The name seeps into the South Side slowly, spreading like Gold Coasters tip. First it’s some upstart punk, only mentioned for the way he always manages to time throwing his punches to make a bar fight almost like television. Then it’s his brother, and his brother, and his brother, getting too big for their britches and into too much trouble for a poor family of fools and gamblers that barely manages to own a bar. It’s good for a laugh and Frank claims to be related the way he claims to be related to everyone with a vaguely Irish name, and so when people travel back East they keep an ear out, collect the stories and bring them back to the Alibi to trade for drink and blow and the hookers upstairs.
And then the rumors start trickling in that Tommy’s facing down the Italians, that people are starting to look to him, that trouble’s brewing. And suddenly, slowly, even Frank starts wising up that it’s not so smart to claim kinship—or maybe it’s genius, but it’s nothing inbetween, and those are odds even a Gallagher will only take half the time or if they’re sure they can game the dice. Donnelly, the streets whisper, viciously curious; Donnelly, Frank shouts, sunning in the spotlight; Donnelly, muses Fiona, desperate for cash.
Gallagher, says Joey Ice Cream, but it’s too late, too far, no good. They never could get more than a block out of the neighborhood.