Back around the turn of the century, I did a series of humor essays revolving around a character named “Paulie Five Fingers.” Paulie, not to put it too indirectly, was a mob boss, a Tony Soprano. He was sleek, vicious, and engaging.
I actually did know someone who referred to himself as “Paulie Five Fingers”, but the reality is a bit disappointing; the real-life Paulie is a model of probity, a paragon of virtue. I wrote the pieces in the first person, and I was a lot more noble and courageous than I am in real life: the real Zepp would be whimpering and wetting his pants wondering why Tony Soprano had decided, not only to befriend him, but to bestow lavish gifts upon him.
I hit on the notion of Paulie suborning the legal system by becoming a part of it. In “Paulie, DA” I had the following occur:
Paulie: "There is business requiring my attention here. I am about to become the new DA of your illustrious county."
Me: "DA? District Attorney? You’re about to become the District Attorney?"
"You should not take such a tone of voice. If you were not my friend, I would think that perhaps you were questioning my qualifications for the position."
"Well, I know you know court procedure like a Dershowitz. But aren’t you usually, um, facing the district attorney in those cases?"
"That is often the case. But it came to pass that I observed trials of several petty larcenists and other minor players in the world of crime lately, and I observed a most interesting thing.
"In this low-level courtroom in New Jersey, I noticed that the state-appointed defense attorney was a drab, a pitiful, cringing little guy who clearly was some hippy liberal type who just barely beat the bar exam and clings to existence in a low-paying, dead-end job. Scuttling and brow-beaten, he all but apologized to the court for wasting their time on defending clients such as his.
"The Assistant District Attorney was sleek and well-fed, serene, confident, exchanging understanding amused glances with the judge as the defense attorney went about his menial tasks, barely bothering to learn the name of the accused, but merely reciting the crimes, secure in the knowledge that little of his time would have to be devoted to presenting actual evidence. It was like watching a polling station where a ten-term incumbent congressman is facing a challenge from some unknown third party weirdo."
OK, the story was funny, and it was a lot of fun to write.
But for fuck’s sake. I was joking! It was meant to be satire! I didn’t mean for it to become a guide for Donald Trump!
James Comey’s book, “A Higher Loyalty,” leaked today, and amongst all the stunning claims in the book according to the Guardian, “The former FBI director James Comey denounces Donald Trump as ‘untethered to truth’ and likens the president to a mafia boss.”
“Holy crap,” Comey writes, “they are trying to make each of us an ‘amica nostra’ – a friend of ours. To draw us in. As crazy as it sounds, I suddenly had the feeling that, in the blink of an eye, the president-elect was trying to make us all part of the same family.”
The White House as “Our Thing”. The mind reels.
Or at least, it would, if we already hadn’t been exposed to 16 months of criminal bullshit and a mafia mentality from this White House.
I can only hope, in the cold light of reality, that this son-of-a-bitch of a president ends up rotting in prison, and soon.
Comey writes, “I once again was having flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the Mob. The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and the truth.”
Of Trump’s now famous demand over dinner at the White House in January 2017, “I need loyalty”, Comey writes: “To my mind, the demand was like Sammy the Bull’s Cosa Nostra induction ceremony – with Trump in the role of the family boss, asking me if I have what it takes to be a ‘made man’.”
Yeah. “Holy Crap.” That about covers it.
I concluded “Paulie DA” like this:
"Paulie, given your career..."
"Please do not be vocally explicit."
"Given your career, don’t you see this as a travesty?"
"Travesty? Zepp, you treat me so poorly sometimes, what am I going to do with you? You heard my description of the present dynamics of our judicial system. It is what the people want. It is what the people need. It is, one way or another, what the people will get.
"Believe me, my friend, given the present state of American justice, there is nobody in the country better qualified to administer it than me.
"I’ll be the best district attorney you ever saw, and exactly what the people deserve."
Fucking Hell. I was being a sarcastic asshole. I didn’t mean it!
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Posted: April 24, 2018