Not as bad as some

Not so many bad nights right now. I've reached some kind of understanding with that part of my brain that controls sleeping times. I don't bother it and it doesn't bother me. It works for now.

This morning I have mixed feelings about getting back to the story. I think I know where it will go but it doesn't excite me for some reason. maybe I reacted too strongly to it when the solution came to me yesterday. I'd like the story of the father to be stronger and nearly complete in itself. There's a good basis for it, I just need to add a little more to make it stronger, to up the ante for everybody involved.

In the back of my mind I'm also thinking about going to Costco this afternoon. I can't go before 2 PM and ideally I'd like to get it done before then. But that's just the way it is. That's not actually true. I should go back tomorrow to order some glasses, I could pick up the pictures then. If I did that, I could go earlier today and get it out of the way.

None of that is interfering with the writing. What stops the writing is stepping over the line on the floor. The incitement, the trigger. Once I begin, it comes more easily. But I hesitate to start without a clear vision of the stations of the story. The little signposts in the ground I must touch along the way to make sure that arrive at the end with everyone in their places.

So? Take a few minutes and work out the story of the grandfather Izzie and father Joel and his brother. Maybe Izzie was gunned down with Stan nearby. I just had a little side trip of thinking and I thought Gene could find a journal in his father's things. In it, Joel would say that his mother had told him how his father had died.

His mother Minnie, was nine months pregnant and feeling very bad. The doctor had told her to stay in bed. It was 1929. Her husband Izzie agreed to take their 4 year old son, Stanley with him for the day. Izzie had a couple small things to do for his boss Abe Bernstein who was the head of the Purple Gang. The Purple Gang of Detroit had grown from a small street gang started by Abe Bernstein and his three brothers; Joseph, Raymond and Isadore. They were mean kids who grew up to be even meaner adults and that gave them power on the streets. They enlisted some other toughs and soon had control of bootlegging in Detroit.

They made liquor and smuggled it in from Canada. They were so successful they became suppliers for Capone in Chicago.

In order to make the bootlegging work, the gang branched out into other pursuits such as robbery, gambling, kidnapping. Nothing was out of their reach. They were involved in several famous gangland massacres, including the famous one taking place on St. Valentine's Day February 13th, 1929.

Izzie Probert was a soldier for the Purple gang. He lived pretty well on what he made working for them. It was the depression and he had a car. That was unusual.

There was a lot of gang rivalry that went with the business. When prohibition became law, smuggling alcohol became a cottage industry and soon small operations began consolidating to increase profits and efficiency. George Bugs Moran started smuggling in Chicago and his gang grew, becoming the North Side Gang. Al Capone's crew was a rival and his gang became the South Side Gang. The two gangs fought each other for control of Chicago and the surrounding cities with increasing violence. Bernstein's Purple Gang sold to both Moran and Capone and managed their own territory.

Eventually working the middle put Bernstein into position to stir up trouble between Capone and Moran. Shipments would get hijacked from one side to the other and business suffered as war raged. The Law was no where to be seen for most of this. Money from bootlegging paid for protection and the gangs worked with impunity.

Izzie Probert was a bad man. No worse than a few though. He'd killed several men for his bosses in the gang wars. He was making big money while the rest of the world struggled. His fate was almost inevitable, especially as a foot soldier.

His pregnant wife felt bad, she asked him to watch their toddler while she rested. He was on his home turf of Detroit, a place he considered as safe as he could be. He took his 4 year old boy Stan down to get his hair cut at the barber shop. He was carrying a gun. Somebody saw him on the street and called one of Moran's guys.

Soon a car pulled up near the shop and three men got out. One stayed in the car, one stayed outside the shop and two walked in the shop. Little Stanley was in the chair getting his haircut and Izzie was relaxing in a waiting chair telling stories and jokes. Izzie saw the two men and pulled his gun but they opened fire. They emptied their pistols into him and walked out. They got in the car and disappeared. The police were called and took reports.

Abe Bernstein gave Izzie a huge funeral. Stan was physically unharmed. Joel was born a couple weeks later. Minnie, Stan and baby Joel were given some money by Bernstein but it didn't last. Minnie said she didn't know what Izzie did for a living but she knew he was a bootlegger and a robber. She didn't know much about the killings. Izzie had some savings but mostly he invested in stocks. They lived in a big house but when the crash come in October 1929, the investments were lost.

The little family was left on it's own.

I think that's a start.

More later,


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