Thursday, 12 January 2012



At twelve forty-five I arrived at the Carousel Club to meet Marilyn. I had made a decision in the car that Marilyn had to quit her job at the club. Ruby’s comment the day before had led me to the conclusion that he was of unstable character. But I couldn’t ask her to quit unless I had something better to offer. I knew she loved her work with Zapruder, but I felt the enriching life of Washington, the people she would meet, the overwhelming sense of playing a role in history, could persuade her to leave. Of course, I would have to ask her to marry me.

“She greeted me as I entered. “Norm, there’s someone here to see you.”

“Harry Olsen?”

“No, not Harry Olsen. Look at the back wall.”

After gazing through the smoke I saw Jimmy Hoffa sitting alone at a table for two. Did he come just to see me? It didn’t make immediate sense. I walked to the table.

“May I join you, Mr. Hoffa?”

“Enough of this mister stuff. You’re on the Presidential staff. That earns you the right to call me Jimmy. Pull up a chair, cowboy.”

Jimmy offered me a cigar. Though I don’t smoke I felt obliged to accept. When I read the label I saw it was Cuban.

“There are still a few around,” he explained.

I felt so intimidated, so overwhelmed by his presence, that I opened with the dumbest clicheיin the book. “To what do I owe this great honor, Jimmy?”

“No, no. The honor is mine. You are the only Teamster on the White House staff. You outrank me in some quarters. Some very safe quarters. Look, Norman, you on the staff is good for the Kennedys. It proves they got nothing against Teamsters, just against me personally.”

“I can’t believe that expedience had anything to do with my appointment. I have just been honored by a grateful President.”

“Right. Have it your way.

Just remember this, you’re an employee of the Teamsters on an approved leave of absence. Someday there may be a conflict of interest. If that day comes.”

“I assure you, if that day comes, I’ll resign.”

“No, you won’t. You’ll use your influence to clear our good name and mine in particular.

“How could I do that?”

“Because you’ll be in the inner circles of the White House with access to information that…”

“I would never betray…”

“The Teamsters. That’s who you’d never betray. Your first oath is to us. Now that little wimp, Bobby, is getting in my way. And if it wasn’t for you…”

“What’s that?”

“Oh, never mind. Just be a source of pride to all Teamsters. Do your job with dignity as I do mine.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Now get lost. Go somewhere with your broad.”

I walked away as Ruby approached the table.

“Mr. Hoffa, sir,” he said. “It would be a great honor if you signed a photo and added how much you enjoyed your visit to my club.”

“MANDEL,” Hoffa screamed. “You’re still our PR Chairman till Monday. Arrange a nice photo for Mr. Ruby here, and get the guy who does my signature to write a personal note to Mr. Ruby here. You still know how to do these things, right?”

“Yes, sir. I’ll have it done before I fly to Washington.”

I sat with Marilyn in the car. She looked lovely, yet she fidgeted like at Dealey Plaza. I decided marriage would have to wait. I yearned for her with a great lust but satisfaction would have to be delayed. Suddenly she brightened up and said, “You won’t believe it. This is wild. Mr. Zapruder took his film in to be developed, and I picked it up tonight. He overexposed the whole roll. Nothing came out.”


12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
 13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

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