Key dates in the flamboyant career of Joey Merlino:
> August 3, 1983. Joey is accused of beating and stabbing a man in an Atlantic City casino. Maybe the guy stole Joey’s slot machine spot while he had his back turned? People get very territorial around those slots. Those blue-haired old ladies will kill you, let alone beat you, if you pulled that on them.
> 1984. Joey is barred from Atlantic City casinos. Undaunted, he returned a few years later. Caught gambling on casino videotape, Joey claimed it wasn’t him, just another skinny lookalike.
> August 4, 1989. (August is not his best month) Merlino is charged with robbing an armored car of $350,000. He is convicted a few months later and like all college boys, goes “away” for 4 years. I’m surprised he didn’t say he didn’t rob the truck, he was just hitching a ride back home!
> April 1992. Joey gets parole and immediately begins working for John Stanfa. I’m sure this wasn’t what the parole board had in mind when they said he must be gainfully employed as a condition of his release.
> September 1992. Merlino and three other goombahs get straightened out. They all go to Friendly’s for an ice cream treat. Joey orders a Fribble.
> May 1993. “Little Nicky” Scarfo is caught on tape complaining that Joey is taking over South Philly. He suggests that his son invite Joey out for “dinner.” Joey’s life is sparred when Scarfo’s son can’t get a reservation at Sparks Steak House!
> August 5, 1993. (again August!) Stanfa takes his turn at ordering Joey hit. Merlino is shot in the right buttocks. He does not, however, believe that the FBI has implanted a tracking device. Mike Ciancaglini, Joey’s goombah, is killed in the attack, allegedly for having a last name even Italians couldn’t pronounce!
> August 31, 1993. (see, what did I tell you about August?) In retaliation, Stanfa’s son is shot in the face. Joey denies any involvement and claims it must be some down-on-his-luck plastic surgeon trying to drum up business!
> November 15, 1993. An all-out Mob war erupts. Joey escapes without a scratch as he is jailed for violating his parole. Accidental? Not according to Freud.
> March 17, 1994. Stanfa and his gang celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by getting indicted for racketeering and are jailed without bail. Joey refuses to serve them corn beef and cabbage at the prison welcoming party.
> September 1994. Ralph Natale “graduates” after 15 years of “college.” The state paid the “tuition.”
> November 14, 1994. Merlino “graduates.” He finds employment with the well-known firm of Natale and Company.
> 1995. Merlino survives more assassination attempts. He’s so “skinny” he just slips through his enemy’s fingers.
> November 21, 1995. Joey hosts his first annual Thanksgiving dinner for homeless children. He calls the event “Turkey and a Tommy gun”.
> July 2, 1996. Merlino becomes a daddy when his daughter Nicolette is born. He denies rumors that he named her after Nicky Scarfo.
> November 26, 1996. Merlino does it again. The second annual Thanksgiving dinner for homeless children is a big “hit”.
> March 5, 1997. Joey marries Nicolette’s mother, Debbie Wells. He figures he’s got nothing to lose. If he doesn’t like marriage, he can always say that wasn’t him at the altar, just another skinny lookalike.
> January 6, 1998. A second daughter Sophia is born. Joey rents the movie “Anne of a Thousand Days” at Blockbuster.
> June 12, 1998. Natale returns to “college” and takes the course “How to Avoid Parole Violations 101.”
> October 3, 1998. Merlino attends the wedding of capo Ron Previte’s daughter.
> June 29, 1999. Joey finds out that Ron Previte is an FBI informant. He is indicted on drug charges. Joey asks Ron for the wedding gift back.
As J.R. always says…STAY TUNED!
Copyright © 1999 PLR International