Friday, September 22, 2006

Rogue's Gallery #5: THE AZZOLI BROTHERS

Meet Gino "Calamari" and Freddy "Muzzle" Azzoli AKA the Azzoli brothers. These two are as inseparable as Laurel and Hardy... they are rarely seen in public without each others' company.

Technically, they aren't brothers, if you must know... cousins, but raised in the same house... Gino's old man Tito's place... Freddy's Uncle Tits. The old man liked Freddy best (everyone does, really, even though he never says much, and he does the vast majority of the killing), so everyone just treated it like he was the old man's kid, and not the bastard offspring of Tito's whore of a sister. Easier for everyone that way. Besides, Tito beat him just the same as he beat Gino when the wine told him to.

Still, Gino wasn't without remorse when he flushed the old man's pieces down the john.

One might assume that such an upbringing would breed intense competitiveness between the two brothers, but this was never the case. They have always had an incomprehensible understanding... an unspoken language that they shared.

It probably helped that, although they are both quite stupid, Freddy is about one pube this side of retarded.

Thus, Gino has always had an easy time dominating Freddy intellectually, and Gino generally does the talking for both of them. As a result, you can't shut the guy up without a blunt object. The only time Gino keeps his yammering maw quiet is when they're on a job. Few people realize the depth of Freddy's dim wit, because the way Gino tells it, the guy is Socrates.

Freddy is certainly an asset in his own way, though. Freddy's good looks get enough tail for both of them in spite of Gino's obvious and severe physical shortcomings (as long as Freddy doesn't open his idiot gob). Freddy never insists on taking the pretty ones, either. And, of course, Freddy is strong as a lion and kills on command without hesitation.

Together, they make a pretty perfect team, really. Few professional murderers have long careers, yet these guys have been at it since John Travolta was still dancing in a white suit. Part of this longevity comes from being protected by the mob, certainly, but beyond that they are extremely skilled at what they do.

All together, they have only been in the pokey five times (Gino for burglary, Freddy for assault, assault, assault and pissing in public). This is not through any sort of cleverness that they have avoided being caught for any of the abundant corpses they have created. Pure talent is what keeps them alive and in shiny shoes. Freddy is fast and remorseless, Gino is brutal and thorough. They go and get the job done and leave before the blood stains the carpet.

Rogues Gallery #4: DR. CORNELIUS SHAM

The more you dig into the life of Dr. Cornelius Sham, the less you find you know about him.

He is pictured in two versions, the one on the right being the image he used on the labels of bottles of healing elixir he used to sell (considering his long life, perhaps it works in spite of the high amount of radium in the solution).

The only consistent information, it seems, is that he was born on May 5th, 1923. However, this lone documented fact (backed up by an Oklahoma City birth certificate) casts the shadow of doubt on many of the other tales and rumors about Sham's colorful and mysterious life.

For example, if he was born in 1923, how could he be a part of the scores of stories about him that took place before his birth? How could he have run off to join the circus with Tod Browning in 1896, only to end up running the sideshow a mere month later? How could he have been there at Teddy Roosevelt's deathbed to cryogenically preserve his head?

However, the birth certificate is all the tangible documentation of this man that we have... no paper trail has ever caught up to him. No social security number, no addresses, no license plates... it would be easy to think that the man never existed if there wasn't such a wealth of anecdotal evidence of him from so many different sources.

Did he really kick Mrs. O'Leary's cow? Was that really him on Elm Street in Dallas opening the umbrella in the sun as the motorcade passed? And if he really had a flying solar car in 1953, why did he choose to bike the Appalachians distributing hallucinogenic toads for breeding to the poor in 1955? And why is he wearing an Eleganza leisure suit in the grainy photos of him meeting Rockefeller in 1948? Certainly, that couldn't really be his reflection in Buzz Aldrin's helmet, even if the photos are from NASA.

Obviously, many of the stories about him are complete fabrications... but it is troubling that there are often scores of corroborating witnesses in many of the seemingly impossible ones. In spite of reports of his death in 1968 (honey overdose), 1972 (plane crash in Antarctica), 1997 (fell into vat of hydrochloric acid), and 2002 (eaten by elder god) there have been sightings of him as recently as three months ago. He was reported to have been operating a smuggling operation moving cloned sheep out of Australia in the pouches of kangaroos.

His current whereabouts are- you guessed it- unknown.

Rogue's Gallery #3: "STARRY-EYED" LESTER

Christ knows Lester would do things differently if he could do it all over again.

The misery of his present situation... cigarettes as cash, eating with sporks, counting the days until it is over with a line drawn with an off-white pebble on a his wall... these things, and others much darker, force him to take his thoughts to elsewhere, another time, another place, anywhere but here.

In the black and white 1965 Zenith television of his mind, Lester never did the things they said he did to anybody. At least not permanent, or to anyone that mattered, or to anyone who would talk about it afterwards... and certainly not to that cop's kid. He's innocent as the day he was born, when he pissed all over that doctor.

In fact, he is not merely innocent, he's famous. The star of his own tv show, a household name and idol of the hungry millions. It's a sitcom, if you must know: Lester is the single father of three precocious children (Gary Coleman, Jaleel White and Emmanuel Lewis), trying to make it all work out in spite of comical hardships, often with the help of a wacky oddball neighbor played by Pat Harrington, Jr. Ted Knight plays the man who lives in the wall with a cat.



Meet the "Deizel Weezel," or the "Deez" or or "Wheez" or "Easy Deez" or "Deez-eeze" as he is known in his native Keokuck, Iowa. "Deizel Weezel" is actually the nickname he gave himself... for a nickname to stick, generally it must be assigned by one's peers. Not so with the Deez... he gave it to himself in his Chevy lusting teenage years, before he even owned a car. He is actually usually the only one who refers to himself as "The Diezel Weezel." This generally occurs upon introducing himself (or certain parts of his anatomy), to a member of the opposite gender... "Meet the Diezel Weezel, baby!" Others who have encountered him unanimously opt for one of the other variants of the handle.

In actuality, the Deez has never owned or driven a diesel-fueled vehicle. However, every vehicle he has owned has been a Chevrolet, and every vehicle he has owned has cost him more per month than his rent.

His resume has included a wide variety of professions... Carnival Worker, Gigolo, Dish Pig, Crank Dealer, Burglar, Newpaper Vending Distributor, Bartender... unfortunately, he has been a complete failure at every career he has ever attempted.

In spite of occupational failure, there is one thing at which he has been a resounding success. The Deez has the single largest collection of mesh shirts in the entire world (although he remains clueless about this fact... the shirts are simply his chosen uniform). Indeed, he only owns one shirt that is not meshed, which he uses for special occassions, such as weddings, funerals and proms (which, although he is 28, he still attends at every opportunity). For such occassions, he has his tromp l'oeil tuxedo t-shirt.

Although some may find this fashion statement unappealing, the Deez has a "passion for fashion." He is always accutely aware of his appearance and how he presents himself. He once also had a huge collection of different single hoop earrings that he would wear in his pierced ear. He thought this gave him the look of a bold individualist, but an associate informed him that he was wearing it in the "fag ear," and in spite of his fervent belief that the other ear is the "fag ear," he nevertheless ceased wearing earrings entirely the next day (after beating his associate bloody, of course). However, the entire collection of single-hoop earrings remains to this day under his bed like a dark, dirty secret (next to his collection of Hustlers).

The earring fiasco had a happy ending, though... as a new off-center accoutrement to highlight his bold persona he has adopted an always-attached black toothpick to his lower lip, which he buys in bulk at Wal-Mart. To his credit, he can make one pick last the entire day, which is no easy feat by any measurement.

Rogue's Gallery #1: "HONEST" SAM DINSMORE


Although known as "Honest" Sam, Sam cheats at cards, steals candy from the grocery (jelly nougats) and would claim to like the Beatles when asked even though he finds them boring and overrated, and once smashed his car stereo with a ball-peen hammer in a tequila rage as a reaction to the 26th verse of Hey Jude.

Those days of angry inebriation are behind him now, though... he's learned to meditate. When he feels his blood begin to rise, he now pictures Abraham Lincoln's calming visage floating benignly four inches in front of his face. He tried other presidents first... Washington, Jackson, Fillmore... Lincoln seemed too easy... but Lincoln's mug just harmonizes alpha waves like nobody's business.

He made the mistake of telling one of his co-workers at the bank about it... thus the inaccurate nom de plume.

He's fine with it though... it can't hurt, considering the embezzlement and all. Only one month to go and he's off to South America for a new life... he imagines that Abraham will be an infrequent visitor as he relaxes on white sand beaches with an alcohol-free pina colada. In the meantime, he's visualizing Abe levitating in front of his monitor for a minimum of three hours a day, patiently ignoring the spreadsheets, databases and powerpoint presentations that one must endure when pulling a bank job in the early 21st century.