Parallel Lives

Chicago, January 17th, 1924

It was cold and icy in Chicago that day, which was my 25th birthday. I had the day off from my bookkeeper job. My mother, Teresa, made me a small cake. I blew out the candles and my mother and I had cake and ice cream. It was just my mother and I, my father died four years ago.

I started reading one of my crime stories.

“ Dave Tanner, are you reading those crime stories again?”

“ Yes mother, I love crime stories.”

In one of the stories, I came across the fact that today was also Al Capone’s birthday and he was 25 also.

The whole city of Chicago knew there was an up and coming new gangster in town, named Al Capone. Prohibition had brought a lot of crime to “ The Windy City”.

Well, my birthday came and went and I didn’t give the Capone coincidence another thought.

Until one day: I was in Cicero, a suburb of Chicago, at a bookshop that specialized in used crime books. All of a sudden I had the urge to go out on the pavement and look across the street at a tavern. I heard gun shots coming from the bar. Out walked a chunky fellow wearing a dark suit and a white fedora. He jumped in a black car and off it sped.

I knew Cicero had become a Capone stronghold. I must have just seen Al Capone.

The next day I read in the newspaper, “ Joe Howard, a small time gangster, shot dead in Cicero bar, Al Capone suspected. This substantiated what I had seen the day before. I had goose bumps when I saw the picture of the body laying in a pool of blood. Why was I drawn out to witness this incident?

That same day, after work,  I bought a magazine that had a story about Capone. When I paid at the counter I automatically put a dollar in the Tuberculosis Charity can. I had never done that before.

I now seemed to have a compulsion to find out as much about Capone as I could and compare it with my facts.

This is how it panned out:

Al Capone                                            Dave Tanner

Birth—Jan. 17, 1899                                          Jan. 17, 1899

Nat.—Italian American                                      Italian American

Occupation—Bookkeeper                                 Bookkeeper

Father—Gabriele                                                  Gabriel

Mother—Teresina                                                 Teresa

Capone’s father came to the US in 1894 at 30 years of age, from a small village near Naples. Ditto for my father. Capone’s wife is Irish American, my girlfriend is Irish American. My father changed his name from Tanneoli to Tanner to be more American.

I went to bed that night with my head buzzing. Maybe it was all a bizarre coincidence. We’ll see what happens. I slowly dropped off into a restless sleep.

The next day after work, I headed for a florist to get some flowers for my mother, she loved fresh flowers in the house.

As I approached the shop, I saw four men inside appearing to be in an argument. Then one of the men grabbed the other man’s arm and dragged him down to the floor. I heard gun shots ring out. Three men ran out and jumped in a car and vanished in the distance. I turned around and walked away fast.

I was a nervous wreck when I got home.

The next day I rushed out to buy a newspaper and read that Dion O’ Banion was gunned down in his florist shop. The shooters weren’t found. Capone suspected to be behind the plot because he then took over O’Banion’s bootlegging territory.

I dropped the paper to the floor and thought, why am I being drawn to these incidents? Is it because I share so many similarities with Capone.

I passed a homeless man selling pencils and dropped a dollar in his can. I’ve never done that before.

What’s happening to me? What does the future hold?




I was so upset over the two Capone incidents, that I had to tell my mother. I told her about all the similarities and the incidents.

“ You must be cursed,” cried my mother.

“ How can I break the curse?”

“ Do good deeds to counteract the spell. You have to do good in the face of evil,” said my mother, wide eyed.

“ Well, mother, I have given to charity after the two incidents.”

“ Good, continue doing good deeds.”

“ How come the curse just started now, on my 25th birthday?”

“ Because that’s when you became aware of the Capone similarities. Don’t question the mysteries of the mind, my son.”

Time went by and I almost forgot about the Capone curse.

Then came October 11th, 1926

I was walking by Holy Name Cathedral, on the 700 block of North State Street, about 20 yards ahead of me were five men. For some strange reason, I looked across the street at the windows of a rooming house.  On the second floor, I noticed two men with Tommy guns. The next moment I heard machine gun shots. I dropped to the ground. The men in front of me all lay bleeding by the church. I got up and ran away.

I later found out, Hymie Weiss, leader of the North Side Gang was killed along with two of his henchmen. The bullets that killed them were lodged in the cornerstone of the church.

This was getting dangerous now, I was only 20 yards away from a spray of bullets. Every time I passed the cathedral, I noticed the bullet holes in the stone. I proceeded to give a pint of blood to the local blood bank.

Two years passed and no Capone incident happened to me. But my mother died of TB, even though I had given quite a bit of money for research. I married my Irish girlfriend.

February 14th, 1929

It was noted in the newspaper that Capone was in Miami, Florida, basking in the warm sunshine. Capone was in constant telephone contact with his henchmen in Chicago.

It was a cold day in Chicago. I was walking on Clark Street after my run in Lincoln Park, when I saw a long black Cadillac pull up in front of the SMC Cartage Co. at 2122 N. Clark. Four men got out and went inside. Two of the men had police uniforms, the others in civilian clothes. Then I heard muffled machine gun spray. I high tailed it out of there fast.

The papers said six members of the Bugs Moran Gang were killed and one seriously injured. They called it, “ The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”. Everyone knew Capone had set it up from Miami.

I went out and bought a bag of groceries and donated it to the local shelter. I was wondering when this curse of Capone was going to be lifted. The good deeds weren’t doing the trick. There had to be another way.

Then in the summer of 1930, I entered the lobby of the Lexington Hotel on the south side of Chicago. It was hot that day and I needed an alcoholic drink. I proceeded through some heavy oak doors into the speakeasy. I sat down at the bar next to a chubby man and ordered a shot of whiskey. The whiskey loosened my tongue and I started shooting the breeze with the man. I told him about my similarities to Capone. He seemed sympathetic to my plight. He then said if I ever needed a job to see him, Mr. Phillips at the Lexington. The pay he offered was astronomical.

We shook hands, he got up and turned around, that’s when I saw the scar on his left cheek. Two men came out of the shadows to escort him out.

I walked out of the hotel into the bright sunshine. I couldn’t believe it, had I just been talking to Al Capone? I remember the papers said Capone’s new Chicago headquarters was the Lexington Hotel.

A week later: A tall, well-built man, wearing a black pinstriped suit, two-toned shoes and a white fedora, walked through the front door of the Lexington. He carried a sidearm, a pearl-handled revolver, under his jacket, in a shoulder holster that hung four inches below the armpit, for a fast draw.

That man was Dave Tanner!

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