A Very Dangerous Person Transcript

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I believe, and some other folks believe too, that crisis greatly contributes to the development of identity. The theory sort of goes like this: When you're a little kid you get into a jam where you either think A) that I'm going to be killed. B) that people are going to leave me and I'll be all alone in this world. Or C) I'm gonna go crazy.

On December 25, 1960 my Uncle Mike, who was a Chicago vice cop on the south side of Chicago, contributed to the development of my identity. I'm Italian, I'm from the South Side of Chicago and back in the late ’50s and ’60s, if you were Italian on the south side Chicago and it was a holiday, you had about 45 people in your dining room around an 8 person dining room table, smoking cigarettes and drinking wine, and you had about 400 plates of food on the table. The kids got done eating in about 3 and a half minutes, and the adults took seven to eight hours to complete their meal.

So, me and my cousin Rico get done in about seven or eight minutes and we figure out we've got to figure out what to do next. So, we start jumping off the couch. Not the couch, but the top of the back of the couch. And we're jumping. My uncle Mike says, "Knock it off, Paulie."

So, I don't knock it off. I jump again. “Knock it off!” I jump again. He says, "Knock it off!!!"

I jump again and I clip a bottle of wine. He jumps up in a flash, get his cuffs out, handcuffs me to the radiator. Now this room is loaded with smoke, and I'm a little kid, and I'm sweating, and I say, "Uncle Mike, let me outta here."

He looks at me and keeps eating. I say, "Uncle Mike, come on, let me outta here.” He keeps eating. I look at him and I say, “Let me outta here or I'm gonna kill you!" He gets up, un-cuffs me. I jump up, grab a bottle of wine, hit him in the head

and go for his gun. He throws me off his back and at that moment in time I became what many people would say a dangerous person. For the next 12 years I did things that probably weren't too good.

Flash forward to January 8, 1973. I'm standing on the Dan Ryan Expressway with my thumb out underneath the magic kiss sign, hitchhiking to go back to Galesburg to finish my last semester of college. Truck rolls by, it's freezing cold, splashes slush all over me. Next truck goes by, splashes more slush. A car goes by, a guy gives me the finger. And finally a guy in an Olds 88 stops. He reaches over, unbuttons the button. I hop in, he hands his hand out to me. He says, "Johnny."

I said, "Paul." I look in the back seat of his car. He's got a toolbox, and a pick and a shovel. 

And it stinks in the car. And on the seat it’s got a red rag. And so I'm looking at him as he's driving me, and I'm looking at him. He's got a crew cut and, like, a little Adolf Hitler mustache. And I'm looking at him and I say, “You look like somebody I know.”

He says, “I ain't anybody you know.” And I said, "You look like my brother-in-law's father, Wally." He says, "I ain't Wally." So we're driving along. He says, "I do construction." I say, "Oh, okay, I'm on my way back to college. The economy sucks. I don't know what I'm gonna do." He says, “Come to work in my company. A construction company.”

I look in the back seat again. I see a clown nose and a red wig on the floor. We're driving along and there's silence in the car. The snow's coming down. And he's looking at me. And I'm looking at him.

He says, "Galesburg, huh?" I said, "Yeah." He says, "I'm only going to Joliet." Said, “That's fine.” A couple minutes later he says, "If you let me play with your dick I'll drive you to Galesburg." I said, "I don't go that way."

He said, "Come on." I said, “No." Dead silence. I'm sweating. I'm thinking my uncle Mike. I'm thinking of being chained to the radiator. He looks at me. He said, "Let me play with your dick.” And at that moment he moves towards the red rag. And I split my hand down. And a pistol goes onto the driver's side floorboard. And I am scared shitless. I look at him and I said, "You have picked up a very dangerous person. I will grab the [fucking] steering wheel of this car and I will kill both of us. Let me out."

He goes, "Oh, okay, okay, okay."

I said "No, no, no, no, not here in the middle of nowhere. You drive to the intersection of I-55 and 80 and you let me out there."

He drives. I get out of the car backwards and I'm watching him.

Flash forward to December 22, 1978. I'm at my sister's house on a Friday night. She's making pot roast. I can still smell it. John Drury comes on the news and he says, "A grisly discovery has been made in Norwood Park."

My sister comes in from the kitchen, says, "Look it!" to her husband. "That looks like your father, Wally."

I get the chill down my spine. 

Flash forward to May 10, 1994. John Wayne Gacy was executed for killing 33 young men. Because of my Uncle Mike and my crisis with my identity, I was fortunate not to be number 34.