Back in 1956 Joe Bevalaqua, the owner and manager of North Side Bowling Lanes, was a sharp businessman. He wore $300 suits, hand made Italian shoes he got in Venice, and drove a brand-new pastel blue Cadillac. He wasn’t Mafia, either, he was totally legit. He started out like Chester and Alec, in the US Army, and when he got shipped home after the war he worked his way up. Funny thing about Joe. You never saw him drunk! Ever.
One day we pin boys were standing around the bar listening to Joe talking to one of his buddies. Louie was saying that big expensive limos like Joe’s might look great, but they didn’t have the thrill of powerful acceleration and fast takeoffs like, say, like a souped-up Chevy, you know?
“Oh, Yeah?” Joe said. “I’ll bet you $100 I can burn rubber from a dead stop.”
“You gotta be kidding me,” Louie said. “Automatics don’t work that way.”
“Mine does. Come on. One hundred says I’m right and you’re wrong.”
Louie pulled out a bunch of twenties, and Joe did the same. Marty, the counter clerk, held the money.
Out in the lot, Joe started up his engine, and then drove very slowly until the front fender rested firmly against the brick wall of the building. With a big grin, Joe floored it. The rear wheels spun wildly, and screeched, and big dense smelly clouds rose up from the rear.
“You cheated!” Louie said.
“Bullshit,” Joe said. “Pay up!”