More about the Chevy van of uncertain vintage
There were still pieces of human flesh dangling from the fire escape when I pulled into the parking lot behind Dean Supply. It was March 1975. I know that because that’s when legendary Cleveland mobster Shondor Birns was blown to pieces while sitting in his 1975 Lincoln Continental behind Christy’s Lounge at Detroit Avenue and West 25th Street.
Christy’s shared a parking lot with Dean Supply, one of our competitors in the bar and restaurant supply business. Unlike Cleveland’s feuding mob factions. we were friendly competitors. In the bar and restaurant supply business, if we were short of certain items, our competitors would provide them at their cost and vice versa.
As I got out of the van, I noticed a small blackened crater in the pavement of the parking lot. I read later that it was where the C4 had been placed.
There was a lot of speculation in the aftermath of Birns’ forced retirement – theories about who did it and how. All agreed that it was inevitable.
Some speculated that his execution was carried out by a competitor in the numbers rackets. Numbers (cottage industry lottery games) played a recurring role in my driving career.
Not that I was directly involved. As mentioned two posts ago, a certain amount of corruption was deemed acceptable in my world. Bookie joints and numbers rackets subsidized otherwise legitimate businesses and the folks who ran them.
Personally, I had no use for gambling. But I had my own vices and wasn’t judgemental about other people’s indulgences.