the poor woman is completely delusional. The families of the other three victims told a totally different story.
So, Cheney and Rove applied Goebbels’ Big Lie theory to the 500 pound gorilla, and cut her down to size. Polls are showing a neck and neck race in key battle ground states, between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The Big Lie theory enabled Hitler to rise to power in 1933, and to stay there until one hundred million people lost their lives in six years of horrific carnage. And the Big Lie theory could play a key role in the unthinkable – that Donald Trump, a misogynist, racist, and tyrannical buffoon, could become President of The United States.
© 2016 Shaun Costello
Associated Press December 12, 2011 In an exclusive interview granted to Heywood Sargent of the Associated Press today, former Vice President Dick Cheney is pressed to respond to tough questions about his new book, his relationships with Former Secretaries of State Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice, the American presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his alleged suggestion to then President George Bush in 2006, that America should not rule out a full scale invasion of France.
Sargent…Mr. Vice President, in your new book, ‘In My Time’, you suggest great attitudinal differences that existed between the Bush White House and the State Department, under both Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice. Could you elaborate?
Cheney…Attitudinal, huh? That’s a good one. You don’t mind if I tuck that away somewhere and use it later, do you? First of all, you’ve got to get this ‘Chain of Command’ thing straightened out. The President hires the Secretary of State. The President is the boss, and the Secretary is, well, not the boss. You follow me so far? First of all, the President would come to me, as his father instructed him to do, and he would say, “Vice?”, he always called me that, a term of endearment and respect, and also my title back then. “Vice”, he would say, “We’ve got to get this blame thing about Iraq worked out. I mean, if we’re going to incinerate their country, we’ve got to make it seem like it’s their fault, you see what I’m saying?” I told him we had Saddam dead to rights. He had the nukes, and he had the gas, and the rockets too, and we could prove it. And he said, “Look Vice, I talked with Colin this morning. He wants to go to the United Nations with this thing. Have them investigate. Get the goods on the towel heads. Then we’re in the clear – good to go – bombs away”. I explained to the President that we had a schedule to keep. We had to coordinate the vacation plans of several of our key Generals, and then, there’s The Masters. You can’t have a war going on when they’re playing The Masters. I mean, I’m a member down at Augusta National. I’ve got a locker with my name on it, and everything. If we were going to blow Iraq to smithereens, we had to adhere to a reasonable timetable, and the UN would take their dear sweet time with this thing. Look, you hire a Secretary of State, and of course you ask his advice. But you don’t want him getting creative on you. You want him to tell you one thing, and one thing only – what he thinks, you think, you want to hear. Not what he actually thinks. You get what I’m saying here? I mean, you look back at the Nixon White House. Boy, those were the days. Haldeman had scripts written for the Cabinet meetings, and he rehearsed them. Every Secretary of every Department in the Government had to know his lines. That’s my kind of White House. My kind of government.
Sargent…You criticized Condoleezza Rice for being President Bush’s lap-poodle. You also alluded to some connection between Secretary Rice and Muammar Gaddafi. You mentioned inappropriate gifts being exchanged. Given the recent discovery of Gaddafi’s Condi Shrine and suggestive photo album, could you expand on these statements?
Cheney…First of all, let’s set the record straight on this Condi Rice business. Secretary Rice is an outstanding and loyal American, and one of President Bush’s most important and historic appointments, being the first African American to ever hold that office.
Sargent…Mr. Vice President, Ms. Rice followed in the footsteps of Colin Powell, as Secretary of State, and of course, Colin Powell is also an African America.
Cheney…You’re kidding. Colin is colored? I always thought he was Armenian or something. You live and learn. About Condi, look, I don’t want the hired help getting creative, but Condi took condescension to a whole new level. I mean, the President would ask her, “Condi, I want your input on this ‘weapons of mass destruction’ business. Does this hummus-eater have ‘em, or what.” And her robotic response was, “Mr. President, on January 21st, you made a statement condemning Saddam Hussein for having huge stockpiles of fissionable material, with the intention to use it against America and her allies. I whole heartedly agree with that statement, Mr. President, and all other statements made by you on all matters foreign and domestic, during both your Presidency, and your tenure in Austin as governor of Texas. And also your statement to the New Haven police after your DUI arrest when you were a student at Yale, that your father covered up.” Look, I don’t want them getting creative, but Jesus.
Cheney…Oh, that. Well, let’s just say that the boys over at the NSA hear it all. Secretary Rice had made a diplomatic visit to Tripoli, which had to be extended for a few days, because Gaddafi evidently had the hots for her. There were some, well let’s call them inappropriate gifts exchanged. My favorite was the life sized, anatomically correct Colonel Gaddafi inflatable doll. What she did with it is anybody’s guess, but it was the subsequent phone calls that aroused interest at the NSA. I remember one call in particular. They played it back for me. I can remember it almost verbatim:
Gaddafi…Oh, my LeezaLeeza, My African Queen of the night, you must call me MooMoo, and in our love-tent we will make harmonious music together. Yes, MooMoo and his LeezaLeeza, in the harmony of the love motions. We make the music of the romance.
Rice…Listen Colonel, I like your outfits, but I draw the line at baby talk. Let’s just put on some Barry White, and get funky.
Well, you can imagine the NSA boys getting a kick out of this. I’ve got the tape around here somewhere.
Sargent…In your book, you mentioned the hunting accident, back on 2006, and you said you missed. What did you mean by that?
Cheney…That was on a quail hunt down in South Texas with Happy Harry Wittington. Hap was a contributor to my campaign. Always smiling and joking around. Real fun guy. Ever been around somebody who’s always smiling? It can get on you nerves, believe me. So I got to thinking – what if I put a couple of pellets in Hap’s behind? I bet that would wipe that smile off his face. So Hap’s about twenty feet ahead of me, and I yell, ”Over there, Hap. Over the trees” And when old Hap turned to shoot, I accidentally/on purpose unloaded in his direction. I meant to aim just to the left of him, so he’d just catch just a few pellets. Hell, everybody catches a few pellets in the behind, once in a while. But I stumbled, and the gun went off pointing right at the smiling son of a bitch. Wound up in intensive care. Jesus. I’ll tell you something though. I went to see him in the hospital. They had him all wired, on life support – lots of tubes. And there was old Hap, doing his Cheshire Cat thing. Quite a guy. He still contributes.
Cheney…I did see parts of it. It won some awards, didn’t it? Like Best Documentary, or something?
Sargent…Not exactly. It was a dramatization. The characters were played by actors. Your own roll was played by Richard Dreyfuss.
Cheney…Actors? Richard Dreyfuss? I don’t know what you’re talking about. The scenes I saw were all real. It was in the Oval Office. All of us were there: The President, Colin, Condi, Tenet, Rummy, and Carl Rove too.
Cheney…Actors? Now, wait just a minute here. I saw what I saw. It was us. I lived it. I saw it played back. That’s what happened. This some kind of journalistic trick? I wasn’t born yesterday, Mister. Besides, I’m better looking than Richard Dreyfuss.
Sargent…With the 2012 election just around the bend, could you size up the GOP’s candidates, and their chances. How about Michele Bachmann?
Cheney…Certainly. First off, let me say that the entire GOP field is made up of outstanding Americans, who understand the meaning of Capital Gain, and all that that entails. You won’t find a wuss in the bunch. Ms. Bachmann has an outstanding record in the House, and comes from a dairy state, which never hurts. But I’ll tell you, this homophobic thing she’s got happening is going to come back and bite her in the ass. So what if a guy’s light in the loafers. My daughter is an openly gay woman. Nothing wrong with that. Look, I’m not saying that I’m going to play the back nine at the Congressional with any homos, but they should have the same rights as the rest of us., or at least it should seem like it. And I’ll tell you one thing about your average homo that escapes Ms. Bachmann – he votes.
Cheney…Governor Romney did some fine things up there in Massachusetts. Good looking guy too, which never hurts with the female voters. He’d run America like a fine tuned corporation, and that’s the way it should be. But I just don’t know about this Mormon thing. I mean, this is America, where every man can realize his dream, but a Mormon in the White House? These people have polygamy on the brain. Did you ever read the Book of Mormon? If it were a movie, it would be a cross between The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Starman.
Cheney…Governor Perry’s got that Texan cow puncher spirit, I’ll tell you that. Americans respond to a man in boots and a Stetson. Evokes that pioneer spirit. A sense of toughness and independence. Conjures up images of John Wayne, even Ronald Reagan. Hell, Reagan took on the Soviet Union – face to face – mano a mano – And Mr. Gorbachev blinked and that wall came down. Yessir, never go one on one with a man in a fine set of boots. Of course, Governor Perry wears Tony Lama’s. They’re OK, I guess, but it’s a mass produced boot, the kind of thing you can pick up at Sears. A real Texan only wears a Lucchese boot. Made in San Antonio. Old world craftsmanship in every stitch. I’ve sent the Governor memo’s about this, but he’s still strutting around in those Tony Lama’s. Reagan wore only Lucchese, and look where it got him. And the American voter knows the difference, believe me.
Sargent…Mr. Vice President, are you saying that the outcome of the election can come down to the brand of boots a candidate wears?
Cheney…If the shoe fits.
Cheney…A fine American in every way. As Speaker of the House he took out a contract on America. Remember that? My kind of guy. That’s the way to run the country. Take no prisoners. But if a few stragglers do wind up in your camp, interrogate the hell out of them. That’s the way you find things out.
Cheney…Ms. Palin is a fine conservative, and an attractive woman. Sure, she had some minor glitches, like that bridge to nowhere, when she was Governor, up there in Alaska. And keeping an eye on the Russians, across the Bering Straight, from her office window. But she’s got this soccer mom thing happening, and that could bode well for her, come election time. But those names she gave her kids. Track? Bristol? Willow? Piper? Trig? What’s up with that? I mean, would it have killed her to name one of them Robert, or Delores, or Mary Sue – you know, names people can relate to. She might as well of named one of them Dump Truck for all the good it will do her at the polls. Sounds like a bunch of God damned hippies. Excuse my French.
Sargent…And speaking of France, you mentioned in the book that, back in 2006, you advised President Bush to not rule out a full scale invasion of France. Could you elaborate on that?
Cheney…Certainly. You know, 2006 was not a good year for us. Iraq was not working out the way we planned. The Taliban were making a comeback in Afghanistan. Secretary Rice was preoccupied, having a lurid affair with that towel-head fruitcake in Tripoli. Wall Street was in the throes of collapse. The American electorate was looking for someone to blame, and that’s never good when you’re in power. America needed a diversion, and I was all for giving it to them. It’s like, the television networks know how to do this. The scheduled programs show their last episode in the Spring. So now, the people have nothing to watch. What do the networks do? They present the Summer shows – something completely different, like a sitcom where a homo couple complete their odd family picture by adopting a chimpanzee. They could call it “Chumps”. I like that. And the viewers forget that their favorite shows won’t be back on until the Fall. That’s what I wanted to give the American voters – a Summer show. And I thought, why not invade France. Hell, they’re an arrogant bunch. Don’t agree with us on anything. We saved them from Hitler, and what thanks do we get? The French adoration of Jerry Lewis. France is a socialist country anyway, so why not invade them. And that means we could take prisoners and interrogate the bejesus out of them. And here’s the best part, we’ve done it before. We’d just do the Narmandie invasion all over again. I figured the plans for D-Day must be in the basement of the Pentagon somewhere. It would be a piece of cake.
Sargent…So, what happened?
Cheney…Well, we were ready to go. The President was on board one hundred percent. Carl Rove and Rummy thought up a whole bunch of crimes that France had committed against the world. You know, to justify obliterating a third of their population.
So what happens? Some jerk-off bureaucrat at the Pentagon misplaced the D-Day invasion plans. We’d have to start again from scratch. The boys at Central Command said ‘No can do’. Well, that was that. America never got the Summer show it so needed and deserved.
Cheney…That’s easy. Let’s see – there’s George Patton, old blood and guts. There’s a lot you can learn from a guy like that. And Julius Caesar, of course. And the Romanian, Vlad Dracul, also known as Vlad the Impaler. I sure would like to pick his brain on his interrogation techniques. He made water boarding look like scrabble. And someone funny. I know, how about Ayn Rand, with that pungent sense of humor of hers. She’d keep the conversation moving. Oh, and for the fifth, Mickey Rooney.
Sargent…Why Mickey Rooney?
Cheney…Balance. With a crowd as distinguished as that, I’d like to know that there’s at least one guy at that table who’s shorter than me.
Sargent…Thank you Mr. Vice President.
© 2011 Shaun Costello
THE THIRD HAND
by Shaun Costello
Excerpted from the “Seventies” manuscript:
Sex, Gangsters, and Deception in the time of ‘Groovy’
By the middle of 1974, my time was pretty evenly divided between CBS Sports, and Star Distributors, the porn unit of the Gambino Crime Family. Out in Hunterdon County, my girlfriend Jane had quickly outgrown my birthday gift to her the previous year, a little chestnut gelding called Applejack. She was an athletic and natural rider, and wound up buying an open jumper who nobody except Jane seemed able to ride. She called him Bojangles and did wonders with him. I tried riding him only once, and was so terrified by the experience that I almost quit riding altogether. I sold little Applejack to a local teenager, and started riding school horses during lessons, which never lasts long. Show Barns make their money on lessons and on selling expensive horses to horseless riding students like me. After a few weeks of taking lessons on their school horses the sales routine began. “Shaun, what can I say? You’ve outgrown the school horses, and if you’re really serious about riding then it’s time to find you a nice thoroughbred.” Essentially they were saying, “Either you’re going to own an expensive, fine tuned jumping machine, or you’re going to remain a horseless slob, looked down upon by all concerned.” So within a few weeks, not wanting to remain a horseless slob, I forked over the money for a stunning bay thoroughbred gelding who I called Dawn Patrol. The problem was that Dawn Patrol was a five year old and only a year off the track, so he was completely green. This meant that I could only ride him under professional supervision, which wound up costing quite a bit of money. If I wanted to go hacking with Jane off in the woods and fields I had to rent a school horse from the barn, while my difficult-to-ride thoroughbred remained in his stall eating me out of house and home. I was now in way over my head.
August passed into September, and my porn production output continued at a frantic pace while I still spent weekends trying not to look foolish attempting to ride my fine tuned jumping machine, and watching Jane tear over Jump courses on her
chestnut monster with the reckless abandon of the fine rider she had become. She had risen to a full level above me, but I was happy with our situation. My life seemed to work. I was maxed-out, but as long no surprises came my way I could manage this level of activity. It was at this point that my mother called to tell me she was getting re-married.
This matrimonial announcement immediately put Jane into wedding-present mode. So, with our gift perfectly wrapped, we jumped on the Metroliner and headed to Washington DC, where the event was to take place. Both the ceremony and the reception were to be held at the townhouse of Michael Gill, a close friend of my mother’s new victim, and a man who had made a
lifetime career out of being the nephew of Mamie Eisenhower. He was one of those Washington political parasites who lived on the perks when his party was in power. The republicans still held the Whitehouse so Michael Gill was on the dole. It was never made clear to me exactly what Gill did, but from the look of him, I was certain that not all of it was legal.
The ceremony was to be presided over by a Seventh Circuit Appellate Judge, and attended by a collection of Washington’s best and worst characters. My mother’s new husband had owned restaurants in the Washington area for years, and seemed well liked. Bob Dole was there, as was Dick Cheney, Ed Musky, and what seemed like every lobbyist in the capital.
On the other side of the reception was a delegation of boys from the Bonnano family in New York, some of whom looked familiar. What an amazing gathering. Some of them had gone to law school to learn how to defend criminals, and some of them had attended “The University of the Streets” to learn the subtle nuances of the import/export business, but all of them were gangsters. I hadn’t seen this many republicans in one room since the televised coverage of the 1972 Convention.
I introduced Jane to the happy couple, who really did seem like a happy couple, and who in turn, introduced us to our host. Michael Gill took Jane in tow, “Young lady, before the ceremony begins, let me introduce you to our guests”, and off they went. While Jane was glad-handing the guest list, I decided to explore Gill’s house. The main floor contained the cavernous living room, its walls decorated with many photographs of Ike and Mamie, and where the wedding guests were milling about. Just down the hall was an equally large formal dining room with more photographs of the Eisenhowers, a chefs kitchen where the caterers were busy
prepping the banquet, and various and sundry pantries and storage cabinets. The floors above contained bedroom after bedroom, each one with walls covered with more Ike and Mamie pictures, that seem to go on forever. Next to the kitchen was a door that led to the stairway to the basement. I decided that Gill’s basement might be worth exploring, and I was right.
Michael Gill’s secret subterranean playground was a wood paneled wonderland of adult entertainment. A screening room, with couches instead of chairs, where guests could watch adult films while stretching out together in total comfort. The next room was decorated in a kind of cruise ship motif, with port-holes painted on the walls, round life-preservers hanging everywhere, and deck chairs for the comfort of the ship’s passengers. In the
center of the room was the biggest hot tub I had ever seen, accommodating maybe ten to twelve wet revelers at one time. As in the previous room, there was a large movie screen, and through one of the port-holes I noticed an 16MM movie projector.
The shelves in the projection room contained 16MM prints of feature films, all pornographic. As I went through the titles I was horrified to find several little movies that I had made for Sid Levine the previous year, and I was in about half of them. So Michael Gill had seen me in action. But how could he have gotten his hands on theatrical films that I had made for the DeCavalcante crime family? Then I remembered the boys from the Bonnano family who were upstairs for the wedding. The wedding! I made a bee-line for the stairway and arrived just in time. Jane was furious whispering, “Where have you been? Everybody’s been waiting for you.” I just said, “Don’t ask.”
The ceremony passed without a hitch, my sisters cried, and the reception began. Michael Gill hadn’t taken his eyes off Jane since we arrived, and it was making her uncomfortable. Gill, who’s constantly filling my glass, was telling me a series of bizarre stories about the sexual capabilities of his insatiable, nymphomaniac girlfriend. She was a mousy little thing, who I’m sure no one at the reception suspected of having a third hand located in her vagina, yet Gill maintained that this was the case. Now I knew that he recognized me from the movies. Why else would he be constantly whispering in my ear about his girlfriend’s sexual exploits? If he knew, did his pal who was in the midst of marrying my mother also know? Did Cheney? Dole? Musky? Just how many members of the United States Senate had watched, in the comfy confines of Michael Gill’s underground pleasure chamber, the movies I had made for the Mob? Gill was still relentlessly whispering. “I guarantee you young man, the slippery grasp, the velvety fingers, your zorch will be the happiest little guy on planet Earth.” Zorch? I hadn’t heard that word since I was twelve. At this point Gill decided that I should meet his pal Dick Cheney who, for the past few months, had been running Gerry Ford’s transition team, working just under his buddy Don Rumsfeld. “Dick, I’d like you meet the bride’s son Shaun. He’s a film maker you know.” Cheney turned with an outstretched hand, “A real pleasure Shaun. They make quite a handsome couple. A film maker, huh. Not a member of the press are you?” “No sir, not at all.” Cheney was sizing me up. “What kind of films do you make?” He was peering at me over the top of his glasses. “Golf sir, my last film was about the British Open.” Cheney smiled, “Golf. That’s the ticket. The great American common denominator. Everybody loves golf. Did you know that President Ford is quite an accomplished golfer? Plays with the pros all the time.”
So here we were at my mother’s wedding reception. Michael Gill was standing between Bob Dole, who was endlessly telling great jokes, and Dick Cheney, who was explaining how his friend Gerry Ford would save the GOP from ruin; and in between Dole’s Jokes and Cheney’s explanations, Gill was whispering in my ear about how it would feel when his girlfriend got that third hand in her vagina around my zorch. The only improvement that I could see on the theatricality of this moment might be the addition of a little acid, but I guess you can’t have everything.
The reception began to wind down and, before I could tell Jane about Gill’s subterranean amusement park, he was already telling her about his new gazillion gallon hot tub which, he proudly told her, was big enough for the whole neighborhood. He was having an intimate get together after the reception ended. Just a few couples would be there. Fun, open-minded couples, and we were invited. How could I have been so stupid? Gill was selling me on the sexual talents of his mousy girlfriend, while my mother was saying “I do”, in order to get his hands on Jane. This was truly hilarious. So my mother and her new hubby went over Niagara Falls in a barrel, and Jane and I took the short walk to Union Station, leaving Michael Gill and his three-handed girlfriend to swim laps in their hot tub.
Back in New York, I had stopped by Sid’s office to pick up a couple of checks from Star, and their office had a different feel. The young guys who did the grunt work, carrying boxes of film cans from one floor to the next, were all wearing suits. Normally these guys wore tee shirts, so I asked them what was going on. Paulie, who was the youngest, and always joking around, seemed strangely serious. “We’re in the banking business now”, he said. “Got to look good.” The banking business?
So I took Star’s checks down to the Franklin National Bank, like I always did, and a change had been made. The Franklin sign above the building had been replaced by one that read European American Bank. Inside all seemed as usual, with the exception ofsome of the bank’s personnel. Sitting at desks formerly occupied by the branch’s officers were employees of Star Distributors, wearing suits and looking a bit out of place. Charlie, the manager who had worked for Franklin, was still there and greeted me. “Hi Shaun, what have you got today?” “Just a few checks, Charlie.” He smiled. “No problem. Come on in the back.” As we walked toward the back of the bank, some of the “officers” winked or gave me the high-sign. In the bank’s back room four long tables had been set up, and they were covered with cash in various denominations, some of it stacked, and some of it just in piles. There were five or six men, all wearing suits, and all recognizable to me as employees of Star, sitting at the tables, counting the money, and putting the cash in large corrugated cardboard boxes. I gave the checks to Charlie, who reached into one of the boxes and handed me an enormous stack of freshly laundered hundred dollar bills. “Things are going to be easier from now on”, he said while counting out the last of my cash. It took a few of these odd transactions before the scandal hit the papers.
The Sicilian Mafia, fronted by an Italian businessman named Michele Sindona, had bought out the failing Franklin National Bank, renaming it EAB. The administration of the bank’s branches was to be the responsibility of New York’s Gambino crime family, along with the DeCavalcantes. So that’s what happened. I wondered why they didn’t just call it the Mafia National Bank and get it over with, but of course I never suggested this idea to the boys. So the European American Bank went about doing business with most of its employees bearing a strange resemblance to the cast of Mean Streets.
© 2011 Shaun Costello
BUSH STAFFERS SHACKLED BYSTUNNING COURT RULING
Alexandria VA, January 21: In a shocking court ruling today Seventh Circuit Appellate Judge Myron Herskowitz handed down a ‘guilty on all counts’ verdict against several former Bush White House staffers, as well as former Vice President Cheney. Special Prosecutor Leonard Attwater was quoted as saying, “This verdict is deeply gratifying. The full resources of the Justice Department were needed during the three year investigation. I believed that the defendants were guilty as sin from day one, and this verdict is certainly validation that our Justice System is in good working order”. Found guilty of Dereliction of Office were: Richard Pearl, Paul Wolfewitz, Carl Rove, and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Judge Heskowitz ruled that all four defendants must wear security anklets for a period of six months. Judge Heskowitz added, “These men have consistently proven themselves to be of the worst criminal element, and I want to keep an eye on them. Particularly now, that they are out of Washington. You might be out of sight gentlemen, but this court will be aware of everything that you’re up to”. His first day on the job, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said “The White House has no comment on Judge Herskowitz’s ruling”.
© 2009 Shaun Costello