The Wedding Gig
|"The Wedding Gig"|
|Genre(s)||Mystery short story|
|Published in||Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (1st release),
|Media type||Print (Periodical & Paperback)|
|This article does not cite any sources. (October 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
Told from the viewpoint of a bandleader during Prohibition, the story centers around a small-time racketeer, Mike Scollay, who hires the narrator's jazz band to play at the wedding of his 300-pound sister Maureen, and her 90-pound fiancé. At the gig, Scollay's enemy, the Greek, blackmails a man to come to the wedding reception and insult Maureen in front of the guests. Shortly after, Mike is shot down in a hail of gunfire from the Greek's men.
The band leader is approached a short time later in a bar by Maureen, who is despondent and depressed, feeling that she caused her brother's death and is filled with self-loathing over her weight and the way she is aware other people perceiving her. After requesting a song, she leaves, and the narrator never sees her again, but he, like everyone else in the country, follows her story from that point on. Maureen Scollay takes over her brothers racket, with her husband as her lieutenant, and carves out a criminal empire that ironically far eclipses the operations of both her brother, and the Greek, whom she soon hunts down and takes a gruesome revenge on. Eventually, she is caught by the FBI and sent to prison, where she is soon joined by her husband, who does not share her leadership abilities and quickly fails without her. She eventually dies in prison from a heart attack, and the narrator sadly reflects on the cruel rumors that she had ballooned up even further in weight by that point, something he considers to just be malicious rumors.
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