In Case of Emergency, Join Mafia

Posted: December 4, 2012 in Mom, Russ
Tags: , , , ,

Mom was constantly prepping me in the event one or all of us were the target of assassinations. She would sit me down several times for a “serious talk” – usually over ice cream or hot chocolate (during these talks, I could pretty much get anything I asked for).

Mom: Now, Dan. If I ever have an accident…it won’t be an accident. Do you understand?

Me: Not really.

Mom: If I were to get involved in a car wreck, or get hit by a bus…it wouldn’t be an accident, it would be the mob.

Me: Oh.

Mom: And if someone comes to the door after I die, and offers to “make you” (one of mom‘s big buzz words), you need to turn them down. I told Russ that it’s a package deal – they need to take you and me both or nobody.

Me: Alright.

Mom: And you need to be careful – if you tell anybody about this you will be killed. I will be killed. Probably Grandma and Tim too. You have to promise me you won’t say a word to anyone unless I say they’re okay.

My mothers idea of getting “made” by the Mafia was not what you would often hear about or see in the movies – at least, not as far as we were concerned. You see, the Mafia had a stranglehold on the entertainment industry, politics, everything. They would decide when a slot would open up – say, they’d want a new action hero ala Bruce Willis. Well, they’d pick a guy – let’s call him Tom Smith. They’d “sit down and talk” (another of mom’s buzz words), offer him a deal and a new life as Bruce Willis. They would fake Tom Smith’s death – a plane crash or something – and they’d create a new identity for him (ostensibly, Bruce Willis). They’d give him a past, a family, a wife, etc and he’d be on the scene as a brand new, high level movie star. I have no idea how they could have profited in this scenario – I asked her many times and she couldn’t give me an answer. I assume she thought they laundered money this way or took a cut or something. Anyway.

With the constant threat of death (mine and/or my family’s) hanging over my head, I still had other anxieties to worry about. My father was a constant concern. He was an alcoholic, para military type – sort of a wanna be survivalist. More than anything in life, he wanted a career in the military but couldn’t make it work. I heard different stories, and I never knew which one to believe – either they kicked him out or he turned down a commission. Regardless, he was just as much of a nut as my mom except he was actually dangerous. He never went anywhere unless he was armed to the teeth. He would constantly physically threaten my grandmother, beat the shit out of me, or just do something insane. One night, while I was sleeping between them, he pulled a loaded gun from the dresser and just pointed it at my mom’s head. Never said a word, just laid there casually and stared at her. She ended up making some excuse (I think it was that I needed to go to the bathroom) and left the room. “Come right back!” he shouted. Mom, Grandma, and I drove around all night until he left for work.

They divorced, thank God – I’m convinced someone would have been killed if they didn’t. The main reason they got divorced was thanks to Mom’s delusions. She told Russ some of what was going on, and Russ (like any other normal person) told her she should stop trying to work it out and get a divorce. She listened, because she listened to everything Russ said. If Russ told her to spend $50,000 she didn’t have on a new BMW, she would. She wouldn’t even question it. So Mom stopped trying to make things right, and eventually Dad just decided to move out one day. The problem was, he still kinda stalked us. We would get creepy messages on our answering machine, my outside rabbit was killed by a hammer blow to the head, and in general we were always looking over our shoulders. If it wasn’t the right shoulder, it was the left. I still remember vividly a threat left on our answering machine: “I’m gonna get you, kid. You’re mine.” It sounded like “Ahm Gonna Git Yew, Kid. (Heavy breathing) You’re Mahn.” Of course, it wasn’t Dad – I think he put somebody up to it. But the voice, which I can recall clearly, made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Any car that drove by our house slowly was highly suspect – was it the Mafia or Dad? Mom would insist that there were cars at the end of the block, idling with their lights off, watching our movements. She would frequently come upstairs to my room, shut off all the lights, and peek out the windows. We’d sit for a long time like that, trying to be quiet while she assessed the danger. At some point, she would decide everything was okay and we could relax.



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