La Mafia is a restaurant in Zaragoza, Spain, where posters of Marlon Brando and Al Pacino adorn the walls and all the waiters and a surprising number of patrons sport black bow-ties. There are exhibits that are viewer-friendly and very informative on the Valentine’s Day massacre, Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, and why Prohibition led directly to mob control of night clubs and casinos. They have a loyalty program that is the envy of the hospitality industry. If you reach the level of 20,000 points you get free admission to the Fidelity Club where the Omertas (three drops of anis in a gin martini) are free and served on circular silver platters irreverently nicknamed Baptists.
But not all is as orderly as a daily glass of red wine, blue skies, and the sun setting orange on the construction trade and the community of citizens beyond government (CCBY), a secret society that came into being when it was understood, after the crazy Texan with the big ears cost Bush Senior the election in 1992, that the two-party system was doomed and yet no third-party could avoid doing more damage than good.
The American, nursing an Omerta at the bar, heard about the restaurant’s problems from the bartender, Paco.
“Bad,” Paco said shoving a newspaper article on the counter. It suggested that La Mafia, now a restaurant chain, “normalizes organized crime.”
“Where did this appear?”
“But that is an Italian newspaper.”
”Look what they say about us.”
The article made much of the Italian dishes in the menu named after murdered judges.
Also, it was reported that Italian Mafiosi and cocaine kingpins routinely meet at restaurants on Spain such as La Mafia.
Children under seven in a company of four or more are given Ray Liotta coloring books and little plastic bags of confectioner’s sugar packed like cocaine.
Pablo Martinez, La Mafia’s consiglieri coordinator, was quoted in the article from La Republica. He was indignant. “We are roses,” he said. “We are love.”
But the article’s author, Rinaldo something, had another word for it. “They are cocaine.”
The American laughed. Paco refilled his glass.
Pablo Martinez joined him at the bar.
“We’re going international,” he said. “Europe and Latin America. The foreign market shows a lot of potential.”
(Ed. note: Thanks to Willliam Brennan of The Atlantic (November 2014, p. 30), for the scoop.)