Practice English Speaking&Listening with: I Am Machine Gun Kelly, Public Enemy Number One

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September 26, 1933.

It aint even dawn yet when Kathryn pokes me.

I groan and roll over; Im sleeping off a bottle of gin.

Someones in the house,” she whispers.

I listen.

Theres a faint noise from the hallway.

I suddenly remember that I didnt lock the door when I brought the newspaper in.

I untangle myself from the blankets and motion for her to stay put.

Ive just gotten out of bed and picked up a pistol when the bedroom door flies open.

A police raid.

How do you rob a bank?

It aint just sticking a gun in the tellers face.

You gotta have some panache.

Saunter in, dressed real smooth.

Wait until any old ladies leave the building.

Maybe tip your hat at a pretty dame.

Then nice as you please, pull out your convincer and inform the clerk that its a stick up.


I have a special holster for my Tommy gun, so I can draw it with style.

I always chuckle at the panic on the clerksfaces.

Im in charge, I have complete power over them and Im gonna take their moolah.

Ma, God rest her soul would be so disappointed to see me robbing banks.

She wanted me to go to school, maybe become an insurance agent like Pop or some other

respectable job.

For kicks I used to shoplift and run liquor for bootleggers.

But because of Ma after high school I got on the straight and narrow and went to Mississippi

A&M College to study agriculture.

Dropped out after 4 months.

Books just weren't for me.

From the start, Pop and I didnt get on much.

I never minded him.

Me leaving school was the last straw.

Pop turned his back on me, then Ma died.

Never again did I set foot back in my Memphis childhood home.

By then some coppers were sniffing around on account of my old activities.

I dropped the Barnes from my name and became George Kelly to beat the heat.

And also to keep my family out of it.

I couldnt do anything right in Pops eyes, but I could change my name.

The only good thing to come out of my college days was meeting Miss Geneva Ramsey.

And she soon became Mrs. Kelly.

We eloped and had two boys.

I really did try to stay on the straight and narrow--I worked as a commissary clerk, drove

a taxi, farmed goats, but there never seemed to be enough money to keep us afloat.

I slipped back into a little petty theft and bootlegging on the side, all for the good

of the family of course, but Geneva didnt like that.

She left - and took my sons with her.

Thats when I fell into bootlegging full-time.

My poor old heart was aching and you gotta fill your life up with something.

For me it was gin, girls, and guns.

I lived it up.

I had run-ins with the coppers here and there.

Caught some fines, and once I got a few months vacation at the state pen in Santa Fe, New


Hazards of the job.

When they caught me selling booze on an Indian reservation near Tulsa they finally were able

to make it stick.

In 1928, I was sentenced to 3 years at Leavenworth.

After that, I promised myself that the law would never lock me up again.

The police shine their flashlights in our eyes and point shotguns at us.

Kathryn bolts up in bed and screams.

Im outnumbered.

I put down the postol.

Dont shoot G-men!,” I say, as I raise my hands.

Its over.

As much as I hated Leavenworth, I learned a lot of tricks there.

I made several acquaintances - mobsters, bank robbers, bootleggers, trigger men, cardsharks.

Not long after I got out, I met Kathryn.

I was at a speakeasy and there was this glamorous girl.

She was running around with some local big shot.

From the start, I aimed to take her away from him.

I had a good way about me where I could talk round people, especially girls.

Soon we were married - I was her fourth husband.

Many people said she did in her third.

Now I ain't sayin she killed her husband, but I ain't sayin she didn't kill him either.

If a mans fool enough to let a pair of gams get one over on him, well then he got

what was coming to him.

Kathryn was the one who gave me my first machine gun, a .45-caliber Thompson.

Theres rumors that I never handled a gun before that, that Kathryn made my reputation,

but nobody made me, but me.

Id been shooting since I could walk.

Even as a boy, I could knock a dime off a dead man's eye at 20 paces.

The recoil of the machine gun did take some getting used to though.

Kathryn and I stayed at her mas place for a while, the Shannon Ranch near Paradise,


We spent a lot of time roaming the fields and I practiced shooting nearly every day,

blasting walnuts and tin cans off fence posts.

I aint bragging when I tell you I got so good that I could write my name in bullet


Then I hooked up a couple of pals I met in prison for some stick-ups.

In less than two years, I did 6 bank robberies and a few other jobs.

I did stick ups from Texas to Minnesota, and back again, shooting my name into walls and


Sometimes Kathryn came along, but she wasnt much use during a robbery.

But boy could she could spin the tale over drinks afterwards.

It was a good time, we were living high on the hog.

The coppers search each room in the house.

Kathryn is caterwauling, making up lies, telling them that I threatened to kill her, that I

made her come with me.

The police haul her off to the bathroom to let her get dressed.

I convince them to let me put on some clothes too.

Two feds in overcoats stand guard, aiming their shotguns at me while I get into my pants.

I reach for my nice coat, but a copper snatches it out of my hands.

In fact, theyre packing up all our stuff, taking Kathryns furs, fancy dresses and

the pearls I bought her.

I ask what they are arresting me for?

A copper punches me in the mouth.

Charles Urschel ring a bell?” he says.

I taste blood.

Oh yeah, that.”

I spent days plotting with my partner Albert, along with Kathryn, on how to kidnap the millionaire

oilman Charles Urschel.

I wasnt gonna screw this up like last time.

About a year and a half before, my pal Eddie and me tried this scheme on a South Bend Indiana

banker named Howard Woolverton.

One night we forced his car off the road and kidnapped him and his wife.

Later we released Mrs. Woolverton with a ransom note, demanding $50,000.

We took Howards glasses, blindfolded him, and for the next 2 days drove him around northern


He kept pleading with us, telling us that he didnt have the money.

And after a while we got to believing him.

We let him go on the outskirts of Michigan City, when he promised to raise the money

and pay.

We never got a single dime, not even when we threatened him over the phone afterwards.

I went back to robbing banks for a while.

But things got hot, and a couple buddies of mine got gunned down.

One of the hazards of the job, I guess, but I still decided to give kidnapping another


This time Kathryn and I hooked up with my old bank robbing partner Albert Bates.

On the night of July 22, 1933, guns drawn, Albert and I paid a visit to the Urschel mansion

at 327 N.W. 18th Street in Oklahoma City.

The Urschels were playing bridge with another couple on their porch.

The ladies started to scream.

I pointed my gun at them and threatened to blow their heads off if they didnt shut


Thats when we realized we didnt know which man was Charles and wouldnt you know


The men wouldnt tell us.

So we snatched the both of them and drove a few miles outside of town.

We pulled over and made them give us their wallets.


We took $50 dollars from Walter Jarrets wallet, before letting him go.

We blindfolded Charles and took him to Shannon Ranch where we kept him handcuffed to a chair.

Meanwhile we sent letters to his wife and some of his friends demanding $200,000 in

$20 bills in exchange for Charlessafe return.

Our plan worked, per our instructions the ransom was packed in a leather bag and handed

over to one of our friends near the LaSalle Hotel in Kansas City.

9 days after we had kidnapped him, we drove Charles to a barbecue stand near Norman, Oklahoma

and released him.

After that, we returned to the ranch, divied up the ransom money and split.

I guess Mrs. Urschel called some newfangled national kidnap hotline and was able to get

in touch with none other than the head of the FBI himself, J. Edgar Hoover!

Apparently the Feds had been the ones who managed the response to our ransom.

They had marked the money and noted serial numbers before it was delivered.

Within a few days, three pals of mine who helped with the kidnapping got caught in St.

Paul, Minnesota when they tried to use the marked twenties.

When Charles made it home he was interviewed by FBI special agents.

We didnt treat him badly at the ranch and he had kept his wits about him the whole time.

He couldnt see, but by God could Charles listen and remember.

Somehow, based on the noises he heard, the feds were able to figure out he was kept at

the Shannon Ranch.

They went there looking for me and Albert there but we were long gone by the time they

got there The feds arrested Kathryns Ma and stepdad though.

Our plan had been to go somewhere nice--Cubamaybe out to Californiaor even down to


I wanted to see Kathryn dip her pretty toes in the Gulf.

But that required a lot of money.

We now knew the ransom money was hot, so we buried most of our share - over $70,000 - in

Texas at a ranch owned by one of Kathryns uncles.

Hoover wanted media attention for the newly formed FBI so he decided to make an example

of us and started a nationwide manhunt.

We traveled to Cleveland, then Detroit, then Chicago.

I sent Charles Urschel a threatening letter telling him to get the feds to back off.

It wasnt fair that the Feds were keeping Kathryns family locked up in an attempt

to lean on us.

We went to Davenport, Des Moines, then back to Chicago.

We wore disguises, sometimes Kathryn wore a red wig.

I dyed my hair red and then later bleached it.

We also traded cars along the way.

Everyday on the radio there were reports about me being a menace and a murderer.

A public enemy.

I had never killed anyone in my life!

All because I liked to carry around that machine gun.

Anything to turn the public in the police's favor.

We ended up in Memphis at the home of my old buddy John.

I was drinking heavily and fought a lot with Kathryn, it was stressful knowing that any

minute the whole thing might come down on us.

The Fed even found our buried share of the ransom money.

Its getting light when the coppers lead me out of the house, my hands cuffed behind

my back.

My poor Caddy sits lopsided in the driveway.

Coppers let the air out of my tires.

The street is blocked with police cars.

They sent a whole army just to capture two people.

Some confused neighbors have come out to see what the ruckus is about.

Im Machine Kelly,” I say and then a copper pushes my head so I can duck down

and get into the model B.

Dont forget, civilization is calling you to battle, immortalize your journey!

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The Description of I Am Machine Gun Kelly, Public Enemy Number One