Beyond the Western
Sharkey's Near Death Experience
Scott A. Gese

If Sharkey wasn’t really dead, who was in the coffin?

Image Source: Svetlana Gumerova / Unsplash

Beyond the Western

The long black hearse led the procession of limo’s to the graveside service of John “Sharkey” Malone. Gunned down in an abandoned warehouse by Detroit’s finest. The men in blue didn’t hold back on the lead where John Malone was cornered.

John Malone, better known by his friends as “Sharky”, made whiskey during the time of prohibition. The whiskey made him a lot of money. He often said that when the town went dry, he saw a need and decided to fill it. He wasted little time in designating himself as the cities official thirst quencher.

Sharkey wasn’t the only one. Others tried to break into the business. Quenching the thirst of those who frequented the network of underground bars and speakeasies was a lucrative business. Those competitors didn’t last.

Whiskey was Sharkey Malone’s domain. He and his goons made quick work of anyone who tried to gain a foothold onto his turf. It was a bloody time. Malone lost a few good men, but his would-be competitors lost their lives.

He controlled the warehouse district. One of them housed the stills he used to make pure corn whiskey. The cops knew of it, but Sharkey made sure he greased the palms of the right people and they in turn left him alone.

All went well until a new chief of police was voted into office. He had his own agenda and it didn’t include anything that had to do with alcohol. From day one he put the screws on Sharky’s operation.

Fortunately there were others on the force that saw things different. They kept him informed. When raids were going to take place, Sharkey made sure they were only breaking open barrels of cheap watered down whiskey. It made for good publicity. The police looked good and the papers ate it up. After a day or two it was business as usual.

On the day Sharkey was gunned down, he was tipped off that the cops were coming for him.

Things were beginning to heat up to an unbearable temperature. Sharkey was getting tired of the interruptions. Something needed to be done and the sooner the better. Just before the warehouse was raided, Sharkey gunned down one of his own men. He hated to do it, but he needed the body. He left it where the paid-off officers who were raiding the joint would find it. It was all planned out.

The officers went in and shot the place up, then they let a few select reporters take some hazy photo’s of the body. They claimed it was indeed the body of John Sharkey Malone. Everyone believed it. They also claimed to have destroyed his operation. Malone’s operation wasn’t any more dead than he was. They said a lot of things. None were true.

Sharkey was still alive and his business was thriving.

Just after the death of Sharkey Malone, The Chief of Police decided to take an unannounced vacation to an undisclosed location. It was perfect timing.

Meanwhile the funeral of Sharkey Malone was a well attended closed casket affair. The casket was lowered into the ground and covered over. It did contain a body, but it wasn’t Sharkey or the person he had shot. It was another.


The new Chief of Police slowly woke from his stupor caused by the chloroform filled rag that covered his mouth. It was dark and very cramped. He suffocated to death, but not before he realized he was in Sharkey Malone’s coffin.

© Copyright 2020 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.