|“||I'll kill her in front of the Gandors. Either way, I'm gonna have to kill 'em all now. There's no way in hell I'm running or dying. I'll slaughter everyone who helped set me up. Those worthless underlings, that bastard Begg, and even Don Bartolo.||”|
–Gustavo, 1932 Drug & The Dominos/Collapse
Gustavo Bagetta (グスターヴォ・バジェッタ, Gustāvo Bajetta) is a former executive of the Runorata Family.
Tasked with creating a foothold for the Family in Manhattan by Bartolo Runorata, Gustavo is primarily culpable for the Runorata-Gandor feud which escalates in December 1931—the same month he orchestrates the murders of drug barons Raymond and Jeffrey Genoard. When Roy Maddock steals a case of the Runoratas' latest prototype drug toward the end of the year, Gustavo is additionally tasked with retrieving the stolen goods.
Unaware that Bartolo is conspiring with the Gandors against him, Gustavo leads a raid of the Daily Days on January 02, 1932 which leaves him seriously injured and costs him his executive position. He is currently serving time in prison.
Gustavo is a large, hulking man with brown hair and deep facial furrows. His fight in January 1932 earns him a nasty scar at the base of his throat, visible to others if not covered. As a Runorata capo, he is typically seen wearing a black suit and coat, and a light-colored scarf.
Brutish and boorish, Gustavo wields the threat of violence over allies and enemies alike. He rules his subordinates through fear, taking his anger out on them and nearby property with physical wrath, and indiscriminately kills anyone remotely involved in Runorata affairs regardless if they are underworld or not. Rather than negotiate, warn, or bother without outright declarations, he merely unilaterally destroys.
Gustavo's executive status was earned solely through the sheer power of his brute force - brawn over brains - and his ambitions are in large part hampered by his dull intellect and personal grudges. He reacts poorly to mockery and humiliation, and can only take so much before he loses all reason entirely.
Gustavo joins the Runorata Family around 1923 and climbs his way to an executive position through brute force alone; however, as brute force is his only outstanding strength, his career path soon plateaus. He remains on consistently bad terms with the Family's apothecary Begg Garott throughout the eight years he is with the syndicate, believing Begg to hold him in contempt and disrespect his authority.
By 1930, the Runoratas are powerfully influential across New York save for Manhattan Island, where they remain unable to acquire territory. Don Bartolo Runorata thus orders Gustavo to create a foothold through which the Runoratas can enter the borough—a mission which Gustavo throws himself into without realizing it is tantamount to demotion. Bartolo in truth has little expectation that a syndicate as large as his can actually muscle its way into Manhattan's crowded underworld; with success highly unlikely and thus a non-priority, the mission is more simply a means of keeping Gustavo occupied than one whose outcome Bartolo is particularly invested in.
Rather than pick a fight with one of Manhattan's five big syndicates, Gustavo decides that his best means of an 'in' will be to destabilize one of its smaller, independent organizations—those being the Martillo Family, the Gandor Family, and the Days. Of these, Gustavo makes the Gandors his target of choice. While this is in part due to Molsa Martillo and Don Bartolo sharing a hometown, the Gandors are not a bad choice on their own: their anti-drug policy on their turf could be the 'in' the drug-dealing Runoratas need.
Gustavo instructs his men to begin dealing drugs on Gandor turf so as to establish a Runorata presence in the local drug market. What he fails to tell Bartolo is that he installs two levels of middlemen from whom he collects protection money: first, he sells the product to his pet dealers at the wholesale prices he reported to Bartolo; then, he distributes the drugs to dealers in the lower tier, consequently doubling the retail prices and allowing him to absorb a good percentage of the profit without his subordinates' knowledge.
Throughout December 1931, Gustavo's subordinates distribute drugs on Gandor turf, and start waging more direct war on the Family—going so far as to send a junkie to slit Luck Gandor's throat (not realizing Luck survives the incident). The same month, Gustavo personally kills the Genoard Family heads Raymond and Jeffrey Genoard, whose bodies are later found in a car submerged in Newark Bay. With the two heads out of the picture, the the Runoratas assume control over the Genoards' drug manufacturing factory.
Begg uses the factories for his newest drug—worth six hundred thousand on the market—and the Runoratas have their dealers put it into circulation. Disaster strikes when a junkie (Roy Maddock) crashes a truck into a Runorata vehicle transporting a bag full of the newest drug; steals said bag; and successfully flees the scene.
Gustavo goes to Bartolo's Newark mansion to report the bad news in person, though Bartolo treats the potentially devastating situation as an "insignificant problem" which Gustavo surely should be able to handle. Once Bartolo is gone, Gustavo orders his men to capture the junkie dead if necessary—but Begg demands that they keep the junkie alive so that he may examine him for his drug research, departing after he reminds Gustavo he is cooperating on the grounds that Gustavo leaves the Martillos alone.
Irritated by Begg's attitude and embarrassed by the imbroglio with the drug theft, Gustavo reaffirms his men's mission to lay down a foundation for the Runoratas' drug business in Manhattan and to steal territory from the Gandors. The day after the hit-and-run on the Runorata truck, he sends several men to the Daily Days for information on the junkie's whereabouts. In the meantime, he orders his men to carry out simultaneous hit-and-runs on a Gandor-influenced betting parlor, gambling den, speakeasy, and motel; while no Gandors or business patrons die, the ensuing property damage is hardly insignificant.
The Runoratas follow-up with Gustavo in a Wall Street hotel room serving as their temporary hideout, and he is less than pleased with their reports: despite the 'death' of Luck Gandor, the Gandor Family have not only withstood the hit-and-run attacks but even managed to capture one of the Runoratas alive; furthermore, while the Runoratas were able to buy information on Roy's residence, Roy was long gone by the time they entered the premises.
Begg drops by the hotel room to request a loan of a few men, as he will need manpower to handle the big cargo he plans on picking up at the end of the month. When he reveals that the cargo is high performance explosives as designed by a friend, Gustavo is suddenly all ears: with powerful explosives in their arsenal, the Runoratas would be all but certain to crush the Gandor Family and claim victory.
On December 29, in the wake of the Runoratas' hit-and-run menagerie the day before, representatives from Manhattan's Five Families visit the hotel room to remind Gustavo of his place: they warn of dire consequences should Gustavo cause an iota trouble in their territories; they instruct him to leave any drug negotiations between the Runoratas and their syndicates to Begg; and they point out that they have deliberately not interfered with Manhattan's Free Zones like Gustavo is doing now.
Once they leave, Gustavo stews over their respect for Bartolo and especially their lack of respect for him. With his hatred for the Gandors refueled, he hurls a stone ashtray at a wall in rage.
The following night, on December 30, a junkie attempts to pierce Berga Gandor's heart with a needle at Firo Prochainezo's casino. The murder attempt is implied to be the doing of the Runoratas, and would fit with the precedent of using a junkie to do the dirty work as established by the hit on Luck.
Begg meets with his friend on the afternoon of December 1931, after which he returns to Gustavo with news that his friends' explosives were stolen in transit. His assurances that he can reproduce the bombs in his factory with a month's time fall on deaf ears, as Gustavo needs the explosives now; when Gustavo thus slanders Begg's friend as 'useless', Begg coldly rebukes him, laughs at Gustavo's unintentional self-putdown, and leaves the room. Once Gustavo realizes Begg was laughing at him, he hurls his third ashtray at the wall.
On January 01, 1932, at the hotel room hideout, a Runorata reports that the Gandors have hired Vino according to underground rumor. Even the Five Families' messengers have been talking about it, in the tone of those certain of Gustavo's demise. While Gustavo bluffs ire, he is privately filled with real fear at the thought of having such a dangerous hitman as an enemy; unable to put any of the Runoratas' own hitmen to work—as they answer directly to Bartolo—he orders his subordinate to round up any freelancers or mercenaries off the streets and put bounties on the Gandor bosses' heads.
Late that night, Gustavo grills a subordinate over the latest news on Roy Maddock: according to the subordinate, the Runoratas confirmed that Roy Maddock contacted Eve Genoard and accompanied her to the Gandors' office. Before the Runoratas could capture them, the pair left with another woman by car, a car which the Runoratas followed to a house outside of the territory.
Gustavo condemns the subordinate for not gunning down Roy while he was in Gandor territory, and, when the subordinate recalls Begg's instructions to leave Roy alive, asks the man who his boss is. The subordinate's answer, "Bartolo," throws Gustavo off—but he manages a lame recovery by reminding all subordinates in the room that Bartolo left him in absolute charge over the Manhattan situation. Begg, having slipped into the room unnoticed, reminds Gustavo that Bartolo left him in charge of everything involving drugs and reaffirms his standing order for a live capture before leaving the room.
The next day, on January 02, one of Gustavo's men reports on what was witnessed overnight: while monitoring Eve Genoard's manor on Millionaires' Row, a Runorata subordinate spied an Asian man and a white man enter the mansion, the duo in possession of the black case. After a little time had passed, they left the mansion in the company of two servants, the woman of whom was carrying the black bag. The Runorata followed the group all the way to the Daily Days brokerage, from which the four have yet to emerge.
Gustavo attempts to piece the puzzle together. While he supposes Roy might want to use Eve to "get a cut" of the Genoards' shadow business, he cannot figure out how Roy would have known about the Genoards' true face. In considering how the Genoard maid had left for the information brokers—and, how Eve and Roy then made their way toward the Gandors' hideout, he reaches the conclusion that causes him to break a marble ashtray with his hands alone: Roy, the Genoards, the Gandors, and the information brokers have been in cahoots all along.
When a subordinate informs him that the Runoratas have rounded up some freelancers as requested, Gustavo enters the room they are being kept in to size them up. There are three in total: Maria Barcelito, a young katana-wielding woman; Alkins, a whiskey-sodden man of middle-age; and Raz Smith, a man wearing an abnormally long coat and a hat indoors.
Less than impressed with such 'buskers', Gustavo lifts his subordinate into the air with wrathful displeasure over the poor pickings. In a flash, Maria ducks under the table and puts a katana to Gustavo's throat—cheerfully urging Gustavo not to fight his allies—and Gustavo lowers his subordinate to grudgingly acknowledge that at least one of the freelancers has skills.
The Runoratas' fourth hire finally arrives: a man with a thick beard and thick glasses who apologetically turns down the job as he has a previous engagement. At the subordinate's urging for "Felix" to wait, Gustavo freezes alongside the freelancers and other Runoratas—the best-known "Felix" in the business is the "Handyman" Felix Walken, said to be Vino's rival.
"Felix" insists that he does not double-book murders and turns to leave, and is flatly disinterested in Gustavo's offered opportunity to fight Vino. Since his schedule is still open for kidnappings and everything else non-murder, he agrees to talk rates for Gustavo's alternate job proposal: the kidnapping of Roy and Eve from Hell's Kitchen, pulled off in such a way that none of the Five Families catch on.
After "Felix" leaves, Gustavo clarifies the role the "hatchet professionals" will play in his planned Daily Days raid with the twenty or so people left in the room. His main point is that the "hatchet professionals" should only involve themselves if Vino appears during the raid; if Vino does not, then they will extract his whereabouts from the Gandors. He reminds the freelancers they will only be paid after the job is done, should they be thinking of running, and packs his gun into an instrument case. Then, with a slam of his fist, he vows that the first blood spilled will be that of the Daily Days journos.
Gustavo and company exit into the corridor as one, where Gustavo confidently dares Begg to try and stop him before moving onward.
The Daily Days raid commences at 2 PM on the wrong foot, as its front entrance is unexpectedly locked when the Runoratas arrive. Gustavo busts through the double doors with a single kick to find the entire editorial department empty of employees, with strangely no sign of them leaving through the back entrance. As he lights a cigar, he orders his men to turn over the second and third floors and seize any documents that might contain the employees' addresses. Should they fail to find the Gandors, they will torch the building and head for the Gandors' headquarters.
Failing to find anyone on the second floor, Gustavo and the Runoratas convene in a large storeroom of sorts on the third floor still with no sign of the Gandors or Daily Days employees. When an unarmed fox-eyed man enters the room and congratulates the men on their "excellent work," Gustavo initially has no idea who he is; then, when the man scorns him for not knowing the face of his enemy, realizes that he must be the presumed dead Luck Gandor.
Luck casually acknowledges that Gustavo had his throat cut and says "we" are here to talk, signalling Berga and Keith Gandor to step out of the shadows. Gustavo presumes they are the Gandor brothers and takes out his shotgun from his coat, but Luck ignores him in favor of inviting his subordinates to join the Gandors' side. The men guffaw—only to hush when Luck claims the Gandors and Bartolo have come to an agreement, and become agitated when Luck describes how Gustavo siphoned money from the drug dealing scheme for his own profit.
Those unaware of Gustavo's embezzlement are the majority of his men, and Gustavo has no time to make a case for himself before Luck reveals that the Gandors were waiting for the Runoratas to assemble at the Daily Days—and as they speak, his men are taking over the Runoratas' drug dens. He again invites those present to join the Family, though he adds that Bartolo is prepared to welcome back those who return to the main Runorata organization and let free those who take no sides. It is only those who stay with Gustavo that will be considered 'enemies', and as such targets for Vino.
In response to his men's hesitation, Gustavo slams the face of one into the floor and shoots off Luck's head with his shotgun, which he then turns on Keith. Before he shoots, one of his men cries for him to look—and when he does, he sees Luck's head reforming, blood and muscle and bone and skin reknitting until whole once more. Berga prods the corpse awake; Luck stands, stretches, and asks the Runoratas to choose between death or joining the Gandors once and for all. Maria, intrigued by Luck's immortality where the others are frozen, slices one of his arms in half (though he holds it in place).
"Felix" enters the room with Roy and Eve, Smith trailing behind them, and announces his job is done. While Gustavo is relieved enough to actually thank him, he hastily asks if "Felix" would restrain the Gandors on the spot for a fee; "Felix" responds that he will for "thirty quadrillion dollars," as that is how much it would take for him to make enemies of the Gandor brothers—and then shoos Eve and Roy out of the room with instructions for them to hide.
Berga snidely inquires into "Felix's" getup, much to Gustavo's confusion, while Maria impatiently asks where Vino is. "Felix" raises his hand, rips off his fake beard, and verbally identifies himself as the Vino in question. He and Luck ignore Gustavo's irate accusations of a "Gandor trick" in favor of discussing his name situation—a discussion which is cut off when Alkins takes a potshot at Vino.
Alkins' opening move encourages Maria to challenge Vino as well, leaving Gustavo to remain idle for fear of making himself a target. However, when he sees Luck leaving through one door, he bolts for the door on the opposite side and makes his own exit (with Maria successfully preventing Vino from shooting him). Upon racing to the first floor and spotting Eve in the Daily Days' reception room, he smashes the reception room's door off its hinges and blocks off her escape.
Accusing her of setting him up, his murderous hatred momentarily turns to caution as he aims his shotgun at her face and asks whether she is a 'monster' like Luck. Her fear is enough to convince him she is mortal, but he does not shoot her—he wants to kill her once he has the Gandors as witness. Not only does he want to kill the Gandors, he wants to kill everyone who set him up, Begg, and even Bartolo.
He raises his foot with the intention of crushing Eve's legs, but Luck slams a wooden chair into his head twice. At the second blow, he drops his shotgun; at the third, he turns with his fist raised—but Luck smashes the chair down again, one of its corners breaking Gustavo's cheekbone. Luck hits him two more times, sending him crashing to the floor. He does not stand.
Not at first; first, he comes to while Luck and Eve are discussing Eve's brother Dallas Genoard. Once he stands, he picks up an enormous sofa and bashes it into Luck's head, then swings it into Luck's side before abandoning it as a weapon. More beast than man, fueled by bloodlust and a primal need for vengeance, he advances on Luck without faltering once at the six bullets Luck shoots in his torso.
Stomping on Luck's chest until his ribs cave, Gustavo turns toward Eve and promises to "feed her to the fishes" just like he did with her father (Raymond) and brother (Jeffrey). Eve freezes at the revelation Gustavo killed her loved ones, leaving Luck to wobble to his feet and opine that it is "no wonder" Bartolo abandoned someone as shameless as Gustavo..
Gustavo picks up Luck and throws him at Eve. Having regained a little rational thought, he looks for his shotgun with the intention of shooting Eve and Luck dead. He find it in Eve's hands, its muzzle pointed directly at him. She apologizes to Luck, pulls the trigger as Gustavo taunts her—but Luck uses his own left arm to block the shot, the shell blowing off part of his limb completely. Before Gustavo can react, Luck picks up his severed arm with his right hand and thrusts the jagged bone into Gustavo's windpipe.
Though it sinks into Gustavo's flesh by just a small margin, it is enough to make Gustavo finally pass out. While Gustavo is unconscious, those involved place the black bag of drugs by his body; the Daily Days later explains to the police that Gustavo had gone on a deranged, drug-fueled rampage around their offices on account of an negative article they planned to run on the dangers of the Runorata drug in circulation.
Gustavo recovers in the hospital while his fate is decided, his miraculous recovery in part due to none of the bullets ("fired by the newspaper staff in self defense") having pierced his carotid artery. The throat wound, meanwhile, is deemed self-inflicted while he was 'high' and heals over as a nasty scar. With the police now suspecting Gustavo is behind the Genoard murders in addition to the Daily Days rampage, his arrest is all but certain. Behind the scenes, the Runoratas make deals with various politicos to ensure Gustavo is the only one of them at the law's mercy.
Gustav is sent to the same prison as Ladd Russo, where his immense strength serves him well. On the occasions where a guard taunts him, he simply rips his handcuffs apart and asks for a new set as a demonstration of his power. Considered unbeatable in a fight, feared by prisoners and guards alike, he acts like a king for a long period of his incarceration and causes no end of problems for the staff.
One day, around the time Alcatraz becomes a regular prison (c. mid-1934), Gustavo starts a fight in the mess hall over a trivial matter. Several guards with billy clubs fill the cafeteria, one of whom tauntingly warns the prisoners against doing anything that will land them in Alcatraz. With the rumors of Alcatraz well-known, the mess hall settles down.
That night, Ladd fights all of the prisoners in the mess hall and fells all of them, including Gustavo. By the time the last of the guards arrive, he is sat eating dinner among the bodies of his fellow inmates, sprawled around the room as they are. Gustavo is the only inmate to stir; he springs to his feet, picks up a long table, and brings it down upon Ladd's head in the same manner as he did the sofa in 1932.
Ladd smashes through the table and closes the distance between him and Gustavo. He pauses, declares to the guards that 'this' is justified self-defense, and decks Gustavo with a punch that sends him soaring back several yards. Once Gustavo hits the ground, he coughs up blood and ceases moving.
In the AnimeEdit
To be added.
- While Bartolo's desire to wash his hands of Gustavo is due to Gustavo's many failings as an executive, it is also due to pressure from external parties: for a good while prior to the events of December, Bartolo receives requests from other councils to hand Gustavo over on account of unknown past offenses on Gustavo's part.
- Thus, even if Gustavo had succeeded in seizing the Gandors' territory, Bartolo would have settled the matter by handing the territory to Manhattan's Five Families. That Gustavo receives a prison sentence after his failure is technically a lucky break, as the alternative would have been for Bartolo to directly put his fate in the Five Families' hands.