I'm not going to talk about how I met Frankie. I’m going to let you come up with that on your own. It’s not very important to the story, but I will give you a little detail about life before Johnny. I had been seeing Frankie for about a year. He was devilishly good looking and he had a certain charisma about him. That should have been the first sign. There’s something about a man who is that smooth. He could have any girl he wanted, but for some reason he chose me. I’m nothing special. Average would be the word to describe me.
The fashion of the time was not important to me, much to my mother’s displeasure. Having been a teenager in the early '40s, she was sure in love with '60s style. I always felt so exposed in the new clothes. Almost naked you could say. My father was a drunk and rarely noticed anything I did, so he wasn’t concerned with my lifestyle. I remember when I first introduced Frankie to my parents. He charmed them like he charmed everyone. They were instantly in love with him. My mother even started planning a wedding.
Frankie loved to show off. He was big on letting others know just how important he was. There was a club in the heart of the city called Serata. It seemed like he would go there every night. The first date we went on was at Serata. I don’t think he knew of any other place to take a girl. His friends all came over to our table and complemented him on the “fine catch” he had made. I was curious by this. I had never been called beautiful or pretty. Cute, maybe, but never anything more. I know Frankie had dated quite the lookers before me, so why would these men say this?
I would later learn it was their fear of him. Frankie was a member of the Organization. You know, the mafia. Of course one would never say mafia outright. Organization, outfit, syndicate. Anything but mafia. Frankie was good friends with the son of the head of the Organization. Johnny Roselli is who kept Frankie safe. Charming as he was, Frankie had a bit of a mouth on him. He liked to talk when he should have listened. It was only because of his connection with the Rosellis that no one had ever harmed him.
The Roselli Oragnization was headed by Johnny’s father, Antonio. Tony Roselli was well known about the city, and had several of its politicians in his pocket. He was a big shot who got what he wanted. The money behind their name originated from Tony’s father’s illegal liquor business in the '20s. Word on the street was that the Rosellis had close ties to Al Capone, though no one could offer proof. It was soon after the connection between Capone and the Roselli's was rumored that Tony Roselli moved his pregnant wife to New York. He would travel back and forth between Chicago and New York for "business purposes" while his wife stayed behind to raise their child. Tony only had but one son. Johnny was the only heir to the Organization, and he took that allocation seriously. After the heat had died down, Tony sent Johnny to Chicago to prove he was ready to take over the business. In order to accomplish a list of associates similar to that of his father’s, Johnny spent most nights at Serata. That’s where I first met him.
Now the thing about Serata is it’s a man’s club. Sure, there are women there, but most of the time they're prostitutes. Heck, even the waitresses employed there would offer up after hour’s favors for their patrons. Johnny Roselli made it clear to his acquaintances that if they didn’t hide their philandering with these women, they would surely suffer the consequences. And the men obeyed. No one wanted to be on Johnny’s bad side. He could control his temper better than most (especially Frankie), but when his fuse ran short he would explode. I’ve been witness to it before. Frankie had the opposite temperament. His anger was frequent, but short lived. He could be cruel and harsh in those moments, and he never apologized. Frankie seemed to think that he never needed to apologize to anyone; he was never in the wrong in his mind. That's really the beginning of the story.
It was a chilly October night in 1963. Frankie had decided we should go to Serata for dinner that evening, because Johnny had said there was important business to discuss. I didn’t even bother arguing. We had dinner at Serata at least three times a week. The only difference on this occasion would be that we’d be seated with Johnny. At this point, I’d never met the infamous man. I had heard of him plenty of times before, but never had I spoken a word to him, let alone caught a glance of him. I might have seen his picture in the paper at one point. I can’t quite recall now.