Family Ties

Bad Habits Are Hard to Break

Joey Peluzzo September 29, 2015

I climbed the ranks up north, Sheepshead Bay actually. Whenever I wasn’t collecting for Salvatore, I was a regular on the Brooklyn. These guys knew my Seville and knew me by name. They always cleared the stern when they saw me coming and they knew the game well. Every trip we loaded up on bluefish and stripers by the barrel full. We killed ’em all. This was fishing the old school way. You put bait in the water and you reeled in fish that you could bring home to the neighborhood…fish that got me places with Adriana and Bianca, two of Brooklyn’s finest sweethearts if you know what I mean.

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Photo: reysart.com

Not by choice, but nowadays I’m down here in Florida with all the retirees and the humidity. For God’s sake, I get soaking wet just walking to the car. With a ten-year stint at Rikers behind me for clipping some rat, the feds told me to lay low so what better place. Down here with the coconuts, you couldn’t get in trouble if you wanted to. The Latin crews have their hands in everything, and all eyes are on them. I really wanted to relocate to Vegas where I know a few of the guys from the neighborhood were doing well, but a message came down the pipe from the underboss suggesting working out west wasn’t a good idea and I should just give it up and keep my mouth shut.

I know what “suggesting” means. So instead of taking a dirt nap, I decided to soak in some sun and get back into fishing. I figure how much could be different from the good old days back home. You go out on a boat, you wet a line, you enjoy a few whiskies and you catch some fish. You throw the guys a few cartons of cigarettes and a couple tickets to the Mets game on your way out and everything is good.

A few days later I open the phonebook and see there’s a boat just like home right down the road. I say the heck with it and go out with ’em the next day to see what it’s all about. After only an hour or two I am about to break the guy’s neck. Instead of putting my fish on ice, this loud mouth kid is telling me I can’t keep my fish and throws it back over the side. Same thing happens three times in a row. He’s lucky I didn’t knock his teeth out right then and there. Seems there is something special about these red snapper. To me, a fish is a fish. I swear if it were ten years ago, I would have whacked the guy and his entire family and threw ’em all in the river. Instead, I think to myself, “Forget about it. Fish you can’t keep…who needs ’em!”

Before day’s end, I start thinkin’ maybe there’s more to this fishing business down here than meets the eye. If the guys up north won’t let me in on any action, I’ll make my own.

I come back early the next morning and shake down the boat captain. After a little persuasion, I also get the parking lot attendee to see things my way and soon I start skimming off the top from the commercial boys, too. Before long, I have the entire marina in my pocket and earning a nice living. Now I get all of the fish I want and never have to touch a boat. Really, it’s turned out to be a good life down here in Florida.

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