|“||Aah, ahh, what a sad story! Where do I have to go to settle this fight between me and myself?||”|
–Graham, 1934 Peter Pan in Chains: Finale
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Graham has long blond hair and pale skin. His eyes are blue, and often look 'half-asleep'; his facial features are described as "rather girlish," and his build is "decently muscular."
He is always depicted wearing a blue mechanic's uniform. He usually carries a large wrench around with him, the end of which is encrusted with rust and dried blood.
Personality[edit | edit source]
In the most basic of terms, Graham might be best described as "frenetic." He frequently delivers long-winded, philosophical rants at the drop of a hat; he will lament about his current state of affairs in the most negative way possible, before changing his mood and suddenly viewing the same issue in a contradictory, impossibly optimistic way.
Most people around him (but not all) tend to dismiss his rants as pointless ramblings. Meaningless as they might be, Graham's rants are fueled by genuine passion over whatever is concerning him, which can be everything and anything. He bemoans his own flaws often and loudly; he presumes and then takes his presumptions to their illogical extremes; he has raged at the sun for its unbearable heat and then exalted it for its supreme power. These bipolar mood swings are a core part of Graham's personality – even the narrative observes that Graham's mood is only ever zero or hundred and almost never in-between.
Graham is easily affected by stories he finds compelling (for example, Jacuzzi's self-sacrificial act in 1932 touches Graham deeply). As such, he is often highly indecisive and will agonize over what next course of action he should take until his emotions spill over (and are released through aggressive action) or someone else makes the decision for him.
Graham relishes in dismantling all things tangible, be they humans or objects; 'dismantling' intangible things gives him no satisfaction. He hates it when others destroy vehicles he wants to destroy himself, just as Ladd hates people who kill those he wanted to kill himself. However he refuses to commit murder, for doing so would fill him with guilt. This should not be taken as a sign of mercy: he is fully capable of inflicting serious, lasting damage if he so chooses. A dislocated joint is terribly painful in its own right.
Emotions influence everything he does – his own emotions, and the emotions/feelings of others. As a child, he decides that is it fundamental he experience the feeling of being taken apart if he is to continue dismantling things at will. And so, he dislocates every single joint in his body. Even as a child, he had a sense that dismantling has consequences, and he had determined that it would be unjust to cause those consequences without experiencing them himself. To Graham, empathy is not only natural, but practically necessary.
With a character so driven by emotion, it is no wonder that Graham quickly becomes attached to those of whom he takes a liking. When he believes in someone he believes in them wholly: he idolizes Ladd; respects Raz Smith; and Jacuzzi leaves such a deep impression on him that Graham deems him one of his most important friends – and views him as a little brother of sorts – after only two years of friendship. When Shaft appears to be hiding secrets from him, Graham deliberately puts his trust in his subordinate all the same.
Graham's loyalty to and idolization of Ladd is so potent that he is perfectly happy to give Ladd the credit for something that he (Graham) accomplished, and is instantly offended (and full of bloodlust) when someone insults him. Despite Graham's overwhelming desire to fight Claire Stanfield, he respects Ladd's wishes and leaves Claire to him – and overcoming his own desires is no small feat.
Despite everything, Graham is actually quite intuitive. He correctly surmises that Shaft had orchestrated the fiasco at Dolce (and that Shaft knew more about what was going on than he did), and was able to detect and block Leeza Laforet's chakrams even though she hid in the shadows during their fight. Though his plans often go awry, Graham is quick to adapt and is quite versatile. However, he is still easily influenced by the heat of the moment, and his emotions will often override any common sense.
Chronology[edit | edit source]
Born in Chicago sometime around 1912-1914 (see Trivia), Graham grew up with his parents and sister. His love for taking things apart was evident early on, and prior to his tenth birthday, his parents would scold him and chastise that he has no idea what things feel when they are dismantled (similar to how certain philosophies argue that everything has a soul). Graham realized that they were absolutely right, and decided that he had to learn that feeling for himself.
Somehow, Graham succeeded in dislocating all of his joints (he had even managed to pop every bone of his left hand out of their sockets, causing the flesh to swell horribly). His mother had rushed into his room at his moans of pain. Through his actions, Graham affirmed that he was a being that could indeed be taken apart, and that gave him a sort of peace. Now that he knew how it felt to be taken apart, he could continue taking other things apart - such was his thought process.
As an adult, Graham remembers little of the incident - only "pain, hopelessness, and a sense of paralyzing loneliness." It also took him a long time to figure out why he had thought such strange thoughts as a child, and how he could have hurt himself without reservation - and even why he wanted to continue dismantling objects after such an experience. Eventually he realized why: as a child, he had found it very hard to accept that everything dies, breaks, or otherwise rots away. He had desperately wanted to fight against those natural processes, eventually came to accept them, and so dismantled in pursuit of those processes himself. Graham has since dismissed his thoughts back then as "stupid."
Graham eventually found employment with the Van Dyke Auto Plant as a mechanic (he is a brilliant mechanic, being able to do impossible feats such as dismantling a car mid-air). According to Graham, he met Ladd one starless night, back when he'd been taking a ferocious beating from a bunch of has-been boxers turned gangsters. Ladd had come across the scene, and promptly punched one of them through the teeth. Graham was so charmed by Ladd's words (and brand of philosophy) that he dislocated the joints of the rest of the goons with his wrench, all the while trying to make sense of what Ladd had said.
Graham quickly grew to harbor deep admiration for his new friend Ladd, whom he refers to as Big Brother Ladd (兄貴はラッド Aniki wa raddo) or "Boss Ladd" in the English dub.
The working environment at the auto factory was not pleasant (Graham claims that he has the urge to cry whenever he remembers working there). During his employment at the factory he "was going through a lot," and he took solace in dismantling leftover parts and damaged vehicles - sometimes working the entire day without stopping. Eventually the factory's business plummeted, and to make ends meet it exploited holes in the Prohibition Act and started manufacturing bootleg liquor.
Graham "couldn't stand" watching the factory manufacture bootleg alcohol; he had always wanted to escape the factory's long history of corruption, and this was the catalyst. In the end, he reported the factory to the authorities. Afterwards, he found that he was still unsatisfied: in his mind, corruption was intangible - what he took real pleasure in was dismantling substantial, tangible things.
Graham ended up becoming the leader of "street rats" in New York, and his work turned to dislocating and dismantling joints, cars, and safes. He freely acknowledges that the work he undertook – and still undertakes – is 'much worse' than bootlegging, but the "unadulterated satisfaction" he gleans from destructive acts overrides any moral qualms he might have. From this, he has concluded on at least one occasion that he is the one who should be destroyed, and that the one thing he wants to destroy most is himself.
1931-1932[edit | edit source]
After Ladd is arrested and seriously injured after the Flying Pussyfoot incident on December 31, Graham finds a way to avenge his mentor by turning in the wanted Jacuzzi Splot to the Russos in January 1932. When he finds out that Jacuzzi Splot's gang is being sheltered by the Genoard Family, he decides to kidnap Eve and use her to coerce Jacuzzi Splot. Once he captures Jacuzzi, he will attribute the success to Ladd.
Graham mistakenly kidnaps Chané Laforet instead, and when Jacuzzi comes and offers himself in exchange for her Graham is so touched by his self-sacrifice that he nearly accepts Jacuzzi's proposal. The rest of Jacuzzi's Gang arrive soon after, accompanied by Claire Stanfield. Graham and Claire briefly fight, but Graham realizes he cannot land a hit on him and decides to leave him to Ladd. Having taken a liking to Jacuzzi, he offers Jacuzzi's gang full use of the abandoned warehouse.
That August, a reporter named Carl Digness contacts Graham's group under the guise of an interview for an article. They arrange to meet at the Jane Doe speakeasy at nighttime. Graham and Shaft arrive at the bar first – Graham orders milk and keeps up a constant stream of soft chatter to Shaft while they wait for Carl to arrive. Eventually, a drunk customer smashes an empty glass bottle onto Graham's table, fed up with the talking. Graham falls silent and seizes the man's ankle with his wrench, twisting it horrendously.
Graham reaches a negative conclusion about himself and shouts in frustration; he proceeds to dislocate the rest of the drunkard's joints. Carl arrives several minutes later, by which time Graham has calmed down. Shaft shakes hands with Carl and explains that the incapacitated drunk merely "hit his leg on the table."
Graham has enormously cheered up thanks to that hearty bit of dislocation work, and he is eager for the "fun story" that Carl will surely provide them. However, it turns out that Carl is not here to conduct an interview, but to give them a warning: the police suspect Graham's gang is behind the Ice Pick Thompson murders. Shaft asks what he means, and Carl rattles off a brief summary of Graham's life, demonstrating his knowledge as an information broker. Graham's delight is tempered when Carl mentions Ladd, and he corrects that Ladd is a murderer rather than a mere hitman.
Now somber, Graham asks Carl why the police suspect his group. Apparently, the police's latest hypothesis is that the murders are committed by more than one person, so delinquents with no alibis naturally fall under suspicion. Furthermore, all the victims have some sort of connection to the Gandor Family - and Graham's gang has caused trouble on Gandor turf in the past. The police have ruled out the Runoratas and Martillos as the perpetrators already.
Graham wants to know what Carl's reasons are for telling him this. The reporter replies that he 'knows' Graham's group is innocent, thanks to the Daily Days' information network. That, and he already suspects someone else as the culprit.
The next day, Graham and company gather in a back alley near Broadway in an attempt to escape the summer heat. Graham somehow still has the energy to rant about humanity's relationship with the sun, but his underlings are too overheated to care. Shaft brings up their conversation with Carl the night before, and Graham briefly and inanely considers 'blitzing' the Daily Days and stealing all their information. The thought passes. Dizzied from twirling about in place, he lies on the ground and bemoans how the sun has sapped him of his energy.
The rest of the delinquents ignore him and return to discussing the murders. The morning paper announced the death of a fifth victim, and the group wonders if she is also connected to the Gandor Family. (Meanwhile, Graham babbles about Quetzalcoatl and Con-Tici Viracocha). Someone remembers that another reporter was supposed to interview them - a reporter from a far bigger newspaper than the one Carl works for.
The delinquents chatter about someone called Dallas and a Martillo capo with a 'girly face', expecting to laze about until sunset. To their surprise, a boy dashes through the alley at full speed, stomping upon Graham's solar plexus in his haste. He hurriedly apologizes, and disappears around the corner of the opposite end of the alley. With painful, violent coughs, Graham stands, swelling with anger – and then sadness at the thought that America is producing such rude children. He is once again brimming with energy.
A newcomer greets them from the alley entrance, and asks them if they saw a boy pass by. Graham seizes the man's neck with the end of his wrench, and proceeds to blame the man for everything that's gone wrong that day – the boy's fervor, Graham's trampled solar plexus, and the wretched heat must all be this man's fault. As he prepares to swing down his wrench in righteous fury, his would-be victim exclaims, "I see!" Graham freezes mid-strike. The newcomer had no idea that the heat was his fault, and he sincerely apologizes for putting all of New York in jeopardy. Taking Graham's hands, he shakes them firmly and thanks Graham for showing him the error of his ways.
The ensuing conversation is bizarre, and at one point Shaft sarcastically suggests that Graham should drench himself in medical alcohol to cool himself off via evaporation. Meanwhile, Graham decides that the newcomer is the Messiah.
Later on, Graham takes Shaft's suggestion to heart and soaks himself in medical alcohol at one of their hideouts. The fumes intoxicate him to the point of unconsciousness, and the newcomer – who introduces himself as Elmer – takes Graham to a doctor. His kindness further endears him to Graham.
Once Graham recovers, the two kindred spirits (and Shaft and company) head for the Jane Doe and get along splendidly. Graham learns that Elmer wants to make everyone in the world smile, a dream which he finds impossible - not to mention, Elmer would have to cause pain and suffering in order to achieve it. So why the fixation? Elmer's response is simple: "Because it'll make me happy." The answer satisfies Graham.
A man in a long coat enters the speakeasy, but Graham is so engrossed in his conversation that he does not notice the customer until he looms over his seat. He immediately recognizes him as Raz Smith, and is ecstatic at their reunion. After enthusing over the thirty-odd guns in Smith's coat, he introduces Elmer to Smith as "the Messiah." Smith is intrigued by Elmer's personal mission.
Smith gifts five of his guns to Graham, and closes his eyes to pontificate on how guns are the tangible form of madness. While his eyes are closed, Graham manages to perfectly dismantle all five guns. It has always been one of his life goals to dismantle a gun, and now that he has dismantled five he is overwhelmingly satisfied. Smith is a tad upset at this turn of events, but he reassembles one of the guns just as quickly as Graham had dismantled it. He proceeds to reassemble the others at similar speeds.
Graham, Elmer, and Smith drink together for a little while, and Smith eventually departs to deal with a client.
Toward the end of the evening, Graham agrees to help Elmer find Mark (the boy from earlier). That night, Elmer, Graham, and his crew split up and search the alleyways for Mark in the pouring rain. Shaft, Graham, and Elmer form one group of three.
Graham asks Elmer why he is looking for Mark as they search, and Elmer answers that he just wants to know if Mark can ever be happy. Graham is confused, and Elmer elaborates: he just wants to know if a "serial killer who tried to kill himself" can ever be happy. Graham and Shaft promise to keep Mark's identity as Ice Pick Thompson a secret.
A few minutes later, the trio spot Carl walking down the street, sans umbrella. Graham pokes Carl in the back with his wrench, startling him, and after some nattering admits he has forgotten the reporter's name. He also refers to how earlier that day he acknowledged the he himself is "the enemy of humanity." Elmer and Graham engage in a brief philosophical discussion over whether everyone dying happy is a good thing, but eventually manage to return to the matter at hand.
Carl says that he is only out to enjoy the rain, and asks what the three of them are doing at such an hour and such weather: "Not hunting for Ice Pick Thompson, are we?" He had meant it as a quip, but Graham enthusiastically exclaims that that is exactly what they are doing. He asks if Carl has seen an unremarkable 'brat' running around with an ice pick.
Over the course of thirty minutes, Graham, Elmer, and Shaft learn Mark's address from "a certain newspaper company" and head to his place of residence. Much to their surprise, they encounter Smith at the entrance; when Shaft explains that they are looking for a boy called Mark, Smith somberly replies that he has just killed him. He dds that they may accompany him to where he will meet his client if they so desire.
The three decide to follow him, and Graham peppers him with questions as they walk: did he really kill Mark, and did he kill Mark in that apartment? Smith affirms that he did, and Shaft whispers to Graham that the situation is even more dangerous now that they are involved with a murder. Graham, who is friends with the likes of Ladd Russo, is not too fussed.
Smith comes to a stop by a building near Grand Central Station. He says his client is in the building, but from now on he and Graham's group are no longer associated. Whatever Graham and company choose to do is their business and he has had no part in influencing them. Elmer asks if Smith really did kill Mark, and at Smith's emphatic affirmative he whispers something into his ear. Once Smith enters the building, Graham worries that they might be interfering with Smith's plans; meanwhile, Shaft wants to know what Elmer said to Smith – but the sounds of clanging metal and gunshots from the building's interior belay Elmer's response.
Upon heading inside, the trio discovers Smith surrounded by several men, Maria Barcelito, and Gandor capo Nicola Cassetti. Graham cries out in indignation at Smith's plight, but Smith is none too happy that Graham followed him inside.
Nicola and Graham, who have a past history, recognize each other immediately. Nicola asks how Graham knows Smith; meanwhile, Graham wants to know why Smith is fighting the Gandors after they trounced him back in January. When Nicola sympathetically explains that Smith is Ice Pick Thompson, Graham insists that Smith is innocent: though Smith might be an assassin, he has never actually killed someone before.
After a moment's silence, Smith protests that he is Ice Pick Thompson, and that he has killed four men so far. Graham is completely bewildered; Smith clarifies that he did not murder those men for money, but for vengeance. He proceeds to give the Gandor men a long and detailed account of the events that led him to murder. Graham realizes partway through the story that Smith is just reusing Mark's past, and he and Maria stop listening in favor of debating whether her katanas can slice through his wrench.
When Smith is finished, Nicola signals for his men to confiscate Smith's firearms. Graham hurls his wrench at the space between Nicola and Smith (it embeds itself in the wall) and announces that he will not let Smith go without a fight. Nicola asks if he really intends to help Ice Pick Thompson, and Graham points out that he hangs out with a "homicidal lunatic." Nicola gestures for his men to lower their guns, since the police are probably trying to figure out where the earlier gunshots came from. He intends on handling the situation himself. Smith asks Graham how strong Nicola is, and Graham admits that Nicola's beat him six to one.
Maria wants to join in despite Nicola's orders, and as she and Nicola prepare for a fight, Graham asks Smith what Elmer whispered earlier. Elmer explains that Smith's smile had been fake when he said he killed Mark, so he concluded that Smith was either lying or felt remorse for the death. Either way, he believed Smith to be a good person. With a bitter chuckle, Smith notes that Elmer was 'pretty insane' himself, but says that he will talk about 'it' later – assuming they survive the fight.
The battle never happens: Nicola orders his men to stand down, having heard a commotion outside. Twenty delinquent members of Graham's gang crowd the street outside the building, and in the entryway is Shaft, pale and exhausted. Gasping for breath, he complains to Graham that it was very difficult to round up "all the guys" at such hour, and adds that he has also contacted Jacuzzi's gang at Millionaires' Row. They should arrive shortly. He flashes Graham a thumbs up, and Graham (utterly surprised) cannot help but wonder if Shaft has gone a little overboard. (Is Shaft going to wage war with humanity? Is he humanity's true enemy? Will Graham be able to stop Shaft's reign of terror?)
Nicola denies Maria permission to fight the delinquents, and heads for the exit. Before he leaves, he asks Smith to confirm that he was not the one who killed Lisha Darken. Smith assures him that he did not, and reveals that Lisha's killer is really Lester – his previous client.
In the aftermath of the incident, Carl speaks with Graham and his gang one more time. Later, Graham and Shaft meet with Smith and Mark at the Jane Doe speakeasy. Smith has taken on Mark as his underling, something that Graham approves of highly. Shaft's correction of 'underling' to 'apprentice' sends Graham off into another of his rants, which Carl (recently arrived) listens to surreptitiously. Shaft pokes fun at Graham for going with "the nameless boy with memory loss story" (presumably referring to whatever cover story Graham used for Mark while talking with Carl), and Graham quickly covers his mouth, remind him that the secret of Ice Pick Thompson is to stay between them.
1934[edit | edit source]
Graham's gang continues its various criminal activities over the next two years, making a fair amount of commotion in territories controlled by large mafia families. This is not entirely their fault, as they had no choice but to expand after allocating Jacuzzi's gang some of their territory. Nonetheless, the large mafia families, including the Runorata Family, do not take kindly to their actions.
Relief comes when Placido Russo summons Graham to Chicago in December with a promise of a job. Inspired by Ladd's efforts aboard the Flying Pussyfoot two years prior, and wanting his Chicago arrival to be memorable, Graham decides that this is the perfect opportunity to try robbing a train.
En route to Chicago, Shaft and two other gang members attempt to rob First Class passengers Gustav St. Germain and Carol. Gustav easily handles them, and when Graham reaches the car he finds his men on the floor and in pain. He then overhears Gustav say he guessed in advance the train might be attacked and demands Gustav's identity, which Gustav gives. Graham says he only decided to rob the train when he was on the way to Chicago and, wondering if one of his own men betrayed him, demands how Gustav came by his 'educated guess'.
Gustav declines to answer outright but is willing to negotiate, so Graham postpones dislocating his joints and enters his compartment. Gustav thus relates the events of 1931 Another Junk Railroad over tea, which include Graham's mistaken kidnapping of Chané. Though he speaks of Graham in the third person, his finishing summary of the train robbers' motives makes it clear he knows the robber in front of him is Graham.
Once Gustav is finished, Graham cackles that he understands everything: he was just a tool through which Gustav could relay the story to Carol. Gustav claims he thought it would be beneficial to refresh Graham's memory before he reaches Chicago, and Graham admits he is planning on making a beautiful mess in the city once he arrives. While he is fuzzy on the details, he does know that the Russos mentioned something about 'immortals' and 'Huey Laforet'.
Graham decides against further harassing Gustav and Carol and prepares to leave. Before he does Gustav tips him off about the whiskered man in the adjacent First Class cabin—who just so happens to be the unpopular miser Graham has heard about. Graham shouts at Shaft at the others to rise, well aware that they have been awake all this time, and tells them to get ready for found two. Shaft brazenly asks Gustav to pour him tea, and Graham warns him to hurry before exiting with the others.
Once Shaft rejoins them, they successfully rob the miser; this is the only robbery they manage to pull off. The gang spend the first few days in Chicago avoiding the police, during which time Graham shows off his old workplace and rattles off anecdotes of his time there. Meanwhile, the Russos live in constant fear that Graham will get himself arrested.
When Graham finally bothers to visit the Russo mansion, ten days after arriving in Chicago, Placido introduces him to Krieck and briefs him on the job: he wants Graham to capture the Lamia for the Russos. Krieck and Graham do not get along, but Krieck hands Graham a wanted poster featuring the Lamia on Placido's orders. Wary of Graham's motormouth, Placido and Krieck threaten punishent should Graham at any point speak of the Russos' involvement.
Fascinated by the Lamia's bizarre appearances, Graham leaves at once to start the search. He and his friends encounter Lamia members Rail and Frank by the Wrigley Building, and are surprised to find Gustav and Carol with them. He briefly wonders if the two are actually the Poet and Sickle. Not wanting to cause trouble for the two reporters, Rail and Frank agree to go with Graham quietly.
Once they reach a deserted alleyway, Rail demands to know where Graham is taking them. When tricking Graham into naming his employers fail, Rail and Frank use force instead; Frank manages to kick Graham into a wall, Rail tosses a lit bomb at his men—but Graham knocks the bomb away before it can do any harm. He survives Rail's later bombs, albeit a little charred, and appears to have the upper hand until Leeza Laforet, Hong Chi-Mei and Sickle arrive to defend their fellow Lamia.
Chi dislocates Graham's shoulder, and the pain reminds him of how he dislocated all his joints as a child. It also gives him a reality check; realizing that he had been acting invincible, arrogant in the way Ladd hates, he pops his arm back into place and decides to stop going easy on them. He proceeds to dislocate the joints in Sickle's foot, and one arm per her and Chi, and the Lamia rely on Rail's smoke bombs to escape the scene.
Graham spends the next few days acting as bait, wandering the streets by day, frequenting the pubs at night, and sobering up in various squares or factories in attempt to provoke the Lamia into attacking. They do not take the bait; on the night he is cursing himself for believing in them, Shaft reports that the Lamia are currently invading the Russo mansion. Though Graham admits he has "screwed up," he is cheered by the thought that unpredictability is what makes life interesting.
They reach the mansion to find it has already suffered the brunt of explosives; upon finding Rail in the front garden, Graham assumes they are responsible. Krieck and his two companions spot them and approach, condescendingly complimenting Graham for finding Rail, but Graham flings Krieck into the nearby shrubbery; Christopher Shaldred arrives, knocks the skulls of the two other men together, and bows to Graham in greeting. Graham recognizes Christopher as Ricardo Russo's bodyguard, and asks if he intends to protect Rail from him. Christopher does not deny it, further citing Graham's treatment of Chi, Sickle, and Frank as cause for animosity.
Graham surmises that Christopher wants to fight. Christopher admits that he does, but that he has been useless when it comes to mortal combat ever since he lost a fight to the death the previous year. He muses that Graham could be his 'rehab', intriguing Graham, and the two fight until Rail hears Frank scream and bolts. Christopher tries to negotiate a ceasefire with Graham without success, but a car careening towards them breaks up the fight before it can resume.
Graham aborts an attack on the driver when he realizes the driver is Ricardo, who drives away with Christopher before Graham can do anything else. More gunshots and explosions go off on the mansion's premises, and Shaft has to drag Graham away from the scene. Graham lets him, having decided that Christopher will make for some "sad, fun stories" until Ladd returns home.
The next day finds Graham in a bad mood, and he suggests to his friends that they go to a bar Shaft recommended in order to cheer up. Dolce is empty save for the owner and a customer at the bar when they arrive, the latter of which Graham fails to recognize as the Poet. Graham requests Carolina-style barbecue ribs; the owner heads off to the kitchen, and Graham idly remarks that the bar seems more like a restaurant. As if in answer, the Poet monologues about fasting.
Enraptured, Graham immediately orders the Poet tequila and celebrates his good fortune, having never expected to hear such "lovely language" in "such a corner" of the city. He takes the Poet's silence as a sign of bashfulness; filled with guilt over having interrupted art in progress, he offers to buy the Poet another drink. The Poet denies any offense. Sensing that the other is nervous, Graham promises to remember this meeting for the rest of his life before retreating to the men's bathroom.
He emerges to find the Poet has been joined by Sickle and Christopher, who he does recognize. Christopher easily catches the wrench Graham throws at him, and manages to place an order of Memphis style barbecue ribs before Ricardo arrives. Ricardo wants an explanation, but Graham impatiently cuts to the fight; he promised the owner they would settle things before the food arrives.
Christopher manages to catch Graham's wrench mid-swing as they fight, prompting Graham to recall the last person who managed such a thing—a man with red hair. Sickle eventually joins the fray, and all three cause considerable collateral damage to the restaurant before Ricardo dumps tequila over them and threatens to set them on fire. The owner begs them to stop, as today is the restaurants' thirtieth anniversary.
The three of them are rather embarrassed, Graham especially wracked with guilt over such a touching plea. As he and Christopher struggle to explain themselves to Ricardo, Jacuzzi bursts into the establishment calling his name, Jacuzzi's friends not far behind. Sickle asks where Graham's employers in lab coats are, a question which genuinely confuses Graham until Shaft reminds him about the researchers in guns who were present at the Russo mansion the night before.
Graham warns Sickle that their business is unfinished as long as the Russos want the Lamia captured, but Ricardo says he may as well give up on the mission since no one has heard from Placido—whom Ricardo thinks is probably dead. Graham agonizes over how he should react to the news, much to Shaft's vexation - and further exasperation once he realizes that Graham is drunk, or at the very least quite tipsy.
Once Graham sobers up, he apologizes to Jacuzzi for ignoring him, and promises to make up for it. In the meantime, he regretfully asks if Jacuzzi and his friends would mind helping him fix the restaurant.
The Lamia, Graham, Jacuzzi, and their respective gangs spend the next several hours restoring the restaurant to its former state. While Graham replaces the wallpaper, he talks softly to himself over what he has learned from Jacuzzi—the romantic circumstances of Isaac & Miria, two lost lovers, have moved him greatly. The tranquil atmosphere is shattered when one of Jacuzzi's companions darts into the bar and reports that Nice Holystone, Miria, and Rail have been kidnapped by men in suits. Jacuzzi's gang leaves at once, with Graham and Shaft following.
After both gangs regroup at the factory, Shaft informs everyone that, according to Russo sources, Nice and the others have been taken to Nebula's headquarters. The sources also say that Nebula themselves appear to be the kidnappers, and that they are especially interested in Rail. Jacuzzi and the others rush off, leaving Graham and Shaft alone. Shaft asks Graham if something is wrong; shooting him a sharp glance, Graham says he will treat this matter as confidential and asks, "Did you think I was blind?"
Graham cites how Shaft led the gang to Dolce at just the right moment, wondering if Shaft really thought he would chalk their encounter with the Lamia up to coincidence. Shaft fumbles for an excuse, but Graham says they need to focus on rescuing Nice and the others for now—and that there is a good chance Nebula is behind the kidnappings. With a grin, he says he will put his trust in Shaft for now and let matter go for now.
He and Shaft catch up to Jacuzzi and the gang outside Nebula's front entrance ten minutes later. Jacuzzi asks Graham if he knows of a way they can figure out what the situation inside is, and Graham recalls out Ladd once single-handedly broke into Nebula's headquarters, killed the guards, and confronted Chairman Cal Muybridge in his office. It seems to him they should follow in Ladd's footsteps.
Jacuzzi grabs Graham's collar in panic, and the two realize that droves of people are streaming out of the building's front doors. Christopher and Ricardo pull up to the curb in their car, and Ricardo announces that, at this very moment, Nice and the others are on the thirtieth floor and heading for the roof. Jacuzzi and company immediately head inside, while Graham and Christopher agree to call off their feud for today.
Graham tells his gang that while he has left the red-haired man to Ladd and while his red-eyed enemy stands before him, he believes they should prioritizing rescuing Jacuzzi. Before they all enter the building, Christopher asks Graham's opinion of the man with the red hair; evidently, Christopher knows him too. As Christopher bursts out singing, Graham glumly observes that he cannot sing at all.
When Graham and his gang reach the rooftop gardens, they find Renee Parmedes Branvillier and her men in lab coats facing down Jacuzzi and company—with one of the men aiming his gun at Jacuzzi's face. Graham hurls a wrench at the gun to knock it from the man's hands and steps protectively in front of Jacuzzi, lambasting the men for daring to take aim at his friends. He and his followers rush the scientists; meanwhile, Rail leaps over the guardrail and pulls the trigger on one of their bombs, letting it plummet towards the ground.
A combined effort from Jacuzzi, Nice, Miria, and a miraculously arrived Isaac ultimately saves Rail's life. Once Isaac and Nice pull Rail and the others to safety, Renee asks if shooting "these people" in the legs would still count as self-defense. One of her researchers says Graham might be trouble, so she orders him to shoot Shaft in the foot. Christopher intervenes before the man can; in a show of combined force, he and Graham team up and take care of the other Nebula scientists.
Graham and company enter Ricardo's employ in the aftermath of the shodown.
February 1935[edit | edit source]
On the day Ladd is due to be released, Shaft drives Graham and Lua Klein to the New Jersey police station where they expect to reunite with him. Ladd is gone by the time they arrive, so they pack back up and start for the train station—only for a car to come careening around the corner, with Ladd on its roof, a man in one hand and the driver in the other. The car crashes through the wall of a house.
Ladd leaps off the car just before it crashes, drags the first man over to Shaft's car, and asks for a ride to New York. Upon realizing Shaft is in the driver's seat, he proceeds to have an elated reunion with Graham and Lua. Ladd introduces his companion as Nader Schasschule before both of them enter the car, and Graham elects to ride on the roof so as to give Ladd and Lua their privacy. While up top, he directs Nader to the Martillo Family casino in Little Italy.
Once at the casino, Ladd gives Nader money and tells him to win money there on his behalf. Shaft then drives those remaining to Fred's Clinic, where Ladd's friend Who works, but they head back to the casino after learning Who is elsewhere. Christopher just so happens to be in the casino when Graham enters, and the two waste no time in brawling.Jacuzzi, also present, is ineffectual at calling the fight off.
Their fight goes on for several minutes, with Graham's sister mentioned therein, and at some point Graham shouts at Ladd not to kill Jacuzzi—Jacuzzi is his friend, and he needs to have a word about Jacuzzi to Ladd as it is. Confused as to why Jacuzzi is in the casino at all, Graham comes to a halt and attempts to figure out if this counts as a reunion.
Christopher hurls Graham's wrench at Ladd, Ladd deflects it with his arm, and Ennis kicks it away before it can slam into Rail. Graham is puzzled as to why Christopher attacked Ladd, and then filled with bloodlust at Christopher's answer: he just wanted to see what Graham would do if he attacked someone he cared about.
Ladd's bloodlust is even more overwhelming than Graham's and asks if he can join the battle; Graham protests that this is his fight, but Ladd fails to hear him or Christopher's own opinion and attacks Christopher with enthusiasm. Graham's continued protests that Christopher is his fall on deaf ears, and it only the sound of a slot machine hitting jackpot that causes Ladd and Christopher to stop.
The jackpot winner, Melvi Dormentaire, applauds the entertainment and introduces himself once he has everyone's attention. Sucking in a breath, Graham warns Lua and Shaft that Melvi is the type Ladd hates most. Melvi proceeds to win the jackpot on all seven slot machines. A minute later, a teenaged boy and his entourage enter the casino with identical twins bringing up the front and rear; the boy introduces himself as Carzelio Runorata, and thanks the casino manager Firo Prochainezo for agreeing to come to the Runoratas' party later that month.
Ladd eventually charges Melvi once Melvi confirms he believes it is impossible for him to die here, but Melvi's bodyguard slams him into a wall with a judo throw. Graham is shocked, and further aggravated upon watching the bodyguard dodge all of Ladd's subsequent punches, finishing off with a punch that sends Ladd sprawling to the floor. Firo is excited, but Luck Gandor, unsurprised, merely asks why the bodyguard favors that disguise.
The bodyguard removes his false beard, glasses, and hat, revealing himself to be Claire Stanfield. Ladd attacks at once, and Graham engages Christopher once more so as to keep him from interfering with Ladd's battle. Claire stops fighting once Melvi says they have to be off, and invites Ladd to challenge him again whenever he wants. Ladd wants to continue their fight now, but Melvi aiming his gun at Lua is all it takes for him to back off.
Maiza Avaro enters the casino just as Melvi, Claire, Carzelio and the rest of the Runoratas are making their exit. Graham is left to struggle over what he should do next, but eventually calms down enough to talk to Ladd and Lua.
Over breakfast the next morning, Ladd asks Graham to go see if Fred's clinic across the street is open. A parked car is deliberately blocking the clinic's front entrance when Graham arrives, an obstacle Graham overcomes by dismantling the car itself. This attracts the attention of those inside the clinic: its employees Who, Isaac, Miria, Lebreau, and their attackers.
Isaac and Miria are extremely impressed when Graham claims that in dismantling the car he is saving the world, but the attackers are more concerned with silencing Graham before he attracts rubberneckers. Two of the men crawl over the car toward Graham while the third man approaches Who, but Graham easily dislocates the joints of the first man while a newly arrived Ladd bashes in the teeth of the second. Ladd explains to a confused Who that he heard all the clanging and came over to see what was happening.
The three would-be kidnappers escape after igniting a smoke bomb. Graham, unconcerned, continues dismantling the car while Ladd reunites with Isaac and is introduced to Miria. Eventually, Graham, Shaft, Ladd, Isaac, and Miria head over to Fred's Poorhouse. While Ladd talks with Nader Schasschule in his room, Graham regales Isaac and Miria with a "sad, sad story" - only Isaac and Miria protest that telling sad stories will make all his happiness run away. This has never occurred to Graham, and he is left bemused and confused.
The sounds of angry shouts, laughter, and metal against metal entice everyone in and around Nader's room to go investigate the cafeteria on the first floor. They find Smith and Maria at odds with Luck trying to mediate between them, and Ladd and Graham comment on the proceedings from the outside hallway.
Luck offers Smith and Alkins a job working for the Gandors as muscle at the upcoming three day party at Ra's Lance, explaining the special circumstances surrounding the party and the Runoratas—including the possibility of the terrorist Huey being involved. Ladd and Nader perk up at Huey's name, and Ladd tears over to give Smith what for. He then offers to give Luck a hand for half the price he is paying Smith.
At midnight, Luck and his brothers Keith and Berga gather the extra muscle for Ra's Lance around the billiards table in Coraggioso's basement. These individuals include: Graham and Ladd; Smith and Mark; Alkins; and Maria. Though they are still waiting on one more individual, Luck gives up on waiting and proceeds to explain exactly what he has in mind. The explanation takes twenty to thirty minutes, after which a Gandor man informs Luck that the last member has arrived. Everyone turns to look at the new arrival.
For the first day of the party, Graham and the others scatter throughout the area surrounding Ra's Lance—with the plan being to reconvene at the building should anything unusual happen.
The next day finds Graham, Ladd, and their followers loitering around one of Little Italy's main streets. Once Shaft arrives with Nader, Ladd asks if Nader was at the party last night as rumor would have it. Nader admits he was, though he claims he was merely checking the scene out; Graham, from the roof of Shaft's car, bursts into one of his philosophical rants which Shaft advises Nader to just ignore him.
Meanwhile, Ladd gives Nader a black bag full of money and asks him to cause a ruckus at the Runoratas' table at the party that night, and, once he has the Runoratas' attention, to spread a rumor that Ladd obtained a treasure on the Flying Pussyfoot. Should Nader become a target, Ladd will step in and handle his would-be attackers—thereby putting him in a good mood.
When Ladd and Nader are discussing what makes someone fun or boring for him to kill, he asks Graham if he thinks it is possible for a coward like Nader or Who to become a hero. Ladd would have said impossible; Graham, after reasoning it through via a scenario in which a coward squares off with Martians, concludes the same. His world view is rocked when Lua argues that the very essence of a coward surviving to be the last person on Earth—fighting against the Martians just by virtue of being alive—is amazing in its own right. In other words, Lua would consider that man a hero. Graham is thunderstruck.
Nader has to prepare for the casino party, so Ladd, with Graham and the others following, heads off to Fred's clinic so that he can thank Fred for looking after Lua and Who on the Flying Pussyfoot. They find a crowd of rubberneckers on the premises when they arrive, which Ladd and Graham easily shoulder their way through, and Ladd demands that the guards at the clinic's entrance let him pass. The guards refuse, but Ladd enters the clinic anyway when someone calls his name. He tells Graham to wait outside in the interim.
Several minutes later, and without any warning, a gigantic grizzly bear emerges from the clinic. A pair of recently arrived identical twins use throwing knives to disarm the clinic's guards, announcing that they work for the Runoratas and that they are here to reclaim the bear for their master. Graham, enamored, cannot wait to take the bear apart. Victor Talbot bursts outside and shouts at the guards to stop the bear, but Isaac and Miria block his way; Ladd exits the clinic, punching Victor on his way out, and Isaac and Miria climb onto the bear's back.
The bear takes off with the twins following on their motorbikes, and Ladd and his entourage by car—Graham doing a handstand on the roof, Victor somehow clinging onto the car's bumper. Upon spotting Luck, Smith, Alkins, and Maria on the sidewalk, Graham gives them a wave. The chase comes to an end in Central Park, where Salomé Carpenter has been using an amplifier to attract the bear via sound; he switches the amplifier off once the bear arrives. At his side are various members of the Larva and Lamia.
Graham and the Lamia members who have previously engaged with him (Sickle, Frank, Chi, etc.) recognize each other, and thus are the first to have some understanding of the situation. He is excited to see the Poet but wonders why"the God of Language" is in such a place, explaining to Ladd that the Poet is a god who can control language. The Poet attempts to explain Graham to Salomé in turn, albeit with far more caution.
Ladd listens to the Poet with some amount of enjoyment, remarking that he does seem like the sort of person Graham likes. He wonders what would happen if the Poet met Smith, a hypothetical encounter which Graham believes would be cataclysmic for the world. As the two talk, Ladd notices that Salomé is on the verge of ignoring him completely; he darts over and grabs Salomé by the throat. Graham physically blocks the Lamia members from intervening, chastising them for interrupting Ladd's lecture.
He and Ladd proceed to take the Lamia on as a team, while the twins circle the fray on their motorbyikes and various onlookers look on. During the fight, a Lamia member flings their kusari-fundo at Graham, but he catches the chain around his wrench and uses it as part of his own weapon.
A might roar courtesy of the bear temporarily brings the fighting to a standstill, after which Chané shows up and challenges Ladd. Graham is conflicted, unable to betray Ladd but also unable to hate Chané. He cannot be on neither of their sides, so he must be on both of their sides. Ladd is surprised that Graham and Chané appear to know each other, and distracted enough that he only barely avoids Chané slashing his throat.
Chané and Ladd proceed to duel, while Graham guards against any Larva members from intervening. Christopher finally deigns to announce his presence from the sidelines, shocking Graham and others, but the duel continues on without pause. Meanwhile, Isaac and Miria are upset to see their respective friends fight and decide to interpret it as practice for a circus performance—some sort of Romeo vs. Juliet duel scene. Graham and Christopher both attempt to envision such a storyline.
The duel wages on. Graham cannot help but find it beautiful, comparing Ladd and Chané to gears perfectly fitting together—and they do right up until a newly arrived Alkins forcibly breaks up the fight. Ladd points out to Alkins that Chané is with Huey, which means she must be with the Runoratas, aka anti-Gandor aka the enemy. Alkins acknowledges this but says it will be faster to defeat her via a team effort. In the same moment, Maria—having arrived with the rest of Luck's entourage—attacks Chané herself.
Graham handles Sickle while Ladd faces off against Chané, but the fighting again comes to a swift halt when Claire uses Salomé's portable speaker to emit an ear-splitting sound. Isaac and Miria jump off the bears back as it runs over to him; once on the bear's back, Claire uses the speaker to announce that his employer Melvi will be confronting Firo at Ra's Lance tomorrow. Claire will be on guard duty outside their room when the time comes, and he invites everyone who wants to fight him to attack him at his post then.
Ladd lunges at him but is sideswiped by the bear; that he has 'endangered' the bear at all is enough cause for the twins to point their guns at him. Victor uses his own gun to shoot a bullet into the air and identify himself as an FBI agent. Given that his gunshot will have attracted nearby police, everyone prepares to disperse—but first, battle lines are drawn: one on side are Graham, Ladd, and the Gandor team; on the other are the twins, Chané, the Larva, and the bear. Lua, Shaft, Victor, Isaac, and Miria take no sides.
Finally, everyone disperses. Graham and Ladd rejoin Shaft and Lua in Shaft's car.
(To be continued in 1935-E).
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Graham's weapon of choice is a large crescent wrench that he can throw like a boomerang (i.e. if he aims for proper angles upon throwing it, it will come back like a boomerang) or simply use as a blunt instrument of brute force. He can also use it for impressively delicate feats; he has caught everything from bullets to people's throats inside the wrench's vice, and he can dislocate joints as easily as he can unscrew a bolt. All of this makes him far more unorthodox and unpredictable than Ladd, for it is far more difficult to discern a pattern in his fighting.
Graham is presented as one of the more powerful fighters in the series, capable of defeating multiple Lamia members and going toe-to-toe with Christopher. Ladd himself has said that Graham is much stronger and better than him in a fight, but unlike Ladd refuses to kill his opponents. His personality also often confuses his enemies, who are unequipped to deal with his frequent mood-swings during a fight; when his mood changes, it appears that his fighting style adjusts accordingly.
Graham is also capable of reassembling and disassembling almost any kind of machinery at an incredibly fast rate.
Quotes[edit | edit source]
- “Life is insubstantial, so taking it brings me no joy. I don’t like it. I get nothing from it except feelings of guilt. So no, not for me.”
- "Ahh, tedium is such a crime. It takes the limited amount of time that is given to man and rather than spending it in indolence or drowning it in pleasure, it just sits there, sucking, eating it up. I can't put up with that. Tedium is a crime! Death to tedium! Die die, won't you die-die now, die you, die me!" - Episode 15
- "Time spent in boredom is good. I think it's what allows the climaxes of life to reach their ultimate state of perfection. At least that's what I'm going to choose to think that the way life has been laid out for us this fine day anyway. ...Simply put, if we're wrong, we're wrong. These are known as the very essence, the very spice of life. There is nothing tedious in the whole world, at least not during these exciting times." - Episode 15
- "Let me tell you a sad, sad story..." (multiple variants)
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Graham's first encounter with Ladd is positive in the novels, but the anime presents it as mutually antagonistic and in an entirely different context. In Episode 14, Ladd is sent out to kill the employees of the auto plant Graham works at because they have been sending low quality parts to the Russo Family. As Ladd makes liberal use of his rifle, one of his bullets hits a car. Graham, infuriated, challenges him to a fight which he proceeds to lose, but he befriends Ladd nonetheless. According to the anime, this meeting takes place in 1929.
- Ladd regards Graham as his sworn little brother. Graham himself treats Jacuzzi like a little brother in turn.
- There are many examples of characters mistakenly identifying other characters throughout Baccano!, but Graham's make for some of the most notorious. Not only did he mistakenly think Chané was Eve in 1932, he wrongly assumed that Gustav and Carol were the Poet and Sickle in 1934. In both cases, his assumptions were based off wanted poster descriptions, and involved attempted kidnappings.
- According to 1935-A: Deep Marble, Graham has challenged the Gandor Family capo Nicola Cassetti to plenty of fights, but Nicola always ends up beating him. As of August 1932, their tally was Nicola's six wins to Graham's one win.
- Like other characters, Graham's age is kept vague. In 1932, he is said to be "about twenty," but in 1934 he is also described as "about twenty." Ryohgo Narita has indicated in two tweets that he is five years younger than Etsusa Bridge character Lihuang Ei, whom he says is about twenty-five years old.