11 Feb 06
The Two Tonys
In the Mafia you can only be a made man if you are of one-hundred percent Italian descent. Two Tonys is Irish Italian. Although he was never a made man, Two Tonys was a Mafia associate, like Henry Hill, the protagonist in the movie Goodfellas. With his fuhgeddaboutits and giddouttaheres, Two Tonys talks like one of the old bosses.
Recently, I asked him how he came by the name Two Tonys.
“The name Two Tonys is an inside joke between me and some o’ the fellas back in the day. Lemme give you some background.
I came to Tucson in ’63 with fellas from Detroit, but they drifted back, and left me here scratchin’ shit with the chickens on my own; so, with my credentials as an associate of the Licavolis, I started puttin’ work in with the Bonannos – nothin’ heavy: just fuckin’ up a few guys here and there, bustin’ up a few pool tables, doin’ a couple of bombings.
That same year I was introduced to one Charlie ‘Batts’ Battaglia, who was runnin’ Tucson Vending Company for the Bonannos. Me bein’ a young guy, I was in awe of Batts. He was the epitome of a gangster: his hair was slicked back, he was always wearin’ dress slacks, alligator shoes and pinkie rings; he’d be chompin’ on a cigar, talkin’ outta the side of his mouth. If I’m Francis Ford Coppola, and I’m makin’ a gangster movie, I wanna guy like Batts in it.
Batts had a few whacks to his name. Back in the fifties, him and Jimmy the Weasel, workin’ for the Dragnas, whacked two guys named Tony. Batts and the Weasel got in the back of the car, and shot the two Tonys, who were sat up front. Now, remember these whacks, Jon,” he said staring intensely at me, "'cause they’re gonna come into my story later on.”
“Sure.” I nodded.
“My partner, Sal Spinelli, tells me that Batts wants to meet us about whackin’ the prosecutor on his extortion case – I think his name was Norman Green. Sal tells me that he told Batts we’ll do it, but Sal doesn’t wanna do it, and he tells me it’s up to me to get us outta it. Sal wanted to be a made man. He thought he was on his way, but his heart pumped Kool-Aid in tough situations – but I always forgave him.
We meet Batts at the Hilton Coffee Shop, and he looks at me, takes his sunglasses off, and says, ‘I’ve gotta guy in my way that I want outta my way. I want you to think about it, and I’m gonna ask you in a coupla days if you’ll do it.’
So far I’ve done no whacks. Sal doesn’t wanna do it, so, two days later, I told Batts, ‘I don’t think I can do anythin’ that heavy.’ He said, ‘No problem. It’s over. Fuhgeddaboutit.’
Now, let’s roll the clock forward to '77. Batts has just done six years for extortion. I’ve gotta fresh whack, and I’ve earned my spurs. One of my partners, Louis, owns the Sahara, where I’m livin’ in a suite with carte blanche on drinks. Me and Louis are drinkin’ and doin’ cocaine every night. Life is good. I’m wearin’ a Rolex and chains. I’ve got pockets full of C-notes. I’m drivin’ my El Dorado. I’m not the kid Batts tried to recruit ten years ago - I’m a formidable person.
Batts – using the same routine – sets up a meetin’ with me and Sal at eight-thirty a.m. at the Village Inn, on a Sunday mornin’. He tells us he’s not with those pieces-of-shit Bonannos anymore, and he keeps throwin’ out the name Lillo, who was Carmine Galante. I realise Batts is full o’ shit. He’s washed up. He’s got no power. So, at the Village Inn, I’m as mad as hell! I’ve been up all night, hustlin’, fuckin’ with broads, I’m high on coke – my nostrils look like the fuckin’ rims on margarita glasses. And I’ve got this fat greaseball motherfucker – who ain’t got no troops – actin’ the part, when he’s shrunk, he’s a skuzz. So, I’m gettin’ more and more pissed off at him, and he’s tryin’ to get me and Sal to jam some guy named Domenic, and throwin’ out Lillo's name.
The Village Inn is full of church-goin’ motherfuckers, and Batts – the loud talkin’ motherfucker – starts on about my business partner, Louis. He says, ‘Fuck Louis. I’ll grab his ass and shake him down.’ I’m strapped with a .38 in a Velcro holster on my ankle. Am I ready to turn the table over and whack the motherfucker?”
“Were you?” I asked.
“I dunno,” he replied. “I was so high, I mighta if he’d pushed the envelope.
What I did was slowly take my glasses off and said, ‘Look at me. Look at my fuckin’ eyes. Lemme tell ya somethin’ right now: if you or anyone else makes a move on Louis, I’m gunna take it as a personal attack on me.’
I could tell by his eyes that he thinks I’m a little umbatz – crazy. He backs way down, and starts talkin’ about us startin’ our own group with Lillo’s approval. He knows we know he’s a nobody, and the tables have turned.
Then, after the meetin’, Sal says to me, ‘At the Village Inn, when you got in that motherfucker’s face, I could feel the spirits of those Two Tonys at the table.’ That’s how I came by the nickname Two Tonys.”
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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood