“He tries to shake down businessmen.”– The Blue Suit talking to Josh Resnek
By JOSH RESNEK
The Blue Suit and I walked into McKinnon’s together. I wanted to buy some lamb grill.
It is amazing how no one noticed us. Made me think about reading “The Invisible Man,” the harrowing novel by Ralph Ellison.
“Have you read The Invisible Man?” I asked the Blue Suit as he browsed the meat aisle at McKinnon’s.
“Are you serious?” he replied. “It is one of my favorite books.
He recited the following to me from memory:
“I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allen Poe: Nor am I one of your Hollywood movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids, and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, simply because people refuse to see me.”
Men and women shoppers walked by us as he recited this me.
I was amazed.
“My life with Carlo is hell. He’s a terrible man. You don’t know the half of it. His fakery makes everything worse. Let me recite this other bit from the Invisible Man that reminds me of my place in the world because he owns me,” said the Blue Suit.
“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.”
“That’s exactly how I feel. It is exactly how so many others inside city hall feel working their jobs every day for Carlo. Mind you, not for the city, but for him, as though he owns city employees. It is pathetic, Josh. Believe me,” the Blue Suit added.
Outside McKinnon’s, we got into my red car, and we drove down Broadway.
“Look! Look there! That guy walking onto the construction site. He’s the mayor’s buddy. I know what’s going on. The mayor’s buddy is going to shake down the builder because he hasn’t yet contributed to the mayor’s re-election campaign,” the Blue Suit said.
“How do you know this?” I asked.
“Come on, Josh. I know everything. I hold all of Carlo’s secrets – who gets shaken down, who gets left alone, who is forced to contribute more for a bigger favor, who must contribute more just to be left alone. I know this all,” he added. “I know who gets the contracts and who doesn’t. Who is allowed to apply and who can never get approved. Who gets a raise and who gets a reduction. Who is laid off and who is fired.”
“Carlo is a vulture. He’s not an eagle. He eats doves for pleasure. He loves doves because they don’t fight back,” he said.
“I am never more hated by him than when I try to be honest, or when, even as just now I’ve tried to be truthful to you and articulate exactly what I felt to be the truth, you look at me oddly and wonder about what I’ve revealed.”
“Calm down,” I pleaded with the Blue Suit.
“Did you know Carlo has been excoriated in the federal court about allegations he was shaking down metal dealers for weekly cash payoffs? Do you know this, Josh? The judge in that trial admonished Carlo. He told him the trial was being held in the wrong courtroom, that it should be held next door, in the criminal court!”
‘Did you know Carlo was shaking down the owner of a famous donut store in Everett? He used to go to the store every week for $300 cash from the owner so the store could remain open late into the night. What do you think of that, Josh?”
“Do you have proof of this?” I asked.
“I was there. I was right there. I was so embarrassed and so disgusted that a mayor of Everett would act that way.”
I asked the Blue Suit what would happen if the donut store owner didn’t make the payment.
“The mayor would send one of his goons down to close the store. It is as simple as that,” he said.
“That’s why there needs to be a change of power at city hall. After all these years, city hall is like the mayor’s personal cash register. It rings every day. He’d like it to ring every hour of every day. The ringing of that register is like music to the mayor’s ears. He personifies greed. His greed has no boundaries. Can you imagine him picking up his own payoffs instead of sending someone else?” the Blue Suit asked.
“Not really,” I replied.
“Why would he make his own pickups?” I wondered.
“Are you an idiot, Josh? He made his own pickups because he couldn’t trust Jerry and the others who work for him to make the pickups and then hand all of it to him! I heard the mayor talking about sending Jerry for a pickup. Jerry handed him the dough. The mayor went wild. He said to Jerry he was missing $500 from a $1000 shakedown. There’s always skimming, Josh. That’s how this works with the mayor’s friends on his payroll at city hall. He never knows who he can trust.”
“Let me change that. He knows he can trust Al Lattanzi. What a shame the mayor blamed Lattanzi for being a bad candidate when he lost the ward race against Mike McLaughlin the last time around.
Driving down Elm Street we noticed a number of DeMaria for mayor signs.
“Anthony is doing good work. Don’t you think?” the Blue Suit asked me.
“Anthony, who?” I asked.
“DiPierro,” the Blue Suit said. “Anthony DiPierro, Josh. That’s the mayor’s sign department.
We drove up and down the neat and orderly streets with well-kept homes of the hospital hill. By the hospital, we stopped for a moment. We stared out at the Boston skyline. So close and yet a world away from Carlo’s thuggery and shakedowns.
Fred Capone drove by us. He didn’t notice us.
“Look at him,” the Blue Suit said. “He’s running a high-class campaign against the lowest class mayor. Can that work? Can he get as much taking the high road as he could get punching it out with Carlo?” he wondered.
“That remains to be seen,” I said.
“Do you think he’ll bring up the sexual assaults the mayor has allegedly been involved with and the payoffs?” the Blue Suit asked me.
“I don’t think he’ll have to do that,” I replied.
“Why not?” the Blue Suit wondered.
“Gerly Adrien will take care of that. Capone won’t have to say a word, although he should to show women voters he means business about sexual assault. The city can’t have a mayor who has sexually assaulted women and then paid them off,” I said. ” There must be proof,” I added.
“Don’t worry about that, Josh. There’s plenty of proof. I know this for a fact. I know the mayor’s secrets. He can’t hide anything this time around. He can’t avoid the scrutiny he is going to be put under. I know this for a fact,” the Blue Suit concluded.