14 Oct 07
“Did I tell you about the time I was exorcised by the Assembly of God church?” Two Tonys said.
“No,” I said. “This I’ve got to hear. How did that happen?”
“A wannabe gangster by the name of George Furagie, who claimed he was a drummer in a band workin’ for the Campisi family, moved to Tucson. The Campisis were a deadly mob outta New Jersey. He starts hangin’ out at my restaurant in a black suit, black shirt, white tie, and hair all sprayed down lookin’ like he just stepped outta The Godfather. I can tell that when it’s time for some Mobster nitty-gritty he ain’t got no heart, but I let him play his game. He’s as enthusiastic about me as if I were Frank Sinatra, so I figure I can use him for some lightweight this-and-that.
Unknown to me, also in Tucson at that time – late ’79, early ’80 – is a Russian-Jewish killer, Ira Peznick, formerly of the Campisis but now in the Witness Protection Program. There’s a book about Peznick called To Drop A Dime. The Campisis wanna kill this guy.
I’m in my restaurant, and I hear sirens, and see ambulances and fire engines at the nearby Shell gas station. The fire department are workin’ on a guy who’s had a heart attack.
Later on Furagie comes in and says, ‘You’re not gonna believe this. I pulled up at a red light down the street here, and I look over, and I see this guy that looks familiar. He’s standin’ and starin’ at me and I’m starin’ at him, and we go our separate ways. The guy drives three blocks, pulls in the Shell gas station right here, has a heart attack, and gets out yellin’, ‘Call the police. They’re after me! They’re after me!’ It was Ira Peznick, and he thought I was out to get him.’
Is it possible? I don’t know. But Peznick’s heart attack was all over the news with witnesses quotin’ him sayin’, ‘They’re after me!’ Arizona is a hot area for Witness Protection. Sammy the Bull was placed in Arizona.
Now I go to the joint and Furagie comes and visits me.
I get out in ’85. Furagie’s in Tucson, sellin’ cars, and he’s got a Chicana wife. And I’ll be damned if he hadn’t turned into a born-again Christian. He’s in at the deep end of the religious pool, and his wife is too. He shows me his house and picks up an ocotillo cactus skeleton in the shape of a cross. He says, ‘Look what we found. This is God talkin’ to me. We found it when we were lookin’ to buy the house. It was a sign we should buy it.’ He invites me to stay with them. I’m a little wary but I say OK. He tells me he gets up early every mornin’ to go to a prayer meetin’, and he asks me to come. He’s so enthused. I say, ‘Fuck it. Let’s go.’
At 5 am we’re up and on our way, and he has a flat tire. Furagie says, ‘See what Satan did?’ I say, ‘What?’ He says, ‘He gave me a flat tire. Satan’s always workin’ tryin’ to upset me and mess up my schedule.’ He’s as happy as can be fixin’ the flat tire. He’s happy-go-lucky, carefree, whistlin’ like the flat was the best thing that ever happened to the motherfucker in the whole world. I’m thinkin’ of poppin’ the goofy motherfucker in the head, puttin’ him to sleep, puttin’ him outta his misery.
Back on the road to the church he tells me, ‘The reason I joined the Assembly of God is 'cause a church member told me that the Lord had spoken to him and told him that a drummer was being sent from the east to join the congregation.’
There’s ten guys at the prayer meetin’. Hardware store people, chiropractors, shit like that. I don’t know what to do. I sit down and they surround me in a circle. They start prayin’ and puttin’ their fuckin’ hands on me. When they start talkin’ in tongues – skoobydawackeeballamackasallikodo - I realise I’m being exorcised. And they’re all talkin’ in different tongues.
I’m thinkin’: Whatthafuck has Furagie done? Howthafuck did I get myself in this situation? I’m fresh outta the joint and Furagie’s house is a good crash pad and the grub is good but by tryin’ to save a few bucks, I’ve fucked myself. It’s six in the mornin’ and I’m at the Assembly of God church surrounded by a bunch of holy-rollin’ motherfuckers prayin’ for me to cast out the devil like I’m Attila the fuckin’ Hun. But I can’t hate 'em. They’re not tryin’ to pick my pocket or sell me nothin’. They’re just tryin’ to bring me into their flock. I guess that’s the bottom line with these motherfuckers: get a guy in your flock.
After ten minutes, I’m getting’ pissed off: Let’s get this over with. I wanna giddthafuckouttahere. This goofy motherfucker Furagie has got me trapped down here with a buncha religious fanatics still talkin’ in tongues outta the side of their necks. On the way home, I’m gonna put Furagie’s head in a cholla cactus and make sure the needles stick in his fuckin’ eyeballs.”
“Did you give him the cactus treatment?”
“No. I just say, ‘Hey George, whatthafucks up with that? Why take me down that road? I didn’t as for that.’ He says, ‘Look, even if I’m wrong, it ain’t hurtin’ nothin’. It’s changed my life.’ I tell him. ‘Well it ain’t for me. And your life ain’t about shit anyway. You’re a car salesman, that’s all you are.’”
“What became of Furagie?”
“I stopped my buddy Louie Marconi from beatin’ him up, and I never saw him again. He’s probably one of those sorry-asses who send Jimmy Swaggart money. Swaggart’s with Assembly of God. He keep’s gettin’ caught with naked prostitutes, but his flock keep forgivin’ the sick motherfucker, and sendin’ him even more money. Swaggart’s in de bizz-ness. Bein’ kept rich by sad motherfuckers like Furagie."
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