For my character I chose Francesco „Little Frank“ DiMaria, a consigliere of an American Mafia family of the 1950s. I chose the Mafia because it seemed the most intriguing and different from what I am myself. I did research on the American Mafia and was surprised at how much information there was on the Five Families, specific members and what they do, which shows this fascinating aspect of organized crime – everyone knows what the gangsters are doing but authorities have little power to fight them. The peak of Mafia activity in America was the time after he Prohibition, when they moved beyond bootlegging and became involved in a wider range of illegal ventures, from drug trafficking to loan-sharking. But it was also the time when the US Government admitted publicly that organized crime is a serious problem, which marked a downfall for the Mafia.

 

Francesco DiMaria, Oct 16th 1954

I woke up with a headache again. I can’t remember the last time I woke up feeling anything other than exhausted. Mickey was pounding on my door. Don needed something from me immediately, so we drove to his house. On the way there we passed a gang of rowdy Puerto Rican boys smoking in an alley. I thought about Johnny – the kid who couldn’t keep his mouth shut – and wondered if that was his gang. I wondered if they’d seek revenge once they found the body. Doesn’t matter. They never will find it. Little Johnny is sleeping with the fishes.

The whole gang had assembled at Don’s house, and by the looks of it, had been having a heated argument. Don took me aside into his office and closed the door. There has been a complication with the deliverance of the cargo to the Castanellis, he said. Tommy and Vincent didn’t make it. Vito was shot as well, but he’s alive for now. Don looked tired but the vein in his forehead was pulsing, which only happens when he is absolutely furious. I asked who from the Castanellis had been at the meeting point. A strange look crossed his face for a moment and he was reluctant to tell me. Then I knew – it had to have been Joseph Castanelli, the sonofabitch who’d killed my dear brother. Take care of it, Don said.

I thought about my dear brother a lot today. It has been less than a year since his death, but life still goes on as if nothing is wrong. I paid a visit to Ma, but she wasn’t feeling like herself today. I told her I’d kill the man who had killed her son. She didn’t respond.

Today I noticed for the first time what an effect that damn Tennessee senator and his public hearings have had on our family and business. There isn’t a shopkeeper in town that hasn’t watched the hearings on TV and now they all flinch whenever I enter their stores. What was it that the Senate called us…sinister? I suppose that’s right. But everyone’s a little on edge. Now that the government has brought attention to the Mafia, it’s only a matter of time before they start bringing us all in for questioning.

Don sent me to represent him in several meetings, which is typical, only today he ordered Ray to tag along. I can’t stand the sight of that guy. He’s got no respect for anyone and I bet when the chance comes, he’ll sell us all out in a heartbeat. Ray got to be in the family business only because he’s Don’s wife’s nephew. But he’s connected to the Gambino family as well, and I have suspected for some time now that he’s been giving them information about us. I’ve had him followed for two weeks now, but so far he’s been very careful. I hate going behind Don’s back, but I don’t want to trouble him unless I’ve got evidence. I can handle the Ray situation by myself.

We sat down at Luigi’s diner – a private place where most of our dirty business meetings are held – and not five minutes had passed when Alphonse DeLeo entered, dragging a semi-conscious Salvatore Russo with him. Good job, as always, Alphonse. Now that’s a guy who can be trusted. He’s not the brightest kid, but he’s got muscle and he gets the job done. As for Russo… He started pleading for his life the moment he saw me. First sign of weakness. Frankie, Little Frankie, he said, I ain’t guilty, y’know that m’boy, I ain’t told them nothing. I looked him in the eyes and said, Sal, have we ever treated you wrong? Have we not been like a family to you? He was sobbing and muttering no no no no. Then tell me why would you turn to our enemies? What did the Gambinos offer you that we didn’t? I didn’t tell them anything, he cried, please, you gotta believe me. I didn’t know if I believed him, but it was irrelevant. There is no room for screwups in the business. Sal, it’s nothing personal, I said. I knew your father, Russo said, he was an honest man and wouldn’t like what you’ve become – Don’s pet. I thought about my father and what I remembered of him. Yes, he was an honest man. But he was also weak and got himself killed. I pulled my gun and shot a bullet straight through Russo’s forehead. Clean it up, Ray, I said.

I came home and made some scrambled eggs. I cleaned my gun, took a hot shower, even organized my vinyl collection, but nothing would relieve this terrible headache.

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