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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Where Angels Fear to Tread (not about the book) (09/08/11)

TITLE: A Note of Caution
By Noel Mitaxa
09/14/11


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The Roaring Twenties lived up to their name in Chicago.

Prohibition was a joke, and being an honest cop was tough going. Illegal alcohol was readily supplied by the mobs that brewed it and sold it through their speakeasies. These liquor outlets got their name from drinkers’ need to “speak easy,” or quietly, to gain access at the doorways that were always closed to the general public.

Mobsters stretched their financial tentacles wide and high. Right up through city authorities and senior law-enforcement officials; and even to the judges who compounded blind justice with personal deafness to any pleas from those who had crossed the mobs.

As police, we knew there were two major players: Bugs Moran’s Irish thugs on the Northside; and the Sicilians on the Southside, who were run by “Scarface” Alphonse Capone.

Inside the downtown overhead railway circuit, which everybody calls The Loop, an uneasy demilitarised zone struggled for survival between these two rival forces. Yet unbeknown to the Windy City’s respectable businesses and emporiums, a secret network of tunnels and playrooms trailed along beneath a dozen or more city blocks. These tunnels meant escape for mobsters, flunkeys and clients; whenever we raided any suspect premises. They also ensured that the narcotics rings, protection rackets and prostitution could continue unabated. The fact that this network was only revealed years later attests to the scope of the corruption.

Members of Capone’s entourage were conspicuous for their elegantly-tailored suits, their fancy ties and the distinctive black bands on their felt Homburg hats. A first glance indicated legitimate business, but an almost-tangible aura of menace pervaded the atmosphere whenever they approached. This aura was amplified by their trigger-happy cocksureness and the subservience among those who waited on them.

Capone’s reputation as a generous tipper only increased the servile competitiveness between hotel managers, bellhops, waitresses and maîtres de whenever he graced their establishments. But from among his many dark attributes, my investigations have invented a surprisingly sensitive side to his generosity. He employed two personal chefs who were mute. Maybe he wanted people who could not answer back, but this gesture enhanced his reputation.

However these two chefs became tainted by their environment; a truth that only emerged for me on the afternoon I happened to call by at Papa Luigi’s Spaghetti Deli.

Papa Luigi was new to town, and he had quickly established a loyal clientele among other southern Italian immigrants. Word got around the force about the hefty discounts he offered us cops, but he became a legend for providing meals gratis for impoverished new arrivals. Yet when they’d got on their feet and could repay their debts; he could never recall what they owed him, so they began privately referring to Luigi’s “Forghetti” Deli.

His openheartedness dismissed reports about Capone’s notoriety, as he preferred to judge people for himself. So, hoping that his shared Sicilian roots with Capone might increase his clientele, he mailed him a menu, offering a complimentary banquet “for Mr Capone and all his friends.”

Capone had duly accepted; so for the whole afternoon before their expected arrival time, Luigi added so many authentic Sicilian touches to his dining room that he began to feel homesick himself. But then, as he bustled through the swinging saloon doors to the kitchen, he found that four unsmiling henchmen had already arrived; with Capone’s two mute chefs.

Ordering Luigi to leave, they produced another persuasive Capone trademark: raised tommy-guns to silence his feeble protests. One of the mutes snatched up a paper napkin, quickly scrawled on it, and disdainfully thrust it towards him.

Tentatively, Luigi took the napkin and read its terse message; which underlined the malice of the artillery that was trained on him; and he had no course but to leave.

An hour later, as I approached his Deli, I noticed him sitting at his doorstep; not so heavily-disguised as Exhibit A in a case for disillusionment as he held the napkin.

I had to ask: “Hey Luigi, why so sad?”

Silent fear filled his eyes, and he robotically raised the napkin to me.

As I scanned its contents, the arrogance was all too clear...

And what did it say?

“WE ARRANGE AL’S FEED”- it read.

Author’s advice - or apology if you prefer: The background details are true; though Luigi and Capone’s chefs are both contrived as lead-ins to an awful closing pun-chline. It may be helpful to read the last sentence aloud - which you are freely aloud to do – a few times to clear any perplexity.


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This article has been read 501 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/16/11
This was so interesting. There were many interesting facts. I will admit I didn't get the pun-chline even though I read it aloud several times. When someone explains it I'll probably say duh. But even though the pun was over my head I still really enjoyed this fascinating read.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/16/11
I think I got part of it--We are angels but I don't get the feed part!
Linda Goergen09/16/11
Ha-Ha-Ha...I loved this...very creative and imaginative and just masterfully written the way you mix fact with your fiction!!! And I got the pun right away, in fact I was going to say I didn’t think you even needed the author’s note at the end...but MAYBE it needs to be said with a certain accent to fully grasp it for some! LOL LOL LOL I am still laughing! So original couldn’t fit the challenge phrase more! Kudos!!!
Glynis Becker 09/17/11
A clever and unique take on the topic. I always love a good pun :)
Laury Hubrich 09/17/11
Funny stuff:)
CD (Camille) Swanson 09/17/11
This was interesting. God Bless~
Virgil Youngblood 09/17/11
An enjoyable fun read. Well done.
Cheryl von Drehle09/18/11
Fun story, but maybe you have to be Italian??? is someone going to explain the pun??? I get up the angel part, but blank after that
marcella franseen 09/18/11
Fantastic. So clever! The subject matter is very interesting. I was completely lost in what I was reading. I'm glad you put the author's note or it made have gone over my head. Loved the punchline.
Cheryl von Drehle09/18/11
LOL-- ok, pun has been explained; I didn't realize "it read" was part of the pun. All set! very entertaining
Patricia Protzman09/18/11
I enjoyed the story but I'm not sure I understood the pun.
Edmond Ng 09/19/11
An interesting story, even though I'm not quite sure I understand the ending. When writing for a global audience, I think it is only right that a pun such as this should be explained within the story or as a footnote. Nevertheless, going through the plot and reading the details penned by you alone make this story uniquely different from the usual take on the topic. Well done.
Danielle King 09/19/11
Hmmm! - very interesting, entertaining,different and well written.
However, try as I will, and having read it three times yesterday and several today -from every possible angle, including upside down and standing on me head, and even getting clever husband to read it too - I just can't get my head around the punch-line!
Will some kind soul please enlighten me?

You know who you are!
Danielle King 09/19/11
Oh - the penny has just dropped! And I wasn't even thinking about it anymore! Very clever and very you!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/20/11
Okay this is driving me nuts. I still don't get it and I added it read! Someone help me through my duh! moment.
Danielle King 09/22/11
Shann, it drove me bonkers too until I realised that you need to hear it said in a Sicilian accent - Where angels fear to tread - Get it now?
Beth LaBuff 09/22/11
Only you could arrange this elaborate tale with a rich setting and danger lurking, all to build up to one glorious punch line (which is the topic, if you slur the words a bit using the accent suggested by another reader). This was indeed colorful. I can almost believe that you'd been to Chicago during this time. :)
Lisa Kurasz09/28/11
I enjoyed Lugi the most in this story, and the ending of working in the subject, big thumbs up.