The casino featured slots, craps, roulette, blackjack, poker, keno, and the world’s thickest deep-pile carpets. The lobby featured a panoply of jumbo cardboard Frank Sinatras.
Dig that one by the door--somebody drew a dick in Frankie’s mouth.
Dig that tiny cardboard cutout by the bar: “Lenny Sands at the Swingeroo Lounge!”
Somebody yelled, “Pete! Pete the Frenchman!” It had to be somebody Outfit - or somebody suicide prone.
Pete looked around. He saw Johnny Rosselli, waving from a booth just inside the bar enclosure.
He walked over. The booth was all-star: Rosselli, Sam G., Heshie Ryskind, Carlos Marcello.
Rosselli winked. “Frenchman Pete, che se dice? ”
“Good, Johnny. You?”
“Ça va, Pete, ça va . You know the boys here? Carlos, Mo and Heshie?”
“Just by reputation.”
Handshakes went around. Pete stayed standing - per Outfit protocol.
Rosselli said, “Pete’s French-Canadian, but he don’t like to be reminded of it.”
Giancana said, “Everybody’s gotta come from somewhere.”
Marcello said, “Except me. I got no fucking birth certificate. I was either born in fucking Tunis, North Africa, or fucking Guatemala. My parents were Sicilian greenhorns with no fucking passports. I shoulda asked them, ‘Hey, where was I born?’ when I had the chance.”
Ryskind said, “Yeah, but I’m a Jew with a finicky prostate. My people came from Russia. And if you don’t think that’s a handicap in this crowd...”
Marcello said, “Pete’s been helping Jimmy out in Miami lately. You know, at the cabstand.”
Roselli said, “And don t think we don’t appreciate it.’
Giancana said, “Cuba has to get worse before it gets better. Now the fucking Beard has ‘nationalized’ our fucking casinos. He’s got Santo T. in custody down there, and he’s costing us hundreds of thousands a day.”
Rosselli said, “It’s like Castro just shoved an atom bomb up the ass of every made guy in America.”
Nobody said, “Sit down.”
Sam G. pointed out a lowlife walking by counting nickels. “D’Onofrio brings these chumps here. They stink up my room and don’t lose enough to compensate. Me and Frank have got 40% of the Lodge between us. This is a top-line room, not a resort for the lunchpall crowd.”
Rosselli laughed. “Your boy Lenny’s working with Sal now.”
Giancana took a bead on the lowlife and pulled a make-believe trigger. “Somebody’s gonna put a new part in Mad Sal D’Onofrio’s hair. Bookies that owe more than they take in are like fucking Communists sucking the welfare tit.”
Rosselli sipped his highball. “So, Pete, what brings you to the Cal-Neva?”
“I’m interviewing Lenny Sands for a job. I thought he might make a good stringer forHush-Hush .”
Sam G. passed him some play chips. “Here, Frenchman, lose a grand on me. But don’t move Lenny out of Chicago, all right? I like having him around.”
Pete smiled. The “boys” smiled. Get the picture? They’ve tossed you all the crumbs they think you’re worth.
Pete walked. He got caught up in the tail end of a stampede-low rollers heading for the low-rent lounge.
He followed them in. The room was SRO: every table full, latecorners holding up the walls.
Lenny Sands was on stage, backed by a piano and drums.
The keyboard man tickled some blues. Lenny bopped him on the head with his microphone.
“Lew, Lew, Lew. What are we, a bunch of moolies? What are you playing? ‘Pass Me the Watermelon, Mama, ‘Cause My Spareribs are Double-Parked’ ?”
The audience yukked. Lenny said, “Lew, give me some Frankie.”
Lew Piano laid down an intro. Lenny sang, half Sinatra/half fag falsetto:
“I’ve got you under my skin. I’ve got you, keestered deep inside of me. So deep, my hemorrhoids are riding me. I’ve got you--WHOA!----under my skin.”
The junket chumps howled. Lenny cranked up his lisp:
“I’ve got you, chained to my bed. I’ve got you, and extra K-Y now! So deep, you can’t really say why now! I’ve got you under my skin!”
The geeks yuk-yuk-yukked and tee-hee-heed. Peter Lawford walked in and checked the action--Frank Sinatra’s #1 toady.
The drummer popped a rim shot. Lenny stroked his mike at crotch level.
“You gorgeous he-men from the Chicago Knights of Columbus, I just adore you!”
The audience cheered--
“And I want you to know that all my womanizing and chasing ring-a-ding cooze is just subterfuge to hide my overweening lust for YOU, the men of K of C Chapter 384, you gorgeous hunks of manicotti with your king-sized braciolas that I just can’t wait to sautee and fricassee and take deep into my tantalizing Tetrazzini!”
Lawford looked hot to trot. It was common insider knowledge that he’d kill to suck up to Sinatra. The junketeers roared. Some clown waved a K of C flag.
“I just love you love you love you! I can’t wait to dress up in drag and invite all of you to sleep over at my Rat Pack slumber party!”
Lawford bolted toward the stage.
Pete tripped him.
Dig the toady’s pratfall--an instant all-time classic.
Frank Sinatra shoved his way into the lounge. The junketeers went stone fucking nuts.
Sam G. intercepted him. Sam G. whispered to him, nice and gentle and FIRM.
Pete caught the gist.
Lenny’s with the Outfit. Lenny’s not a guy you rough up for sport.
Sam was smiling. Sam dug Lenny’s act.
Sinatra about-faced. Ass-kissers surrounded him.
Lenny cranked his lisp waaaaay up. “Frankie, come back! Peter, get up off the floor, you gorgeous nincompoop!”
Lenny Sands was one cute shitbird.
(james ellroy - american tabloid)
spade cooley - trouble over you