|“||He's quiet, but what he does is bigger and louder than anybody else.||”|
Keith Gandor (キース・ガンドール, Kīsu Gandōru) is the head of the Gandor Family mafia alongside his younger brothers Berga and Luck. In the eyes of the surface world, he is the manager of the jazz hall Coraggioso.
Keith first encounters his wife-to-be Kate in late 1927; that September, he is ‘kidnapped’ by a priest who intends to execute him as a warning against the other mafia families. It is later revealed that Keith purposefully allowed himself to be kidnapped for investigation purposes. At some point following the release of the film The Jazz Singer, he and Kate finally meet and begin courting.
In November 1930, Keith and his brothers become complete immortals after unknowingly imbibing the Cure-All Elixir at Firo Prochainezo’s promotion party. Nearly two years later, bad relations with the Runorata Family worsen when they start pushing drugs on Gandor turf, and Runorata capo Gustavo Bagetta wages all out war on the Gandors. Keith takes an active role in dealing with the situation.
In February 1935, Keith saves Luck’s life when Melvi Dormentaire attempts to devour him. He, his brothers, and several assassins in the Gandors’ employ later attend the Runoratas’ casino party at Ra's Lance.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Keith has brown hair and piercing brown eyes, with a gaze that is often compared to that of a sharp knife or blade. His brow is deeply furrowed, and his forehead and cheekbones are prominent.
He is normally dressed in formal business attire. In the 2007 anime adaptation, he and his brothers are often color-coded: Keith wears a dark blue outfit while Berga and Luck wear a green outfit and brown outfit respectively.
In the late '20s, Keith is described as "a man, who, no matter how one looked at him, didn't seem like he did a proper line of business." His presence is very clearly that of a powerful mafioso, and he has a ‘sharp air’ that is difficult to miss.
Personality [edit | edit source]
Firo Prochainezo describes Keith as a little conservative in his thinking, clinging stubbornly to "outmoded rules and ideas" out of some sort of "old-fashioned righteousness." One way in which Keith's persistence in upholding (his own sense of) justice manifests itself in his total ban against drugs in his territory. He loathes drugs to his very core, at least partly because he takes pride in protecting the residents living on his turf, and he would never cross the line of life and death of innocent people.
Keith is no stranger when it comes to personally meting out violence: he has shot many a person in his line of work, and has doled out cruel punishments in the past. However, he has occasionally displayed a strange version of 'kindness' with certain punishments; in one incident he gives Dallas Genoard cards to 'play' with while drowning in the Hudson - in another, he agrees to have Edith's hair trimmed as a 'punishment' for insubordination.
Such acts have sometimes led others to believe Keith and his sibling as too soft-hearted for mafia life, but when compared to his younger brothers Keith is certainly the closest to it. At the very least, he is highly respected by his subordinates and others around him – his name alone is enough keep Maria in check, and he is one of the only people to have made Claire apologize to someone else (and one of the few whose scoldings Claire has taken to heart). In the anime, his brothers visibly look to Keith for his opinion (or final say), subtly reminding the viewer of Keith's leadership role.
Keith is immediately distinguished by his taciturn nature - he is content to be silent most of the time and leave the talking to Luck. The instances in which he does speak are few and far between, and when we do see him speak he usually keeps his sentences short and to the point.
So rare are the occasions that most people always sit up and take notice when he speaks, because whatever he has to say is always of importance. When Keith visits The President of the Daily Days to exchange information in late 1931/early 1932, The President goes so far as to temporarily cut his phone lines so he can hear Keith as clearly as possible ("what you say will definitely be precious information. The last time I heard you say more than five words was three years ago").
Though it is never shown on-page, more than one character has stated that Keith is actually fairly talkative with his wife Kate, and talkative to some extent over the phone. His great-grandnephew Charon Walken (whom Keith looked after during the boy's childhood, and thus inherited Keith's penchant for reticence) flatly denies the possibility that Keith talks (more) over the phone, chalking such occurrences up to 'the phone fairy' instead.
Keith's love for his brothers is made clear throughout the novels. He reacts with physical - and audible - alarm when Berga is gunned down by Dallas in 1930, and memorably stops Melvi from devouring Luck in 1935 with such quickness and murderous intent that he would have without a doubt devoured Melvi right then and there had it not been for Claire's intervention.
Storyline [edit | edit source]
Pre-1930[edit | edit source]
Keith and his brothers grow up a tenement building in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, a slum heavily populated by Italian immigrants. Early on, they befriend Firo Prochainezo and Claire Stanfield, two boys who live in the same tenement. When Claire's parents die, the Gandor patriarch takes him under his wing and raises him as the brothers' foster sibling.
Claire and Berga engage in friendly sparring matches throughout their childhood, but their frequent descent into overeagerness often results in both of them accidentally hitting Firo or Luck in the process. Keith is the only one who is able to break them up when they are overly excited.
At some point, Firo is kidnapped by an older man who mistakes him for a girl. Keith and his father track the kidnapper down and invade his hideout in the nick of time, rescuing Firo before the man can molest him.
1919[edit | edit source]
In 1919, Keith, his brothers, and Firo take to the streets in search of Claire, who has gone missing. They eventually find him playing in a derelict building - he pokes his head through a hole in the roof and scares Luck in the process. Once Claire nimbly flips his way down to the ground, the five boys prepare to head home back to the Gandor father; the Gandors have a rule that the boys must be home before dark.
When the Gandor patriarch dies from overwork circa 1920, the Gandor mafia remains in limbo while its capos figure out what to do next. Keith visits a room where three men are drinking around a table (who these men are is unknown) and kills them with his handgun. With the corpses in tow, he and his brothers head for a room where Nicola Cassetti and other presumably high-ranking members of the Gandor Family are discussing the future of the outfit.
Berga and Luck enter the room, and Luck recalls how their father had tried to protect the family territory until the end - and thus, it is the job of his sons to inherit his pride. As Luck talks, Keith appears in the doorway, dragging two of the men's corpses along the floor in either hand. Dropping them at the threshold, he walks into the room and wipes blood off his left cheek. Luck states that he and his brothers will take over the Gandor Family.
Over the next several years, Keith and his brothers noticeably expand their father's territory, though compared to other mafia families their turf is still quite small and their income pitiful.
1927[edit | edit source]
Keith is a fan of silent films, and at some point during his excursions to the cinema he takes special notice of a woman's piano accompaniment. He begins regularly attending the theatre specifically to hear the woman perform.
In September, Keith and his brothers visit an eatery under their influence for a reunion with Firo and Claire, the latter of whom the brothers haven't seen for several years. Firo and Claire are already sitting at a table by the time the brothers arrive, and the three quickly take their seats beside them. Claire is surprised to learn that Firo has joined the Martillo Family instead of the Gandor Family, and wonders what will happen if the two outfits get into a fight. Berga suggests that they rope Firo into the Gandors preemptively, but Luck sternly reminds him that the brothers had promised not to talk of such things.
Firo changes the subject to the Feast of San Gennaro, a festival taking place the next day. Luck explains the festival's backstory to Claire, and the conversation soon turns to the rumors of "The Phantom Father," a supposed murderer who does not die when he is stabbed. Claire remarks that Keith does not seem all that interested in the conversation matter, and Luck teases that Keith "prefers silent movies to festivals," as he has apparently taken a shine to a lady pianist.
A drunken brawl breaks out between two diners nearby, and Berga brings their fight to a swift and violent end. Luck threatens the two men, who quickly flee out through the front door and down the street. The five decide to leave, and once Luck speaks with the eatery's owner they all exit the building and walk down the street. Claire demands that Luck show him where the festival is being set up and proceeds to haul him down the street with his arm around Luck's neck, Berga tagging along.
Left alone with Firo, Keith takes a drag of his cigarette, contemplates his younger friend and asks, "Are you okay?" Once Firo's initial shock over Keith speaking fades, he clenches his fist and says that while he does not have 'something' like the others do, he plans to make it on his own as Firo Prochainezo without the help of the Gandors or God.
A thief rushes past the two, bumping into Firo and knocking down a priest in his hasty bid for escape from the shopkeeper shouting at him. Firo helps the priest up to his feet; the man introduces himself as Donatello and gratefully offers Firo a lollipop as thanks. He invites Firo to join the audience of children watching a puppet show nearby, but Firo coldly declines. A nearby festival worker calls upon Donatello for help, and he tells Firo and Keith to be careful and to enjoy the festival to the fullest. As he leaves, he trips and falls to the ground.
Eventually, Firo and Keith part ways. At some point later that day - or perhaps night - Donatello confronts Keith alone in an alleyway and laments over New York's infestation of mafia, villains, and scum. Though what happens next is not shown on screen, it is likely that Donatello attacks Keith – when Keith's jacket (alongside a smashed lollipop) is found in the alleyway the day of the festival, it is stained with his blood.
A search and rescue is mounted in Keith's absence, with Nicola, Claire, and Firo each actively investigating Keith's whereabouts. Though Keith's precise movements during his 'kidnapping' are unknown, it is apparent that Donatello had stashed him in his church, planning to eventually kill him at the end of the festival as a warning message to all the local mafia outfits.
Donatello's plans are completely derailed; when he returns to his church following a brutal fight with Claire, he finds it ablaze and surrounded by firefighters and rubberneckers. The doors to the church open, and Keith steps out from the flames completely unharmed. Stunned, Donatello compares Keith to San Gennaro – who had once stepped from the fires of a furnace unharmed. Claire waves at Keith from his spot in the crowd, and compliments him on having "pulled out all the stops again!"
As they leave the conflagration behind them, Claire apologizes for having let Donatello escape earlier and vows to kill him should their paths cross again. They make their way back to the Coraggioso's basement, where Luck and Berga immediately stand in relief upon seeing their elder brother. Keith informs them as he passes that no other syndicates were involved in the recent events.
Berga and Luck realize that Keith had purposefully let himself be caught by Donatello in order to investigate whether he and his killings were connected to another Mafia or Camorra outfit, and Luck cries out that a crazy stunt like that is something a boss should never do. Keith turns to look at Luck. "We still had two." This is not the answer that Luck wants to hear, but Claire interjects and reminds the brothers to thank Firo later. Without Firo helping to keep the priest busy, Keith would have had a harder time "moving on his own."
One month later, the first feature-length talkie The Jazz Singer is released in theatres (see Trivia) on October 6, 1927. Time passes, and Keith eventually seeks out the 'lady pianist' he has taken a shine to – Kate – and asks her, "At which movie theatre can I hear your accompaniment? You can't see the accompanists' faces at movies nowadays, so I don't even know who's who." He says nothing more after that, and the two spend more and more time in each other's company over the ensuing months.
1928-1930[edit | edit source]
Sometime in 1928 or 1929, the Martillo and Gandor Families clash and only narrowly avoid all-out war with each other. During the conflict, Keith at some point pays a visit to The President of the Daily Days. The two families eventually call for a ceasefire and establish formal friendly relations, following a meeting between Keith and Molsa Martillo.
Keith and Kate marry, and Berga and Kalia follow around 1929 or 1930. After Berga's marriage, the two brothers move out of the Gandors’ old apartment, and Keith and Kate take up residence in a house nearby in Hell's Kitchen.
In the basement of the Coraggioso, Keith and his brothers play poker while Nicola and other Gandor men look on. When Jorgi - their finances manager - enters the room, Luck invites him to join their game. Jorgi does, nervously observing that all three of his bosses have joker cards in their hands.
As Jorgi sorts through his hand, Berga recalls that someone once denounced gambling just for money. He pulls out a revolver and announces that the four of them will play Russian roulette; terrified, Jorgi says that they should all shuffle their cards in preparation (he is secretly planning to cheat). Keith and the others all stop to stare at him, and Luck finally reveals that they are aware that Jorgi has been embezzling money from the Family for two years. He places his hand down on the table: five aces. Berga: five kings. Keith: five jokers, matching the two jokers in the middle to make seven. The brothers sigh, having lost to Keith yet again.
Since Jorgi's hand is the worst of the lot, he is the first to play roulette. Berga shoves the revolver over to him, and Jorgi raises the gun to his temple - only to then am the muzzle directly at Keith and pull the trigger. Once, twice, six times total. Clearly upset, Luck points out to Jorgi that the cartridges are empty, and explains that this had all been a test he and his brothers had devised. Jorgi's fate had completely depended on what he did with the gun, and he had chosen the worst action of all the ones he could have chosen.
Berga kicks Jorgi off his chair and onto the ground, knocking him out. A few onlookers stuff Jorgi's body into a prepared gunnysack and carry him up the stairs and out of sight, intending to dump him into the sea. Keith's murmur of “…Damn fool," is heard only by his brothers. A few minutes later, Dallas Genoard and his cohorts arrive and ask for an audience with Luck. By this time, Keith and everyone else have left the room.
That night, Keith and his brothers leave to attend Firo's promotion party from associate to executive. At the party, they and others unwittingly drink the Cure-All Elixir, becoming complete immortals. The evening is spoiled upon their return to the Coraggioso, where they are confronted with the murders of Mike and a few other subordinates. When the police finally leave the scene the next day, Berga viciously breaks a wooden stool in his rage, and Luck admits that he is filled with such terrible anger that he wants to rip the perpetrators apart with his own hands.
Though Keith seems to have something on his mind, he refrains from speaking and simply listens to his younger brothers talk. Luck resolves to inform the neighboring mafia outfits of what has transpired, starting with the Martillos.
The three brothers head for The Alveare. As they approach the back entrance to the building, they come across Dallas and his friends holding Firo and Ennis at gunpoint. Keith presses the muzzle of his gun into the back of one of the goons’ head, Berga does the same for the next, and Luck does the same for Dallas. Luck asks where exactly Dallas and company acquired their guns; Dallas lies and blames Firo for the murders of the Gandor men, claiming that he had tried to stop him.
Luck immediately proves the lie to be false, and he and his brothers discharge their guns. The three thugs crumple to the ground, and Luck apologizes to his brothers for not keeping his cool. Keith (who has not spoken for almost an entire day) replies, “Don’t worry.” Before Firo can explain the situation, Ennis desperately injects that they need to tie up the corpses. Her warning comes too late; Berga's victim regenerates and guns Berga down from where he is lying on the floor.
Keith shouts Berga's name and moves towards him, but he and the others are almost immediately gunned down by Dallas and company. Post-regeneration, the Gandor brothers collect Dallas and his two friends and take them to an unused factory. There, they place the three men into barrels, fill the barrels with cement, and drop them into the Hudson.
1931-1932[edit | edit source]
By early December 1931, a new drug has started circulating around Gandor turf. Though it has yet to cause any major disturbances, enough news is leaked about the drug for the Gandors to catch wind of it. The day after, they receive the actual goods; with physical evidence now in their possession the Gandors resolve to find the source of the drug and bring an end to its distribution.
Later that month, Keith and his brothers sit in the small parlor of the Coraggioso while lower ranked members gather in the large saloon area. Keith silently shuffles poker cards while Luck informs Berga that he is letting their torture specialist Tick Jefferson handle their current captive – a drug addict who had severed Luck's neck with his knife earlier that month. A moment later, Tick knocks on the door and identifies himself. Luck invites him in, and Tick informs them that the man he's torturing has taken so many drugs that he no longer has the conscious of a regular person.
Berga argues in favor of spending another month 'working' on the guy, since they can try again once the medication wears off. Luck dismisses the suggestion and orders Tick to dump the man at the door of the police station that night. Once Tick leaves, Berga reminds Luck that the man decapitated him; Luck shakes his head wearily and counters that the addict was just paid to do it, a sort of fellow no longer able to control himself.
Luck and Berga start quarrelling about weakness and immortality, but Keith's thoughts have turned to his wife. Noting the time, Keith stands and dons his coat and hat, intending to head home. Berga also prepares to head home to his wife Kalia, but one of their underlings runs into the room shouting trouble. Nicola enters a moment later, covered in in his own blood but remarkably still active despite his gunshot wounds, and reports that he and his men were the victims of a surprise attack courtesy of the Runoratas. While only Nicola and their property were damaged, they were only able to take one captive.
Keith asks Nicola for a damage assessment, and afterwards thanks him for his hard work. Nicola bows respectfully toward him before leaving. A few other Gandor men shuffle forward and report that three other locations under Gandor influence (a bar, casino, and motel) have just been attacked. Keith removes his coat, returning home no longer an option.
Late that night, Keith pays a visit to the Daily Days, where many employees are still hard at work despite the hour. One employee recognizes Keith and places an internal phone call; Keith heads for the President's suite on the second floor, where the President, hidden behind a mountain of paperwork, greets him amidst a chorus of phone rings.
The President asks what sort of 'information' Keith requires, remarking that he is already aware of the impoverished people that have recently been making tracks on Gandor turf. He presumes that Keith already knows what sort of people they are and their motives. and is correct: Keith has come to the agency already fully understanding the basic groundwork of the situation.
The President thus pinpoints Keith's enemy as a single Runorata man: Gustavo Bagetta, the capo in charge of entering the Manhattan scene (where the Runoratas have no territory). A small organization like the Gandor mafia was an easy target. He informs Keith that before Gustavo attacked his men, he distributed drugs on Gandor turf. Though he does not have reliable information on the Runoratas' motives, he knows that Gustavo's recent independent actions have earned him the displeasure of quite a few Runorata men. Though Gustavo is no longer useful to the Runoratas, he should not be underestimated.
He then proceeds to temporarily cut the phone lines so that he can clearly hear Keith speak. He admits that Keith might already know everything he has just told him, so Keith's role now must be to explain why he came to the agency, what his purpose is and what he wants to know. The President is sure that whatever Keith has to say will be precious information, recalling that it has been three years since the last time he heard Keith speak more than five words .
Finally, Keith speaks. How much he says and how long he speaks is not shown, but a later conversation between Nicholas Wayne and the President implies that Keith had requested that the Daily Days settle the dispute with their advantage as a neutral party. A later briefing by the President also reveals that during this exchange, he told Keith how to contact Bartolo and that they subsequently worked out a 'battle plan.'
Later – perhaps the next day – Keith is present in the Coraggioso as Luck places a call to Claire, who is currently making a living as a train conductor. After he hangs up, Luck informs everyone present that 'he' will arrive in New York at the end of December via train. Keith offers a rare, faint smile at the news. Luck delivers orders to all the subordinates present: no-one is to act alone or show their faces without orders; all casinos and bars are to be 'closed for renovations'; everyone ought to stay low and out of sight for now.
Tick asks who exactly is coming at the end of the month, and, unable to conceal his glee, Luck informs the room that Claire Stanfield – the world's foremost assassin – will be on his way.
At some point during all this, Keith gets in touch with Bartolo Runorata and strikes a deal with him, part of which involved sneaking in some undercover agents as part of Gustavo's entourage.
At the end of the month, Keith and his brothers head to Pennsylvania Station on December 31, 1931 to pick up Claire, who is arriving on the Flying Pussyfoot as its conductor. They are accompanied by Maiza, Firo, and Ennis, all of whom are also expecting friends back on the same train. While the brothers are looking forward to seeing Claire again, there is also an underlying sense of urgency to the occasion — they need Claire's assistance in their current war with the Runorata Family, which has been pushing drugs on Gandor turf.
The Flying Pussyfoot fails to arrive on schedule (12 PM), and the brothers talk with the others to pass the time. During their conversation, they learn from Maiza that the terrorist Huey Laforet is immortal. When the train finally arrives two hours late at 2 PM, Claire is nowhere to be seen; not long after, a station employee delivers a note from Claire to the brothers asking them to meet him outside the station. They head outside and meet with Claire in an alleyway, where he is eager to get a headstart on killing whomever the brothers need him to kill, since he wants to search for a certain someone to whom he has proposed marriage.
As the topic turns to Firo, Luck uses Claire's name. Claire states that 'Claire' is legally dead, and Luck asks how he thinks he's going to get married if that is so. Claire stops at that, and worriedly wonders how much he can by a name for. For now, he suggests that his foster brothers can call him 'Vino' or 'Rail Tracer.' Berga insults him and the two break out into a fight in the alleyway. Keith watches them fight and silently ponders the inevitable escalating conflict between his family and the Runoratas, knowing that it will be some time before things become peaceful once more.
The four brothers return to their office at Coraggioso, where Tick is the only subordinate present - everyone else is lying low at him per Luck's command. Claire immediately gets down to brass tacks, asking once more who their assassination targets are. If it is Bartolo Runorata, the job will require some planning. If it's Gustavo, they can take him out by the end of the day. He casually adds that he has been hired by Bartolo a few times in the past, and that Gustavo doesn't know the first about him (Claire).
Instead of killing straight away, Luck wants Claire to simply stroll around the city and establish his presence to those lurking within the shadows.
The next day - Jan 1, 1932 - Keith and his brothers are in the Coraggioso' basement office when Tick calls to them and announces that Edith (a waitress at the Coraggioso) has arrived. The three enter the area and spot Edith; Luck assures her that her wages will be paid on time despite the suspended business. That is not why Edith has come: she confesses that she has betrayed the Gandors. She explains how her boyfriend Roy Maddock has been caught up with the Runoratas' newest drug and has since gone missing, and that she has knowingly tried to help him despite the Gandors' drug ban - and that she went to an information broker for advice and followed it.
Luck states that they have no plans to go searching for Roy at the news, but they cannot let her obscuring of the truth slide. Traitors must be dealt with. He asks his brothers what they should do with her; in a dilemma, Keith plays with the poker cards in his hand. The three brothers move to stand on their own, where Luck and Berga erupt into a heated whispered debate about how to punish her. They don't want to use violence on a woman, and they can't pardon her, so they decide to give her a chance. They hit upon the idea to have her choose a card from Keith's joker pack: if she picks a color Joker, she is guilty. They can just remove the color Joker at the beginning to ensure her success.
Luck takes a look at Keith's cards and realizes they are all color jokers. He and Berga nervously ask how Keith actually obtained such a deck, and wonder if Keith couldn't have possibly bought fifty-two packs of cards and removed the color Joker from all of them. Keith deigns no reply. Either Luck or Berga then suggests that they just have it so that if Edith chooses a color Joker, she's innocent.
Tick looks over from where he and Claire are talking (and fooling with the scissors) and asks if Edith has does something wrong. He observes that her hair is quite long, and asks if he can cut it. The three brothers decide that her punishment will be a haircut. Tick's hairstyle for Edith ends up even more fetching on her than the previous one. Afterwards, they ask her what information the information broker wanted. She replies that she needs to find out where Vino the assassin is. Claire looks up from his seat.
That night, Claire, the Gandors, and Edith show up at the Daily Days. As Claire drags the responsible information broker (Henry) away, Nicholas Wayne discusses the increasingly complicated situation with Keith, Edith, Luck, and Berga. They'll have Edith hide Roy at the Gandor Family office while the Daily Days settles affairs with the Runoratas within the week. First, the Daily Days will get a handle on the movements of Gustavo and his men, and once they do they'll contact the brothers at their homes or office.
The Gandors and Edith leave and return to the Coraggioso, where they are greeted by Tick (again the only one present). Tick informs Keith that Kate had stopped by just a few minutes ago, and that she'd returned home once she learned Keith had gone. Keith frowns, since he had made plans to finally go home that night and celebrate New Years with his wife - he still hasn't gone home after working through the end of 1931 and the beginning of 1932. Shaking his head, he hangs his coat and hat on the wall, resigned to working through the night.
On January 2, Keith and Berga wait in the basement as Luck receives a phone call from the Daily Days asking them if they have seen a fifteen-year-old girl stop by. They have not. Luck hangs up and informs Keith and Berga that the Daily Days will be attacked a day earlier than they thought. The brothers stow guns and knives in their pockets and pull on their coats; Luck calls a certain location and says, "The health check starts at two" before hanging up. He leaves Tick in charge of the guarding the Coraggioso, and leaves him instructions in case Claire comes back to the jazz bar in the interim. On their way up to the first floor, Luck wonders where Claire is in the first place.
The brothers arrive at the Daily Days building, and Keith and Berga hide behind curtains and a table and chairs in a big room on the third floor while Luck lies in wait elsewhere. Gustavo and his men storm the building, only to find that the employees have long since evacuated. Once they enter the big room, Luck enters from behind and shuts the door behind them, making his presence known. Gustavo and his men have no idea who Luck is, and Luck scoffs that they don't even recognize their own enemy.
Keith and Berga come out of hiding, and Gustavo finally realizes that they're the Gandor brothers. Luck asks Gustavo's ten or so subordinates and asks if they'd like to join the Gandors, only for them to chuckle in response. Luck reveals that he and his brothers have already talked with Gustavo's boss Bartolo, and know that Gustavo gone behind Bartolo's back plenty of times. Gustavo denies the claims, and Luck again addresses Gustavo's now unnerved underlings, saying that those who surrender or join the Gandors now will be treated favorably, whereas those who remain enemies will become Vino's next targets.
Gustavo shatters the skull of one of his obviously unsettled underlings, and threatens the rest before shooting Luck and obliterating his head. Luck's headless corpse crumples to the ground, and Gustavo points the gun's muzzle at Keith with smug satisfaction - only to have his world turn on its head when Luck's head reattaches itself to his body. Luck sits up, stretches, and again asks Gustavo's underlings if they would rather join the Gandors or die here.
Maria Barcelito - who has mixed in amongst the crowd unnoticed - dashes towards Luck and slashes at his arm. He jerks back in time, and she only manages to slice his wrist. While Maria whistles in admiration at the regeneration, a bearded man in glasses (Claire) barges through the door, dragging two people behind him that Keith does not recognize. Behind them follows a man in a long coat who introduces the dragged couple as Eve Genoard and Roy Maddock.
The situation escalates when Claire takes off his disguise and introduces himself as "Felix Walken," which he explains is his new name to a befuddled Luck. In the commotion, Claire informs Luck that he is pretty sure Eve and Roy are Kate's guests. Keith frowns at Kate's name as Luck leaves the room, Gustavo making his own escape from the opposite door. Maria and Claire start fighting, while Berga stops the long-coated assassin from shooting at Claire - even as he is shot in the process.
Once Claire wins against Maria, he asks Gustavo's underlings what they plan to do now. At his question, a few of the 'underlings' stand and tell Keith that they are taking their leave. Claire makes a rare, nonplussed noise at this, and asks Keith in confusion what's what as said few take their leave. Berga explains on Keith's behalf that half of Gustavo's so-called flunkies were actually undercover agents that the Gandors had arranged in their negotiation with Bartolo.
One of the assassins thought to be felled earlier – the old drunkard – attacks Claire, and during their fight Claire explodes with laughter when the assassin brings up 'pride', emphatically deriding any notions of pride and dignity amongst assassins. Claire halts his scornful tirade when Keith presses the muzzle of his handgun into the back of his head and says, "Don't mock the living." Claire sighs and says Keith is not the same as men like him and the drunkard, but Keith insists that they are all 'hoods'.
Claire turns around and apologizes to Keith, acknowledging him as someone "beset by honor and pride." There is no mockery in his tone. Without warning, Keith surges forward with killing intent and charges into the old drunkard before he can injure Claire. Kicking him to the ground, Keith relentlessly stomps down upon the assassin's chest. Claire laughs and urges him to take pity on the drunkard, and Keith answers, "....Enemies are enemies!" Claire smiles and figures that maybe Keith is the only Gandor who is still a proper mafioso.
Nearby, Berga asks Maria what she plans to do next. Maria looks over at Keith and asks him if Luck's membership invitation is still on the table.
In the aftermath of the incident, a truce is worked out between the Runorata Family and the Gandor Family. In a private conversation between Bartolo and one of his underlings, Bartolo muses upon Keith - with whom he had been negotiating earlier: "Keith Gandor, hm? What an impressive man."
On January 5, Keith hangs up the telephone after a lengthy conversation with his wife and pulls on his coat. It has been a week since was last home, and he is somewhat excited to finally go back home to his wife. One of his brothers asks him if Kate is still well, and Keith smiles a little, nods, and leaves.
1935[edit | edit source]
In February 1935, Keith, Berga, and a few other members of the Family are enjoying a game of poker underneath the Coraggioso when they hear an unusual noise coming from the outside above them. Tick and Maria leave the building to investigate, and upon their return they report that there are a lot of seaplanes flying unusually low over the city.
Keith draws another card, and his face clouds at the sight of another seven. Berga notes that this is unusual, given that most of the cards are jokers. Looking at the 7s on the table, Keith feels strangely uneasy and stands, exiting the room and heading upstairs to look outside himself. He is filled with the premonition that the Gandors are being drawn into something, and he resolves to destroy whatever that 'something' is.
The next day at the Coraggioso, Luck informs his brothers of the events he had witnessed at Firo's casino the day before (before the planes had swooped over the city), and that he suspects things will escalate from here on out. Furthermore, he thinks that immortals have something to do with the whole situation, considering how Firo and Maiza had reacted to Melvi Dormentaire at the casino.
Berga responds that even if their enemies are immortal, the Gandors will bash their heads in should said immortals come by picking a fight. He looks to Keith for approval, and Keith's eyes "sharpen like a blade." Though he neither agrees nor disagrees with Berga, the pressure coming off him is enough to cool Berga's temper. Berga backs down and agrees that he'll listen to the whole story first.
Luck reminds Berga that they have to be cautious with the Runoratas (who have invited the Gandors to their upcoming casino party at Ra's Lance), immortality or no immortality, and then warns them that Melvi's bodyguard is going to be a problem. Before he can say who the bodyguard is, one of their subordinates enters the room and informs them a Runorata messenger is here to see them, and that he has his bodyguard with him - the bodyguard, the subordinate says, is someone they know.
A minute later, Melvi enters the room with his bodyguard - Claire - in tow. Claire cheerfully greets his brothers and confirms that right now he is working for the Runoratas - so he might be their enemy depending on how things go. Keith remains silent (as if he had anticipated this), but Berga is predictably outraged. Claire and Berga end up brawling, and Luck and Keith lead Melvi into an adjacent meeting room while the two brothers duke it out.
In the meeting room, Luck asks Melvi what he's scheming, freely admitting that he has severe doubts as to Melvi's character based on how he acted at the casino. He assumes that Melvi is not actually here to represent Bartolo Runorata, and is here instead for his own personal interests. Melvi admits this to be true, and formally introduces himself as 'Melvi', forgoing his surname. He wants the Gandors to make an agreement with him alone: he wants the Gandors to arrange a truce with him. He is personally the enemy of Firo, but he has no ill will toward the Gandors.
Luck tells Melvi to go home, and when Melvi points out that this doesn't involve the Runorata Family, Luck counters that it automatically does given that Melvi is affiliated with the Runoratas at all. He disparages Melvi's lack of perspective, but Melvi counters that Luck is the one who is mistaken: petty Mafia customs like omertà and revenge are for humans. Once he has Luck distracted, he springs up, kicking off the table and the wall to maneuver himself behind Luck – and reaches his right hand out toward his head.
Keith – who had remained on guard – grabs Melvi's wrist a split second before his fingers touch Luck's forehead. Though he is not holding Melvi's wrist particularly tightly, the pressure he exudes is such that Melvi is deluded into thinking that Keith is crushing his wrist. Utterly silent, Keith reaches his own right hand out towards Melvi's head in an act of pure revenge, lightly turning to avoid Melvi's kicks.
The intent to kill that Keith exudes more pure than anything Melvi had ever seen, and he is certain that he will be devoured. Just then, a heavy marble ashtray sails through a closed window and towards Keith; he neatly catches the ashtray with his right hand. Through the window, Claire (who had briefly halted his fight with Berga) asks Keith to stop and leave it at that, reminding him that he is Melvi's bodyguard. Berga, alarmed, shouts abuse at Melvi for daring to do anything against Luck and Keith.
Claire sweeps Berga's legs out from under him when he tries to rush into the room, and suggests that Melvi apologize to Keith and Luck. With a smile on his face, he points out that Melvi must have done something wrong if Keith was making it that obvious he wanted to kill him. After several seconds, Melvi apologizes to the brothers and excuses his actions as "only a bit of fun" to test them.
It is clear to Keith and Luck that the apology is completely false, and that Melvi – who must be immortal – was sincerely trying to commit murder. Luck allows Melvi to save face by replying, "Don't worry about it. It was just good luck," and Melvi takes the hint and prepares to go. He bows politely to Luck and Keith, glares at Claire, and heads upstairs.
Claire apologizes to his foster brothers for them having to put up with Melvi, muttering that he will show Melvi 'hell' post-contract as he disappears upstairs in turn. The three brothers regroup once he is gone, and Luck concludes that the Gandors need to strengthen their forces. When Berga protests that they have him, Luck points out that Melvi might target more than one place simultaneously, and Berga alone would not enough to defend both places. It is not that their subordinates are slouches, but with Claire on the Runoratas side and more outsiders potentially plotting against them, the Gandors could be in severe trouble.
Luck contemplates who the Gandors' strongest players are; their best fighter among the capos is Nicola, but as he is still recovering from being "shot to hell" their next available best fighter is Maria.
In the ensuing days following the incident in the meeting room, Luck recruits several assassins and hitmen to work for the Gandors in anticipation of the Runorata's casino party at Ra's Lance. These assassins include: Maria; Ladd Russo and Graham Specter; Alkins; Raz Smith; and one other person. Keith and Berga are present when Luck finally summons Ladd, Graham, Maria, Alkins, and Smith (who has brought his apprentice Mark Wilmans with him) for a meeting around the billiard table at the Coraggioso.
Edith waits on the assassins' needs as they chat, and when Keith glances at Mark, Luck quietly explains that the Gandors know the boy from the Ice Pick Thompson incident back in August 1932. Via a sharp look Luck's way, Keith 'asks' him if he really intends to involve a teenager in the upcoming trials. Ladd cuts into the conversation by remarking that Mark is only one child, so it ought not to matter; in any event, everyone – children included – dies when it is their time.
Keith (who refuses to let his guard down around Ladd) shoots him a glare; Ladd quips that his uncle had nothing on Keith's "mean stare," but adds that he can tell from Mark's eyes that he is no ordinary child. In fact, he is sure that Mark will be a hundred times more useful than Smith could ever be. He and Smith proceed to quibble with one another until Mark smoothes things over.
Finally, the discussion is back on track. Ladd asks who Luck plans on having them kill, offering to head over to the Runorata mansion right now and bring back the Don's head should Luck desire it. Luck replies that depending on the situation, he might ask the assassins to do just that: kill Bartolo. Ladd whistles while the Gandor subordinates stiffen, but he clarifies that killing Bartolo is the absolute worst-case scenario and that he wants to avoid wasting the lives of his men. At any rate, if the Gandors were going to go up against the Runoratas they would have to do so with the intent of 'crushing' them. In order to do that, they would have to come up with a plan before they make any moves.
Luck admits that he has no idea who the Gandors' enemy will be. They might be pulled into trouble that affects multiple organizations, and they might eventually even witness the terrorist Huey Laforet or other mafias become their enemies. Ladd's smile warps a little at the name 'Huey Laforet', but the only ones who notice are Keith, Alkins, and Mark. Luck clearly explains why the Gandors have hired the assassins, and states that the job is very much a gamble.
The meeting continues for another thirty minutes or thereabouts, during which time Luck defines exactly what they want the assassins do and how they will be paid for their time. A Gandor subordinate descends the stairs and whispers something to Luck; Luck informs the group that their final member has just arrived. Keith, along with everyone else, looks towards the stairs as the person in question appears at their top.
When the first day of the party dawns, Keith, his brothers, and company show up at Ra's Lance and split off. Ladd and most of the other assassins scatter around the area near the hotel, while Maria and Tick accompany the Gandor brothers. The three brothers, Maria, and Tick mill about in the hotel lobby, as do members of other mafia organizations for a little while. When the Runoratas enter the room (headed by Melvi), all the mafia gangs take notice: the smaller ones fearfully move out of their way while the bigger ones stick to the side and size the Runoratas up. The Gandors are the only ones who refuse to budge.
Luck and Melvi coolly greet each other, and Claire cheerfully waves at the brothers from where he stands. Tick covers Maria's mouth before she can blurt out "Vino" while Melvi disparages the Gandors and all mafias, scornfully declaring that they'll all be swallowed up – the Gandors, the Martillos, and the rest. Berga steps menacingly towards Melvi, but Firo - who has just arrived with the Martillos – calls out that Melvi is not worth it. Firo and Melvi have a terse exchange, and Firo preemptively thwarts Melvi's devouring attempt by shaking Melvi's outstretched hand.
Keith and the others notice that Melvi freezes on the spot for a good minute or so following the handshake, and they smile as they descend into the building's basement.
1990s-2000s[edit | edit source]
By the late 1990s, the Gandor Family is still active. Charon Walken - one of Claire's great-grandchildren, is often left in Keith's care during this time, and Charon grows to greatly respect Keith and emulate his taciturn nature.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- If one were to divide and define the three brothers' lines of work, Keith would be the 'shield.'
- Keith never speaks in the anime. He also does not wear a wedding ring in the anime, despite the fact that he is married by 1930.
- He usually has a deck of playing cards in his possession - an unusual one that consists of 52 Jokers.
- The pack of jokers he uses in 1930 have Grim Reaper designs instead of the normal imagery. Neither the jokers nor the Grim Reaper designs are seen in the anime.
- According to Firo, Keith cannot beat Claire in arm-wrestling. This may imply that Keith and Claire have had an arm-wrestling match in the past.
- Keith smokes cigarettes. In the 2007 anime opening, he is seen smoking a cigar.
- In the fourth light novel, 1932 Drug & The Dominos, it is made clear that Keith and Kate met at some point after the first feature-length talkie The Jazz Singer was released in theaters. The talkie was released on October 6, 1927.