|“||Tick... You can take the rest of the day off. This bastard here's gonna have to deal with me. [...] I might not be a torture specialist like you, but if he's not going to die no matter what I do to him... I might as well have a ball. Let off some stress.||”|
Nicola "Nico" Casetti (ニコラ・「ニコ」・カセッティ Nikora "Niko" Kasetti) is a capo of the Gandor Family who is renowned for his unmatched fighting skills. He runs a betting parlor under Gandor influence.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Nicola is a short-haired brunet, and sports a beard. A scar is etched across his nose and left cheek. His appearance was revealed with his illustrated debut in the 2015 BACCANO! Manga.
Personality[edit | edit source]
When working, Nicola talks and acts with professional sobriety and is upfront with his personal transgressions, admitting to his own superiors when his personal feelings and temper have gotten the better of him. When his personal feelings get the better of him, this usually means he ends up dealing with them by inflicting physical violence on the wrongdoer who is to blame.
Nicola has shown nothing but stalwart loyalty to the Gandor brothers, and cold rejection of traitors to the Family. He does have a softer, friendlier side to him: he is seen smiling and laughing with the brothers in Chapter 010 of the manga, and he and Lisha Darken were mutually romantically interested in each other prior to her death. The first time he and Graham Specter fought, he elected to let Graham go on the grounds that Graham 'was a kid' rather than kill him. One might also say that there is a certain wryness to Nicola's sense of humor.
It is likely that Nicola shares the same unfavorable view towards drugs that the Gandors have.
Chronology[edit | edit source]
Pre-1930[edit | edit source]
Nicola is already a member of the Gandor Family when the Gandor Don passes away, and he is involved in discussions on the family's future in the days following the don's death. Many are concerned that the Family is finished; one of them is already preparing to sell the territory to another mafia outfit. Nicola in particular believes that the should not 'drag' the don's sons into the business, but his and the others' conversation is interrupted when Berga Gandor and Luck Gandor enter the room. A bloody Keith Gandor shortly follows, dragging two corpses behind him, and Luck declares that he and his brothers will take over the outfit.
In 1927, the Gandors find Keith's bloody jacket and a smashed lollipop in an alleyway on the first day of the San Gennaro festival. As it would be dangerous if word of the eldest's kidnapping were to leak, Berga and Luck attempt to mount a search with as few people as possible. Nicola is one of the select few who are privy to the situation, and he contacts the gambling den and the bookies to see if Keith has stopped by. Keith has not. In light of this news, Luck orders Nicola to continue investigating other places without letting his subordinates notice.
At some point in the years prior to 1932, Nicola easily defeats Graham Specter in a physical fight. However, rather than sending him to the bottom of the Hudson, he decides to treat Graham as a child and spares his life. Graham has since sought him out multiple times for rematches, despite Nicola almost always emerging the victor. As of August 1932, Nicola has six wins to one loss against Graham.
1930[edit | edit source]
In November, Nicola is one of many Gandors loitering in the basement in anticipation of the three Gandor brothers' upcoming confrontation with Jorgi, the family's master of finances. When Jorgi eventually enters the room, the Gandors invite him to join their poker game—a game which, with Nicola and the others closely watching, switches to Russian Roulette. The Gandor brothers accuse Jorgi of embezzlement; Jorgi turns the gun on them, but realizes the bullets are blanks when he shoots. He is stuffed into a gunnysack and carried upstairs by a few Gandors, with the implication that they drive him to the sea and drown him.
1931-1932[edit | edit source]
In December 1931, several tommy-toting Runorata mafiosi attack Nicola's betting parlor. Though Nicola suffers a serious gunshot wound during the fight, he and men successfully hold their own and capture one of the Runoratas alive. They escort this captive to Coraggioso, where Nicola stoically reports on what happened and apologizes for failing to keep more Runoratas alive and blames himself for the outcome.
Keith asks for a damage assessment. With a grin, Nicola assures him that all the customers escaped unscathed and that his men had already secured the Gandors' profit from the latest race. He bows respectfully when Keith thanks him for his report, after which someone finally manages to make him sit for first aid treatment. As his colleague tries to stop his bleeding, more Gandors run over to report that the Runoratas have attacked three more establishments under Gandor influence.
Luck identifies the captured Runorata as someone involved in an earlier murder attempt made on his life. He calls for Tick Jefferson to 'take care' of their prisoner; when Tick warns him his scissors have not been cleaned, Luck asks Nicola if he knows who shot him. Nicola indicates the captive while he bandages his wound, and admits that he was a tad harsh on the captive's colleagues as a consequence. He apologizes for letting his personal feelings get in the way of his work.
By the summer of 1932, Nicola has recovered and resumed his duties. He has also begun courting Lisha Darken by this time, a prostitute whose drug addiction eventually leads him to give her an ultimatum: no matter his feelings for her, he will never see her again if she continues taking drugs. Lisha tries her best to go clean, but becomes the reported fifth victim of serial killer Ice Pick Thompson in August. Nicola, upon learning of her murder, is full of anger toward the culprit and sorrow over her death.
Later that month, Nicola and Lester—a newspaper reporter who often gives the Gandors reliable information—meet at Coraggioso to discuss Ice Pick Thompson, whose police investigation the Gandors have been keeping an eye on. Nicola comments that the stab wound entries of the "fifth victim" (Lisha) are inconsistent with those of the other victims, which may indicate that Lisha's murderer was someone else.
Lester is unsurprised, confiding that he already realized Ice Pick Thompson must be more than one person. He claims that the main culprit is Laz Smith, an assassin-for-hire who has been recruiting street delinquents to murder people connected to the Gandors. Nicola asks him what grudge Smith might have against the Gandors, but Lester has no answer.
Maria Barcelito recalls how an assassin of the same name was punched by Berga and sent to a hospital. At this, Nicola stands and assures an anxious subordinate that he does not plan on making trouble while his bosses are out; for now, he simply intends to find and talk with Smith. Before he leaves, he encourages Tick to leave his scissors unclean; he is in the mood for a little screaming.
With Maria tagging along, Nicola and several Gandors head for the old factory Graham's gang regularly inhabits. Upon finding the factory empty, he telephones Coraggioso and asks a subordinate to consult Lester over the gang's possible whereabouts; after a little while, the subordinate directs him to a certain condemned building near Grand Central Station.
The condemned building is also empty when they arrive, and they retreat into its recesses to await Smith's return. Maria erupts out of hiding once he does, and the two clash until Nicola signals for his men to take aim at Smith—who had failed to realize they were there all along. When Maria complains, Nicola sternly reminds her that he cannot allow a Family member to be injured while their bosses are absent.
Again affecting stoicism, he identifies Smith by name and introduces himself as a member of the Gandor Family. He asks if Smith can even comprehend his dire situation; Smith counters that he cannot comprehend why the Gandor bosses seem frightened of a single assassin. Assuming Smith is feigning ignorance, Nicola directly accuses him of being Ice Pick Thompson. Smith is struck speechless, and Nicola, taking his silence as proof of guilt, orders his men to take him away. He dismisses Smith's belated protests as he turns away—and comes face-to-face with Graham, who demands to know what the Gandors are trying to do with 'Boss Smith'.
Smith calls Graham an idiot for coming, but Graham is undeterred and again demands an explanation. Nicola grumbles that Graham always causes the Gandors trouble whenever they reunite and asks why he has come. When Graham's answer proves less than helpful, he switches tactics and asks how he knows Smith.
Maria recalls how Lester implicated Graham as either the serial killer or an accomplice, but Nicola rejects the idea of Graham being a murderer outright. He then concludes that Graham was honestly unaware of Smith being Ice Pick Thompson, only for Graham to laugh at the very thought; Smith, he declares, is an assassin who has never actually killed anyone.
Smith doubles down on his claim of being Ice Pick Thompson, alleging that he has definitely killed four men so far but has yet to kill the fifth. He proceeds to give a long, detailed account of his motivations behind each murder, ending with 'his' desire to kill Paula Wilmens' murderer. Nicola recalls Carl Dignis' theory that the victims may have approached the Gandors with ulterior motives, but even so, Smith has still killed Gandor men. He says that it will be up to Tick to determine if Smith is telling the truth. Privately, he is already considering that Smith may be lying.
Graham is not willing to let the Gandors take Smith without a fight, and reminds Nicola that he keeps company with a "homicidal lunatic" when Nicola asks if he really intends to help Ice Pick Thompson. The Gandors move to take aim, but Nicola orders them to stand down: the gunshots from Smith and Maria's fight will have already caught the attention of nearby police, and the last thing he wants is for more gunshots to draw them closer.
Maria eagerly asks if it is her turn to have fun, but Nicola indicates that he intends to handle the matter himself. As Graham yanks his wrench out of the wall, he cheerfully informs Smith of his one loss to Nicola's six victories—though he quips that Nicola is no good at fighting off tommy guns, as the Runoratas nearly killed him 'last time'. Smith muses that Nicola must be some form of monster if he could survive machine gun fire.
While Maria prepares to ignore Nicola and draw her katanas anyway, Graham asks Smith about Elmer C. Albatross. As tensions rise, Nicola realizes that something has 'changed' outside and orders his subordinates to retreat. However, he relaxes once he spots Shaft panting in the doorway, about twenty delinquents gathered on the street behind him. Shaft reports to Graham that their friends from Millionaires' Row ought to be here any minute, and Graham wonders if Shaft means to wage war with all of humanity.
Maria is still raring to fight, but Nicola refuses to have her way: he argues that fighting a mob of such size would mean all out war, and his bosses have not given him permission to do such a thing or otherwise endanger his subordinates. Upon reaching the entrance, he turns to Smith and asks, "Lemme ask you one last thing. Even if you're lying about being Ice Pick Thompson...you're not the one who killed Lisha... am I right?" Smith swears that this much is true, and that her true murderer is his fifth and last target: Lester.
Nicola and company return to Coraggioso and descend into its basement, where they find their colleagues encircling a smiling blond man (Elmer) and a boy holding a bloody ice pick. Nicola sighs at the sight of Lester groaning in agony on the floor, asks the boy if he is Mark Wilmens, and explains that Lisha never stopped talking about a boy who looked after her instead of the other way around.
Mark haltingly says that 'Mark Wilmens' was recently killed by an assassin, and prepares to confess he is Ice Pick Thompson—but Nicola cuts him off and declares he was just now talking to Ice Pick Thompson in the flesh. As he shoulders his way into the eye of the storm, one of his subordinates fills him in on the situation and how Lester is now immortal.
Nicola looks down at Lester's stricken, wound-riddled boy, and crushes Lester's left hand with his right foot. Lester screams, and as his fingers rapidly regain their original shape, Nicola informs Tick he may take the rest of the day off; Nicola will handle Lester in his stead. Elmer crouches down by Lester's side to whisper in his ear, and it is unknown whether Nicola hears the offer he makes. Since Lester refuses Elmer's offer, he remains in the Gandors' possession.
February 1935[edit | edit source]
In anticipation of the Runoratas' upcoming party at Ra's Lance, Luck prepares to strengthen the Gandors' forces. He muses that Nicola is their best combatant among the executives, but they cannot push him too hard as he is still "recovering from getting shot to hell the year before last."
It is unclear as to what incident Luck has in mind. Nicola's only known brush with death is his encounter with the Runoratas in December 1931, but he was already back on his feet in August 1932—though that does not necessarily mean he was in his best condition. No other possible conflicts are known at present.