restricted access 35 Beginning of the End
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Gus Winkeler’s difficulties were pyramiding, and looking back at those last few hectic days, they seem like some vague awful dream—not horrible enough to waken the sleeper, but grimly unpleasant. Mycomfortablesurroundings,plentyofmoney,theabsenceofthose underworld figures that once had been an integral part of my daily life, had lulled me into a sense of security that I now realize was completely false. My husband, in closer contact with gangland than I was, must have felt that his career was reaching a climax. Now that I reflect back over his actions and words, and analyze carefully, I can see that he was not quite himself. His mounting troubles, only slightly reflected in his attitude when in my presence, came to me only in a hazy, unreal way. I knew that Gus was having trouble with the syndicate, which he distastefully termed a “bunch of Dagoes” and “greaseballs.” ThiswasbroughttomemostforciblywhenRalphPierce,Gus’syndicate “bodyguard,” telephoned one evening saying, “Wait dinner on me.” This was his customary method of revealing to Gus that he had matters of importance to discuss. On these occasions Pierce actually would take dinner with us, but would never discuss his business until coffee had been served and the butler dismissed. “The syndicate had a meeting,” Pierce announced after the butler went to the pantry, “and the boys don’t like the way Davie Goldblatt is 35 Beginning of the End 201 202 al capone and his american boys handling his end of the business.” Goldblatt was Gus’ personal bodyguard and “legman.” “They don’t like the way he’s handling some of the alcohol business.” He went on in this vein until Gus finally stopped him with, “Was that meeting called to put me in the pan or on the spot?” This sudden question startled me more than it did Pierce. A flood of fear swept over me, and to conceal my agitation I left the table and went to my room. When I did not return Gus came to me saying, “What’s the matter, Honey?” With the shadow of Ted Newberry before me I said in a weak voice, “Gus, can’t you realize what Ralph is saying?” “I’m not afraid,” Gus answered, with assumed unconcern. “They wouldn’t dare touch me.” “Yes,” I said. “Ted Newberry and Ray Nugent talked the same way. Now where are they?” Gus patted my shoulder and we returned to the dining room together , but I looked at Pierce through different eyes. I was confident that if he had told all he heard at the syndicate meeting he would have revealed that Gus’ time was short. For the Dagoes in the syndicate feared his growing power and influence and were equally afraid of the American boys by whom Gus was surrounded. While these difficulties were fresh in our minds, Gus was warned that federal agents were looking for him. That was late on Friday, and since Gus did not seem to be much concerned about the warning I did not make very detailed inquiries. However, I got the idea it was in connection with stolen bonds. “I guess I’ll lay low over the weekend,” Gus said to me. “If I go down and report Saturday, offices will be closed before I get a chance to make bond. I’ll just stay in and go down Monday and give myself up. There’s no use trying to hide out, because I can’t take care of business if have to stay under cover.” I agreed that would be the best course. So he did not leave the apartment and on Sunday we dismissed the servants and enjoyed our first visit at home in months. Beginning of the End 203 During the afternoon the wife of a prominent Chicago politician, who had become very friendly with us, telephoned to ask if we would be at the Chez Paree that evening. I explained the situation to her and said we were staying at home so that Gus would not have to spend the weekend in jail. “I’m coming right over,” my friend declared. “I’m too good a friend of yours to stay clear of you when you’re in trouble, police or no police.” Not many minutes had elapsed when she arrived, burdened with books, nuts and candy. We were glad to have her and chilled some champagne , her favorite drink, to show our gratitude for her friendliness. Iordereddinnerfromthe225Clubandtheclubcatererlaidthetable. During dinner my friend repeatedly told us what a good friend...


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Subject Headings

  • Crime -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 20th century.
  • Murder -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 20th century.
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