Jimmy Hoffa's Revenge

On a wind-whipped fall day, a creaking, leaking motor home angles into the parking lot of the V.F.W. hall in Brick Township, N.J., and releases into a knot of waiting teamsters the scion and heir-presumptive of the most notorious labor leader in American history.

"Welcome to Brick, Jimmy!" shouts a barrel-bellied man, and James Phillip Hoffa shouts back, "Thanks, buddy!" and then the cluster of teamsters moves inside the hall, and Jimmy smiles wide, and a wave of applause washes over him. The applause is for his father too, the martyred father who, the mythology says, had this great union stolen from him by the Kennedys, and who had his life stolen from him by the Mob, and whose son is going to redeem this union in his name. Smoke gets in Jimmy's eyes as he inches his way inside, where the air is damp and smells of cigarillos and Wal-Mart cologne and steam tables that keep the hot dogs hot. The teamsters wear black T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts that scream "Hoffa" like a threat, and these 45-year-old white men who drive trucks in the dead of winter and break their backs on loading docks while their bosses plot to hijack all the good jobs to Mexico, they buy up the sweatshirts at Hoffa rallies just like the black teen-agers who bought "X" caps to proclaim their to-hell-with-you militancy. These are freight guys, mainly, drivers and warehousemen, not "Buster Browns," the shorts-wearing package boys--teamsters in brown shorts, can you believe it?--from the U.P.S. wing of the union, which is Ron Carey's wing.
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