17. A Bizarre Murder Plot
In 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, Marino’s proprietor and namesake, Tony Marino, was in a financial bind and desperate for a way to get his hands on some money. That June, he concocted a plan with four acquaintances to make some quick cash. They would connive with a corrupt insurance agent to take out multiple life insurance policies on Michael Malloy, get him to drink himself to death, and collect when he perished. After taking out the policies, Marino extended Malloy unlimited credit at the speakeasy. In itself, it was not the most bizarre of plans, but the way it was carried out after Malloy failed to die of drink in a timely manner certainly was.
Day in and day out, the old Irishman drank all his waking hours, and showed no ill effects. To speed him along, the plotters added antifreeze to his booze, but old Malloy simply drank until he passed out, then asked for more when he came to. The coconspirators then upped the ante, and replaced antifreeze with turpentine. Malloy was unfazed. They switched from turpentine to horse liniment – basically, liquid Bengay. Malloy poured it down the hatch and asked for more. They then added rat poison to the mix. Malloy’s constitution did not seem to notice. Oysters soaked in wood alcohol did not do the trick, nor did a spoiled sardines sandwich sprinkled with metal shavings. With each passing day in which Malloy continued to draw breath, Marino and his accomplices grew more and more desperate.