A headline got me thinking this week:

Mobster Killed While Waiting for the Bus.

For most of my life, I would have just laughed at this headline; this encapsulates how far La Cosa Nostra has fallen, with welfare-collecting “wiseguys” waiting for the early morning bus. Anthony (Little Anthony) Seccafico was a made guy in the Bonanno Family who was killing time waiting for the bus to take him into the city at 4 a.m. Little Anthony didn’t run a union or control rackets; this was just a working stiff who convinced himself that a goofy title made him a “gangster” and gave him the right to compare himself to the legendary powerbrokers of the old days. Little Anthony played power politics in the street gang known as the Bonannos and got whacked at 4 a.m. in the morning for chasing nonexistent power in an obsolete lifestyle.

This type of sleazy, goofy crime is why I became embarrassed to work with the LCN. This ‘hit’ apparently involved numerous people; it took an entire ‘team’ to whack one groggy, unarmed guy waiting at a bus stop at 4 a.m.! Could one guy not pull off this job?! These dummies apparently haven’t been paying attention to the news over the last 20 years and don’t realize that they are all going to rat on each other within a couple months. Everyone but the rat will go to jail forever. Even a ghetto street gang wouldn’t have wasted three or four soldiers on a crime as easy to commit as this one.

As I said, my normal response would just be to laugh at these poseurs and amateurs, but it got me to thinking about how lucky I was to make it through that “life” more or less unscathed. I was one of the very few to live as recklessly as I did and survive; my mentor, Joey Avila, and my best friend, Lee Matthew Clyde, were both killed mere blocks away from me. I saw both of their bodies while the blood was fresh. They were both incredible people; it was such a waste. I go over those nights in my head all the time. I am tormented by them. What if? What if I did something different? What if I just went with them?

Now that I’m a different person, I have so many regrets for living the life that I did. My worst regret is obvious, and it is something I think about everyday: I broke the heart of a wonderful woman named Tara who was, at one time, the only person who ever believed in me. I also wasted the time and effort my parents invested in me and, at one point, uninentionally brought a war I was fighting on the street all the way to my father’s house, where he could have been killed.

While I committed many crimes against other hardened and vicious criminals who knew the score and wanted to do the same thing to me, I also did my fair share of exploitation and scamming of the (comparatively) innocent. For this, I am sorry. I now realize that a real tough guy is the guy who goes out of his way to avoid causing needless pain and humiliation to anyone, especially the guys who may seem to deserve it. Like jiu jitsu teaches, the true warrior is the warrior who knows that aggression is always the last resort.

I lived a crazy life, a life that I freely chose. I make no excuses for my actions. I did a lot of really bad things. Looking back, I realize that I even feel culpable for the crimes of some my accomplices. My life in porn really took its toll on me because of that; everyone was a willing and consensual participant, but a lot of my friends and business partners were clearly nuts or damaged people.

People think porn is all beautiful women and a party lifestyle. Trust me, it is not. The women are abused, damaged souls. People may not know but many of them are lesbians. I spent many nights watching them cry because they were never happy being with a man since they had suffered so much with them. They found it more comfortable to sleep with guys for material things than passion or love. I regret helping so many of these girls hurt themselves.

Besides hurting Tara, I have one huge regret: Steven Ward. The fate of Steven Ward bothers me a lot. Most people would not know his name. Steven was the father of Orange County drug dealer John Ward, who was a kingpin dealer making millions a week. I watched Steven Ward’s lawyer frame Steven because he did not want to go to court, and, as a consequence, the completely innocent old man went to jail as a domestic terrorist. I did what I could to save him, but it was too late.

A Few Words About Orange County

People keep asking about Orange County, where I was born, raised, and began my criminal career. Orange County today is not

what it was in the ’80s — which is good and bad. The ’80s were a lot of fun, butthe OC at the time was one of the most dangerous places in America, a wild place overrun with mobsters and Columbian cocaine cowboys running crazy.

The LA Family boss Peter J. Milano was making moves to solidify the family. Mike Rizzi, the legendary hitman who ran an off-shoot LCN family, was very active in Orange County. He had a number of guys running around.

“Fat Bobby” Paduano and Dino S. were big time movers in south Orange County. Despite what you would expect from an OC wiseguy, Fat Bobby was no bum. The guy had restaurants, a big shylock biz, deals in Mexico. His lieutenant Dino had things going on all over; they were the enforcement arm for the Milanos and other families from back East in Orange County.

You had other players like Joey Grosso and “Big” George Yudzevich, ripping off cocaine dealers and playing the role. You had Bill Carroll who took over the Mustang Club after Jimmy Casino was killed. Joey Grosso controlled the lingerie sales at the club, while Big George had the door. Mike Rizzi and Fat Bobby extorted thousands of dollars every week from Bill Carroll’s club, and Mike Rizzi Jr. was selling cocaine in the area.

Of course, these are the names that OC people are already familiar with. There are many others that you probably have never heard of: Tony F., Johnny Divito, Tommy M., Jimmy Derose, Andy Dibono, Johnny Romano etc. A lot of Italians of varying degrees of credibility and toughness. None of them were shit compared to Mike Marvich, Rodriguez Gacha’s viceroy in California and my occasional mentor/boss/worst nightmare as a teenager.

Thanks to guys like Marvich and Mike Rizzi, it was a crazy time and bodies were dropped regularly.

That was Orange County.

Today it is the safest place in the country — go figure. As soon as I moved away, the place got boring.