Includes a bibliography for further reading
“I hope, when my time comes, that I die decently in bed. I don’t want to be murdered beside the garbage cans in some Chicago alley.” – Bugs Moran
Sprightly swing music spills across the dimly lit club. The grayish curtains of cigarette smoke part every once in a while to reveal a sparkling stage and tables upon tables of patrons, some incurably inebriated and others high on the fast-paced nightlife. Fabulous flappers in shimmery cocktail dresses and stylish feather headbands throw their hands up and stomp their feet to the addictive beat on the dance floor. Smartly dressed men, their hair neatly parted and slicked back, toss fistfuls of dice onto the plush green baize of the craps tables. Some hover over roulette wheels, staring intently at the spinning flashes of silver, while others finger their playing cards as they sip on tumblers of whiskey, eyeing both the river and the tower of tokens next to them.
Frisky tunes, chic fashion, and American gambling are nostalgic, rose-tinted images most choose to project when visualizing the Roaring Twenties, but the other side of the coin brought an uninviting, much harsher reality that most would prefer to sweep under the rug. The first real estate bubble was on the brink of bursting, and progress was evident, but painfully slow, which gave way to yet another era of violent riots, lynchings, and other forms of oppression imposed on minorities. Then, of course, there were mobsters. Remove the silk three-piece suits, burnished Tommy guns, and obscene stacks of cash from the equation, and one would be left with limp, bullet-ridden bodies either slumped over their steering wheels or sprawled out like broken rag dolls on the floors of public establishments, the walls painted with blood spatters and shattered glass littered about. These, they say, are the lucky ones, for their corpses, though laid out as a public message, provide the deceased's loved ones with some form of closure. Over the decades, dozens involved in this deadly game disappeared altogether, never again to see the light of day.