There’s an old Brooklyn story, a Coney Island tale,
about the fall of a fallen man, the mysterious fall
of Kid Twist.
Born in Brownsville, Brooklyn in 1906, the tiny boy
named Abe Reles, handy with an ice pick and flooded
with rage, became the ferocious beast with the coming
of age, the devil incarnate, Kid Twist.
Yet the origin of his nickname is still a mystery. Some
say he was named after Max “Kid Twist” Zwerbach, a
New York killer of another time, or his favorite candy,
or his brutal method of strangling his prey. The truth
is unknown today.
The short, soulless monster, a fierce executioner,
darker than the Prince of Darkness, and blessed
by Satan, transformed the living into the dead.
Hitman for Murder Incorporated, he reached out into the
abyss with his long arms again and again, and he thrust
his ice pick into a victim’s ear, deep into the brain, and
there was a heavy downpour of blood in the cerebral
a flood of bloody rain and unbearable pain until death,
in the private, dying universe of a victim’s lacerated,
Kid Twist was the king of terror. But the law caught up with
the Angel of Death and promised him a hot seat in the electric
chair. Then the Kid learned the sizzling meaning of fear.
In a swift Kafkaesque metamorphosis to save his life, he turned
into a government informant and testified against the mob.
Labeled a stool pigeon, rat, and canary, he sang dark songs and
hid in the Half Moon Hotel on the Coney Island Boardwalk.
On the fateful morning of November 12, 1941, protected by 6
officers of the law in the Coney Island hotel, Kid Twist fell from
the window of Room 623, and was suddenly free, and certainly
dead, a crumpled, twisted corpse on the ground.
What really happened when he flew out of Room 623? Was he
pushed or thrown or flying away from his enemy? If this was
his great escape, he forgot to wear a Superman cape.
After death, he received a new moniker: “The canary who sang
but couldn’t fly.” Yet even a psychopath could die.