Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bouncin' Bobby and the Moon Twist Caper

Acapulco Goldea happily awaits her latest shipment of "Moon Twist"
Hear Pat read this entry 

Life as a DJ for an immensely popular radio station like CHUM conferred an enormous number of benefits, most of which wore skirts and hot pants.  Trust me, when you came to work at CHUM you were either single or about to be.  I got a taste of what it must've been like to be a member of Led Zeppelin or some other, popular rock band.  So it surprised the daylights out of me when I met the most engaging and attractive lady I'd ever come across, and we became “a number” almost immediately.  Madeline Klingenburg was from Saskatoon, and was as completely nuts as I.  We moved in together at Place Du' Soliel, then found a luxury apartment at one of Toronto's most prestigious buildings at the time, 150 Farnham.

Madeline and I lived large in those days.  We drove a number of luxury cars... a Mercedes 280SL, a Rolls Silver Shadow, various Cadillacs etc.  We attended functions together in matching, custom made clothes right down to our matching custom tailored, leather coats and jackets.  We became notorious social butterflies, and were constantly seen at parties, restaurants and events all over town.

On occasion my brother Mark would drop by, and he'd bring some of his buddies along.  Now if anything he's a bigger idiot than me, so when he told us of a scam he and his buddy Mike were running on a local, Lapeer lad... we'll call him “Bouncin' Bobby”... we HAD to get involved!

He and Mike had convinced this guy that they were under cover Narcs, hot on the trail of the newest and most insidious drug on the market, “Moon Twist.”   This stuff was especially dangerous because you could shoot it, snort it, or use it as a suppository.

I kid you not!

Bouncin' Bobby was a Whirling Dervish on the dance floor.  He'd gyrate wildly, hands flying in the air and his feet moving in 20 different directions at once.  When he hit the floor all the other dancers would give him plenty of space for fear of getting creamed!  Hence the nickname "Bouncin' Bobby."

On one occasion the three of them went to a bar in Lapeer.  It was Holloween, and the band was using a smoke generator which sent huge clouds of thick, chemical fog all over the room.   Mark told him “Smell that Bob?  That's Moon Twist for sure.  I need you to sneak around the dance floor, and check out who's smoking that Twist, so we can move in and bust 'em.”  Sure enough, Bobby headed over, and as discreetly as possible, looked over every dancer on the floor.  No Moon Twist... the perp must've gotten away!

Furthermore they had convinced poor Bob that they needed his assistance in bringing down the gang that was pushing the stuff in Lapeer.  The three of them would pose as buyers for a shipment of Twist.  Now Bob wanted no part of this, but Mark and Mike were convincing so he reluctantly agreed to help them with the big bust.  That's where Madeline and I came in, I was to dress up as “Tony,” the big cheese drug dealer from Toronto and Madeline was to be my Gang Moll.  We set the scam up for my next visit to Lapeer.  Before leaving for a local bar, we filled a baggie with Oregano and I stuffed it in the pocket of my white suit.  This would be a sample of Moon Twist for Mark, Mike and Bob to evaluate!

The scam was to go down like this:  Bob would meet us at Mark's apartment, and we'd head over to the bar to make the deal.  Bob showed up, and was immediately confronted by Tony... the most dangerous Moon Twist dealer in the area.  Tony was NOT impressed.  "He looks kinda' dorky.  Are you sure we can trust this guy?"  Tony's "moll" looked on disdainfully.  "Yeah, we can trust him" Mike said.  "Bob, c'mon in here with me"  The two of them disappeared into Mike's bedroom.  Now Mike had been an MP in the Army, he still possessed his badge and service revolver.  He pulled them both out of a drawer, checked the cylinder, popped the badge in his pocket and said "What'ya say Bob, shall we bust this scumbag right now?"  Bob's eyes widened and he whispered back "NO, NO... let's wait!"   Mike agreed... "Good idea, we'll get a couple of drinks in him.  That way it'll make things easier."  Whew... for the moment Bob was relieved, there would be no immediate confrontation.

So now the intrepid five-some, Mark, Mike, Tony, Tony's moll and Bob head over to a local watering hole to quaff a brew and look over the merchandise.  Upon being seated Tony decides he doesn't like the cut of Bob's jib after all, and decides he needs to see some bonafides.  Tony is convinced that Bob is a Narc, and unless Bob can convince him otherwise... well you get the picture.  Bob's in a state of panic, what can he offer to Tony as proof he's not a cop?

"Will my wallet do?"

"Sure, let's see it!"  Bob hands me his wallet and I tear everything out of it.  A tiny, motorcycle carburetor jet falls out on the table.

"Bob, you devil... A TWIST PIPE!!!!  You've been a smoker all along haven't you?"

With Tony convinced that Bob is a true brother in crime it's time to make the deal.  I reach into my jacket pocket, pull out the bag of Oregano and slam it on the table with a flourish.  Bob's eye's nearly pop out of his head, he's never been this close to an illegal substance before.  He looks like he's going to soil himself.  I pass the bag over to Mark who takes a pinch of Oregano, holds it to his nose and takes a huge snort.

"Yeah that's good shit alright!"

Mark then passes the bag to Mike who does the same.  "Good shit man, good shit!!"  Bob is next in line.  He indicates that he doesn't really need to take a snort himself, he trusts me, but Mike kicks him under the table.  Reluctantly, and with trembling fingers he reaches into the bag, takes a pinch of Oregano and snorts it.  With a greatly satisfied look on his face he grins, nods his head knowingly and says "That's real nice man!"

So a pact has been completed.  Tony is satisfied the other players are legit, the shipment of Twist will be delivered as agreed, and all is well in Lapeer.  The only thing left is for Bob to teach Tony a few steps.

"You know what Bob, I noticed you dancing... you need to show me some of your moves man."

So Bob, Madeline and I take to the dance floor, arms waving wildly, legs thrashing out in all directions and dancers heading for the hills, they must've thought we were all from some foreign land where everybody danced like that!.  The night was a HUGE success... we all laughed our asses off on the way home.

Now this could be the end of a great story, but it isn't.  Mark and Mike kept this scam going for FIVE YEARS!!!

Yup, I said FIVE years!!

At one point, even my grandmother was going to get in on the action.  They were going to convince Bob that she was the "Ma Barker" of the drug gang.  Her name was Goldea, they planned on calling her "Acapulco Goldea," bringing Bob over to her place and staging a shootout using some of the flares left over from the days when my granddad and uncles used to shoot at one another on the 4th.  They'd set up "radio communications" with CB radios... the whole 9 yards.  Unfortunately my grandmother passed away before they could pull off the scam.

But as sure as I sit here writing this, I know that "Acapulco Goldea" is up in Heaven flapping her wings in hover mode, with a box of flares, some shotguns and a CB radio just waiting for Mark and me to arrive.

There's just GOTTA be a sap somewhere up there we can pull this on!!!!

Mark Bergin adds:

His story is only part of the whole thing - like he said it went on for years. In 1975 while in college I was considering the Navy Nuclear Power officer's program - I was flown out to New London to the Naval Base for the interview process. We used this as a lead in to a story wherein I was to join a submarine crew as an officer (for cover) and try to determine who the crewman was that was bringing in the drugs. Another friend, Gregg Scharping, helped us develop the scenario and is the one who came up with the name "Moon Twist".

At one point, after I'd moved from the area, 'Bob' approached Mike at a bar and told him he knew it was all bull shit. By this time, however, Mike was on the Berkley P.D. and showed 'Bob' his badge and weapon. 'Bob's' head exploded.

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