Mike Mazurki

The air fills with derisive hissing sounds when Kid asks Mike if he knew many gangsters. "Christawmighty! I knew a lot of hoods, Kid. What is this? All these gangsters were nice guys. All of 'em--the top hoods--they were all nice guys. But they figured the parts I played was the way I was. Listen to this: when I was doing Guys and Dolls in Chicago, one night a guy comes up to me and says, 'The boss wants to see you.' I thought he was pulling my rib because I was a gangster in the show. He had a big car, drove me to this huge beautiful house. Turned out he was with Nitti, for chrissake! The top gangster in Chicago. So when I come in, Nitti says to all these guys sittin' around, 'Hey, folks. It's Big Julie from Cicero.' He believed I was the part I was playing. Becomes real friendly. 'Go to these restaurants and just sign my name," he says. "Tell 'em Nitti sent you. And go to my tailor and get yourself a suit of clothes.'" "Did you?" "Sure! He was a hood. I might as well do what he wanted. Bugsy Siegel owned a hotel. 'Be my guest,' he always told me. I was their guest everywhere I went. You know that." "A simple soul, Mazurki," Sylvia sighs.

"Was Raft a hood?" Kid asks of Mike and Sylvia's recently deceased friend. "They all respected George. Everybody thought he was a top grade gangster who had access to all the big wheels. That's why everyone was so friendly to him, always sucking up to him and everything." "We were close to George. He was a lovely man, courtly as hell to me," Sylvia recalls. "He had the most beautiful hands, and no facial hair whatsoever. But he would never say who his partners were. He had a casino in Cuba and one in London. Got kicked out of both of 'em."