My fathers voice was without expression. “Do you remember Frank Costello?” he asked.
“Top of the mob,” I said with admiration.
“One night Frank Costello was sitting in a night club with his blonde, a nice broad, and at the table he’s also got Rocky Marciano, Tony Canzoneri and Two-ton Tony Galento. It’s a guinea party,” my father said. “The orchestra is playing. So Frank says to Galento, “Hey, Two-ton, I want you to dance with Gloria.” That makes Galento nervous. Who wants to dance with the big man’s girl? What if she likes him? “Hey, Mr. Costello”, says Two-ton Tony “you know I’m no dancer.” “Put down your beer” says Frank, “and get out there and move. You’ll be very good.” So Two-ton Tony gets up and trots Gloria around the floor at arm’s length, and when he comes back, Costello tells the same thing to Canzoneri, and he has to take Gloria out.
Then it’s Rocky’s turn. Marciano believes he’s big enough in his own right to call Costello by his first name, so he says, “Mr. Frank, we heavyweights are not much on a ballroom floor.” “Go do some footwork,” says Costello. While Rocky is out there, Gloria takes the occasion to whisper in his ear, “Champ, do me a favour. See if you can get Uncle Frank to do a step with me.”
“Well, when the number is over, Rocky leads her back. He’s feeling better and the others got their nerve up too. They start to rib the big man, very carefully, you understand, just a little tasteful chaffing. “Hey, Mr. Costello,” they say, “Mr.C., come on, why don’t you give your lady a dance?”
“Will you,” Gloria asks, “please!”
“It’s your turn, Mr Frank”, they say.
“Costello,” my father told me, “shakes his head. “Tough guys,” he says, “don’t dance.””