Law enforcement agencies across the nation are breathing a sigh of relief, today, after a full-blown Mafia war was averted through, of all things, a spelling bee. Tensions between New York’s Gambiossi clan and New Jersey’s Cheezetti mob were about to explode when this alternative method was found.

The heads of the two families agreed to a sit-down with WWN to explain their viewpoint on the alleged tensions. “First of all,” Sam Gambiossi, “the fact that you’re bringing up the word ‘Mafia’ in regards to us is uncouth.”

“Uncouth,” Tony Cheezetti, injected. “U-n-c-o-u-t-h.”

The two men nodded in agreement. “We are just two men in the waste management business. A business that employs over ten thousand men and women to work every day. We just had a disagreement on…” Gambiossi seemed to fumble for words.

“…Our disposal methods,” Cheezetti finished.

“D-i-s-p-o-s-a-l m-e-t-h-o-d-s,” Gambiossi added.

“Waste management is tricky, today,” said Cheezetti, “with your green waste and your recyclables. I mean, the rules of what is considered recyclable or not is a real pain in the butt. They seem to change every four months or so. It really causes tension.”

“And, between the two of us,” Gambiossi said, “we pick up most of America’s garbage, with the exception of Chicago. Chicago’s in a league of its own.”

“Tempers were boiling,” injected Cheezetti.


“So, I was in Confession at church,” Gambiossi recalled. “Just gas-bagging about all this as well as how all the old ways were disappearing. Loyalty. Fidelity. Marrying your first cousin. Then, my priest says to me: it’s time to smarten up.”

The priest, Father Fulton J. Fish of Saint Timothy of the Trick Knee in Queens, advised Gambiossi to set his sights higher, to both bring back the old ways and settle things with the Cheezettis in a non-violent manner that would actually elevate the two groups from the rest of the mugs in the country: a spelling bee.

“I have to admit,” Gambiossi said, “my first instinct was to pistol-whip him. But then I thought about how proud I was when I was in grammar school. I got gold stars from the nun, but I didn’t know how to reach out to Tony.”

Cheezetti chuckled. “It turns out that I was big spelling bee fan, too. So, his Father Fish contacted my pastor, Father William, and Sammy and I agreed to a sit-down. It was great. We still had our grammar school spelling books. So, we started practicing with each other.”

A gang of nuns helped out. “They were tough,” Cheezetti explained. “Not only were they carrying rulers to whack us over the knuckles if we screwed around, they carried guns to whack us if we gave them too much sass.”

“Once you learned how to spell a word, you learned its meaning,” Gambiossi explained. “So, our attitudes changed. We were eager to get this to our men.”


The two found that teaching their men to spell and alter their behavior was hard. “Ironically,” Sam began, “which is a word I’d forgotten, the older guys were easier to get to, because they still had that grammar school in them. The younger guys? It was tougher. The first thing we had to do was take away their cell phones.”

“Then,” Tony finished, “we submerged their heads into a vat of red wine, a nice blend. Once they felt they were losing their lives, they came around and exceeded our expectations.”

“E-x-p-e-c-t-a-t-i-o-n-s,” Sammy grinned. “They actually became sophisticated by changing their manner of speech completely. They learned what the words meant and it was reflected in their actions.”

Chuckled Cheezetti, “All of a sudden, they were opening doors for women and not just slapping them around. They weren’t mugs, anymore.”

After intense training requiring the use of dictionaries, thesauruses, and nuns with guns, the two “teams” agreed to meet to spell out their differences. The big spelling bee was held in Philadelphia, which is a “safe” place.

“And, you’ll never guess what happened,” laughed Gambiossi.

“It was a tie!” Cheezetti chortled. “We both failed on ‘xenophobia!’ We both kept on using ‘z’s.”

With the two groups now in total synch, there’s no more threat of a war.

“War?” Cheezetti laughed. “This is just the beginning!”

“Next year?” Gambiossi stated, “we’re going to tackle the math bowl!”

“In the meantime,” Cheezetti declared, growing serious, “our companies are in synch and we’re ready to flex our muscles, going after the real bad guys.”

His eyes narrowed. “Cartels.”

Gambiossi’s jaw tightened. “C-a-r-t-e-l-s.”

Cheezetti nodded. “C-a-r-t-e-l-s.” He paused meaningfully. “D…O…A.”

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