The Crime Cartel met in Cleveland--in the third floor front of a tenement on Mayfield Road. The purpose of the meeting was to "cut up" Mars.
Considerable dissension arose over the bookmaking facilities, when it was learned that the radioactive surface of the planet made it unnecessary to send scratches and results by wire. On the contrary, the steel-shod hooves of the animals set up a current which carried into every pool room, without a pay-off to the wire service.
The final division found the apportionment as follows: New York mob: Real estate and investments (if any) Chicago mob: Bookmaking and liquor (if any) Brooklyn mob: Protection and assassinations Jersey mob: Numbers (if any) and craps (if any) Los Angeles mob: Girls (if any) Galveston and New Orleans mobs: Dope (if any) Cleveland mob: Casinos (if any) Detroit mob: Summer resorts (if any) The Detroit boys, incidentally, burned up when they learned the Martian year is twice as long as ours, consequently it takes two years for one summer to roll around.
After the summary demise of three Grand Councilors whose deaths were recorded by the press as occurring from "natural causes," the other major and minor mobs were declared in as partners.
The first problem to be ironed out was how to speed up transportation; and failing that, to construct spacious space ships which would attract pleasure-bent trade from Terra--Earth to you--with such innovations as roulette wheels, steam rooms, cocktail lounges, double rooms with hot and cold babes, and other such inducements.
THE INSIDE STUFF CONFIDENTIAL.
Remember, you got this first from Lait and Mortimer. And we defy anyone to call us liars--and prove it!
Only chumps bring babes with them to Mars. The temperature is a little colder there than on Earth and the air a little thinner. So Terra dames complain one mink coat doesn't keep them warm; they need two.
On the other hand, the gravity is considerably less than on Earth. Therefore, even the heaviest bim weighs less and can be pushed over with the greatest of ease.
However, the boys soon discovered that the lighter gravity played havoc with the marijuana trade. With a slight tensing of the muscles you can jump 20 feet, so why smoke "tea" when you can fly like crazy for nothing?
Martian women are bags, so perhaps you had better disregard the injunction above and bring your own, even if it means two furs.
Did you ever see an Alaska klutch (pronounced klootch)? Probably not. Well, these Arctic horrors are Ziegfeld beauts compared to the Martian fair sex.
They slouch with knees bent and knuckles brushing the ground, and if Ringling Bros, is looking for a mate for Gargantua, here is where to find her. Yet, their manner is habitually timid, as though they've been given a hard time. From the look in their deep-set eyes they seem to fear abduction or rape; but not even the zoot-suited goons from Greenpernt gave them a second tumble.
The visiting Mafia delegation was naturally disappointed at this state of affairs. They had been led to believe by the little guy who escorted them that all Martian dames resembled Marilyn Monroe, only more so, and the men were Adonises (and not Joe).
Seems they once were, at that. This was a couple of aeons ago when Earthmen looked like Martians do now, which seems to indicate that Martians, as well as Men, have their ups and downs.
The citizens of the planet are apparently about halfway down the toboggan. They wear clothes, but they're not handstitched. Their neckties don't come from Sulka. No self-respecting goon from Gowanus would care to be seen in their company.
The females always appear in public fully clothed, which doesn't help them either. But covering their faces would. They buy their dresses at a place called Kress-Worth and look like Paris nouveau riche.
There are four separate nations there, though nation is hardly the word. It is more accurate to say there are four separate clans that don't like each other, though how they can tell the difference is beyond us. They are known as the East Side, West Side, North Side and Gas House gangs.
Each stays in its own back-yard. Periodic wars are fought, a few thousand of the enemy are dissolved with ray guns, after which the factions retire by common consent and throw a banquet at which the losing country is forced to take the wives of the visitors, which is a twist not yet thought of on Earth.
Martian language is unlike anything ever heard below. It would baffle the keenest linguist, if the keenest linguist ever gets to Mars. However, the Mafia, which is a world-wide blood brotherhood with colonies in every land and clime, has a universal language. Knives and brass knucks are understood everywhere.
The Martian lingo seems to be somewhat similar to Chinese. It's not what they say, but how they say it. For instance, psonqule may mean "I love you" or "you dirty son-of-a-bitch."
The Mafistas soon learned to translate what the natives were saying by watching the squint in their eyes. When they spoke with a certain expression, the mobsters let go with 45s, which, however, merely have a stunning effect on the gent on the receiving end because of the lesser gravity.
On the other hand, the Martian death ray guns were not fatal to the toughs from Earth; anyone who can live through St. Valentine's Day in Chicago can live through anything. So it came out a dead heat.
Thereupon the boys from the Syndicate sat down and declared the Martians in for a fifty-fifty partnership, which means they actually gave them one per cent, which is generous at that.
Never having had the great advantages of a New Deal, the Martians are still backward and use gold as a means of exchange. With no Harvard bigdomes to tell them gold is a thing of the past, the yellow metal circulates there as freely and easily as we once kicked pennies around before they became extinct here.
The Mafistas quickly set the Martians right about the futility of gold. They eagerly turned it over to the Earthmen in exchange for green certificates with pretty pictures engraved thereon.
RACKETS VIA ROCKETS.
Gold, platinum, diamonds and other precious stuff are as plentiful on Mars as hayfever is on Earth in August.
When the gangsters lamped the loot, their greedy eyes and greasy fingers twitched, and when a hood's eyes and fingers twitch, watch out; something is twitching.
The locals were completely honest. They were too dumb to be thieves. The natives were not acquisitive. Why should they be when gold was so common it had no value, and a neighbor's wife so ugly no one would covet her?
This was a desperate situation, indeed, until one of the boys from East St. Louis uttered the eternal truth: "There ain't no honest man who ain't a crook, and why should Mars be any different?"
The difficulty was finding the means and method of corruption. All the cash in Jake Guzik's strong box meant nothing to a race of characters whose brats made mudpies of gold dust.
The discovery came as an accident.
The first Earthman to be eliminated on Mars was a two-bit hood from North Clark Street who sold a five-cent Hershey bar with almonds to a Martian for a gold piece worth 94 bucks.
The man from Mars bit the candy bar. The hood bit the gold piece.
Then the Martian picked up a rock and beaned the lad from the Windy City. After which the Martian's eyes dilated and he let out a scream. Then he attacked the first Martian female who passed by. Never before had such a thing happened on Mars, and to say she was surprised is putting it lightly. Thereupon, half the female population ran after the berserk Martian.
When the organization heard about this, an investigation was ordered. That is how the crime trust found out that there is no sugar on Mars; that this was the first time it had ever been tasted by a Martian; that it acts on them like junk does on an Earthman.
They further discovered that the chief source of Martian diet is--believe it or not--poppy seed, hemp and coca leaf, and that the alkaloids thereof: opium, hasheesh and cocaine have not the slightest visible effect on them.
Poppies grow everywhere, huge russet poppies, ten times as large as those on Earth and 100 times as deadly. It is these poppies which have colored the planet red. Martians are strictly vegetarian: they bake, fry and stew these flowers and weeds and eat them raw with a goo made from fungus and called szchmortz which passes for a salad dressing.
Though the Martians were absolutely impervious to the narcotic qualities of the aforementioned flora, they got higher than Mars on small doses of sugar.
So the Mafia was in business. The Martians sniffed granulated sugar, which they called snow. They ate cube sugar, which they called "hard stuff", and they injected molasses syrup into their veins with hypos and called this "mainliners."
There was nothing they would not do for a pinch of sugar. Gold, platinum and diamonds, narcotics by the acre--these were to be had in generous exchange for sugar--which was selling on Earth at a nickel or so a pound wholesale.
The space ship went into shuttle service. A load of diamonds and dope coming back, a load of sugar and blondes going up. Blondes made Martians higher even than sugar, and brought larger and quicker returns.
This is a confidential tip to the South African diamond trust: ten space ship loads of precious stones are now being cut in a cellar on Bleecker Street in New York. The mob plans to retail them for $25 a carat!
Though the gangsters are buying sugar at a few cents a pound here and selling it for its weight in rubies on Mars, a hood is always a hood. They've been cutting dope with sugar for years on Earth, so they didn't know how to do it any different on Mars. What to cut the sugar with on Mars? Simple. With heroin, of course, which is worthless there.
This is a brief rundown on the racket situation as it currently exists on our sister planet.
FAKED PASSPORTS: When the boys first landed they found only vague boundaries between the nations, and Martians could roam as they pleased. Maybe this is why they stayed close to home. Though anyway why should they travel? There was nothing to see.
The boys quickly took care of this. First, in order to make travel alluring, they brought 20 strippers from Calumet City and set them peeling just beyond the border lines.
Then they went to the chieftains and sold them a bill of goods (with a generous bribe of sugar) to close the borders. The next step was to corrupt the border guards, which was easy with Annie Oakleys to do the burlesque shows.
The selling price for faked passports fluctuates between a ton and three tons of platinum.
VICE: Until the arrival of the Earthmen, there were no illicit sexual relations on the planet. In fact, no Martian in his right mind would have relations with the native crop of females, and they in turn felt the same way about the males. Laws had to be passed requiring all able-bodied citizens to marry and propagate.
Thus, the first load of bims from South Akard Street in Dallas found eager customers. But these babes, who romanced anything in pants on earth, went on a stand-up strike when they saw and smelled the Martians. Especially smelled. They smelled worse than Texas yahoos just off a cow farm.
This proved embarrassing, to say the least, to the procurers. Considerable sums of money were invested in this human cargo, and the boys feared dire consequences from their shylocks, should they return empty-handed.
In our other Confidential essays we told you how the Mafia employs some of the best brains on Earth to direct and manage its far-flung properties, including high-priced attorneys, accountants, real-estate experts, engineers and scientists.
A hurried meeting of the Grand Council was called and held in a bungalow on the shores of one of Minneapolis' beautiful lakes. The decision reached there was to corner chlorophyll (which accounts in part for the delay in putting it on the market down here) and ship it to Mars to deodorize the populace there. After which the ladies of the evening got off their feet and went back to work.
GAMBLING: Until the arrival of the Mafia, gambling on Mars was confined to a simple game played with children's jacks. The loser had to relieve the winner of his wife.
The Mafia brought up some fine gambling equipment, including the layouts from the Colonial Inn in Florida, and the Beverly in New Orleans, both of which were closed, and taught the residents how to shoot craps and play the wheel, with the house putting up sugar against precious stones and metals. With such odds, it was not necessary to fake the games more than is customary on Earth.
LITTLE NEW YORK CONFIDENTIAL.
Despite what Earth-bound professors tell you about the Martian atmosphere, we know better. They weren't there.
It is a dogma that Mars has no oxygen. Baloney. While it is true that there is considerably less than on Earth in the surface atmosphere, the air underground, in caves, valleys and tunnels, has plenty to support life lavishly, though why Martians want to live after they look at each other we cannot tell you, even confidential.
For this reason Martian cities are built underground, and travel between them is carried on through a complicated system of subways predating the New York IRT line by several thousand centuries, though to the naked eye there is little difference between a Brooklyn express and a Mars express, yet the latter were built before the Pyramids.
When the first load of Black Handers arrived, they naturally balked against living underground. It reminded them too much of the days before they went "legitimate" and were constantly on the lam and hiding out.
So the Mafia put the Martians to work building a town. There are no building materials on the planet, but the Martians are adept at making gold dust hold together with diamond rivets. The result of their effort--for which they were paid in peppermint sticks and lump sugar--is named Little New York, with hotels, nightclubs, bars, haberdashers, Turkish baths and horse rooms. Instead of air-conditioning, it had oxygen-conditioning. But the town had no police station.
There were no cops!
Finally, a meeting was held at which one punk asked another, "What the hell kind of town is it with no cops? Who we going to bribe?"
After some discussion they cut cards. One of the Bergen County boys drew the black ace. "What do I know about being a cop?" he squawked.
"You can take graft, can't you? You been shook down, ain't you?"
The boys also imported a couple of smart mouthpieces and a ship of blank habeas corpus forms, together with a judge who was the brother of one of the lawyers, so there was no need to build a jail in this model city.
The only ones who ever get arrested, anyway, are the Martians, and they soon discovered that the coppers from Terra would look the other way for a bucket full of gold.
Until the arrival of the Earthmen, the Martians were, as stated, peaceful, and even now crime is practically unknown among them. The chief problem, however, is to keep them in line on pay nights, when they go on sugar binges.
Chocolate bars are as common on Mars as saloons are on Broadway, and it is not unusual to see "gone" Martians getting heaved out of these bars right into the gutter. One nostalgic hood from Seattle said it reminded him of Skid Row there.
THE RED RED PLANET.
The gangsters had not been on Mars long before they heard rumors about other outsiders who were supposed to have landed on the other side of Mt. Sirehum.
The boys got together in a cocktail lounge to talk this over, and they decided they weren't going to stand for any other mobs muscling in.
Thereupon, they despatched four torpedoes with Tommy guns in a big black limousine to see what was going.
We tell you this Confidential. What they found was a Communist apparatus sent to Mars from Soviet Russia.
This cell was so active that Commies had taken over almost half the planet before the arrival of the Mafia, with their domain extending from the Deucalionis Region all the way over to Phaethontis and down to Titania.
Furthermore, through propaganda and infiltration, there were Communist cells in every quarter of the planet, and many of the top officials of the four Martian governments were either secretly party members or openly in fronts.
The Communist battle cry was: "Men of Mars unite; you have nothing to lose but your wives."
Comes the revolution, they were told, and all Martians could remain bachelors. It is no wonder the Communists made such inroads. The planet became known as "The Red Red Planet."
In their confidential books about the cities of Earth, Lait and Mortimer explored the community of interest between the organized underworld and the Soviet.
Communists are in favor of anything that causes civil disorder and unrest; gangsters have no conscience and will do business with anyone who pays.
On Earth, Russia floods the Western powers, and especially the United States, with narcotics, first to weaken them and provide easy prey, and second, for dollar exchange.
And on Earth, the Mafia, which is another international conspiracy like the Communists, sells the narcotics.
And so when the gangsters heard there were Communist cells on Mars, they quickly made a contact.
For most of the world's cheap sugar comes from Russia! The Mafia inroad on the American sugar market had already driven cane up more than 300 per cent. But the Russians were anxious, able and willing to provide all the beets they wanted at half the competitive price.
THE HONEST HOODS.
As we pointed out in previous works, the crime syndicate now owns so much money, its chief problem is to find ways in which to invest it.
As a result, the Mafia and its allies control thousands of legitimate enterprises ranging from hotel chains to railroads and from laundries to distilleries.
And so it was on Mars. With all the rackets cornered, the gangsters decided it was time to go into some straight businesses.
At the next get-together of the Grand Council, the following conversation was heard: "What do these mopes need that they ain't getting?"
"A big fat hole in the head."
"Cut it out. This is serious."
"A hole in the head ain't serious?"