Twice as bitter as salt.
And if you get hooked, baby... it's nobody else's fault.
Yes I know I have anachronisms flying all over the place already but I couldn't find any late 60's people in cocaine ads or rapping about it for you. Regardless, I've grown tired of the stale MDA/MDMA hogwash we volley back and forth forever and wish to look into other intoxicants. It's like we bathe in cognitive dissonance at times.
Anecdotally, and therefore proving true everything I say afterward, MDMA and MDA were somewhat difficult to consistently score when I arrived fresh and dumb as they make 'em from Tecumseh Hollow at The World at the end of the 80's in the wee hours preceding gentrification.
Oppositely, dimes and twenties of cocaine were available (conservatively) at every third bodega you passed. A transaction was typically accompanied by an off brand parting gift to make things look good. There was a spot on E. 3rd St. with a city trash can out front filled with unopened cans of soda. I always wondered if the bodega people retrieved the cans and placed them back inside their coolers.
Lingering while pondering things like that was an extremely bad idea fyi. The door guard for the motorcycles was always watching. Tough guys on that street for sure. They'd sometimes get their payback when locals caught them off the block but not often.
Before I tell you the story of the rest of my life, let's jump into our bitchin' time machine and talk about a scene that was happening in Los Angeles during the gruesome summer of 1969.
And listen you can still be right about everything after reading what comes next. Have no fear. I'm here to create content not argue unknown history. I know it's totally outlandish but let's pretend for an insane moment we live in a distant parallel universe where recreational drug users prefer little sexy bumps of energy off beautiful people's bodies in locked restrooms over dingy dehydrations and pills with weird names like mescaline that last eight nauseous hours and come from a stinky guy whose fake name supposedly means wind in some far off language even though he's as white as Christmas.
His apartment smells like cat pee but I know you know that already.
She's ready for the David Bowie concert. Peace and love is dead in the metro areas. Strummer is already dreaming up perfect lines on his quest to ignite dry sticks beneath Beatlemania. Take a hike with the drugs no one does and purchase yourself a little gold spoon.
Peruse this Los Angeles Times article from July 25, 1969. Note the cocaine dealer is twenty-one years old. Kids are selling it to their contemporaries and also undercover cops. Blow is everywhere in the cities if you go by arrests and seizure reports in newspapers. The Wiltshire address below is exactly 10.8 miles away from Rudi's place on Cielo where Jay Sebring had cocaine with him the night he died.
Since you're settled in, wanna see something wild from a Long Beach paper the day Charlie either did or did not shoot Crowe? That $7 million is the equivalent of just under $52.3 million right now. In case you are unaware, the dude drinking for free at the end of the sports pub bar can't get you that much from his guy with a quick text. You gotta know somebody.
I bet she was woman of the month. Reading that made my gums numb.
Btw, I watched the new George Stimson episode last week. He says Linda arrived at the Ranch July 1st. I believe that's one of the three dates I commonly see given for the Crowe shooting. Busy little bees. What are your thoughts on the episode and podcast in general. I like his presentations.
Smooth ride to die in, I suppose. I have Jambalaya on an LA playlist I listen to a lot lately. Hank transcends genre.
And was also mixed up in some stuff apparently. I would not be shocked to find out I'm a distant cousin of the college student driver named Carr and even Hank himself. So rolls the great migration.
Years before I snuck through the back door of this blog last summer and changed the real writers' passwords (which I continue to ransom btw), and I mean I'm talking forever ago before 5G and 4K when I had an iPhone 4 or something, I read this post about cocaine and immediately started grinding my teeth.
Just kidding. I know I type hip words to make myself look cool but the truth is I totally failed at that awful drug. Coke dealers relentlessly stalking me and selling me their kerosene smelly baggies of paranoia is one of the reasons I don't drink anymore. Mobile phone companies are in on it too as far as I'm concerned. And bartenders. And guys in bathrooms.
And waitresses. The list is as endless as the reasons I no longer drink.
Exhausting conspiracies like those surround us because coke has been readily available for decades everywhere. So stressful. I simply cannot wait for the day I become a giant pearl after eating from a tree filled with different fruits and no longer have to deal with life up here.
Want to float down a cool blue underground river together? We can make a chain. I heard it takes two weeks. We'll be nineteen and beautiful again.
The communal clothing pile and assorted other weird germ-y things will not be happening down there. Infectious diseases and viruses are better understood a little over half a century later. To that, we're finito with the dumpsters todos.
Stylistically, any dudes who show up in satin pirate shirts and etc will not be allowed to miniaturize. The girls will pay attention to you and I'm insecure so away you go. You must continue farther downriver and find the root with Gilgamesh. Watch out for the snake.
In Patty's post, she asks the person she is interviewing where the cocaine going around Southern California came from in 1969? Was there one source, many, what? Patty brings up the mob. Which is slang for mafia.
Which is slang for Eugene David Massaro.
Legit. If you're trying to define streams of cocaine flooding into the Hollywood scene during our research period, stop here for a spell. Eugene was at the forefront of the movement and possibly one of its managers. Cutting and pasting from his FBI files into a document filled up twenty-five pages in MS Word last week. My brain and eyes hurt when I finished. He was never not doing something awful.
Here is what Uncle Sam had on him. It's worth deciphering. Massaro is as fascinating as any character in this drama. Jarrett chasing Massaro through a fiction novel is one I'd love.
Our man Eugene arrives in Los Angeles in 1967 and takes up residence at 1221 West Horn Ave.
A quick refresh on Horn Ave or some illuminating backstory if you're new. Newspapers and even the FBI commonly misidentified the avenue as a street. Pro tip if you're searching. You don't have to thank me. It's all gratis as part of your MFB experience.
Massaro was a bad boy with screws loose and ice water in his veins. He rocked half sleeves in the 60's. He surfed. The neighbors heard him beating his wife while accusing her of cheating.
The couple worked together at a strip joint. Today, the building is attached to a film studio and has a large privacy fence enclosing it like a pioneer fort in a 1950's black and white movie.
Surely you feel the thunder clouds gathering.
During the time Massaro was physically abusing his wife, still 1967 for you scorekeepers, he drove this little honey.
Massaro possibly had the hard top but c'mon. I'm California Dreamin under dark tall oaks right now. Allow me a sunny breeze. Massaro surfed every day from 10 am until around 4 pm. The Lou Adler production on the song is lovely imo. We argued about the harmonies and if the choice of the alto flute had anything to do with them. What do you think?
We should back up after you answer. Eugene David Massaro was born in New York in late 1938. He arrives in our story in 1966 in Miami trying to reenter the country on a flight from Colombia with a loaded pistol in his luggage. Airport police and authorities were desperately trying to stop, allegedly anyway, I'm sure some of them were, cocaine from arriving in Miami via commercial airplanes in those days. Never a one-trick pony, the feds considered Massaro a top jewel thief at the time and were already watching him.
When I saw Colombia, I of course immediately thought cocaine. I went to Newspapers.com and started searching with "Miami," "cocaine," and "Colombia," as keywords. Oddly, the first two suggestions that popped up when I queried articles from 1966 with those keywords were about young men who got caught coming back from Colombia with cocaine but were also caught smuggling gemstones.
The federales knew Massaro was taking his burgled, robbed, and home invasion booty up to Boston to fence under the watchful eye of godfather Raymond Patriarca. I wondered if Eugene was cutting New York out of the deal. Risky Business.
Massaro was always working. He posed as flower delivery drivers. Policemen. Whatever was necessary to gain entrance. And then it was over in seconds. Handcuffed victims. If you'd crossed him previously or he imagined you crossed him previously, you likely disappeared.
Hotel room robberies. Insurance fraud. Extortion. Murder. All of this while importing cocaine. Dude was a serious adrenaline junkie.
Never one of the good guys. We're talking about a pimp who used a brass candlestick to teach an ugly lesson to one of his hookers. Who outside of Edgar Allen Poe has brass candlesticks? The vending machines Massaro supposedly sold with Tex were never manufactured. That venture was likely a partnership with the Chicago outfit.
Massaro was connected to everything and everyone. LA Boss Mickey Cohen asked him to come on board as muscle.
And I could be completely wrong but the FBI report shows Massaro is first charged (at his hospital bedside where he spent two weeks after being shot) with three counts of kidnapping following a shootout where his injuries occurred and a guy named George Piscitelle died. Later, Massaro and three others are charged in the killing of Piscitelle. Was the whole thing a setup?
If so, it was brutally clever. Piscitelle's karma was likely up anyway.
Piscitelle's digs at the time of his death. Those trees out front were tiny bonsai shrubs back then. A man who taught Karate to east coast transplants took care of them.
I'm likely splitting Massaro's spectacular adventures into several posts. You will see he was more than a street hoodlum. Massaro wasn't some mob flunkie. He was their man handling things.
Prior to the Piscitelle murder in 1969, a fellow gave Massaro $11k in 1968, just under $87k in today's US currency, believing Massaro was going to buy cocaine, step on it, and bag it up for delivery. I feel guilty saying this since the man lost his life over his foolishness but good lord. Was his first day in the drug game his last?
That's a lot of trust. Oh, and Beckham wants me to point out that when Massaro first arrived in Los Angeles, he listed his occupation as "hairdresser."
How did Tex meet Massaro and how close were they? Read those FBI reports on Massaro and tell me if what happened at Cielo Dr. seems beyond the pale to you.
From the above linked FBI reports:
3 OCT 20 1969 5OJA*103 U.S. Savings Bonds Regularly on the Bay roll Savings Blan LA 87-26ij48
Information received from CII, Sacramento, indicates that contact with employees of that firm locally have stated that none of the machines have yet been manufactured, although the company has been in operation for some time. This is believed to be merely a cover operation for MASSARO.
If the vending machines were never manufactured like the FBI believed, what did Tex and Massaro do when they hung out? Talk about wigs?
Before I go, I want to briefly discuss my defense of Glenna Maddox posted a couple of weeks back. It is boorish to condemn Charlie's mother, uncle, and society for his decisions and actions and then turn around and get all fired up and call him out on lies every time the available data doesn't match the accepted backstory. I need way more dispassion at times.
Moving forward, I will attempt to avoid saying I have empathy for the child raised in the system and then turn around and laugh alongside the Coliseum mob when a clearly mentally ill Charlie is pulled from his cell to perform goofy dances while dodging the sharpened sticks of disingenuous interviewers.
If I somehow lose my cool after finding several photos of happy-looking seventh and eighth graders who were arrested in the dust with the crew two years later or any other bits of the awful minutia stuck to the barely exposed entrails of this study and rage at every character under that dry 1969 sky from my desk inside the offices of this historic, vaunted blog, I apologize in advance.
And seriously, if you can verify you were there and have the ability to clear up any misconceptions I'm having about the young loves give me a shout. I'm tired of digging up their photos. It breaks my heart.
That's probably it for me for today. I'm better suited for lonely databases where I can reflect the sun back into the eyes of El with my shiny keyboard. If you're one of the kids who ate trash casseroles on the saloon floor, I'm glad you made it here.
So long for now from the banks of the Ohio. The leaves are turning while we feed and provide just-in-case places for a herd of deer during hunting season. My family purchased this land with timber, ore, and their blood in 1803 after defending a tiny cabin just across the river against gory privations for a decade. Our No Trespassing signs are not suggestions and we allow no hunting in these woods.
Do not bring your guns up here.
* My process is to take what is commonly believed and endlessly repeated and attempt to verify the info. Thanks to Deb, Patty, Beckham and the illustrious Jackie Buns for lending me their ears last week. Long live Karate Sue. Tell me that's not the sister of the guy in the striped shirt mugshot.