The Monday after Easter, a number of citizens showed up in my office to register complaints against the Birelli family in general and Bugs Birelli in particular, even though he was no longer among the living.


It seems that they had been among the victims of the Birelli guard’s “protection service” that he’d known nothing about, and to their dismay and mine, the same guard of said gentleman was continuing the process.  Only now the price had gone up. A couple of the younger generation whose parents’ businesses were being shaken down also came to register complaints.  They were angry to the point of expressing explicit comments of what the cemetery management could do with the Birelli body.  Many of the storekeepers wanted  Bugs moved elsewhere, that this cemetery didn’t have to be so accommodating as to allow a gangster’s body to be buried there, no matter how influential the founding Father had been or how much the son donated to charity.  As far as they were concerned, Birelli was mean, nasty, ugly, vicious, and above all, not very nice.  His money counted for nothing.


Since I was both groundskeeper and management, I made each and every one put their specific complaints in writing. Management, to quote a phrase, was “not amused.”  I went to see His Honor the Mayor, and he gave me free rein to do as I saw fit with Mr. Birelli and his tombstone with wreath.     


 Oh, great.  The eyes of Taxes were upon me.  My first thought was to take a much - needed vacation for about two years.  That wasn’t feasible, so I stopped at a favorite coffee spot on the way back to my office and got an extra large double shot espresso with whipped cream and Irish Crème flavoring.  When I got there, Doug and Henry were waiting for me.


“About time you got here,” Henry complained from my chair.  “We had to eat all your pretzels and drink a beer while we waited.”  Doug half sat on the desk.


“Some people just don’t understand hardship,” I rejoined. “By the way, His Honor gave me permission to do what I want to with Bugs Birelli’s gravesite.”


“So what are you going to do about it?”  Doug asked.


“I don’t know. The fact that the family has perpetual care is a complication.  It’s paid up for the next couple of years, so I can’t just call another cemetery and ask if they’ll take the body.  Or maybe I could.  Leave the memorial here and move the body.  No, that won’t work.  Unless it was done at midnight or two in the morning.”