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How not to be a mermaid.

"Just stand still", he says! "I'll turn your boots to gold", he says!

When gangsters are punishing someone for crossing them, they are often shown having the victim tied up to a chair with his feet in a barrel, into which is poured quick-drying concrete. Once the concrete is dry, the victim is then dropped into a body of water, simultaneously killing the target and disposing of the body in a supposedly untraceable manner.

Alternately, the victim is left tied up at the bottom of a construction site while the basement is being poured.

Depending on the exact methods used, overlap with some form of Death Trap can occur.

This is largely a Discredited Trope, as few gangland murders are actually performed in this manner. Most are simple bullet/tire iron to the head affairs that generally lack the torture (or opportunity to escape or be rescued Just in Time, if you're a main character) that fiction demands.note  It may be related, however, to a similar method of execution supposedly once used by the Freemasons against oath-breakers.note 


While this is frequently implemented by the real-life mafia, it should be noted that they are not as stupid as Bond villains; If the Mafia wants someone dead, they just shoot or knife the guy to death. The cement shoes are actually just a means of disposing of the body.

As a Death Trope, all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


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  • Parodied in a Red Bull commercial where a Mafia victim asks for a last request. Too bad the gangster forgot that Red Bull Gives You Wings.
  • Happens in this commercial for Tombstone pizza; the victim is told it's Nothing Personal before being asked what he wants on his Tombstone.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Baccano! has a particularly disturbing example of this: because Dallas Genoard turns out to be unkillable by any normal means, the Gandor brothers cement him into an oil drum and drop it in the Hudson River, leaving him to drown continuously for the next seventy years or so until old age finally gets him. Fortunately for Dallas, someone else fishes him out well before that.
  • Detective Conan: Discussed when the Detective Boys get captured by Italian gangsters and fear they'll be subjected to this.
    • Actually used in a case from the DC Special manga note  and the anime, where a cute girl appeared drowned by the seaside with a heavy rock tied to her feet. Her ex-boyfriend was a Dr. Jerk who was offered a very good Arranged Marriage by his boss and feared that the girl would get in between him and this wonderful "union" by interest... so, after drugging her, he used a trick with said heavy rock, some rope and a floating ring with a hole to murder his poor ex and make it look like she had gone the Spurned into Suicide way. Too bad Ran and Conan were the ones who found the girl's corpse, which led the victim's best friend to tell them about the Dr. Jerk...
  • Parodied in Excel Saga: an attempt on Pedro's life is made by encasing his entire body in pudding, which somehow works even though he's a ghost.
  • In One Piece, Luffy almost died this way when his feet got stuck in the ground and Arlong threw him in the water, complete with a huge chunk of said ground. For worse, Luffy (like all the Devil Fruit users) has Super Drowning Skills, meaning that his body is paralyzed and his powers are all but useless while he's under. He was saved by Nojiko and Genzo, who grabbed his head and brought it out of the water (his neck stretched because his particular Devil Fruit gave him Rubber Man powers).
  • During the battle against Metal Robotnik in Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Sonic gets stuck in glue as the ground below him breaks and sinks while being filled by rain. Knuckles comes to help Tails save Sonic while he distracts Metal Robotnik.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist uses the construction site variation. Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong, a Lady of War and Four-Star Badass in charge of Fort Briggs (home of the toughest troops in Amestris), plays along with Smug Snake Lt. General Raven from Central Command to find out about the Ancient Conspiracy that the Elric brothers are up against, having already seen some rather shady behavior from him. She learns that the Central leaders have been offered immortality in exchange for furthering Father's plans, and Raven offers her the opportunity to gain immortality as well. As she leads him down to a construction site, Raven rants about how the weak of Amestris will become the foundation for the strong. Having finally heard enough, Olivier stabs Raven in the hand, retorts that he is the weak one, having become a shell of his former self, and slashes him before knocking him into the newly-poured cement floor. As Raven drowns, she comments that the weak will indeed become the foundation for the strong - in this case, Raven becoming the foundation for Briggs.
  • Calamity Mary tries to do this to Hardgore Alice in Magical Girl Raising Project. She blows Alice to bits with explosives, pours acid over the remains, mixes them with concrete in a barrel, and throws the barrel into a river. Unfortunately for her, Alice has an incredibly powerful Healing Factor and makes it out alive by essentially seeping out of the barrel. She turns up later, in one piece, and Weiss Winterprison wonders what the salty smell is.
  • Mentioned in The Anthem of the Heart by the magical egg as a possible punishment for Jun if she ever talked again.
  • A variant was used in the backstory of one case in The Kindaichi Casefiles, although the result is the same. The victim's lifevest was tampered with by a group of pranksters, causing the vest to get heavier when in the water, causing his death.
  • Beastars The lion yakuza attempts to kill Legosi by tying him to a weighted chair and dropping him off a cliff into the ocean. He escapes by getting a shark to rescue him using phrases in sea speak that a seal taught him.

    Comic Books 
  • The Spectre was originally the ghost of murdered police detective Jim Corrigan, who was tied up in a large, cement-filled barrel that was dropped into the Gotham River.
  • In Elfquest, Lady Winnowill, posing as a human, has an interesting way of laying the floors for her lord's castle. Slaves dig a trench, after which they are knocked unconscious and cement is poured over them, filling the trench. After it hardens, repeat for the next section. The Djun is apparently fully aware and approves of this method of keeping secrets.
  • Spider-Man villain Iceberg tries this on a henchman that he caught stealing from him by encasing his feet in ice with his freeze ray.
  • A three-part Batman story arc from the nineties ends with the Ventriloquist and Scarface inflicting this on a traitorous lieutenant, to go along with the whole The Bad Guy Wins (sorta) ending.
  • Batman Black and White: In "The Devil's Children", Batman investigates a man whose legitimate business is as a cement contractor but who used to work for the mob disposing of bodies. Early in the story, while being questioned by a police officer, he states that he's "in concrete" and doesn't know anything about mob business. At the end, after Batman uncovers a scam the man has been running that manipulates his old mob connections, the same police officer remarks that when the mob bosses find out, the man's going to be in concrete in a whole new way.
  • In a The Inspector comic book story, criminals decide to give the Inspector's new police car the "cement tires" treatment in the hopes of getting rid of him, only for the car to open up the roof and eject him before he drowns with the car.
  • The Jessica Blandy spin-off The Path of Jessica has Anita Royola aka Red Pigment as the main danger in the second issue. She has her victims drowned this way at a private beach. Whenever the weather is good and she's in the mood, she goes for a swim in her "garden". Naked.
  • Tintin runs afoul of gangsters "in America" so is thrown into the river tied to a dumbbell. Fortunately the dumbbell was stolen from a fake World's Strongest Man and is actually made of wood, so he floats.
  • Black Orchid: Lex Luthor's henchmen do this to Carl Thorne in the miniseries. He's saved by the two surviving Orchids.
  • In The Cartoon History of the Universe, the prelude to the first volume on Rome has the Professor discussing their famous concrete and cutthroat politics... and promptly gets his foot caught in a bucket of concrete, as Cicero (in his only appearance) teleports in and calls for a swim.
  • Superman stories provide some examples:
    • In Who Took the Super out of Superman?, Clark Kent is called as a witness at the trial of an Intergang boss. When Clark Kent fails to attend a hearing and can't be found anywhere, several reporters speculate that Intergang has provided him with "cement shoes". When he reappears, a reporter is shocked that Clark isn't wearing a "cement overcoat".
    • In Who is Superwoman? the titular villain attempts to dispose of Supergirl by freezing her unconscious body into a block of super-hard ice and dropping her in the middle of the ocean.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): Hypnota tried to kill Wonder Woman by having her feet and wrists chained to heavy weights and then dropping her in a pit of water. It was not effective.

    Comic Strips 
  • One adventure of The Phantom revolves around the discovery of a whole "graveyard" of cement shoe victims.
  • Krazy Kat: Ignatz, in a power-crazed moment, puts Krazy in a pair of Cement Shoes, gets her to sign her "luck" away to him, then pushes her underwater...only to suddenly have this reaction and make a frantic dive to save her.
  • Modesty Blaise: In "The Murder Frame", two underworld friends of Willie's grab a makeup artist who was part of a Frame-Up aimed at Willie. They tie him up, tie his feet to a concrete block, and toss him off the side of a boat into the Thames. This is part of a plan to allow Modesty to rescue him and convince him that his partner has decided he has outlived his usefulness.
  • Nero: Adhemar is deposed off this way by a group of Mafiosi in De Gladde Figaro. It makes him look like the comic strip artists award that is named after him: The Bronze Adhemar.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In the Doctor Who fic Ten Moments, the Eighth Doctor is nearly given this treatment while in the middle of foiling some unspecified evil plot. After failing to convince the mobsters that it's in their best interests to let him go, he simply turns the concrete to dust with his sonic screwdriver. The only thing that really annoys him is that they've ruined his shoes.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Monster House, of the "poured floor" variety. During the construction of their house, Constance and Mr. Nebbercracker started being antagonized by a couple of boys on Halloween when they didn't have any candy to give (why the boys attempted to go trick-or-treating at a half-finished house is a completely separate matter). When Constance attempts to threaten them with an axe, she accidentally ends up losing her footing and falls into the dug-out basement, burying herself in cement at the same time.
  • In Aladdin, Jafar attempts to kill Aladdin in this manner. Thankfully for our hero, he has a little help to get out of the predicament.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Dick Tracy: "Big Boy" Caprice disposes of "Lips" Manliss via "the bath", which involves a large box, a cement mixer, and a warehouse on a pier with a trapdoor. He tries it on someone else later on, only to have Tracy save the would-be victim and use the box for an ambush.
  • In the film adaptation of The Shadow, a bunch of gangsters tries it on an academic who accidentally discovered their murder of a policeman. Of course, the Shadow saves the day/night and sends them packing. He also shoots off said "shoes" with his pair of pistols.
  • The title character in Lady In Cement.
  • This is done to Finn and Jack in Tell It To The Fishes. With the added twist of being dropped onto a beach at low tide.
  • In OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, the main character gets tossed into the Nile to drown. He escapes after seeing dozens of corpses that suffered a similar fate, including Larmina's father.
  • Diamonds Are Forever. Co-Dragons Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint kill Bond Girl Plenty O'Toole in a swimming pool; Fridge Horror suggests this is a particularly sadistic method, as the concrete block would inch down the slope of the pool as she struggled, slowly pulling her underwater.
  • In The Jerky Boys, the villains are preparing to do this to Johnny's mother.
  • Laurel and Hardy have a hilarious cement shoes routine at the end of their 1936 movie Our Relations.
  • Lethal Weapon
  • In The Night of the Hunter, Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) uses a variation on this method to dispose of the body of his wife, Willa Harper (Shelly Winters), after he slits her throat: he ties her body to the front seat of a car and pushes it (the car) into a river.
  • A rather horrific variation occurs in Pirates Of The Caribbean Curse Of The Black Pearl: Captain Barbossa's crew, angered at Bootstrap Bill's refusal to help end the curse, tied a cannon to his feet and pushed him overboard. As he was undead and immortal like the rest of them, this insured that he'd simply be trapped on the bottom of the sea forever. His desperation to escape this fate led to him signing on with Davy Jones.
  • Bullshot. The villainous Otto von Bruno tries to dispose of Bullshot by sealing his feet in a giant concrete eggcup, then flooding the room he's in. Fortunately, the 'concrete' turns out to be Miss Fenton's scone mixture, so it softens in water.
  • An interesting variation in ''Borgman, where the heads of the bodies are stuck into cement buckets which lets them sink head-on.
  • Cabin by the Lake featured a serial killer who killed his victims by tying their feet to a concrete block and dropping them off in the middle of a lake which he lived nearby. Then he wrote a script about it.
  • The Drop has a piecemeal approach. To get rid of a severed arm someone left in a bag, Bob wraps and weighs it down and throws it in the river.
  • Billy Bathgate has a lengthy scene inter-cut with the rest of the movie in which Bruce Willis' character Bo Weinberg is being taken out in a boat to be disposed of with his feet in a bucket of cement. Bo begs a mook to shoot him to Get It Over With, but he refuses.
  • In Johnny Dangerously, when Tommy joins the District Attorney's office and starts attacking crime on the radio, Vermin briefly mentions the idea of "making cement loafers for him."
  • In Cold Pursuit, Nels wraps the bodies of his victims in chicken wire and dumps them into the river where they are washed over a waterfall into the gorge. When his brother asks why chicken wire, Nels explains that it weighs them down so they sink, but it allows the fish in to nibble at the body so the gasses won't build and cause the body to bloat at float to the surface.
  • ''Midway: The fate of Bruno Gaido after his capture by the Japanese: An anchor is tied to his ankles as he's dumped overboard. Very much Truth in Television. Not only is this how Gaido actually died in Real Life, (although it was using a water-filled kerosene can after two weeks of torture and interrogation) but the Japanese Navy frequently executed captured enemy sailors and airmen in this fashion.

  • Played with in the Discworld novel Hogfather. A character has the nickname "Chickenwire" because he figured out you can use chicken wire to prevent people who've had this treatment and have been dumped in the very polluted river Ankh from having pieces float to the surface as they decompose. The other problem is breaking through the crust on the river...
  • Also from the Discworld, the grim Guild of Clowns has a special punishment for members who try to get away with innovation, ad-lib gags or unauthorised funny material. It's called the Concrete Down The Trousers gag.
  • In Terry Pratchett's non-fiction guide to cat ownershipnote , The Unadulterated Cat, he speculates that one way of disposing of an unwanted cat after all other methods have failed (the little buggers keep on coming back) is to hire the Mafia, although he adds the caveat that four little concrete shoes will cost a lot more than one big one, like the thing where children's shoes cost more than adult sizes.
  • E. L. Doctorow's Billy Bathgate opens with Dutch Schultz executing someone this way.
  • In Gone, the villains trap several kids' hands in cement, but they don't intend for it to kill them. It's to keep them prisoner and prevent them from using their powers, which focus through their hands. Might be a villainous example of Cruel Mercy, or maybe just plain sadism/sociopathy.
  • In the Space Precinct novel The Deity Father, a rival mobster to the Big Bad is found floating in space in cement shoes. It's pointed out that there's no reason for the concrete, except tradition.
  • In Without Remorse by Tom Clancy, the body of small-time drug dealer Angelo Vorano was weighed down with cinder blocks and dumped into the Chesapeake Bay, where it was consumed by crabs. By the time the police found it (while searching the area for a totally different reason), it was just a skeleton.
  • In Stephen King's novel Firestarter the head of the fictional secret U.S. government intelligence agency "The Shop" idly reminisces about the godfather of a victim of one of the agency's experiments, who had been determined to find out the truth of what had happened to his godson. Rather than getting to the bottom of what happened, the only place he wound up getting to was "the bottom of the Baltimore Trench, where he presumably still was, with two cement blocks tied around whatever remained of his legs."
  • In the first Diamond Brothers book, Nick gets forced to let the bad guys trap his feet in a bathtub full of concrete, and nearly dumped in the Thames. Since this series spoofs the crime genre, it's hardly surprising this shows up.
  • In Orhan Pamuk's novel My Name Is Red the narrator imagines Istanbul with the Bosphorus drained. As well as the remains of shipwrecks, suicides, and traffic accidents are a number of harem women sewn up in sacks - a standard execution method for women under the Ottoman Sultans.
  • In the Shadowrun novel 'Wolf and Raven', it is mentioned that this happened to Kid Stealth. He ran afoul of the mob, got fitted with a pair of cement shoes and dropped into the Puget Sound. He survived, because of an implanted air tank and because he blew off his own legs with plastic explosive he had hidden on his person. Afterwards, he replaced his legs with the iconic Kid Stealth cyber legs, modelled after those of a Velociraptor.
  • A sadistic variant is mentioned in The Alchemist by Ken Goddard — the victim is thrown over the side in scuba gear, and so has several hours at the bottom to contemplate his sins before running out of air.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Incredible Hulk, David Banner is mistaken for a look-alike gangster, and the goons of a rival gang try to murder him by burying him in concrete. Of course, this gets Banner excited enough to change into the Hulk and escape.
  • Referenced in the Star Trek episode "A Piece of the Action", in which Scotty, playing the Malaproper, refers to "concrete galoshes" while trying to threaten a thirties-styled mobster.
  • The Sopranos:
    • In one of the last episodes, AJ tries to commit suicide in a manner similar to this.
    • Also Subverted: In an early episode, you are led to believe that, since Tony plans to have one of Junior's men whacked on or around a boat, cement shoes or something like it are in the offing; it turns out that no, Tony shoots him in port and then takes him out to sea to dispose of the body.
  • An old skit from The Electric Company involves two Stupid Crooks holding a tied up and gagged hostage and threatening to apply this trope unless he spills "what we want to know". Unfortunately - for them - they get into a heated argument about whether the material is actually cement or concrete until the captive manages to get loose and find a cop. (And to add insult to injury, after said cop hauls them away - still arguing over it - the would-be victim says to the viewer that he had no idea what they wanted him to tell them in the first place.)
  • The ''Highlander episode, "Vendetta" opens with some baddies gearing up to do this to small-time crook (and Immortal) Benny Carbassa.
  • MythBusters tested the buried-in-concrete version . They found out that it's impossible to stop it from smelling something horrible no matter what you do, so the body would be found very quickly if someone actually tried it. The gangsters who do this are fully aware of that fact. That's where the quicklime comes in.
  • Mama's Family: In order to convince Iola to share a winning lottery ticket with her, Mama makes up a story about what happened to a woman who won $50 million: "Ten days later, they found her at the bottom of Lake Erie wearing concrete undies."
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: a young boy (mistakenly thought to be the mark) is chained to some cement blocks and tossed off the back of a speeding boat, but his body is found anyway.
  • Underbelly: Brian Alexander, a criminal lawyer who loses everything, is portrayed to have gone to the corrupt police for help, knowing they would probably just kill him so he doesn't talk. Which they do by tying him to a stove then throwing it off their rented boat, ignoring his pleas for a quick death on the account they didn't want to use a police weapon. The same incident is also portrayed in the 1995 Australian TV mini-series Blue Murder.
  • Referenced in a "Simon" sketch on Saturday Night Live, when Simon has on a guest playmate (a mobbed-up tyke played by Danny Devito):
    Simon: "Vinny's like me because neither of us has a mummy. Daddy says my mummy sleeps with the angels!"
    Vinny: "Well, my mama sleeps with the fishes. Daddy said she had a BIIIG mouth!"
  • In Ultraseven, aliens chained up a scuba-diving Dan Moroboshi to a buoy or mine at the bottom of a lake. He got better.
  • In the Australian series Embassy, someone tries to smuggle himself out of the country via the crate method. Unfortunately, he makes the mistake of paying the smugglers in advance and has to be rescued by one of the embassy staff, who points out the holes in the crate stashed on the boat. "I don't think they're for letting the air in."
  • Cannon: In "Pilot", a killer is disposing of a body by tying cinder blocks to its feet prior to dropping it off the side of a boat when he is shot and killed by a cop.
  • The first episode of Harrow opens with a hooded figure in a dinghy wrapping a dead body in a sleeping bag. He then fills the sleeping bag with cement, ties the entire bundle tightly with rope, and dumps it into the river. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that the figure was Harrow.
  • As a method of Public Execution in the Crapsack World of The Handmaid's Tale. In the second season, Eden and Isaac are punished for their infidelity by being chained to giant weights and thrown into a swimming pool.
  • The Magician: In "Lady in a Trap", a crook attempts to dispose of his girlfriend by chaining her feet to a heavy weight and throwing her off the side of his boat. Fortunately for her, he is over the point where Tony and Jerry are scuba diving and they are able to rescue her.
  • Saved by the Bell episode "All in the Mall" has the gang finding a shoebox with $5,000 in it and then believing that they are being pursued by killers after their money. When trying to get help from a security guard who dismisses them since he's on his break and to come back in five minutes, Kelly cries out "In five minutes, we'll be wearing cement boots, sleeping in the ocean with the fishies!"
  • An episode of The Golden Girls has Sophia mentioning how the mafia will offer someone "Free swimming lessons with a cement kickboard."
  • In the Here Come the Brides episode "The Crimpers," the titular kidnappers plan to murder Jason and Stempel by tying bags of rocks to their feet and throwing them off a ship.
  • In "Hedwig and the Angry Enchilada" from Cutthroat Kitchen, the final challenge was to make a type of frozen custard known as a "concrete." The mid-round sabotage was to make your opponent wear "concrete shoes" for the remainder of the challenge.

  • The song "Zip Gun Bop" by Royal Crown Revue has these spoken lines:
    Hey spinach chin,
    Why don't you try on these cement shoes.
    Look like they fit you pretty freakin' good.
    Now see if you can walk on water puppy, you jackass
  • Long Island band Brand New refers to this in the aptly-titled song "Luca," singing 'So we've fixed you with cement galoshes / And no one can save you now / Unless you have friends among fish / There'll still be no air to breathe'
  • The music video for "La Fidanzata" ("The Girlfriend") by Italian hip hop group Articolo 31 features a Mafia-inspired 1920s-type storyline, where, at the end, two henchmen are seen standing in a cement bucket with the cement coming up all the way to their ankles. The henchmen are seen repeatedly apologizing (in English) to their boss for screwing up the caper, to which the boss replies, "apology accepted" before being sent off into the water to drown.
  • One of the things listed in the lyrics near the end of AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap."
  • Mentioned in Shrieback's "New Home"
    How much can one body take?/ The concrete shoes, the hungry lake.
  • Played With in "Styrofoam Boots" by Modest Mouse, where the lyrics refer to wearing very buoyant styrofoam boots instead of being weighed down by heavy ones, still drowning you, but upside down.
    Well all's not well, but I'm told that it'll all be quite nice.
    You'll be drowned in boots like mafia, but your feet'll still float like Christ.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Frequently spoofed in The Far Side.
    • Fish gangsters encase a victim's fins in styrofoam, sending him on a deadly trip to the surface to " sleep with the humans".
    • Another had the sandwich mafia dropping their victim into a school cafeteria to sleep with the fourth graders.
    • There is another cartoon with a man trapped inside a trash can and dropped off in a forest to "sleep with the bears"
    • And then, when gangsters in The Far Side are feeling especially vicious, they'll paint a victim's face with mime makeup and trap him in a soundproof glass box on the street, where he slowly and painfully dehydrates to death. The cartoon shows one of these victims desperately screaming to be let out — and a tourist, thinking he's just witnessing a harmless bit of street theatre, simply snaps a picture with his camera.
    • And another one where two mobsters were dropping a dog with all four paws encased in cement off a bridge, and explaining to a passer-by that "he bit the Godfather".
  • Dick Tracy once had some post-war gangsters try a variant; it entailed tying a victim between two steel i-beams and drop him into the river so weighted. Fortunately, Tracy and Sam Catchem stop this murder in time.
  • Modesty Blaise: In "The Murder Frame", two underworld friends of Willie's grab a makeup artist who was part of a Frame-Up aimed at Willie. They tie him up, tie his feet to a concrete block, and toss him off the side of a boat into the Thames. This is part of a plan to allow Modesty to rescue him and convince him that his partner has decided he has outlived his usefulness.

  • In Capcom's unreleased Kingpin, mob lieutenant Rocco is eliminated by being tied up, having his feet placed in a tub of cement, and then kicked off a pier.

  • In three of The Four Gospels from The Bible, Jesus tells His disciples that if any of them were to cause one of the children who believed in Him to sin, it would be better for that man to hang a millstone around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

  • The 1954 Blitztein translation of The Threepenny Opera has Macheath doing this in the opening song:
    From a tugboat by the river,
    A cement bag is dropping down.
    The cement's just for the weight, dear,
    Bet you Mackie's back in town.

    Video Games 
  • City of Heroes: This trope is occasionally played out by mobs. If you kill the mobs before they throw their intended victim into the water, they hop away, Cement Shoes and all.
  • One mission in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has CJ, using a cement truck, pushing a construction foreman into a rectangular pit while the foreman is locked inside a portable bathroom stall. CJ then proceeds to dump cement from the truck inside the pit.
  • In Eternal Darkness, the sacrifices for the Pillar of Flesh are stacked high in a tower and then buried in concrete, their images are shown on the outside of the stone tower.
  • Joked about in JumpStart Adventures 5th Grade: Jo Hammet, Kid Detective. A dialogue tree option with junkyard owner Jimmy D'Shadow has Jo mention she just saw a shoebox marked "Cement: One Size Fits All". Jimmy nervously confirms that Cement is his favorite shoe brand.
  • In Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, the gangster Muggshot threatens Sly with a pair of "cement bunny slippers".
  • Referenced in Kingdom of Loathing with the penguin mafia's cement sandals, which "aren't quite heavy enough to make you sleep with the fishes, but they're heavy enough so that you get a workout just by walking around". They reduce your combat initiative but let you level up your muscle stat faster.
  • Mocked in The Secret of Monkey Island, when Guybrush is thrown off a pier tied to an idol. He cannot reach any of the sharp objects in view to free himself. He can pick up the idol itself and put it in his pocket.
  • Mentioned in the first mission of the second act of Max Payne, in Max's distinctive style:
    Max Payne: The Brooklyn riverfront was a maze of rusty containers, sharp-boned cranes looming up from the snowstorm. On a night like this, you couldn't help but to think of the dark army of dead men sleeping with the fishes, cement shoes in line.
  • One of the Easter Eggs in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a guy in the water with cement shoes on. He's not far from Diaz's mansion unsurprisingly.
  • In Kingpin: Life of Crime, one level in the shipyard episode features a dead man in cement shoes underwater.
  • Vaas in Far Cry 3 attempts to kill Jason Brody by kicking a cement brick that he is tied to into a pool of water, dragging Jason with it.
  • During a loading screen in The Darkness, Jackie muses that sometimes, people that cross The Mafia get a new pair of shoes out of the bargain, but "people tend to not swim so well with shoes on."
  • In Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, the Warrior spell Sleep With the Fishes invokes this in its artwork... which victim is a Murloc. Which are aquatic anyways. Fittingly, its expression is a confused shrug.
  • Done as a joke in Maneater: one o the underwater locations you can find is the "Snitch Parking Lot," which is full of corpses that have been tied to heavy weights.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Homestar Runner. In the updated cartoon of "Where My Hat Is At?", Homestar looks for his hat at the bottom of the pool, and all he finds is Strong Sad with a concrete weight around his neck.
  • Making Fiends has Vendetta tricking Charlotte into wearing concrete shoes and taking a dive off the pier. Charlotte's response when she reaches the bottom of the sea? Sing a song about the joys of concrete shoes, of course!
    Charlotte: So much to see, so much to do/ You can see it all in concrete shoes!/ So why don't you GET concrete shoes!
  • In MegaTokyo, Chief Sonoda threatens his daughter's would-be boyfriend by implication.
    Sonda:'' Do you have any idea how much concrete I buy every month?

    Western Animation 
  • Merrie Melodies:
    • Mobsters Mugsy and Rocky try this on Bugs Bunny (referred to as "Agent Elegant Mess") in the short "The Unmentionables", with an ignorant Bugs protesting, "Look, fellas, how many times do I have to tell you? I haven't got a cold!" while the cement is being poured. Bugs later manages to hop out of the lake he was thrown into after the gangsters leave.
    • In the Spanish dub, he protests instead that he doesn't want to hit a piñata while they blindfold him.
  • Spoofed in Futurama, where one of the Robot Mafia members says, "So I gave him the cement shoes. Which he liked because they were lighter than his lead ones."
  • During one South Park episode, Kenny is thrown from a bridge with cement shoes on his feet, but the water beneath the bridge is too shallow, so he's left to hop around through most of the closing credits. Then he hits a deep spot and drowns.
  • Pasila: Inverted in the first episode of this Finnish animated series. The bad guys are trying to brainstorm a fate worse than death for their former associate turned informer. One of them suggests not doing anything and leaving him to wonder for the rest of his life when and how they're going to strike. The leader of the group likes this idea, but then suddenly says they're getting too complicated and orders the others to get standard cement shoe accessories. Then they sail out to the sea, where he reveals that they're now going to use them to drown themselves so that their bodies will never be found and the snitch will be left in fear for the rest of his life. They do it, too. And it works, too.
  • Played straight in Captain Planet, in which ancestors of the Planeteers actually were captured and tied up, with their feet in cement.
  • In Alpha Teens on Machines, a guy who got this treatment was tossed into a river... which had barrels of toxic waste at the bottom. He mutated into a beast made of living cement. And still talked in rhyme.
    Vinny "The Mass" Rossi: "You knocked me underwater, left me to rot, and I forgive you not!"
  • In a "Fractured Fairytales" segment from Rocky and Bullwinkle that parodied "Sleeping Beauty", Prince Charming (who bore a striking resemblance to Walt Disney) decided not to kiss Sleeping Beauty awake, but to build a theme park around her ("Awake, she's just a princess. Asleep, she's a goldmine!"). When the evil fairy who cast the spell on Beauty showed up demanding a cut of the profits, Charming showed her a new "submarine ride" he set up as an attraction, insisting that the cement shoes were part of the ride ("It's just a safety precaution, the state makes us do it.")
  • The Simpsons:
    • One episode had The Mafia selling these at a shoe convention as a background gag. They're promoted as being "the last pair you'll ever need".
    • When Bart is accused of either murdering Principal Skinner or ordering the mob to murder him (the mob just talked to him and left; he was actually trapped under a pile of newspapers in his basement), Bart imagines seeing Skinner's corpse in various places, coming to life and saying "You killed me!" One such Imagine Spot was Skinner at the bottom of a lake with his feet in cement shoes.
  • The Mask referenced this in the episode "The Terrible Two." A series of gags in the episode involved Kellaway and Stanley handcuffed together, but on the other side of an elevator. The Mask had to keep switching between Stanley and the Mask, and at one point he observed, "This would be so much easier if I could just put concrete boots on Kellaway and throw him in the river! BUT since I can't..."
  • In The Ren & Stimpy Show episode "Terminal Stimpy", the two look at photos of how Stimpy lost his many lives. Stimpy pointed one picture describing how he helped Ren with his gambling debts, the photo showing him not just with cement shoes, but also a cement coat, hat and umbrella.
  • Happens to Goofy as "Johnny Eyeball" in the Classic Disney Short "How to Be a Detective". He manages to escape his situation with a fisherman's hook.
  • On one Mighty Mouse cartoon, Mighty is locked inside a safe, which is then covered in cement and thrown off a bridge. Naturally, it doesn't stop him for long.
  • In the CatDog episode "Just Say CatDog Sent Ya", Cat does this to Winslow after the latter squeals to the police about Cat's black market burger bone business. Winslow later attaches a spring to it so he can use it to get around.
  • The Super Mario Bros Super Show!: In "The Unzappables", King Koopa as "Al Koopone" subjected Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Toadstool to this. Fortunately, all four of them could breathe underwater, and Mario eventually manages to grab a Starman that was underwater to transform into Super Mario and free them.
  • A Played for Laughs Garfield Quickie had the cat using quick-drying cement in a birdbath to trap a bird. It worked, but the bird was able to fly away — to Garfield's amazement — only for the stone to fall back down and hit him in the head.
  • Another Played for Laughs example came from The Critic had Alice's Southern Belle Country Mouse older sister, Miranda, decide to leave and make it on her own in the city...only for her to come back a short while later with her hands tied behind her back, her dress covered in garbage and graffiti and hopping on a cement block and crying "Never insult a cheesecake at Lindy's!"
  • Batman: The Animated Series: In "Read My Lips", the dummy of a stereotypical american gangster, Scarface, discuss with the Ventriloquist about putting Batman in ''concrete boots". Later we discover that Scarface was invoking this In-Universe stereotypical gangster trope because he has discovered the Incredibly Obvious Bug Batman has planted in the Ventriloquist's suit and plans to have Batman Lured into a Trap.
    Scarface: Batman's so hot, let's see him swim Gotham Bay in concrete boots.
    The Ventriloquist: A good idea, Mr. Scarface.
    Scarface: Bet your bow tie I'm right, dummy. Say, who dresses you anyway?
    The Ventriloquist: You're such a kidder, Mr. Scarface.
  • Disenchantment: At the start of Season 2, Oona manages to sneak on board of Queen Dagmar's ship, but is caught in the act and thrown overboard with an anchor attached to her legs. She attempts to drag Dagmar with her, but only succeeds in stealing the Eternity Pendant from her. Fortunately for Oona, her species can breathe underwater, and she's agile enough to free herself. In fact, she uses her time on the ocean floor to have some peace and quiet.

    Real Life 
  • In the 1920s and 1930s, many real-life gangsters in the USA had this practice.
  • This is much older than they think. During the Protestant Reformation in Europe many unrepentant Anabaptists, of the radical 'end is nigh, celebrate with anarchic violence and orgies' type (as opposed to the pacifistic, non-confrontational sort who actually survived the events of the 1530s and 40s), were punished by being sewn into sacks with bricks and thrown into rivers or lakes in a mockery of their belief in adult baptism.
  • This goes back at least several more centuries and is alluded to by Jesus himself (in relation to tempting others to sin) in Luke 17, making it Older Than Feudalism.
    Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble."
  • Any Roman found guilty of killing their father would be sewn into a sack with a cockerel and a snake and thrown into the Tiber, which was a bit rough on the animals.
  • Japanese military personnel disposed of several American POWs in more or less this same manner by tying water-filled cans to their limbs and dumping them overboard.
    • Similarly, slave ships would do this to any cargo damaged in transit that wouldn't be profitable to sell, or in the event one of the slaves showed signs of disease that might infect the rest of them.
  • The Swedish name for this trope is Ståplats i Nybroviken (Standing Place at Bay Nybroviken). A corpse was found 1966 in Bay Nybroviken, Stockholm, in standing position. The corpse itself was connected to organized crime.
  • In 1989, Oba Chandler offered to take the vacationing Joan Rogers and her daughters Michelle and Christie for a sunset boat ride on Tampa Bay. Then one by one, he bound them, raped them, tied a concrete block around their necks, and tossed them into the water to drown, tauntingly telling them to "swim for it". Chandler was executed in 2011.
  • While investigating the disappearance of Laci Peterson, police found evidence that her husband, Scott, had recently constructed several cement anchors. While he claimed that he had built them for his new boat, they suspected a far more grim purpose—weighing Laci's body down when he dumped her into the bay.
  • Some gangs are known to put people in tires or dumpsters and then immolate them, a horrific practice known as "necklacing".
  • Related to this, but much less awful: when conducting burials at sea in the age of Wooden Ships and Iron Men, navies would wrap the deceased in sailcloth with a couple of cannonballs at his feet to ensure he sank.
  • Osama bin Laden's corpse was weighted and sunk in the sea, in order to prevent his grave from becoming a shrine, or getting desecrated.note 
  • One mob informant claimed that this is how Jimmy Hoffa was killed (or at least how his body was disposed of), thrown into Lake Michigan. How truthful he was is as questionable as anyone who made a claim regarding the case.
  • The body of John "Handsome Johnny" Roselli, a Chicago Outfit hitman, was found in a 55-gallon steel drum floating in Dumfoundling Bay near Miami, Florida in 1976. His body was sealed in the oil drum, heavy chains were coiled around the container, and holes were punched in the sides, so it could be disposed of. It might have stayed on the bottom indefinitely — except that the gases caused by Roselli's decomposing body gave the drum buoyancy and floated it to the surface. Federal investigators speculate that he was killed for keeping an unfair share of the Outfit's gambling interests in Las Vegas, but another theory suggests that either The Mafia, Cuban dissidents or the CIA ordered his death in retaliation for testifying in front of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 1975 in regards to the attempts to overthrow Fidel Castro in the 1960s and if he had any knowledge as to who may have been involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
  • If somebody were to be unlucky enough to have their feet (or any other part of the body) trapped in setting cement or concrete, two additional things happen to enhance the experience. Setting cement generates heat. If somebody's feet are trapped up to the ankles in it, effectively the feet bake and burn. Setting cement also expands slightly. As well as feeling cooked, the feet will also be constricted, even crushed. This is even before the prospect of being dumped in a river raises itself. During the Marcos years in the Philippines, the delightful ruling couple ordered the building of a prestige theatre and cinema complex so as to host an Asian film festival. To get it completed before the deadline, a lot of corners were cut and safety rules disregarded. The inevitable accident happened where up to fifty building workers were trapped under pouring concrete which began setting. Many were smothered and killed, but others endured both the crushing and burning effects, said to be excruciatingly painful. Rumour has it that Imelda Marcos ordered rescue and recovery attempts to cease, so that building not be delayed, and that the men set in concrete were buried where they had been trapped so as to leave no trace.
  • The Polish priest Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko was kidnapped, beaten to half death, and then subjected to this in the Vistula Water Reservoir in 1984.
  • The body of Peter Martinez washed up on Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn in 2016 with his feet encased in five-gallon buckets filled with cement, gravel, sand, and water.
  • In November of 2004, retired couple Tom and Jackie Hawks were abducted on their yacht while at sea by a man who had ostensibly wanted to buy it. The man, Skyler DeLeon, and his associates then subsequently tasered, bound, blindfolded, forced them to sign over their life savings, attached one of the boat's anchors to the couple and threw them overboard. He and one of the accomplices now sit on California's death row, two other accomplices are serving lengthy prison sentences and DeLeon's wife, who stayed behind in California and knew about what was going to transpire, is serving life without parole.
  • Subverted in the murder of Leslie Mahaffy; she was kidnapped, raped and strangled by Paul Bernando and Karla Homolka prior, but was then dismembered before being encased in cement and thrown into a river, where she was found a few weeks later.

Alternative Title(s): Sleeping With The Fishes


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