“I have been asked to say something about Jimmy Darmody. It seems many a person is interested in the life this young man led. So, I will oblige those who knew him, who liked him, who hated him, who misunderstood him and who mourned him.
It is easy for me to reflect on it now from where I sit. So, let me begin my story. I was born James Edison Darmody but everyone called me Jimmy. I was born as a child of rape by showgirl Gillian Darmody. My relationship with her was an awkward and tumultuous one and at times in my life even incestuous. My father was Commodore Louis Kaestner; he was the big Atlantic City boss and I was estranged from him. He looked after me, sort of, through his lieutenant Nucky Thompson. Nucky eventually succeeded the Commodore as crime boss and by then I was completely under his wing. He had high hopes for me and sent me off to Princeton to get an education. I dropped out of school, however, after beating up a professor who assaulted my mother and enlisted in the Army instead. While serving in World War I as a machine gunner my right leg took shrapnel leaving me with a limp. My military service is a matter of record if anyone cares to look it up. Also during that time my son Tommy Darmody was born to Angela Ianotti whom I hooked up with before leaving Princeton. So, having ended my chance at college & after checking out of Walter Reed Hospital I returned to Atlantic City, NJ.
I returned home in time for the New Year 1920 and the arrival of Prohibition and made a home with Angela & 4-year old Tommy. I tried my best to live up to my role as father by setting out to be provider for the household. That meant returning to Nucky Thompson. That didn’t work out as well. I started as his driver and was soon offered a flunky role to a lowly Ward Boss but I wanted more than that. Nucky didn’t respect me or trust me enough to give me a job of importance.
It was good luck, or so I thought at the time, when I met a young mug with similar circumstances to my own named Al Capone. We thought alike and devised a plan to also get a piece of the big action that ruled the day – bootlegging. To get into the game took a bold move. So, Al and I orchestrated the hijacking of 500 cases of Canadian Club whiskey which was about $60,000 worth. But it wasn’t just any shipment; it was a payload of Nucky’s bought by NYC Boss Arnold Rothstein. We were going to take it for ourselves while it was in transit. The scheme was botched, guns were fired and a rift in the friendship between Thompson and Rothstein occurred. I was also identified as part of the job. The result was me being forced into hiding in Chicago for a few months because of the murders that went down during the incident. I was always watching my back for Lucky Luciano, Rothstein’s hit man.
It was an exciting time in Chi-town. I became an enforcer for Johnnie Torrio, good friends with Al Capone, took in confidence a war vet named Richard Harrow and met Pearl. She was a dame that worked the Four Deuces Club who I had great interest in. She sadly took her own life after being disfigured. The instigator of her attack, another bootlegger operator, felt my wrath as Al and I went in and exacted revenge. I was becoming one tough thug.
Thompson must have taken notice of this because he asked me to come back to Atlantic City and be an enforcer for him as he was still feeling the heat from outside forces, including Rothstein and the D’Alessio Brothers who are Philadelphia hoods trying to squeeze in on our racket. But, once back home I was in trouble yet again as another witness came forward to identify me as part of the Rothstein hit. Nucky, once again bails me out by putting a hit on the informant before he testifies drying up proof. So, no back in Nucky’s employ I settle back in with Angela & Tommy. That return home met up with trouble as well as my hot temper got the best of me. I pummeled a guy I suspected of filling Angela’s head with ideas & affection.
Also on the home front I learned more about my biological father, The Commodore, than I ever did. I learned more about him and Gillian and his relationship with Thompson. I discovered that it was Nucky who pimped my mother to the Commodore when she was 13 years old, resulting in my conception. I could only assume that every act of kindness that Nucky ever displayed to me was just a facade born out of guilt for his responsibility in the event and that he never truly loved me. Since Nucky did not deny of this I decided to take up the offer from my father and recently fired Sheriff Eli Thompson to remove Nucky from power and restore The Commodore as city boss placing me as his acknowledged heir.
As the new year, 1921, rolled around the situation only got more complicated. The plot to take down Nucky T. was intense. I took the advantage while Nucky was in jail to try build an alliance against him. A number of deals & offers were made even with New York’s Rothstein. A bold Lucky Luciano even tried to strike a deal behind Rothstein’s back but I was out because I despised Luciano for sleeping with my mother. But no, I couldn’t leave things at that. I took another bold step to stir up trouble before leaving New York. I caused a hit to be placed on Lucky Luciano when I made it look like he was responsible for whacking two rival thugs when I was the one who lured the deceased into a trap. It is a tough job being a gangster!
When I returned to my city by the shore I married Angela and moved to a new house on the beach. I also spent time with Gillian and The Commodore resolved after some doubt to carry on the plan. Then in April of that year my father had a stroke that left him paralyzed. That situation changed the game plan yet again. Finally, I had the power I was looking for; I was now the mastermind of the conspiracy to take down Nucky T.
Nucky, however, proved shrewd. He duped me good when he checkmated my move to increase cash flow to help diminish debt. I had a sweet deal with veteran Philadelphia gangster Manny Horvitz to supply me with some of the surplus booze that his men had in their possession. Nucky sniffed out the deal and snuffed out the stash with a well placed explosive that demolished the storage area and my chances to easy money. That was money sorely needed too. It was to pay off some of the Commodore’s cronies. One of them took a cane to me and he later regretted it as I had him scalped; in doing so I lost all support. I scrambled once again and ended up with a loose pact with Meyer Lansky and Luciano I also brought my pal Al Capone.
This alliance saw no reason in sticking to the Commodore’s original plan to send Nucky to jail. They all quickly pressed me to kill Nucky, believing it to be the only recourse. I refused at first until Eli himself agreed with the assassination of his own brother. I was torn about carrying it out myself thus, accepting Capone’s proposal to hire a Chicago hitman to assassinate Nucky. Oh, I was in anguish over the decision. I even went as far to meet with Nucky to say farewell to him just before he was shot. However, Nucky survived the assassination attempt with minor wounds only. Nothing ever seemed to go right!
I will never forget June of that year when something did go right for me. Mr. Thompson stepped down from his position and I, at least in my own mind, became ‘king of the world.’ Finally I was living the life of town boss. In that position I had to quickly deal with a problem that came back to haunt me. While in Princeton, I once again lost my temper and it was with Manny Horvitz. The little weasel was crying for some money regarding a booze deal and I shut him down. I ordered a hit to end the problem and it backfired. In revenge Manny killed my Angela and I hurried home. And from there it all unraveled, though it was must have never been tightly raveled to begin with.
The news of Angela’s death finally broke my spirit. I spent whole days drinking and snorting heroin. My mother was even happy about Angela’s death and planned to raise little Tommy as her own. That thought enraged me and I attempted to choke Gillian in that rage. The Commodore intervened and I ended up taking his life by stabbing him. Utterly depressed now, I spent the last days of summer trying to make amends with Nucky, cleaning up evidence and making sure that Tommy would inherit the Commodore’s state.
I am a shell of a man when Nucky phoned me one August night. He called to tell me that he had caught Manny Horvitz and would hand the man over to me. We were to meet at the Atlantic City War Memorial and so I went. I went that night knowing full well what anger Nucky must have held for me. No words I could have said would assuage him and they didn’t. Nucky rejected my sympathy and puts two bullets in my head. My 23- year old life was over.
And that is my life…as hard as it was…and now let me rest in peace.
Oh, and Nucky Thompson, if you are reading this I hope you treat my Tommy with more respect than you did me when he gets older. Oh, and watch your back; you can’t get by in the world being only half a gangster”.
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