Thomas Cirignano ran an auto repair shop in
the heart of
South Boston during the 1970s & 1980s: the heyday of
memoir offers readers a unique, in-depth perspective of
colorful and violent history.
Title: The Constant Outsider:
Memoirs of a South Boston Mechanic
Growing up in Dorchester presented real challenges, but once the author took over the family's auto repair shop in South Boston, life became intense.
Exciting news! Joining the print and Kindle editions, the audiobook version of The Constant Outsider: Memoirs of a South Boston Mechanic is now available on Amazon, Audible.com, and iTunes!
Upcoming Event December 14, 2013, Lakeville, Ma.
Join Tom Cirignano and several other authors at the annual "Made In Lakeville" holiday event. Sponsored by The Lakeville Arts Council Click here for details!
My day at James "Whitey" Bulger's trial
On 7-2-2013, I was one of just ten private citizens allowed into the Whitey Bulger trial, held in South Boston. I sat just 15 feet away from James (Whitey) Bulger, and he looked me right in the eyes as he scanned the small public seating area to see any new faces that might be in attendance. The entire experience was quite intense.
I heard chilling testimony from an old friend, Joey Tower, who I used to chum around with during the 1970s & '80s. This day, he was as dapper, confident, and imposing as John Gotti ever was. I learned things about him that even I never imagined, such as a machine gun sale he “brokered” with Kevin Weeks, and Joe's dealing in up to 3 Kilos of rock cocaine per week. Whitey got his cut of $4,000 - $10,000 each and every week from him, as protection money. I met-up with Joey (“J” in my book) out in the hall after he left the witness stand, and we had an amiable visit reminiscing just the same. (Like I said in the book, “I'm glad these guys liked me. If they didn't like a person, it meant big trouble.”)
We heard testimony from William Shea, one of Whitey's top deal organizers. When “Billy” tried to leave the business and move to Florida, he almost paid the ultimate price. Shea told some surreal stories about how they “did business.” We heard from a CSI investigator for the Mass. State Police. She described and showed photos of a murder scene from the 1970s.
The daughter of one of Whitey's victims took the stand and shared some heart wrenching details about her final words with her father. When she was just 7 years old, her dad left the house after she picked up the receiver during a mysterious phone call from a man. She tearfully testified that “Dad never came home again.” She awoke the next morning to find photos of her father's gruesome murder scene on the news. Seriously, the jurors and others in the courtroom should think twice before chuckling at some of the antics and wisecracks of Whitey and his henchmen. They need to remember that half of the courtroom is filled with family members of Whitey's victims. None of this is funny to them!
It's also a travesty that no news cameras were being allowed in court for this trial. If the public ever needed to know the truth about went on within a criminal organization, this is the case! Those of you who have pull with the Federal courts, please rally to have this trial included in the pilot program that is now starting which does allow news cameras in a few Federal trials. The public needs to hear the victims’ family members tell how these thugs destroyed their families. Being in that courtroom was an experience I will never forget.
Right outside the courtroom that day, I met-up with another old acquaintance. (Steve "Stippo" Rakes) He recognized me and seemed very happy to see me. We discussed the old days in Southie and our mutual friends. Stippo's interest in the Bulger case was this: Back in the 1980s, Whitey and his pals put a gun to Stippo's head, handed him a paper bag with $67,000 in it, and extorted his thriving liquor store from him by threatening his life and the lives of his family members. ("67" was a popular number with the Mob back then) A few days after my conversation with Stippo at court that day, his lifeless body was found dumped along the side of a secluded road in Lincoln. Ma. Understandably, Stippo harbored an ongoing hatred of Whitey Bulger, and was hoping to testify against him. That's no longer a possibility.
Creation of a Killer
Tom's second book is a fictional adaptation of his memoir. Within 67 Cents,"Nick" embarks on a radically different path than Tom took in real life, saying "Yes" to every illicit offer that was made to Tom by the Mob while running his Southie shop.
With those few altered choices, things change dramatically!
"I've always wondered what my life would have been like if I had become one of them.
In "67 Cents: Creation of a Killer," I find out. "Nick's" life spirals out of control!" - Tom
Jordan Rich, of WBZ - Boston, says: "If it's insight you want, into what the crime scene in Southie was really all about, look no further than 67 Cents: Creation of a Killer. Tom Cirignano was an eyewitness to it all and captures the flavor of the city in this crisp, fast-paced novel!"
Get it now! Click here for Amazon Link.
Like The Constant Outsider on Facebook!