I’m a harebrained idiot. Everyone who knows me can attest to that. Why else would I approach a mobster and ask if I can not only blog about him, but mock him at the same time?
His Mafia Cookbook is a bestseller. Note to self: Learn to cook and become friends with Betty Crocker.
A few months ago I asked Joe Dogs if he would consider being interviewed for a blog entry. I told him I write satire and would definitely be making fun of him. Although he seemed puzzled as to who I could possibly be, he agreed.
In the meantime, my stupid life got in the way of hanging out with a made man, but last week I called him to confirm a time and date to meet. I thought breakfast in a crowded restaurant would be appropriate. Once again he was agreeable, but seemed to think my name is Pat.
I neglected to mention to Joe I’d be bringing along a wingman. Rebecca is a cynical smartass who recently graduated from college and hopes to join the Navy. She’s a fellow writer with a great sense of style and has a formidable weapon I don’t possess when going up against mobsters, law-abiding male citizens and your occasional stray lesbian – a great pair of boobs. I told her to wear a blouse that revealed a lot of cleavage and wouldn’t you know it? A fucking Texas Norther blew in and some people don’t want their boobs hanging out in freezing weather when the wind is blowing at over 25 mph. Some people won’t take one for the team.
It turned out Rebecca impressed Joe even though she wore a jacket and scarf. He kissed her hand when he left and told her he’d give her a copy of the Mafia Cookbook. My hand remains unkissed and terribly dry and I paid for my copy of his book. Now that’s a great wingman.
Joe’s quite the storyteller. He ran away from New York at the age of 14 and hitchhiked across the country to California. With only seven bucks in his pocket, he bought a kid’s wagon, some paint and brushes and knocked on the front doors of wealthy people. He told them his parents were sick and offered to paint their mailboxes for a quarter; a lot of money in the forties. Some gave him as much as ten bucks.
Joe Dogs testified in several trials against fellow Mafia members and he’s quite clear why he did it. Revenge. His mentor Tommy Agro, along with two of Tommy’s eggplants, beat Joe almost to death. A priest performed last rites over him at the hospital, but he came to with a clear mission. Get that sonofabitch!
If you go to the 19 minute, 50 seconds mark in the following video from the History Channel, you can watch about 15 minutes featuring Joe Dogs Iannuzzi from something called Mob Rats.
Joe demonstrated for us with hand gestures which left no doubt in our minds the location of the FBI wires he wore when setting up his compares. He had balls of steel and what kind of tape did the FBI use to affix those wires anyway? Oh, the weird things I wonder. What he did was pretty amazing and according to at least one FBI agent, Joe was one of the best at undercover work he’d ever seen. And he can cook!
Joe got his revenge on Tommy Agro, who went to prison and later died of cancer. The Mafia Cookbook is dedicated to Tommy.
This book is dedicated to my good friend and compare Tommy Agro-Without you this book would not be possible. Rest in pieces.
The rest in pieces comment is on my mind as I finish writing this. Joe told us that if he ever saw any of the old mobsters who tried to have him whacked, he’d definitely whack them first.
Here’s our conversation:
Kat: Are you saying if one of those guys hobbled up to you with a walker, you’d whack him?
Joe Dogs: Hell, yeah. I’d whack him over the head with my cane.
Then I commented that it would make a funny tv series called Aging Mobsters.
Joe went nuts. He thinks I should write it and pitch it and he wants in. That’s not the nutty part. The nutty part is how many times he told me Aging Mobsters is a great title. Below is my response to his enthusiasm for that title.
Aging Mobsters is not a great title, Joe. It just happened to be the first thing out of my mouth during a random conversation. A great title for a tv series about octogenarian mobsters is Whacking Off. But if you think for one second I was going to stand up in that restaurant, point my finger at you and shout, “J’accuse you of not knowing a great title from one a poodle could have thought up, you have no clue how strong my sense of self-preservation is. After all, I have no idea where you keep your cane.”
To be continued…unless I get whacked.