There have been worrying reports this week from Sicily about the hard times facing the Mafia. Even the crime families, it appears, are not immune from the ravages of Austerity that have beset Southern Europe this past year. First it was the families of imprisoned Mafioso having their pensions cut, now it’s widespread lay-offs amongst the lower echelons, and a slashing of the bribery budget.
“We need help,” said Frankie ‘The Cleaver’ Pizzo, a consigliere with the Gumbino family. “Like all businesses we need easier access to money. Safecrackers are expensive these days.”
Frankie’s is far from a lone voice. At a meeting in Palermo this week, there was a unanimous call from all the local Dons for the Italian government to scrap austerity and concentrate on growing the economy.
“Successful economies are not built on austerity or legislation,” said a spokesman, “They’re built on free enterprise and pay offs. We need to steal our way out of this recession. And send a few horse heads to Brussels and Berlin and show them we mean business.”
The Italian government’s move to cap the payment of bonuses to top earners hasn’t helped matters. “If we don’t pay our wise guys the market rate, they go overseas,” said The Cleaver. “And they take our children with them.”
A planned Million Mafioso March on Rome is gaining a lot of support. “We need to show the government how we hurt,” said The Cleaver. “And we plan to visit a bank or two and suggest they quantitatively ease several hundred million euros into the back of our van.”
Some doubt the Mafia’s ability to mobilise a million followers. The cutbacks and lay-offs have severely reduced the Mafia’s workforce. A hooded spokesmen for the Sicilian judiciary – talking though the voice of an actor (also hooded) – claimed that things had got so bad for the Mafia that customers were being offered reduced loan rates if they promised to break their own legs should they fall behind on payments.
Analysts at the Palermo Institute of Fiscal Legislation believe that the austerity package couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Mafia who’d recently lost their appeal to the European Supreme Court. Their claim of exemption from Equal Opportunities legislation was denied by the ESC who ruled that the occupation of ‘hitman’ was not a special case, forcing the crime lords to hire more female, gay, transgender, and even non-Italian contract killers.
“We’re dragging contract killing into the twenty-first century,” said hitperson of colour, Ishankya ‘Pink Stiletto’ da Silva. “And this is only the beginning. We want to bring true democracy to the Cosa Nostra and have the boss of bosses elected by telephone votes in a reality TV series.”
Plans for The Godfather’s Got Talent are said to be at a very early stage.
Chris Dolley is a NY Times bestselling author living in France with a frightening number of animals. His novelette, What Ho, Automaton! was a finalist for the 2012 WSFA Small Press Award for short fiction. More information about his other work can be found on his BVC bookshelf .
An Unsafe Pair of Hands – a quirky murder mystery set in rural England charting the descent and rise of a detective on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Which will break first? The case, or DCI Shand?
Medium Dead – a fun urban fantasy chronicling the crime fighting adventures of Brenda – a reluctant medium – and Brian – a Vigilante Demon with an impish sense of humour. Think Stephanie Plum with magic and a dash of Carl Hiaasen.
What Ho, Automaton! – Wodehouse Steampunk. Follow the adventures of Reggie Worcester, consulting detective, and his gentleman’s personal gentle-automaton, Reeves. It’s set in an alternative 1903 where an augmented Queen Victoria is still on the throne and automata are a common sight below stairs. Humour, Mystery, Aunts and Zeppelins!
French Fried – the international bestseller – true crime, animals behaving badly and other people’s misfortunes. Imagine A Year in Provence with Miss Marple and Gerald Durrell.
International Kittens of Mystery. If you like a laugh and looking at cute kitten pictures this is the book for you. It’s a glance inside the International Kittens of Mystery – the only organisation on the planet with a plan to deal with a giant ball of wool on a collision course with Earth?
Resonance – “This is one of the most original new science fiction books I have ever read. If it is as big a hit as it deserves, it may well be this book which becomes the standard by which SF stories about … are judged.”