Which opening below should I start Two Tonys Chapter 2 out with? 1 = Two Tonys describing his preferred killing methods 2 = Two Tonys describing how he clicked up with the Mafia
When whacking a guy at close range, I always prefer to shoot him in the head. A motherfucker is more likely to die from getting his brains blown out than taking a hit to the body. The skull is like a helmet that protects the brain. It can slow a bullet down and sometimes it deflects bullets. To get around that you put the gun in his mouth if you’re able to get that close. Aimed up, you can splatter his brains against a ceiling or produce a cloud of fine mist formed by a blend of brains and bone fragments. Aimed slightly down, you’ll get a quick kill if you destroy the spinal column at the base of the skull. But the spinal column in that area is so skinny it’s only slightly thicker than a pencil. That’s why shooting someone in the neck is risky. You might get a good gargle out of the guy, but the bullet will likely go through the neck and miss the spinal column. Two other nice spots are the temple and the side of the head under the ear, using an upward angle towards the brain. Stay away from the chin, but the nose is good ’cause it’s hollow over the brain, so it allows the bullet right in, just like the eyes. The heart is a great target, but the chest is a large surface area, and the ribs sometimes change the paths of bullets. If a bullet doesn’t cause fatal heart damage, you still might get a kill if the aorta or the largest veins into the heart or the major branches are destroyed. A shotgun is perfect to aim at the heart ’cause the pellets spread out, so even if you have a lousy aim, there’s usually plenty of damage to cause a motherfucker to bleed out. A shotgun in the mouth will put someone to sleep fast. It might take a motherfucker’s head off. Kurt Cobain chose that ’cause it’s the most lethal form of suicide. If you’re in the market for a gun to protect your home, get a shotgun.
Assuming you’ve made a clean kill, you have to decide what to do with the body. When the Mafia whack a guy, they rarely do it in the streets like in the old Al Capone days with Thompson submachine guns. They wanna take a guy out somewhere he just disappears, ground up in a sausage machine or fish bait in Jamaican Bay or in a junkyard in the trunk of a beat-up car crushed to the size of a cigar box. With no corpse, it’s hard for the cops to prove there was a crime. The exception is when they’re trying to send a message. Some bodies are meant to be found. The body of a snitch might be dumped in a public area with a canary or a pigeon stuffed in the mouth as a warning to others. Before he’s killed, his tongue might be cut out. A more elaborate way is by placing a guy’s feet inside of cinder blocks, filling them with cement and throwing him into the water. That’s where the expression “someone who sleeps with the fishes” came from.
I like to dispose of a corpse as far away from the crime scene as possible and to bury it. The main problem with that is the stink. It’s best wrapped in the kind of plastic sheets used to catch paint drops, so you don’t get blood on your car or clothes, and transported in a sleeping bag to disguise it in case you get pulled over or you can use a 50-gallon industrial drum. If the corpse is too big for the drum, you might have to saw an arm or a leg off. Ideally, you cocoon the corpse in plastic and sheets like a mummy with its hands at its sides before rigor mortis kicks in. A corpse rots underground, destroying the evidence. It rots faster in the heat, so summer is the best time to whack someone. Heat will rot a corpse down to a skeleton in under a week, so it’s easier to get away with whacking someone in Arizona than Alaska. I ran into problems disposing of bodies in Alaska ’cause the motherfuckers just froze and what I’d hoped for didn’t happen: the bears eating the corpses. In heat, worms, maggots and parasites feast on the corpse.
For premeditated killings, it’s best to dig a hole in advance due to the time it takes to get deep enough: about five or six feet. We ain’t talking about no little sandpit here. Digging a hole is hard fucking work. You don’t wanna get caught with a shovel loitering off some backroad in the boonies with a stiff in the trunk. If you don’t dig deep enough in Arizona, monsoonal rain might expose the corpse, or coyotes might dig the motherfucker up and start chewing on an arm or leg. I helped bury a few in Tucson, where bears and lions come down from the mountains when they’re hungry. There’s more rain in Tucson than Phoenix and it’s slightly cooler, so you get better desert soil to dig into. In Phoenix in the summer, the desert is baked too rock hard to dig. A good trick is to bury the stiff at least six feet under the grave of a large dead dog or any other big carcass. If the cops come out with cadaver dogs, which pick up a corpses scent, they’ll stop digging when they discover the carcass. Once you’ve got your corpse buried, take a look at the spot and see how obvious it looks. Camouflage it by raking sand or soil over it.
If you whack someone on the spur of the moment and you need to get rid of the stiff fast, take it to the nearest cemetery. Find the area of freshest-looking graves, and check no cameras are scoping you out. Dig a grave up and drop the corpse in. Who the fuck’s gonna notice that? That’s why one of the Mafia families I worked for, the Bonannos, invested in funeral homes.
In 1962, I first saw Teddy Licavoli in a pizzeria where we both knew the owner in Grosse Point, Michigan, one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in the US, home of the big shots of the auto industry like the Fords and the Dodges, and gangsters like the Zerillis and Licavolis, who lived on Mafia Row. Teddy’s dad, Peter Licavoli, was a mob boss they arrested for murder seven times, only to be released every time. His wealth came from gambling, liquor-smuggling and boot-legging operations.
With thick dark hair sprouting from a low brow, parted at one side and greased back, Teddy was my age. His eyes, big and brown, had a hustler’s gaze. He’d been to Grosse Point High, and military school in Florida while his dad was in the joint for tax evasion. There was a big difference in his lifestyle and mine, but we attracted. He was looking to get a little thug in him, and I was looking to hang out with the big boys. In order to hang out, I had to have a little something-something to offer, a little charisma, a craziness, a ballsiness, so they’d think, I can use this guy for something. Working in the suit department at a men’s clothes store, I was dressed sharp and I had a 1956 Chevy convertible outside next to Teddy’s new Corvette.
So I got talking to Teddy, and we clicked. We went to a restaurant. Everyone knew who he was. We didn’t have to pay for a thing. They were like, “I’ve got this. How’s your father? Give him my regards.” Which was good for my ego and prestige. After that, we hung out at a pool hall with about fifty others from all over, some big-shot gangsters’ kids, and blue-collar motherfuckers like me. Teddy said he was going to Arizona. He asked if I’d pick up his twelve-year-old brother, and take him to a saxophone lesson at their house in Grosse Point. Before long, I was driving down to their house twice a week.
I wasn’t doing anything other than driving the Licavoli kid to sax lessons when Aldo Apichello, a friend I’d made through the Licavolis, said to me, “Let’s go to LA and live.” Aldo was a smart good-looking kid, real dark and wiry, with thick hair. His brothers were hooked up with the Licavolis in the numbers racket, the Italian lottery, an illicit form of betting that allowed people to pick three numbers that won if they matched numbers drawn the next day. Due to the small size of the bets, it was popular in blue-collar neighbourhoods.
“Fuck it! Let’s go!” I said.
We packed his 1958 Plymouth Fury convertible, said our goodbyes – “See you later. We’re going to LA!” – and took off. We cruised along Route 66 with the top down, two young guys pumped up on adventure. Before Las Cruces in the New Mexico desert, we hit a strip of road past Roswell, and saw a sign: NEXT TOWN 100 MILES.
“Let’s make it in a fucking hour!” Aldo yelled.
We set our watch timers, and Aldo punched the gas. The Fury blazed down the little two-lane road, no freeway, no lights, hemmed in by sand dunes. We were doing it, going 110 mph. The Fury was wide open. We made it, but fried the engine up. Coughing from the stink of burnt oil and rubber, we pulled in at White Sands, where the dunes looked like snow.
In Las Cruces, a mechanic said it would take a week to get the parts to fix the Fury. We checked into the Lorna Hotel. In a glass case, the old register had the signatures of Billy the Kid and the lawman who’d shot and killed him, Pat Garrett. The hotel even had the cell where Garrett had locked up Billy the Kid. There were no room keys. The bathroom and bathtub were down the hall.
“Fuck waiting around here for a week. The Licavolis have got a ranch in Tucson,” Aldo said.
Across a vast desert with the odd shrub and cactus, we took a Greyhound bus to Tucson. On the way, we called Mike Licavoli – Teddy’s older brother, a bit bigger than Teddy, but with the same dark hair and complexion – who picked us up. Going to the Triple H Ranch, Mike drove through the University of Arizona, all tall campus buildings, palm trees and well-watered grass. The sun was shining and college girls were smiling at us. Can you imagine the impression that had on me coming from dark and smoky Detroit to cleanliness and fresh air? I fell in love with Arizona right away.
The ranch building was spread across the desert with cactuses here and horses there. Papago Indian maids with lustrous black hair were cleaning rooms and cooking. Snowbirds – old wealthy guests from out of state – were staying there, paying monthly.
An old-time Jewish gangster managed the ranch. When he took his top off, he revealed a pastiche of bullet holes and scars on his back from shootouts during his days in the Mayfield Road Mob, based out of Cleveland’s Little Italy. Most of the people running the ranch were from Ohio, including ten goombahs from Youngstown. With them, we went to the Grace Ranch every day while living at the Triple H. The Grace Ranch was thick with mobsters on the lam, walking around with no necks, their noses all on the sides of their faces, their wives with them, and their Cadillacs.
Only twenty-one, I was more than impressed. It was like taking a kid off a baseball sandlot, and putting him in the Yankee locker room with his favourite players. While waiting for the Fury to be fixed, I was swimming and eating well every day. The dining room at the Triple H had twenty tables and wood walls with knotty-pine panelling and southwestern motifs. The Papago Indian maids served us. Mike Licavoli, Aldo and I always ate there. There was no bill, but we had to eat what they fixed for the day, bunkhouse style.
One night when we were all drunk, Mike took us out on the town. Stopped at a red light on Speedway Boulevard in an old station wagon, Mike got into a yelling match with some guys. We pulled in at the Flamingo Hotel, got out, and started fighting the guys. I grabbed a FOR SALE sign from the back of the station wagon, and started swinging it and hitting the motherfuckers. All at once the guys took off, but cops arrived in plain clothes. They showed us their badges: liquor-control agents. They knew who Mike was and were laughing. After asking us what we were doing and all that shit, they let us go. During the fight Mike had noticed that I was a thumper. He liked that.
When it was time for me to leave Tucson, I told Mike, “I’d like to come back out here to live and work with you.”
“Let me clear it with the old man first,” he said, referring to his mob-boss father.
Click here for descriptions of all of the prisoners I write about at Jon’s Jail Journal ranging from Mafia hit men to giant transsexuals.