Friday, 6 May 2016

Swimming With The Fishes

At last I am finally able to comment on a real gangland killing, in which the victim has 'cement wellies' (cemented feet). Now the first time I became aware of this form of death i.e. being thrown into a river with feet buried in cement, was in a Laurel and Hardy movie, when the boys got their feet cemented together somehow (I don't recall whether by villains or accident, but judging from picture it was baddies), and rolled about on the edge of a river wharf .... but of course they didn't actually get hurt.

Laurel And Hardy With Cement Shoes

Later of course I heard the 'myth' that cement shoes was a popular form of Mob execution, by Al Capone and the Mafia etc ... 'tonight you will be swimming with the fishes' as 'Fat Tony' in the Simpson's might say. But in reality there was actually little, or no evidence of any such form of execution ever being carried out by the Mob, nor indeed anyone else.

Fat Tony - President (Elect) Thieves Guild ...

This maybe because most people would struggle while having their feet placed in quick drying concrete (as its fairly obvious what is going to happen next!). In fact that nearest known example was in August 1964, when the body of Ernest Rupolo was found in New York's Jamaica Bay, with two concrete blocks tied to his legs.

However, police in Brooklyn New York (the home of the Mafia and the cement shoes myth), found the body of local 'gang member' Peter Martinez, washed up on the waterfront shore this week. He was wrapped in plastic bags and his arms were tied behind him, and his feet were submerged in concrete .... the fact that his hands were tied behind suggest that he was alive when he was cemented up but the medical examiner has not determined the cause of death (which has to be drowning to make this a genuine cement shoe execution).

Peter Martinez - Now An Ex-Gang Member After 'Swimmin Wid Da Fishes' 

Whomever it was who carried out this killing was in something of a hurry, as they failed to wait for the cement to fully dry. The cement was filled with air bubbles, which may have allowed it be washed about in the estuary tides, and eventually caused the body to come ashore.

Still It was no doubt a punishment he deserved (I am all for the guild of thieves idea from Ankh-Morpork, where you buy protection from being robbed from the thieves guild ... aka 'insurance directly from the perpetrators'), and have no objections to mobsters killing each other off .....

....... Saves the rest of us the time and trouble.


  1. It's always good to see some Laurel and Hardy; I'll never forget the scene where Hardy thinks he's massaging his own feet after a long trek in the desert but they're so tired that he's actually doing Laurel's !

  2. If you have ever read Suetonius's The Twelve Caesar then swimming with the fishes has a different connotation for the Emperor Tiberius.

  3. If you have ever read Suetonius's The Twelve Caesar then swimming with the fishes has a different connotation for the Emperor Tiberius.

    1. Ah ... I had took it up to remind myself of Tiberius's 'little fishes'. That's a very erudite, if slightly risqué reference to swimming with the fishes. Thanks for the comment and it also reminded me to re-read that book, which I hadn't seen in 30 years or more.

  4. The Ankh Morpork form of direct crime insurance is something we could try. Unless you are a lord Vetenari of course.

    1. Ha Ha .... thank you for the comment.


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