CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (CAP) - Ralphie "The Snake" Perugia sinks his shovel into the ground but it barely goes half-way to the hilt before hitting something solid, something that isn't dirt. With sweat pouring off his brow, he moves to another spot and tries again. Same result. Three more tries, three more failures.
A visibly distraught Perugia leaves the shovel where it is and lights a cigarette with shaking hands. A few feet away, the body of Tony Tulips lies wrapped in plastic in the trunk of his '97 Cadillac Deville, still warm. With only the sound of the occasional car passing by on the Tobin Bridge overhead to disturb the quiet, Perugia exhales a plume of smoke and finally speaks.
"If I don't get that body buried before dawn, I'm gonna be the one who's in the trunk," Perugia laments. "The guys at the top, they just don't get it. They have no idea what's going on down here. This is a real predicament for us, you know what I'm saying?"
Perugia isn't alone in his concern. Mobsters throughout the Northeast and in many metropolitan areas around the country are running into the same scenario: too many bodies piling up, and nowhere to bury them. The old burial grounds are pretty much full, with victims buried two to three deep in some locations.
"Let's see, I got a guy crammed into my ice chest at home and another two hanging in an old fish locker down by Bannister's wharf," said Sully, a local hitman who freelances for the DiNunzio family. "I think one more and I'm gonna have to load up the van and take a little drive to Connecticut."
In addition to branching out to less populated areas to bury the ever-increasing number of bodies, gangsters are also turning to more creative ways to dispose of their dead. Boston-area hardware stores have reported increased sales in heavy stone blocks, chain saws and sulfuric acid over the past couple of years, but pundits say every method has its drawbacks.
"Diggin' a hole and buryin' a body may be more up front effort, but the clean-up after woodchippin' a guy takes forever," said CAP News mafioso expert Nino Moleca. "But there's only so much room under the end zone of Giants stadium, if you know what I'm sayin'. So we, uhh, I mean, they gotta get inventive."
To that end, Moleca said the New Jersey faction of the Lucchese family has begun operating its own crematorium in Monmouth to aid in the disposal of any necessary trash. Other families have taken to launching new business endeavors in such areas as waste disposal management, biology class supply, and pet food distribution.
"The mafia's in a state of flux right now and times are tough, but you and I both know they'll come out smelling like roses," said Moleca. "Especially the Zerilli family, who just started up that fertilizer plant outside of Detroit."
But for Ralphie Perugia, how the mafia will eventually fare in this current crisis is of little consolation right now. He takes one last puff from his cigarette, tosses his shovel on top of Tulips' body, and slams the trunk down. With only two hours until dawn and most locations exhausted, Perugia may end up taking that road trip to Connecticut tomorrow, or find himself with a lot of explaining to do.
- CAP News Staff