ELVIS MELLON ALTERNATE TIME LINE CIRCA 1962- THE JOSEPH MELLON EPISTLES
PAGE # 6
( Written by Mike Banks )
From Melvin Bender
to Gene Miller
August 28th 1962
Hello, my friend! I'm sorry I haven't written to you sooner, since our last lunch meeting
in Miami. As you noticed then, I was in discomfort due to the business that was going on
in my lower-tract. Unfortunately it all got progressively worse, because of things that I
won't go into right now, and I ended up having a stay in the hospital. Oy, there wasn't
enough Pepto in the world, such a pain I had! Anyway. They are miracle-workers at Sinai,
and afterward I had a wonderful rest in the Catskills. You and your lovely wife have to
join Moyra and me for some time away, and go up to Kutchers. From the kitchen, the
brisket, the baba ganoush, the knish... all straight from heaven!!! So, now I'm much
better and feeling fit as a young Chassen with the constitution of an Ari, after my time
away from my desk. So, I'm back. Business is good.
Thank you for asking after the family, Moyra has never been such a Malka to me, do I love
this woman! Saul is doing well in pre-med up at Cornell and so is Mitzi at Dartmouth. Two
doctors in one family! We are blessed, I tell you, blessed! But, they don't call their
mother enough. Anyway... so I'm sending you a case of Glengoyne single malt, and I packed
inside the box one of Moyra's kugel to enjoy, you're such a Mensch already!
So Gene... I need you to do something for me that you are good at. A wise old Rabbi once
told me "If you want to find a crook, ask a crook. If you want to find a dough-nut, ask a
cop. But if you want to find good information, ask a reporter." So as I said already, the
family is fine... except for my brother Stan.
I've been worried about him lately, and I think the man is starting to go a little soft
in the head, maybe. Right now he's down in the Caribbean tagging along with Joey Mellon
who is doing a travel piece for us. Now Stan is no stranger to monkey business, but he's
been doing some strange things, even for Stan.
He's been palling around with some odd ducks, and I was wondering if you could do a
little digging on a few of them so I can feel comfortable they are on the up and up. I'm
including some photographs for you to start with, maybe it should help.
So here's the deal.
A few weeks before he headed south, Stan began to act strangely. I was down in his
basement workshop with him, (like the man knows from tools, sheeeesh) and I couldn't miss
the high-powered rifles he had hanging on the wall over his bench. I asked him, where did
you get these, all of a sudden?
He said "Some friends gave them to me. They're teaching me to hunt. Aren't they great?
Brand new... never fired. They were leftover from that total fuckup last year at the
Pigs." Pigs? What? We're Jews! We don't play with pork! So now he's a pig hunter,
already? This would kill our Mother!
I told him he shouldn't be fooling with guns, they're more dangerous than football, and I
let it go.
So the next weekend he invites me out to a picnic in his backyard. He says not to bring
Moyra. OK. So I go. When I get out there, I see a bunch of guys there who I've never seen
before. They were all very chummy with each other, and when I asked Stan who they were,
he said, "Don't worry about it... they're from the Company." They Company? He couldn't
hold a job if it had handles! What company? He said, "You know... the Agency" Agency? It
must be some fancy-shmansy business, because they showed up with their own beer truck!
And a ton of food too, all top notch! When I asked Stan just who the hell is picking up
the tab for all this he said, "Don't worry... it's all paid for by John Q. Public." (see
photo marked Picnic at Stan's). All afternoon they seemed to to huddle in groups of
three or four and even though they kept their conversations very low, I managed to
overhear bits and pieces of what they were talking about. Whatever this agency is, these
guys must have been all on the company softball team, because they kept talking about
this one being a good "hitter" and that one knowing a good "hitter", and who would be
"left in the game at the end of the day" and that it was going to get hotter than Georgia
asphalt down in that "bearded fuckers" backyard real soon. I kept hearing about Operation
Mongoose and Operation Northwoods. Is that like a Hail Mary play? Oooops, pardon me,
that's football isn't it? Maybe it was a play plan code between the Pitcher and the
Catcher. Whatever. The guy with the flat-top and cigar, in the blue, shirt must have had
an "in" with a crooked Umpire maybe, because a few of them whispered to each other
calling him "the Armadillo" (he was Italian? he didn't look it) and saying almost with
reverence that he had Lemnitzer's "ear and full attention". Isn't that like cheating?
Then halfway through the afternoon a guy shows up in a Dallas, Texas police uniform (see
him in the rear of the photo, but you can't quite make out his face) and he comes
straight-away up to Mr. Armadillo and laughingly says "Check this one out! I picked it
out of Wardrobe Department for the thing in Dallas next year! Ain't it the cat's ass?"
This agency puts on plays, with it's employees??? Well, Mr. Armadillo got real red-faced
and almost bit the cigar in half, and yelled at him "Are you fucking crazy??? Get the
fuck out of here with that shit, you fucking idiot!!!" He just said back to him " Hey!
This one is for Dulles, Cabell, and Bissell, and fuck that adulterous bastard, he's
getting put down!!!", then he left the picnic as fast as he came in, shooting crack-stone
halfway up the driveway with his tires as he went. It was a strange afternoon. I helped
Stan clean up, and then went home to Moyra.
A few days later Stan and I met for lunch, but he didn't want to go to the usual. He said
he had to meet a few guys and discuss some business stuff. He said they weren't Jewish
and didn't appreciate good Deli. He said they were from Corsica, and it was their custom
to always have lunch in "public". OK, as long as I don't get stiffed with the check. So
we meet up with these guys (see photo marked Associates), and I guess the Corsicans are
rude as their French cousins, because they never even introduced themselves. So before
they start to talk business, Stan sends me out to his car for his glasses, and says have
a drink or two at the bar, on him. OK. So I'm at the bar, and because of the rounded
acoustical shape of the ceiling in the place, I can get parts of the conversation they
were having from across the room. They kept talking about how pissed-off Momo was,
(Momo?) and that they were going to create such a mess, that "Lawford couldn't even clean
up afterward, this time". (Lawford? New cleaning product? Must not be too good.) So
before I get back to the table, the house table photographer-chippy snaps a photo of them
all. When their meeting was over the guy sitting on the right finds her out on the
restaurant floor, and walks up to her as smashes hell out of her camera, right there on
the spot!!! What he didn't realize was that the joint had two photographers girlies, and
they were both twins! That rude bastard grabbed the camera off of the wrong one! They
left, and Stan excused himself to go take a shit. I found the right twin, gave her a
saw-buck for the picture, and that's when I thought of you.
So Gene... Bubbahlah! Check this out for me OK? I need to know if I have to call Joey
Mellon's shrink up here, and make an appointment and strap Stan's ass to his sofa!
So look for my scotch and kugel! Enjoy
( Written by mike Banks )
The following letter/note and copies , pictures included were was/were sent by Melvin Bender in New York
city to Joseph Mellon's hotel in Turk and Caico and to Gene Miller at the Miami Herald
August 28th 1962
Here's a few pictures I felt like sending. Enjoy!
1 - Moyra on the lake at Kutchers. You can't see them in the photo, (when I pulled out my
camera to take this they ran up into the woods),
but four guys kept following us along the shoreline of the lake. We stopped... they
stopped. We go... they go I know she's a looker, but to have
men following us? Oy, do I love this woman!
2 - Oddball waiter at Kutchers. He gave great room service, but he wouldn't leave us the
hell alone, already! He kept delivering things we didn't even
order! He kept coming into the room, and hovering like a cloud of gnats. And this,
after I tipped him twice! Oy, when Stan called on the phone, he
got so close to me, I thought he was going to start humping my leg. I thought maybe
he wanted some attention, so I snapped this picture of him and then he ran out of
the room and down the hall yelling into his jacket lapel, I'm blown! I'm blown!" Go
figure! Meshugginah! Or maybe camera shy?
3 - Stan tinkering in his basement. He was installing some doo-dad into that radio. He
said he needed for his work. He works??? I'll never figure that man
out. He's my brother, but sometimes, Gott in Himmel, it's like I don't even know who
he really is!
Moyra Bender ( at left )
enjoying herself in the Catskills
Odd ball waiter ( below )at Kuchers in the Catskills
Stan ( below ) Bender tinkering with radio
Melvin Bender below ) at his office at