Have you noticed how difficult it is to hire a really reliable hitman these days?” It’s like trying to find a good nanny or cleaner. I read the other day that in America, over the last ten years professional hits have grown from 500 to 10000 a year. Forget dot coms this is THE growth industry… and like everything else, Coke, Rap, Nike, it’s now crossed the Atlantic…and is in a town near you.
Basically what happens is this.
A wife gets fed up with her husband’s eating (snoring/hogging the TV remote/falling asleep/lack of interest in sex/falling asleep during sex) habits, so naturally she decides to hire a hitman.
She goes down to the pub, and says, ” I’ll have a double vodka and tonic with ice and lemon please and can you recommend a really reliable local hitman?”
“He’s still got those horrible eating habits has he luv?.. Well I can’t say I blame you” the landlord says.
” Have a word with John over there he will sort you out.” He points to a man drinking a pint in the corner of the bar, sitting between the local Doctor and the local Butcher… fellow professionals…both of whom have of course been doing their bit recently.
Three months later she is standing in the dock of the Old Bailey charged with conspiring to murder her husband. Why? Because John was an undercover policeman.
Every time I read in the papers of a man or woman on trial for trying to have their other half murdered it’s the same old story. The local hitman in the pub turned out to be an undercover policeman! It’s getting so bad you can’t walk into a pub anywhere in the country without falling over an undercover policeman posing as a hitman.
No wonder you can’t get one to come round and find out who broke into your car and nicked your radio; they are all down the pub pretending to be hitmen, that’s why.
All over the country people who fall out with their wife ..husband.. business partner. .boss..girlfriend..boyfriend…the maitre de at the Ivy who laughed when asked for a table for two for dinner some time this century.. are hiring hitmen.
But what do they get for their money?
The trouble is, even the few real hitmen out there are not like the guys in the Godfather. In Tottenham N. London (home of the Adams family. Not the TV series)..it’s not usually a profession that’s been passed down from generation to generation ..Men who kill with sharpened spectacle frames plunged into the jugular.. Men who have wardrobes to suit every murder occasion.. From Popes to Rabbis.
Generally the best you can hope to get for your £500 is some crackhead hitman who when he can’t find the person you’ve asked him to kill, not wanting to come back empty handed … will just open fire at a total stranger so he can still get paid.
“Look ..at least I killed someone!..”. I am not making this up. It happened at a well known club in the West End. Incredibly the innocent victim a businessman on a night out survived. Despite being shot half a dozen times in the head at point blank range. (A note to readers: Do not use this hitman when he is next in circulation sometime in 2025).
Actually I once sold a life insurance policy to a hitman.
But Francesco di Carlo was the real thing.
He was a Mafia hitman from Palermo, only the Italian client who introduced him to me told me he ran a Bed and Breakfast in Surbiton.
“Are you telling me that Abbey Life accepted a life insurance application from a Mafia Hit man? A cold blooded professional killer? A man who had murdered 37 people?” a life insurance salesman asked me recently when I mentioned it during a motivational speech I was giving at a life insurance sales convention.
” HE DIDN’T DISCLOSE IT!” I said.
Maybe there should be another question on all life insurance policy application forms after ‘Have you ever had any trouble with your heart, lungs, bowels, kidneys or blood vessels?’
‘Are you now or have you ever been a Mafia Hitman? Please tick yes or no.
If Yes, have you killed 1-5 people? 6-10 people? 10 or more people? Too many to count?’
‘Do you use a knife, gun, or garrotte….or do you just run up behind them and shout “BOO!” incredibly loudly?’
I’d bumped into Francesco a few months after selling him the policy. He was outside a car showroom in Berkeley Square, having just bought a brand new Rolls Royce Convertible. He was wearing a heavy camel hair overcoat draped over his shoulders, black sunglasses and had a huge Havana clamped between his lips. I suppose I should have been suspicious…it was a hot Summers day.
“The bed and breakfast business.. doing well is it Francisco?.” I had asked. He’d grinned at me, scored a direct hit in my face with a blue plume of smoke and drove off.
A couple of years later I bought the Evening Standard and the banner front-page headline said ‘MAFIA HIT MAN …killed 37 .. jailed for 25years!’.
Francesco’s picture occupied half the page. He was still wearing the camel hair coat, black sunglasses and had a huge Havana in his mouth, and he was still grinning.
A few months later his life insurance policy stopped being paid.
I decided not to chase him for the money.
I still think I made the right decision.
Ten years later whilst still in prison Francesco confessed to having murdered the Pope’s banker Roberto Calvi whose body had been found some years earlier hanging from Blackfriars Bridge. I think it was a garrotte.
As a New York cabbie once said to me about Hitler…. “nice guy!.. a little aggressive though!”
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