The Man Who Wouldn’t Die

Smithsonian Magazine has this amazing story about a group of regulars at a Bronx bar who in the 1930’s tried to kill a fellow drunk Michael Malloy to cash in some life insurance policies they took out on him. Only problem was that Malloy just wouldn’t die.

Night after night the scene repeated itself, with Malloy drinking shots of wood alcohol as fast as Murphy poured them, until the night he crumpled without warning to the floor. The gang fell silent, staring at the jumbled heap by their feet. Pasqua knelt by Malloy’s body, feeling the neck for a pulse, lowering his ear to the mouth. The man’s breath was slow and labored. They decided to wait, watching the sluggish rise and fall of his chest. Any minute now. Finally, there was a long, jagged breath—the death rattle?—but then Malloy began to snore. He awakened some hours later, rubbed his eyes, and said, “Gimme some of th’ old regular, me lad!”

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