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Synopsis

"Ameriga"

(No More Tomorrows, Part 4)

By Dominic Caruso

"If you choose to work for the Ameriga Mafia, do not become beholding to them," he was told by his adopted Sicilian Mafia pardroni DePaolo at Caltagirone, just before leaving for his new world, America. "They are not like us here. They are disgraceful, disrespectful, greedy hoodlums. If they can not be successful here they go there, because they are cowards. Beware my son." These are the words Cheech hears in the back of his head as he sits in his first American jail cell at Manhattan, New York. Just three weeks in his new land and he is gazing at it from behind bars.

Outside the jail the man tells him "My name is Paul Kelly" and Cheech introduces himself. The two men stop at an Irish pub where Kelly introduces Cheech to other Irishmen in the bar and treats him to a drink of Irish whiskey which brings back memories of McKeaver to Cheech and he wonders if McKeaver fared better than he has. He'll never know because of the new identity the young Irishman took upon leaving the ship.

A few months later, Cheech now has more money than he has ever seen in his life. He's starting to feel American. It's a great country! There's a knock at the door of his furnished room and a man introduces himself as a friend of Paul Kelly and is invited in. He tells Cheech that Kelly suggested that he visit with Cheech and the two Sicilians go to a restaurant where Cheech's services are once again request. This time for the Mafia.

The stranger tells Cheech that he knows Francesco D'Paolo at Caltigirone Sicily and the two men instantly bond. Cheech's new friend is an up and coming Mafia thug who will soon take over all of the rackets at New York and New Jersey. As they sit and eat he tells his new recruit his name for the first time. It's Salvatore D'Aquila.

Vannie Higgins discovers that Cheech has been also selling his services to D'Aquila and calls him to meeting. Standing behind him, a knife is placed at the throat of Cheech. The knife wielding Irishman lays unconscious on the floor and Cheech's throat is bleeding. In a gesture of loyalty to Vannie Cheech put's himself to the test of loyalty and his life is spared.

Vannie and Cheech become close enough that Vannie invites him on one of his speed boats which Cheech will never do again. Boats are used to transport illegal booze about. One of Vannie's costumers is a yet unknown wealthy man by the name of Joseph Kennedy. Cheech refuses an invitation to fly in Vannie's plane.

D'Aquila tells Cheech that because his name is Caruso he sings so well, he should make himself known to Enrico Caruso, perhaps they could sing together. Enrico uses his own money to buy tickets for people who would not be able to afford to see him and Cheech is one to accept. Introducing himself, Enrico invites him into the met where the two sing on an empty Metropolitan stage backed up by a few musicians who are practicing in the orchestra pit.

In pursuit of a fiery Auburn haired beauty Cheech accidentally runs into her father at a card game who invites him to Sunday dinner with his family. Enjoying good food and company Cheech pays them back with a taste of home. Italian love songs abound and the neighbors enter the apartment to enjoy the music. But Cheech is in for a surprise.

It was never 'Pepe' Privitera's intention for Cheech to court his youngest daughter with the auburn hair. In time Cheech learns that he is to court the oldest daughter Maria. The oldest daughters get married first. Italian tradition. In time Cheech and Maria are married and dissention is created by the auburn haired daughter as she learns that Cheech's original intentions were directed to her.

One year later their first child is born and while on a local train Cheech is confronted for his money which he shrugs off. Upon asking his name and Cheech responding, he is ordered to sing which he does to applause from the other riders. Then Maria sea's the first and only fit of violence by her new husband. One she will never forget.

The roaring twenties and Prohibition are upon us and Cheech is a respected solder for both the Irish mob and the Mafia. Vannie Introduces Cheech to one of the first speakeasies on Manhattan owned by ex-movie star Mary Guinan, the Speakeasy Queen. With the onset of Prohibition the Mafia under direction of Salvatore D'Aquila now in total command slowly takes over the booze business from Vannie who can not match the organization of the New York Mafia.

In 1921 Maria and Cheech have their third childs and the first boy. He has blonde hair and blue eyes and is name after Cheech's dead father, Joseph. For the first time in the life of this immigration of eleven years, he feels like he has a life in this his chosen country.

In the next six years before tragedy strikes this young man he will be heavily involved in the new dominance of Salvatore D'Aquila and in defiance of a law best described as "The Noble Experiment". But for now there is new tomorrows and life without his childhood sweetheart Valenta is as close to Perfect as possible.

Dominic Caruso 2-1-1992