He bet on the wrong horse. It was as simple as that.
He bet on the wrong horse because he let himself be influenced by his emotions, by his likes and his dislikes. He should have just stuck with the odds. He was a gambler, after all.
Time and distance. That’s why Luciano’s word no longer had the influence it once did. People forgot how rich he made them. They resented it when the newspapers called him a genius.
And they were tight bastards, too.
Little Augie knew all of this and, yet, he bet on the wrong horse…that’s how much he hated Vito Genovese.
The first time Genovese called him, after the botched hit on Frank Costello, he didn’t go. He disrespected Genovese. But Anastasia was still alive then.
The second time Genovese called him, Little Augie had to go. There was nobody standing with him.
When Drake had the opportunity to help out some comic in over his head with a bookie or a drug dealer, he usually would. He was shrewd about it though, because he didn’t want to aggravate Little Augie by asking for a bunch of favors. So he went into his own pocket.
Sometimes, Drake was the one the comic was in trouble with and he would let it go. He didn’t push his weight around like he could have.
Stuff like that got around.
So when things started going south for Little Augie, Drake knew all about it because people told him things he wasn’t supposed to know. The trouble was, he didn’t know what to do about it.
It’s not like he could quit. You don’t quit the mob.
But when Anastasia got hit, that’s when it really hit home. Little Augie was no longer the benefactor; he was the albatross. Drake knew he and Janice had to get out of town before Little Augie made him his driver again.
That’s when he started hording cash and hiding it around town.
Janice was getting ready for a night on the town with her girlfriend Madeline when she got the call from Drake; that was part of her job, to make herself available. Drake called from D.C. where he was headlining a show. He sounded frantic. It bristled her.
“Steer clear of Little Augie,” he warned her. “He’s hot as a firecracker.”
“Yeah, sure,” she agreed, but what could she do? Make an excuse? Feign an illness? When you’re in the game you have no choice but to play.
She told her son to answer the calls that came in while she was away; he was twelve at the time. She told him to tell every caller that she was out for the evening and to ask if he should take a message. Any caller that he called uncle or auntie, he was to tell them that she was at the Copa.
If she and Drake were going to skip town they had to keep their cool about it, she reasoned. Go on as usual. Then they would lay low in some Podunk town, like Fayetteville, until things settled down. Drake would leave a good chunk of their assets behind for the vultures to pick through until they showed back up…like nothing ever happened, of course.
That was the idea, anyway.
At the Copa, Janice and her girlfriend, Madeline, ran into a stock broker friend of theirs, Irving Segal. Originally they were supposed to meet up at Mariano’s with Segal and his wife for dinner, but the wife couldn’t make it.
Nonetheless, they welcomed him to their table…that meant he would be picking up the check. They were having a grand old time when Little Augie sauntered by.
Of course they made it a foursome.
Little Augie suggested that they have a few more drinks and head over to Marino’s for dinner. Everyone agreed.
Since he made the suggestion it was presumed that he would pick up the check.
Nobody knows for sure who made the call to Marino’s that night…and if they do know, they’re not saying. The Maitre d’ most likely knew who it was. He’s the one that took the call. He’s the one who came to the table and whispered in Little Augie’s ear–in the middle of dinner.
According to Madeline Unger, Janice’s girlfriend, Little Augie went as white as a sheet when he left to take the call. When he came back to the table he was a little shaky, like his feet weren’t under him. He made a slapdash excuse–that he and Janice were called away to watch a closed circuit televised boxing match.
Janice said she really shouldn’t go…that she needed to get home to her son whom she had left alone. Little Augie said he’d drop her off before going to the match.
Irving agreed to make sure Madeline got home all right.
Little Augie and Janice made their way to the auto lobby.
I’ve heard this is how it went down…I don’t know that it happened this way, but if it didn’t, I’m sure it’s pretty damn close:
So, Little Augie and Janice got into the elevator which took them to the garage. Somewhere, between the time they got into the elevator and the time they contacted the valet driver, they were intercepted by fellow capo, Anthony Strollo and Bonanno crime family hitman, Tony Mirra.
They were warned not to make a scene. When the valet brought the car, Little Augie and Janice got in the front. Strollo and Mirra got in the back.
The valet was paid off. He told the police that only Little Augie and Janice got into the car.
Around 10:30 that night, a ’59 Cadillac was discovered in a deserted section of Queens, by the airport, with the engine running and the headlights on.
Anthony Carfano and Janice Henson Drake were found slumped inside the cabin, both shot dead with a 22 round in the temple and neck.
To be cont’d…