TITLE: Bugsy's Moll
GENRE: Adult Women's Historical Fiction
When Mob bosses off Bugsy Siegel for skimming cash, his mistress Virginia Hill assumes her journal saved her from the same fate. Hush money proves it, but then Bugsy’s wife requests a meeting. And it becomes clear the payoff wasn’t meant to keep Virginia quiet, but to silence her. Permanently.
August 1933 – December 1936, Chicago
Even before the Chicago Outfit accepted me into its folds, the rackets were part of me. Always would be. Just like the loneliness that refused to budge from its perch on my shoulder. But my path didn’t become clear to me until I was seventeen, the day I served cannelloni to Greasy Thumb’s wife at the San Carlo Italian Village.
She looked like the sun in a yellow linen, wide-shouldered bolero jacket; her blond, frizzy hair a ring of light. As she sipped a coffee cup of Chardonnay, I waited pad in hand for her to order. But rather than study the menu, she gave me the once-over. Being eyed gave me the jitters, but it wouldn’t help my tip to raise a squawk. Instead I smoothed the ruffles of my apron, tugged the pink scalloped collar of my uniform, chewed the end of my pen.
Finally, “I’m Alma Guzik,” she announced. “Married to Jake Guzik. ‘Greasy Thumb.’ You’re familiar with him, right?” It came out like an accusation, as though just knowing Jake Guzik was a lowdown thing in itself. Perhaps it was. He was a chubby, pinstriped tough guy with a handkerchief exploding out of his pocket and wisecracks out of his mouth. Word around the restaurant was he ran a string of cathouses throughout Chicago.
“Yes, I suppose I’ve seen him around.”
She kicked out the chair opposite her with a yellow empire sandal and motioned for me to sit.