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Subject:Skinny Joey Merlino

Is �Skinny Joey� Merlino the Philly mob boss, or not? Well, the Feds busted him this week, so the boss title just might be a moot point at present.

Skinny Joey was "summering" on the Jersey shore (Martha Stewart, watch out!), when the Feds picked him up on drug charges like a "two-bit drug dealer." Is there a description other than a two-bit drug dealer?

It seems Joey was a "roll up the sleeves, I don't mind getting my hands dirty" kind of boss. His "pharmaceutical company" was devoid of any middle management layers. Do I detect a limited payroll due to declining profits? Nahhhhh, probably just middle management�more for Joey! Does he conduct the cocaine clinical drug trials on himself? Is that why he's called Skinny Joey?

With no middle layers to insulate himself from the Feds, if convicted, Joey is going down big time! 20 years, mandatory minimum, up to life for being the CEO of this operation. And Joey just finished reading that New York Times best-seller "The 10 Business Habits of Highly Unsuccessful Wiseguys?�

When the Feds hauled Joey into court last week, reporters described him as �dour but tanned.� At least we know his Panama Jack was working! Unlike New York's "Dapper Don," who was known for his expensive Italian suits, Skinny Joey was decidedly more casually dressed; wearing a sport shirt and blue jeans. But why the dour look on Joey? Could it be because the Feds roused him at 7 a.m. and he threw on the first "schmatah" available? No time to pick out an Armani tie to go with the Hugo "Boss" suit! I know that would piss me off!

What the "thin man" lacks in business or fashion acumen, he makes up for with his fertile imagination. When questioned about the $10,000 found in the back pocket of his jeans, along with his driver�s license, Joey replied "those are not my pants." Joey would have been better off saying that he lost a tooth the night before and put it under his pillow for the tooth fairy. She mistakenly put his tooth money in his pants pocket. Now that is so much more believable than denying ownership of the $10,000! Hell, if I found just a �lucky C note� in a pair of my pants...

But Joey has long been famous for his excuses. Last year, after being caught on tape in an Atlantic City casino from which he has been banned, Joey was quoted as saying "That isn't me; lots of people look like me. They got Forrest Ump on tape with Kennedy for God's sake!"

Joey, however, will have to come up with a better defense than that to beat this latest rap!


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