At some point (heavily implied between his first and second appearance in 1931 Another Junk Railroad) Shaft unwittingly drinks Sham's 'water' and becomes one of Sham's vessels.
Sham used to be loyal to Huey Laforet, but began to have his doubts after the events of Alice in Jails. He sells information about the mafia or immortals that he gleans from Shaft's misadventures with Graham to the Daily Days (claiming his actions are a form of freedom) and has stated that he works for Graham because he has a 'personal interest' in him.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Sham has short brown hair which is usually covered by a flat cap. The cap matches the color of his light coat and trousers, cornflower or periwinkle in hue (brown in the anime); under his jacket, he wears what may be a rosewood vest over a pink shirt, and a tie.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Prior to Shaft's "first encounter with the unconscious state" in January 1932, Shaft seemed to handle Graham with fear and tact. Though he could let himself be carried away by Graham's high spirits, he seems to have subscribed to a general tentative approach.
A few days after the fainting spell, however, finds Shaft a changed man: one with a spine. He carries himself with newfound nonchalance and is unafraid to challenge Graham or boldly question his logic and mental state. His personality change is significant enough that Graham notices and comments on it, which raises the possibility that Shaft imbibed Sham's consciousness at some point during those few days.
Chronology[edit | edit source]
1932[edit | edit source]
A little over a week into January, Shaft and other members of Graham Specter's gang gather in their base—an abandoned factory by the Hudson River—to listen to Graham lament the various tragedies that have happened since the month's start. The first tragedy is that Tudi—one of their own—was caught cheating at a Martillo Family-owned casino, had all his fingers broken courtesy of capo Firo Prochainezo, and is now recuperating in a hospital. The second tragedy is that Graham had been driving along in the latest Ford model when an ashtray—unbeknownst to Graham, tossed by Gustavo Bagetta—soared out of a hotel window and crashed into the vehicle. Third, Graham has heard Laz Smith had his face smashed in by one of the Gandor capos. Finally, worst yet, is the news that Ladd Russo suffered a serious injury and is currently in police custody.
Graham's misery turns into a scream, then morphs into good cheer. He demands that one of his underlings tell him an interesting, entertaining story; in response, Shaft tells him about a gang of delinquents seen coming and going from Millionaires' Row, supposedly staying at a Genoardmanor courtesy of the Genoard head: Eve Genoard, currently the inheritor since her older brother Dallas Genoard has disappeared and her father and eldest brother drowned. Shaft starts to suggest they bait this delinquent gang into a trap and then begin mooching off Eve Genoard in the gang's stead, but is cut off when Graham lodges his wrench in his stomach.
Graham objects that he only likes dismantling material objects, nothing so intangible as friendships or relationships. When Shaft proves unable to give him an answer, stunned, Graham slams his wrench down—into the concrete next to Shaft's head. The fear and shock briefly cause Shaft to lose his senses, though he recovers by the time Graham finds a Russo-issued wanted poster and is able to confirm for Graham that the delinquent pictured is Jacuzzi Splot, leader of the delinquents. After several minutes of dismantling a piece of machinery, Graham—between wrench-punches to Shaft's or another underling's stomach—declares a plan of action: to kidnap Eve as bait for Jacuzzi, demand Jacuzzi pay a ransom, and then capture him for bonus reward money on top of the ransom payout.
AT least several days pass, during which time it is implied or at minimum highly probably Shaft unwittingly drinks liquid containing Sham's consciousness and becomes one of the homunculus' unauthorized vessels. This would explain Shaft's newfound boldness and other shifts in his personality.
It is mid-January when the gang finally puts Graham's plan into action. Graham, with Shaft manning the wheel, stakes out Millionaires' Row until Shaft spots a young woman in an elegant dress existing the Genoard manor, followed by a few delinquents (Nick, Chaini, and Chaini's follower in the anime). Believing this woman to be Eve, Graham and Shaft park the automobile a little distance from the group; Graham knocks the delinquents to the ground, leaves them a ransom note, and departs with the woman—in actuality Chané Laforet—in his custody. During the stakeout, Graham comments on Shaft's change in personality.
Upon returning to the abandoned factory with Chané, Shaft and Graham pass the time by idly chatting with the other delinquents. At some point after sunset, Chané—having decided to leave—stands and draws a knife. Graham engages her in a wrench-versus-knife exchange, swiftly realizing she must not be Eve Genoard, but Jacuzzi Splot's arrival soon interrupts their clash. Having no money with which he can pay the ransom, Jacuzzi offers the bounty on his head in exchange for Chané's freedom.
Shaft jeers at Jacuzzi and earns himself a wrench to his gut via Graham, who has been emotionally moved by Jacuzzi's offer. Chané would rather fight than go free, though the explosive arrival of Jacuzzi's friends, including Nice Holystone, Nick, and Donny, shifts the situation yet again. The situation further shifts when, after Shaft derides Graham and Jacuzzi's friends declare independence, Claire Stanfield emerges from the crowd and does the following: propose marriage to Chané, and identify himself as the person who dropped Ladd from the Flying Pussyfoot. Graham immediately engages him in a several minutes-long battle before conceding impotence. Ignoring Shaft's objection, Graham invites Jacuzzi to use the factory at liberty and leaves with Shaft and his other followers in tow.
Eight months later, August finds New York City in the grips of serial killer "Ice Pick Thompson," so nicknamed by reporter Carl Dignis for his murder weapon of choice: an ice pick, used to kill a suspected four victims already.
Carl manages to reach Graham's gang by telephone with a request to interview them on behalf of his newspaper, the Daily Days. Shaft is the one who arranges a meeting time and place with Carl over the phone: the Jane Doe speakeasy, at night.
Shaft, Graham, and the others escape the night rain by arriving at Jane Doe in advance, with enough time for Graham to order milk, dislocate an offending barfly's limbs, and rant about sadness and human weakness before Carl arrives. After Shaft greets him, Carl informs the gang that the police suspect them of being Ice Pick Thompson. Not only is Graham associated with hitman Ladd Russo, the first three victims had tangential connections to the Gandor Family—the fourth being a Family member—and Graham's gang is known to have caused trouble on Gandor turf multiple times.
Carl explains he wanted to warn the gang because, as a Daily Days employee, he has every confidence that Graham is no murderer and that his followers would not have committed these killings. Moreover, Carl already suspects someone else to be the serial killer. With the warning delivered, he proceeds to interview the delinquents about their past and daily life, pay them for their time, and take his leave.
The next day, the morning edition of Carl's old newspaper prints an exclusive eyewitness account of Ice Pick Thompson murdering his fifth victim overnight. The eyewitness is the article's author: Lester. With a humid heat overtaking the city in the afternoon, Shaft and the gang gather in a shady back alley near Broadway in an attempt to avoid the heat. Shaft's push back against Graham's anti-sun rants leads to Graham pinning him against a wall and smashing his wrench next to his head, causing him to halfway faint.
Graham eventually dizzies himself spinning about and lies on the ground, ranting about Quezalcoatl while Shaft and the other delinquents discuss whether the latest Ice Pick Thompson victim could have been connected with the Gandors, and the usefulness of Carl's hunch. A delinquent asks Shaft if there was not supposed to be another reporter interviewing them (Lester), and Shaft replies ostensibly soon; he hopes that the bigger newspaper will pay them more than Carl did.
The delinquents continue their idle chatter until Mark Wilmens—aka Ice Pick Thompson—sprints down the alley, accidentally stomping on Graham's solar plexus in the process. He begs pardon before existing the alley posthaste. Graham lurches to his feet, newly energized in his ire, at which point a grinning young man at the alley entrance asks if they saw a youth run by.
Graham immediately faults the newcomer for the boy's rush, the boy trampling him, and even the heat. Unexpectedly, the man thanks Graham for showing him the error of his ways. After a back-and-forth which leads to the man suggesting Graham cool off by dousing himself in hard liquor, Graham does so with some medical alcohol from one of his hideouts and becomes intoxicated by the fumes. The man—Elmer C. Albatross—takes Graham to Fred's Clinic and thence accompanies Graham, Shaft, and the other delinquents to Jane Doe.
Shaft and the delinquents listen to Elmer and Graham chat until Laz Smith makes an entrance, recalling seeing him at Fred's place earlier that day. Smith joins Graham and Elmer's conversation while Shaft and company gossip nearby, wondering if Elmer could really be friends with a terrorist like Huey Laforet. Eventually, after finishing his drink, Smith departs to meet with his latest client.
Under an hour later, Shaft, Elmer, Graham, and the rest exit the speakeasy at eventide and notice the sky is again threatening rain. With Elmer wanting to resume his search for the boy immediately, Graham pledges his and his gang's assistance and has the delinquents split into search parties. Shaft and a few other delinquents remain with Elmer and Graham. As evening turns to night, and the rain from drizzle to downpour, Elmer explains he wants to know if the boy can ever be happy. Specifically, he wants to see whether it is possible for a serial killer who tried to kill himself can someday be happy.
The group continues their search until they encounter Carl lost in thought in an alleyway. Shaft stands back with an umbrella while Graham pokes Carl with his wrench, to which Carl reacts as if he has been stabbed. Graham offers him an apology amidst an animated dialogue on sadness and happiness with Elmer, and, when Carl jokingly asks if they are searching for Ice pick Thompson, replies in the affirmative. Though Graham has promised not to divulge Ice Pick Thompson, he explains they are looking for a youth named Mark who carries an ice pick.
After obtaining Mark's address from the Daily Days, Shaft, Graham, and Elmer head for Mark's apartment building. They reach Mark's doorstep at the same time Smith—having last seen Smith hours before—is opening Mark's door to leave. Shaft begins to explain they are looking for Mark, only for Smith to declare he has just killed Mark Wilmens and is now heading to see his client.
Shaft and the others accompany Smith through the rainy New York streets, with Graham peppering Smith with questions along the way. Graham does not share Shaft's concerns at being caught up in a murder, reminding him of the days they spent with Ladd, and gives him a pat on his shoulder before striding forward. Elmer pats Shaft's other shoulder and suggests he respond to his troubles with a smile; Shaft begrudgingly admires Elmer's optimism.
When Smith stops at a condemned building near Grand Central Station, he says that he will have nothing to do with whatever befalls the others should they follow. He insists that he killed Mark when Elmer asks about the alleged murder, even boasts about it, but Elmer whispers something in Smith's ear that neither Shaft nor Graham can hear due to the downpour. Once Smith enters the building, Graham wonders what to do and how he can 'redeem' himself after troubling Smith and Ladd. Meanwhile, Shaft asks Elmer what he whispered to Smith; before Elmer can answer, gunshots ring out from the building's interior.
Graham charges into the building by himself. Shaft asks Elmer to help corral his friends; however, when Elmer spots Mark walking desolately through the rain, Shaft encourages Elmer to go after the boy and leave the building situation to him. Shaft manages to round up about twenty delinquents from the streets and, after contacting those currently at Millionaires' Row, he leads the twenty delinquents back to the building—wherein Graham and Smith have been contending with Maria Barcelito, about a dozen Gandor capos, and their leader Nicola Casetti. Nearly collapsing at the entrance, he calls out to Graham and, with a grin, announces that reinforcements have arrived.
Shaft scrambles out of the way when Nicola resumes approaching the entrance, with the capos and a protesting Maria following.
The next late afternoon or early evening finds Shaft, Graham, and the rest of the gang once more lounging at Jane Doe, where Carl speaks with them before leaving for Coraggioso. It is still evening when Carl returns to the speakeasy, with Shaft and the others still there, only this time Smith and his new apprentice—Mark Wilmens—have claimed seats in a corner. While Shaft and Graham discuss this apprentice turn of events, Carl approaches Mark to speak with him.
1934[edit | edit source]
To be added.
1935[edit | edit source]
To be added.