I have pointed out in recent articles some of the major obstacles that I have overcome recently. The most tragic would have to be the loss of my wonderful, loving and generous 90-year-old grandmother. My only major victory would have to be beating cancer.
However, those matters are merely the tip of the iceberg as far as what I have been dealing with in recent years. Up until 2005, I maintained a decent financial standing, despite being extorted out of a small fortune over the previous four years. In the intervening years I made many mistakes, most of which revolve around trusting the wrong sort of people. In my desperation to appease these people I allowed my family to overextend itself in aiding me.
For a long time I was confused. I felt alone and in trouble. I did not know whom I could trust or where I could turn to get my life back. My whole life I have been in the shadow of a criminal organization known as The Chicago Outfit. Where I am from, these people, who range from con artists to cold-blooded murders, were not seen as villains. They were fathers, brothers and, as disturbing as it sounds, role models.
While I would never become, or have ever been allowed to become, involved in The Outfit’s schemes, the organization was always a part of my life. This is probably why it took so long to see exactly what was going on, particularly concerning me. When you are in the middle of the web it does not seem like a web at all.
Everything started to go wrong when I became friends with Jack P. Cerone, an extremely powerful lawyer and son of deceased Outfit boss John “Jackie” Cerone.
Jack and I were very close. We spent almost every day together for quite a while. He was like a father figure to me. I would come to find out that in reality he was truly nothing more than a parasite. His machinations, combined with my now plainly naïve trust in him, caused my comfortable life to snowball into a train wreck. As many of you know, he used his (and his father’s) name and his power to help enrich himself and The Outfit.
Just after the termination of my friendship with Cerone, Dr. Joseph Giacchino warmed up to me. He made my life interesting in many ways, as any of my long-time readers know quite well.