Dumb and Dumber
I took care of a patient, a retired FBI agent, who had also had been involved in the clandestine surveillance that eventually helped lead to the arrest and prosecution of the “Godfather” of the Gambino family, John Gotti.
Most people are aware of Gotti’s social club, The Ravenite, a typical mob hangout located in Manhattan’s Little Italy. The façade was characterized as a non descript uninviting brick faced building with two small shade blinded windows, a double-door, an air conditioner extruding off one of the windows just teetering on the brink of falling into the street and looking as though it was hammered into the wall as an afterthought.
‘Nondescript’ is generally the type of understated habitat of a Mafioso; or at least the one listed as his official address, whereas ‘Uninviting’ is the type of reception one could expect if knocking on the door trying to sell magazines, Girl Scout cookies or vacuum cleaners. Unapproachable is what describes the real multimillion dollar mobster residences safely ensconced in the shade laned well-manicured suburbs.
Although the Ravenite was the principle hangout for the Gotti gang, there was another one twenty miles away in Nassau County that was less well known, more secretive and less frequently used.
The Feds had already bugged the Ravenite and decided that to cover all the bases they should bug the other club as well.
The door to this second club happened to be secured by an extra heavy padlock that had to be removed with bolt cutters before the agents could get inside. The plan then was to plant bugging wires while they re-locked the door with an identical looking padlock. That way, if any lookout happened to drive by, the locked door would appear to have remained intact and unmolested. The next day they were then going to replace the original lock with a new one that had the same key pattern as the original.
As fate would have it, while the agents were working inside, they overheard one of the sub-bosses at the Ravenite order two soldiers to go out and pick something up from the Nassau County location. The agents were now stuck between a rock and a hard place, because the new lock would not be ready until the next day. So they exited, re-locked the front door and waited for the worst. The great fear was that any discovery of tampering would undoubtedly cause the bad guys to launch a harried bug-sweep of the Ravenite which would then ruin all the good work that had been done up to that point.
Once again fate intervened in their favor as the two soldiers tried repeatedly using their key, without success, to open the Fed’s padlock. Being unsuccessful, they went back to the Ravenite empty handed with subtle suggestions to the under-boss that he had given them the wrong key.
The boss was irate, insistent that he knew his own keys, and after an expletive filled brow beating told the soldiers to forget about it, that he should have known better than to send a couple of incompetent “stoonad” Alter boys to do a man’s job. He terminated the tirade by saying he would take care of it the next day himself. He said:
- Two guys. One lock. One key. And you two idiots can’t get I open? What do I pay you jerk-offs for?
Obviously with the correct padlock now in place the under-boss had no trouble popping open the lock with the same key he had given his soldiers.
The Feds then laughed hysterically when they overheard the second round of brow beating and face slapping that took place back at the Ravenite when the two soldiers had to pay a second time for their inept incompetent stupidity.
The Ravenite Social Club