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Jack Schiavone wants to rebuild his life after an embezzlement scandal saw him drummed out of his high-paying advertising job. So he’s reinvented himself as “Mr. Mattress,” a discount bedding franchisee in Ebbets Beach, Brooklyn. Running a mattress store is a nice, quiet life—until Jack gets sucked into a simmering mob war that pits an ambitious Russian crime boss against a softening Italian don.
Soon everyone is “going to the mattresses.”
Jack falls for the don’s gorgeous black-sheep daughter, a legal aid attorney, making him the target of a jealous wise guy/lounge singer who’s fixated on her too. And his new store manager—the don’s gentle, stamp collecting, cottage cheese–eating former consigliere—proves as good at selling mattresses as he was at cooking the books for the mob. Then the Russians put on a show of force, and the don’s only recourse is to call on the world’s worst hit man: a mild-mannered chiropractor with an innovative killing technique.
When the smoke clears, who will be the don of Ebbets Beach?
decided to move things along toward that goal, even if conventional chiropractic protocols had to be discarded. “Sir,” he said, “I think Rachel is right. In consideration of your cerviocranial syndrome manifesting an acute subluxation of C-one and C-two, we’ll begin with an adjustment to vertebrae adjacent to the spastic muscle tissue.” In pure chiropractic nomenclature, what he said didn’t mean much, either. Now that he had regathered some of his wits about him, he was cunningly trying to
Italian osteria, owned by a cheerful Croat named Igor, tucked onto far East 88th Street by Gracie Mansion, with a man who called himself Mattress. Unlike most of her previous first-date experiences, this one was charged with possibilities. There had already been so much conflict, heated and passionate, wholly out of proportion to the slight acquaintanceship. There was the strange magnetism of their shared impurity, hers for living unestranged from her criminal family, his for whatever culpability
work my way through.” “Wall Street, eh?” replied Vic Donato. “Well, it just so happens my employer is in the finance trade, and we have an excellent, whatyacallit, work-study program.” “Seriously?” said the travel agent. “I mean, I’m happy with my current circumstances and so forth, but you...Can I ask, in round numbers, what the salary might be for this position?” Donato reached into his pocket for his bankroll, separated a thousand bucks in hundreds, and handed the cash to the travel agent.
unserious. He was trying to get a customer, not a laugh. That wasn’t all he didn’t include. He did not make the ad mainly an image combined with a headline making some visual pun. He did not using a shocking photo or graphic sexual imagery to get the reader’s attention. He did not employ Photoshop or other digital effects to miraculously skew reality (although God knows he had in his career overseen such trickery a thousand times, making cars, glasses of beer, and vacuous fashion models look
difficulty fathoming the depravity. “What can we do?” he asked. “We can’t do nothin’. The don needed to hit the Russian. That’s that.” “I went to see Donato today, just before...” Manny turned away from the Pillow Quilt Royale and toward his boss. “I didn’t know that. Why?” Jack shrugged. “Well, I had an idea, sort of a plan. It had to do with this chiropractor lunacy. Thing is, I had an idea to get their hit man alone with the Russian boss. But your don didn’t bite.” Manny’s eyebrows