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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Beacon Buck casino night has ties to the mob


UMass Boston Chancellor, Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, holds a bucket of Beacon Bucks and stands in the Campus Center filled with slot machines. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano (She/Her) / Mass Media Staff.

With the end of the semester fast approaching, the school administration has been left scrambling for new ways to squeeze even more money out of the student body. As expected, Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco came in swinging with an idea so good, it was sure enough to bring a smile to any old, mustachioed man with a top hat and monocle—a Beacon Buck casino night.

“You gotta keep that UMB economy self-sufficient.” The chancellor spoke proudly as he stood in the middle of the Campus Center’s first floor, surrounded by spinning roulette wheels, high-stakes card tables and slot machines flashing wildly. Students roamed around, trying their luck at everything this pop-up casino had to offer. However, for anyone who cared enough to put even the tiniest morsel of thought into it, it was obvious that the only thing being offered here was complete financial decimation.

“It’s a simple system. Students can spend their real money on Beacon Bucks which they can use to play games for the chance to win Marky Money!” The chancellor held up a handful of paper currency, each with a picture of himself striking a formal pose. “Who’s that handsome devil? Anyways, Marky Money can then be exchanged for neat prizes!”

These prizes ranged from UMass Boston merch to an electric guitar signed by Dennis Dagger. It seemed by the looks of it that the chancellor was doing his darndest to not only rip off the student body, but Dave and Busters as well. Of course, this didn’t bother him as the ultimate goal was to make money by any means necessary.

“You know, gambling addiction, and addiction in general, is a serious matter that we carefully took into consideration when we put this experience together.” The chancellor handed a student a complimentary non-alcoholic beverage as they passed by. “I mean, the question is, how can we best reach this demographic of addicts? How can we get them to spend their money on our machines?”

Casino night became such a success that the University began holding it every night. However, it wasn’t long before things started to get out of hand. Reports began surfacing which claimed that the supposed non-alcoholic drinks actually did contain alcohol. There were even some who believed that the drinks were laced with other highly addictive substances. What’s more concerning are the strange men in dark suits that were spotted walking around the floor and threatening to take people out back to “ruff them up” if they caught wind of any “funny business.”

Then there was Angelico Conmanio, a UMass Boston student who was determined to beat the chancellor at his own game. He invited me to come and take a look at an operation he was running out of the Healey Library basement and, when I arrived, it was obvious what he was up to—he was printing Marky Money. Sitting down with Conmanio, he explained the motivation behind his actions.

“I did the math. One US dollar is worth about two Beacon Bucks. One Beacon Buck is worth about five Marky’s. Then you have to consider the fact that you need to gamble to win Marky Money, so you might throw out on average ten Beacon Buck’s to make one measly Marky because it goes without saying that the machines are rigged. Now you’ve got a defective UMass Boston hoodie hanging in the prize shop going for twenty Marky’s. Ask yourself, do you really want to be dropping 2,000 dollars on something you can probably find in the Campus Bookstore dumpster for free?”

Conmanio went on to claim that he had snuck into the chancellor’s office and stolen his Marky Money template. He now had several presses running around the clock to print as many Marky’s as he could manage. He hoped that by flooding the market with Marky’s, the chancellor’s unjust economy would crumble.

Under normal circumstances, this would be where the case came to a close; however, a new development presented itself when I was forcefully kidnapped by two mystery assailants on my commute home. A bag was thrown over my head as I was tossed into the trunk of a car and driven to a secret location to meet the true kingpin of casino night—local mafia crime lord, Don Don.

“Jesus Christ, you look terrible. Here, wipe that stuff off your face.” Don Don, an older gentleman dressed in a sharp-looking tuxedo, spoke bluntly from the other side of a wooden desk that took up most of the space in the small, windowless office he inhabited. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and threw it at me. I hadn’t noticed until that moment that I was bleeding.

“You hungry? You want something to eat?” He produced a plate of spaghetti from underneath his desk. I usually have a strict rule against eating a stranger’s spaghetti, but after being violently thrown into the back of a car and driven to what appeared to be my doom, I decided to make an exception.

The Don commanded an air of authority as he spoke. “You’ve been sticking your nose where it don’t belong. Now, I’ve got nothing against a little investigative journalism, but some things you just stay out of. If you know what’s good for you. That chancellor of yours, he…”

The Don’s thought was interrupted as one of his cronies burst into the room. “Yo boss, me and Mario just got back from whacking those kids!”

Looking annoyed and embarrassed, The Don responded, “Vinny, you lugheaded, stupid s—, can’t you see I’m with a guest right now? And for f—s sake, don’t say ‘kids!’ Say ‘college students’ or at least ‘college-age kids!’ I don’t want to be known as the guy who whacks kids if ya know what I mean.”

Vinny looked ashamed and blurted out a quick, “Sorry boss” before leaving the room. The Don then took out a small list of names. Some had been crossed off.

“This is my whack list. It helps me keep track of things when life gets … wacky.” Some names were instantly recognizable. The chancellor, Bobby Beacon, Angelico Conmanio and even Mark Wahlberg.

“I’m gonna give ya the scoop, kid. I’ve been hired to make sure your chancellor’s little casino night runs smoothly. Now, this is a tough business and I’d hate for you to find that out firsthand, so I’m gonna give you a choice. You can walk away right now, or we could add another name to this list.”

I wasn’t exactly sure what his endgame was as far as casino night was concerned, but it was clear that Don Don meant business, and it wasn’t the kind of business I wanted to partake in. So, I chickened out and took the option that wouldn’t have resulted in my immediate death. As I got up to leave, The Don imparted me with a piece of advice.

“And kid, I wouldn’t go fishing in the harbor for a while.” He took a fancy pen and crossed off Conmanio’s name on the whack list. “You might fish something up you don’t wanna see.”

Before I could question what exactly he meant by that, a bag was once again thrown over my head. As I was dragged out by his goons, I heard him make one final remark.

“And in regards to everything you witnessed here today … Fuhgeddaboudit!”

About the Contributor
Joe DiPersio, Humor Editor