Bookie Butcher

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: March 06, 2019

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Submitted: March 06, 2019



During the 80s, in the town that i lived in, we had one of the last butchers. Even then, being a butcher was a dying occupation, with the supermakets with a larger selection and more people to work in them. He was just a one man operation. But to make ends meet, he was also the local bookie. When he wasn't trying to sneak a fat thumb on the scale to increase the price of the hamburger, he was shaving points on the football games or basketball games, or anything else that you might want to bet on.

I had friends who would work for him after school. While they would be out in front of the store dealing with the customers, he was in this little backroom with a Lazyboy recliner, a snack table, and a phone dealing with the customers who didn't want to know what the price of steak was, but what was the point spread on the Knicks game was.

But, with his bookmaking, he had partners. You know the type, if you seen The Sopranos, or any Joe Pesci movie you know what i'm talking about. Big large guys with pudgy faces,wearing loud sport coats or windbreakers, ferdoras or pork pie hats on their heads. And they drove big cars, either Cadillacs, or Buicks, and some had Oldsmobiles, (boy, am i dating myself when i put in an Oldsmobile in the story). I would see them sometimes going into the butcher shop, then coming out with a package wrapped in brown butcher paper. It wasn't a leg of lamb they coming out with.

Even the butcher was driving a Cadillac. But he chosed an early 80s Cadillac Seville, one of the most ugliest cars in my opinion ever made. And even the color that he chosed, a piss yellow color. Black, or blue, or even grey would have made the car look alittle bit better.

Now, not only was he the neighborhood bookie, but he was also the neighborhood player. He had a deal with some of the women, many if not all were married, that if they would meet for an afternoon hookup, he would take 50% off their order for meat that they would buy from his butcher shop. And he wouldn't take them to a motel, or some other secluded spot, he would take them into the back of the butcher shop where he would do his bookmaking buisness, in the middle of the day. My friends would tell me stories that they would hear moaning and groaning and names being called out,while they were working in the front of the shop. When customers would come in and hear this, he would say that the boss was taking a break, and that he was watching tv. So, whomever was working, would walk over to the door to the backroom, knock on the door and say, "Hey boss, could you turn down the tv, we have a customer?" Then things would quiet down. This went on for years, but as always, good things must come to an end.

The end came when one of the guys that i mentioned earlier, the guys with the pudgy faces and arm twisters, got picked up by the cops for gambling. Now, he wasn't going to give up any names from his crew, because as we all know, "snitches get stitches", but with these people, he would have ended up in the swamps of the Jersey meadowlands. So, he gave up the butcher. What was he going to do. And if he did tell on these guys, HE would have ended up in the swamps.

He knew the score, so he took the wrap for this. But, since that this was his first offence, even though he had been doing this for years, and based on him being in his late 50s,the courts went easy on him. For three months he would be allowed to work at his shop in the daytime, but in the evening, he had to report to a halfway house. Also, he had to wear an ankle bracelet so they could keep track of him. But even with all, there was a silver lining, or should i say a green lining?

When the cops arrested him, they naturally had the warrant to search his business. They had records of his phone calls,and notebooks, and they found about $1,800. But, the cops didn't do a very good job in their search. This guy was abit crafty when it came to money, and if his friends with the pudgy faces knew that he was holding out on them with the money, well that would have been that.

What he did was, the freezer door that leads to the meat locker had a thick rubber seal around it to keep the cold from leaking out. But, he was able to pull back the rubber seal and hide money in between the edge of the door and the rubber seal. Plus, he didn't write down all the bets or the money that was being laid out on these bets. he would show the pudgy face goumbas the books, and the money that was taken in, but just what he had written down, not that money that he was squirreling away in the rubber seal of the freezer door. From what i heard, he had put about $6,000 in that hiding place. If these guys ever knew what he was doing, then all bets would have been off, cause he would have ended up on a meat hook next to a side of beef.


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