Lost in the Shadows
Nephew of the Don
Human, Male. Born 2016.
This comes straight from some stuff I collected back when I was doing my book on the Menace. The interview I did with James Leonard Michael “Sonny” Catarone was done over several hours at a local drinking establishment which will remain nameless a few years ago. I was already using my ‘Sam Crow’ persona and was headed out to meet his Detroit brethren and Sonny was giving me deep background. A lot of the stuff he gave me ended up, unattributed, in the second half of the book. But there was a lot of stuff like this, which wasn’t directly related that I got that night. There’s also stuff I won’t print, out of respect, but what’s here represents what’s known by the shadow community from the mouth of the man himself.
Side note: I post this, we’re even ’Frog, mark it.
“Sam Crow”: …so that was ’52. What happened to Jack the Cat after that?
James Catarone: He grew up. When I founded SPACE [ed: Saint Paul Area Chapter Elite of the Menace MC, founded by Catarone in 2040], I was a young guy, tough, blooded. I had done a lot of my coming of age on the open road with those guys. We were like brothers. But things change. Circumstances. After Maggie [ed: Margaret Raville, married to Catarone 2042-47] left with Peter [ed: Son, born 2041], they really pulled the rug out from under me. I had to rethink a lot of things.
SC: You’ve never told me how you let her get away from you. What is it you said about this when you were telling about the wedding?
JC: Never let go what’s yours? That was a lesson I needed to learn, something my father [ed: Paul “Paulie Fingers” Catarone, 1989-2060] never got. But it wasn’t the whole lesson, and that was one of the things the whole business with Maggie taught me. That there’s a time to take what’s yours and there’s a time to recognize when it’s not yours anymore. And that grasping too tight can loose you nearly as much as not having a strong enough grasp. Sure, when she left, I went out and fetched her back, a couple of times. But after awhile it occurred to me that she was always going to try to run away and that I could spend my whole life just running after her, and that’s no way for a man to live, didn’t fit in with my plans, so I finally let her go. But you see that was the part of the lesson I still needed to learn. Being with SPACE, being ‘Jack the Cat’, that taught me to be strong, and that’s a lesson a boy has to learn, but learning balance, that’s a lesson for a man.
SC: And so, you hang up Jack the Cat in ’52…
JC: Yeah, ‘hang up’, I like that. Like something you wear. Hang up the leather jacket and put on the business suit. What’s it Saint Paul said? “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things”? I had learned what I could from Jack the Cat, but losing Peter, it made me realize that I had responsibilities, that it was time to use what I learned as a boy as a man.
SC: And you became Sonny Catarone.
JC: I don’t know if I’d say I became Sonny. I think I’ve always been Sonny Catarone. It’s something my uncle Leo [ed: Leonard ‘The Lion’ Catarone, head of the Catarone Family from 2023-Present] used to call me as a kid. It’s who I am in context of the family. I’d say I reclaimed Sonny Catarone when I came back to the family. Jack the Cat helped me discover who I was, as a man, because a name is just words without a man to wear it. I think uncle Leo recognized that, treated me like a man when I returned.
SC: I’ll say he did. Eventually ended up putting you in charge of his financial operations after the Crash.
JC: Eventually. Uncle Leo made me come up through the ranks. I started off collecting payoffs and running errands for Tommy Tic-Tac [ed: Thomas Russo b. 2002 d. 2071, captain of downtown Saint Paul, Catarone Family 2042-2064]. Shit (laugh) he had me picking up his fucking laundry, for chrissakes. But I was able to win his respect. Tommy was a good captain, but he was old-school. And the world was changing, you know?
SC: Is that why you went back to college in the late 50’s?
JC: Yeah, one of the reasons. Coming out of the chaos of the Awakening and all that, Tommy thought of himself as a soldier, played the game like we were still at war. But this was a new time, and the name of the game now was business. The old ways were inefficient. What they didn’t understand was that war IS business, politics is business, that’s the basic level of interaction in our society. We needed to adapt the way the Family has always adapted. The name of the game now is business, because, when you boil it down, that’s what we are, a business. And we do it by making our own law, just like the Megacorporations. I’ve never seen any real difference in the two models. Like any business there are unique concerns, but the overall paradigm is the same. And I think uncle Leo gets that. Hell, nobody even had a crew of Matrix guys before he had me put my crew together. They were still measuring turf in blocks, like something out of the last century.
SC: Huh, and that’s what throws me. All this time, I would have never figured you for a decker.
JC: It’s ‘Hacker’ these days, nobody serious uses a ‘deck’ anymore. And I’m not. I mean I can do a bit of basic coding, but just enough to get the gist. But that’s the thing, I don’t have to be. The Outfit’s always attracted smart, ambitious guys, guys who know to take advantage of any opportunity, so it was inevitable that we already had the talent. My job was to put them together. I’m just a manager, really.
SC: So, a whole new Outfit, huh?
JC: Naw, its the same Outfit, doing what it’s always done, just under new circumstances. That’s the thing, underneath, it’s the same beast as when my great-grandpa got off the boat, you know? Man, I could tell you some stories…
That’s good stuff 5e. Thanks a bunch, omae.
Gotta admit, Sonny’s got a head on his shoulders. Any brighter, he woulda been a Callahan…
A lot has changed under Sonny. Don’t underestimate him; I’ve seen the aftermath, and its not pretty.