Longer line than usual at courthouse to get into building. It seems Benji Ditchman is one of those freak attractions at a traveling carnival. The way the federals do things, for his cooperation he might be out a few months after he testifies, and will be walking on the street among us. Who knows, perhaps they can assemble the old Winter Hill gang. Murderman, Benji, Howie Winter (is he out on bail for his recent extortion?), Murderman’s brother Jimmy. Frankie Salemme is no longer the boss of the Mafia so maybe as an old member of the Roxbury gang he may be invited to join the group.
As for Whitey, my take is that Benji just hung around with him because Frankie was in Walpole. Once Frankie his boyhood friend and thug got out of Walpole, after doing his 16 years for blowing up Attorney John Fitzgerald, they started to get together, as we heard Weeks testify in the John Connolly trial that Whitey frequently complained about Benji spending too much time with Frankie, and as we saw in the photographs Billy McDermott, the Brookline detective took of them. So Whitey can be replaced by another person known to be capable, Pat Nee. Once the federals manage to spring Benji, who may still be a top echelon informant, things can go back to the way they were in the good old days.
Today we will start off with a testy exchange between Carney and Wyshak over Wyshak’s motion filed last night to cut Carney’s witness list down by 26 of his witnesses alleging that they are not relevent. The judge may delay the argument until later but Carney will not be too happy that it was filed.
After that exchange we will begin to hear the final part of the testimony of William David Lindholm, one of the most unlikable witnesses ever to grace a witness stand. I assume he will be cross-examined by Brennan who I hope goes into some of the deals that he made with the government that allowed him to put in a jail house confession of some guy and then walk free and to continue the rest of his marijuana dealings. Sometimes I think if all these guys who have deals with the government and those who are federal informants were taken off the street the crime rate would drop substantially.
I should explain the nickname I’ve put on Flemmi. As a young man I spent over a year at NAS Atsugi which was just outside Tokyo. When I got there I had the good fortune to be able to purchase a 1950 Mercury Monteray for $100. I would sell it for the same amount when I left 13 months later. I used to drive outside the base often going to Tokyo or over to Tachikawa that had the best PX in the Far East.
The hazards of driving the Japanese roads that were mostly two lanes was not only the narrowness of the road, the unending lines of gravel trucks as the country tried to rebuild after the war, but also the steering wheel in the Mercury was on the wrong side. Each side of the road was lined with benji ditches that carried the sewerage. If one of the many gravel trucks happened to veer toward you, not only would you go off the road but you’d end up probably upside down in a smelly situation. Being young I was never deterred from driving the car, which was like a tank, over those road but I always knew that one mistake would be very detrimental.
When I recently thought of Flemmi one day and his life, the benji ditch filled of foul sewerage came back to mind. It seemed to fit perfectly what Flemmi was all about, a pit of swill. A man should be known by his deeds and to me Flemmi will always be Benji Ditchman.
As for needing to hit people with a nickname, that’s a product of my youth where every kid I hung around with had a moniker. There were two kids within three houses we called Muggsy, across the street lived Jake,Wimpy, and Luke, whose real name was Pete. I never had one because you couldn’t find another Matthew at that time within all of Dorchester or South Boston. I never met another Matthew until after I got out of the service after college. Now the name is ubiquitous.
I did pick up two nicknames when I started to work with the detectives in the units doing undercover work. They reminded me of the kids I hung around with. One group called me Fletcher and another Monte. There are stories behind those names but that’s for another time.
The lawyers are assembling; Brennan was just talking to Wyshak; Whitey will soon be in the courtroom. He just came in dressed all in black with the black jersey. We should have an interesting day.