10-29-2011, 09:57 PM
Criss stared bug-eyed at Springs. "Whoa!" he exclaimed. "That was awesome!"
The rest of the party agreed. "You know any more stories like that, Mr. Springs?" the Johnny-Depp pirate begged eagerly.
"Oh, yeah," Springs replied, draining the last of his Manhattan. "I gotta million of 'em! But there's one in particular that stands out in my mind that'll really scare the pants off ya."
"Okay, let's hear it!" Criss demanded.
Springs set down his glass and leaned back. "This one took place back in the Thirties, when Vegas was just a local watering hole for the men working on the Boulder Dam project during the Depression. Even then gambling was legal, and they just passed Repeal so there was plenty of boozin' goin' on, too.
"Repeal?" Dorothy repeated, puzzled.
"Yeah, repeal," Springs said. "You know, Prohibition? Eighteenth Amendment? Whatsa matter, ain't you studied history in school?"
"The Eighteenth Amendment prohibited the sale and distribution of alcohol," Criss explained to Dorothy. "The Twenty-sixth Amendment repealed it."
Suddenly, Dorothy understood. "Oh! Okay, I get it now. Sorry."
"Well, anyway," Springs continued, "back in the Thirties, Vegas was pretty much still the Wild West, though it had a few amenities, like saloons, dance halls, casinos--just back room joints, not like the ones they got today. And brothels, lots of brothels. They said a guy could blow his wages for the week in one night on booze, blackjack and (bleep)jobs."
Springs suddenly remembered who was sitting next to him and turned apologetically to Dimitra. "Pardon the French, Didi," he said regretfully, "but that was how they talked back then."
"It's all right, Danny," Dimitra replied, suppressing her indignation. "Just go on with your story."
"Anyway, here's the story," Springs went on. "Even though the Syndicate hadn't even heard of Las Vegas back then--they pretty much concentrated on Chicago or New York--there were a few guys on the take when it came to the gambling there. Chump change compared to what came later, but where's there's gambling, there's gonna be some racketeering of some sort. And there was this guy named Eddie Creed, big bruiser of a guy, who owned a saloon with gambling in the back. It was mostly craps and poker, but he had one of the first blackjack tables in Vegas. Twenty-one, they called it back them. Lotta guys credit him for making it popular there.
"Well, Eddie was as shrewd as they came. Not like Bugsy Siegel, who was a better hitter than businessman. He was dealer, pit boss, cashier and bouncer all in one. He could skim profits like the best of 'em; did pretty well for himself, considering it was the Depression and all. He also had a wife, gorgeous brunette named Nancy. And lemme tell ya, Eddie was one jealous son of a (bleep) when it came to Nancy. A guy could get his nose broken if he so much as looked at her.
"Well, one day this guy who just started work on the dam project came into Eddie's saloon for a night of...what I just said earlier, and somehow or other, he and Nancy met without Eddie knowin' about it. Don't know how they pulled it off, but they ended up havin' an affair behind Eddie's back. Every Saturday night when Eddie was workin' the tables, Nancy and her new squeeze would slip away and pitch a little woo, if you know what I mean."
Everyone nodded in understanding. "Woo-woo," Criss quipped.
"Of course, they couldn't get away with it forever, you know," Springs pointed out. "Can't say for sure, but somebody somewhere squealed to Eddie that his wife was foolin' around behind his back. Needless to say, Eddie wasn't too happy about that, so he kept a keen eye on Nancy for a while, and sure enough, he discovered their little Saturday night affair.
"Now, you'd think Eddie woulda flown off the handle right then and there, right? Well, like I said, Eddie was shrewd, and he was gonna teach Wifey a lesson she'd never forget--no matter how hard she'd try.
"One Saturday night, Eddie leaves the saloon and goes to where his wife and her lover were trysting, which was up in a loft above the garage--it used to be a stable, but Eddie converted it into a garage--and he goes up into the loft and finds them sound asleep on some canvas sacks and old horse blankets.
"Eddie goes to work on the guy who did his wife without waking her up. Then he left just as quiet as a mouse. Sunday morning comes, Nancy wakes up, turns over and sees her lover beside her--with a eight-inch gash across his throat." Springs drew his finger across his neck for emphasis. "There he was. just lying there, covered in blood from the neck down, his eyes buggin' open and his tongue stickin' out all blue like that. Nancy screamed like a banshee, made a dash for it, but she fell off the loft, broke her neck and died right there.
"And Eddie? Well, he claimed justifiable homicide when the authorities came knockin'; the wife's death was suicide, he told 'em. Well, the sheriff didn't buy it, and Eddie was hanged for murder.
"When Bugsy Siegel came to build the Flamingo, someone told him that story, and he just laughed and said 'Served her right.' But I'll let ya in on a little secret--the Flamingo, the original Flamingo, was built on the very site where Eddie Creed had his saloon. And not too far from it was the garage where Nancy was havin' a fling with her lover. Think about that, huh?"