1922: Getting Shot, Changed Everything

Camden Griggs, guest writer

The year was 1922; Prohibition was in full swing. Speakeasies, flappers, and smooth jazz scattered the streets of New York City. I was the butler of a wealthy younger gentleman by the name of Thomas Dior, a local bootlegger connected to Al Capone himself. Thomas Dior’s extravagant mansion was located in Yonkers, a thriving suburb just north of downtown Manhattan. I remember the year so well because of the change that occurred in Mr. Dior’s heart.

            We had just hosted one of the largest New Year’s parties this city had ever seen when I noticed there was something different about Mr. Dior. He had always been full of confidence and sophistication, but now, he had created a façade for himself. Around guests, he would pretend to be satisfied with his life, but after all the guests would leave, he would disappear to his room for the remainder of the evening. With Valentines Day approaching, Mr. Dior requested that we prepare the house for another flamboyant party. I could tell this party, was meant to lure the city’s finest women into his magnificent ballroom.


            As I gazed out the front window, I saw the first guest enter the tree covered driveway.

            “How do I look George? Is the suit too flashy?”

            Startled by the break in silence, I turned around and made my assessment.

            “Why, Mr. Dior, you look more dapper than ever.”

            The unsure look on his face faded away as his confidence showed once again. The two of us walked down the center stair case, and that’s when he spotted her, standing under the chandelier — the most beautiful girl in the whole city. For the remainder of the night, he occasionally glanced at her from a distance. After watching this for hours, I took matters into my own hands. She wandered out to the front porch — I followed behind. Mr. Dior, noticing my maneuver, rushed after me.

            “On behalf of Mr. Dior, I’d like to welcome you to his extravagant home — I’m George — the master butler.”

            Just as I finished introducing myself, Mr. Dior appeared from the crowded ballroom, eyes fixed on the golden girl.

            “Good Evening — Miss. I hope you’re enjoying the party,” Mr. Dior exclaimed.

            “Ah! You must be the famous, Mr. Dior. What a lovely home you have. It’s so magnificent.”

            As the two continued to talk, I slipped away and left the two alone. After all the guests had left, he finally came in, grinning ear to ear, ready for bed.

            Ever since that party, Mr. Dior called her almost daily. He often spent the evenings on the couch — ear glued to the telephone for hours.


            Come late April, Mr. Dior and I took a trip to Chicago to pay a visit to some of Mr. Dior’s fellow bootlegging colleagues. Many meetings were discussions about smuggling alcohol across America, I often wasn’t allowed into rooms with Mr. Dior. Although most of Thomas Dior’s life was well-known to me, his business with the Chicago Outfit always remained a mystery. Upon arriving back home, the two lovers decided to meet for dinner. As the two enjoyed each others company, in the other room, the telephone rang. I answered the telephone and on the other end, a man asked to speak with Mr. Dior.

            “Is Thomas Dior there? I need to have a word with him this instant!”

            “I’m sorry, sir, but Mr. Dior is currently unable to come to the telephone.”

            “Just give the phone to Thomas will ya! I got a bone to pick with that imbecile!”

             Not wanting to interrupt Mr. Dior’s romantic dinner, I hesitated to enter. Finally, I gathered enough courage and entered the dining hall — disrupting the couple’s conversation. Irritated, Mr. Dior followed me back to and spoke with the man on the other end. I watched as his face turned from disgusted to fearful. He slammed the phone down and peered out the window for a brief moment, then, he hurried back to the dinning room.


            As the seasons changed from winter to spring, baseball season was back again and full of zing. The new and upcoming sport proved to be a good investment, and Mr. Dior chose to purchase stocks in the New York Yankees — his favorite baseball team. Mr. Dior proving to be a strong investor in the team, was invited to the ground breaking ceremony for the new Yankee Stadium located in Bronx.

            To showcase his new automobile, Mr. Dior decided to drive his 1922 Rolls Royce Ghost. The polished car was rarely seen and was only brought out for special occasions. The two of us hopped in and picked up Evalyn at her small townhouse in Williamsbridge. We arrived at the ceremony to see a large crowd gathered around a small stage. The ceremony lasted just a short time and refreshments were offered. Due to Mr. Dior’s other engagements, we left early.


            For many weeks, the mansion grew quiet. Evalyn would occasionally drop by just to enjoy the afternoon out by the pool. As I watched boredom creep up on the couple, I thought they may want to enjoy a baseball game.

            “Why don’t we go watch Babe Ruth hit a home run?” I proposed, breaking the dead silence in the room.

            “What a great idea George! See what you can do about getting us tickets to a game,” Thomas exclaimed.


            Later that week, we found ourselves in a box, watching the Yankees play the Red Sox on a warm summer’s night. What a wonderful view of Death Valley we had from our box high on the third level of stands. Passionate Yankees’ fans called Centerfield Death Valley “because of its distance from homeplate” (Ball). As we sat peering down at the stadium, I heard the door to our box open behind us.

            As I turned around to see who might be visiting, a gun was fired — hitting Mr. Dior’s left shoulder. As he fell to the floor, the gunman vanished — slamming the door! Quickly, I grabbed Evalyn’s scarf and wrapped it around Mr. Dior’s wound. Down beneath, chaos erupted as people ran for the exits. Soon, Mr. Dior was shoved into an ambulance and was transported to Bellevue Hospital. As the ambulance raced away, I went back for Evalyn who had fainted in the box. The two of us then made our way to the hospital in hopes that our dear Mr. Dior would live.

            As we entered the hospital, we were directed to the room where Thomas was to recover after the emergency surgery. After waiting for hours, Mr. Dior was wheeled in, white as paint — but still alive. The surgeon explained Mr. Dior’s condition, then handed me a small bag. Inside, was the very bullet that had gone into Thomas’ shoulder.

            As we waited in the hospital room, the telephone rang. I picked up the telephone to hear Lucy, one of Mr. Dior’s maids, crying and struggling to breathe.

            “Mr. Dior! You must come home this instant — they destroyed everything!”

            “Lucy, it’s George, you must slow down — tell me what happened. Are you alright dear?”

            “I’m alright but everyone else is dead I presume!” she wailed. “Not more than thirty minutes after you all left the house, twenty armed men kicked down the door and started shooting up the foyer. I heard them walk up the stairs shouting Mr. Dior’s name! I ran for the wine cellar and hid until they left. When I finally came out, everything was destroyed and Mr. Dior’s possessions taken.”

            I hung up the telephone and instructed Evalyn to wait with Mr. Dior until he woke up. Quickly, I hopped in the Rolls Royce and raced back to the house to assess the damage.

            As I drove up the driveway, a cloud of smoke was seen above the garage. Lucy came running out of the house to greet me in the front lawn. Sure enough, Mr. Dior’s beautiful mansion had been ransacked and destroyed.

            As the firemen put out the fire in the garage, it all made sense to me. The meetings in Chicago that we left early, the phone call during Mr. Dior’s dinner, the many times Mr. Dior chose to stay home instead of going into town — it all pertained to Mr. Dior’s affiliation with Al Capone’s bootlegging dynasty. At the moment, I didn’t know why the Italian mafia had attacked Thomas, but soon I would learn.


            Dior did eventually healed, and Evalyn allowed him to stay with her until he could get back on his feet. Since Mr. Dior could no longer afford my services, I chose to retire at 65 years old. Although I was not with Thomas Dior daily, I still kept in touch with him because after all, he was like a son to me. As the summer came to an end, I had an encounter with Mr. Dior at my church of all places. Mr. Dior had dug quite a hole for himself and finally he was ready to admitt his whole scheme to me.

            It all began with Mr. Dior stealing alcohol from the Chicago Outfit and selling it off to speakeasies in New York. Mr. Dior’s actual task was to transport the illegal substances to Al Capone’s customers in Boston. Instead, Mr. Dior had taken the shipments and had sold them off in order to become rich. His scheme had worked flawlessly until the trip to Chicago where they caught him. The call that had interrupted the dinner, was Al Capone himself, calling to inform Thomas that his time had come and he should prepare to die. Sure enough, the hitman had found Mr. Dior and shot him—intending to kill him.


            As Thanksgiving neared, Thomas and Evalyn attended church regularly; Thomas even became a deacon. One Sabbath, he approached me and enthusiastically shared a verse he had read: “‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more”’(New International Version, Heb. 8:12). “Isn’t that amazing how God is so merciful? He even forgives me, a dirty bootlegger who cheats everyone!”

            Each week, I could see the change happening in my old master’s heart. No longer did he drink booze and party all night. Instead, he was now a God-fearing man who lived a simple yet fulfilled life. Mr. Dior had discovered what true happiness was and chose to do away with the dirty pop culture of the decade.

            As the bitter cold arrived, I heard a knock at the front door of my small cottage. It was none other than my good friend Thomas Dior. I could see by his excitement in his eyes, he had a special message to relay.

            “Well George, it’s time I ask Evalyn to marry me, don’t you think?”

            “Why, Mr. Dior, I think you should ask her before the year comes to an end.”

            “I think I’ll ask her in Central Park, with the snow coming down. What do you think?”

            “My good Sir — she will love it. What day are you going to ask her?”

            “I believe the 16th of December would be perfect.”

            He left the house nervous but eager. When December 16 came around, I sat in my chair waiting by the telephone to receive the news. As it got late, I worried that maybe Mr. Dior’s proposal had not gone as planned.

            Eventually sleep overcame me and in the morning I was awoken with the ring of the telephone. It was Thomas, and all he said was that she had said yes. The two were now engaged and had made plans to be married in March of 1923.


            In celebration of the two’s engagement, I had them over for lunch one Sunday. They looked wonderful together and it made me tear up to see Mr. Dior finally full of love. With the money earned from his investments in the stock market, Thomas and Evalyn purchased a lovely town home, perfect for staring a family. Looking back, it’s remarkable to see how Thomas Dior’s had changed in just one year: 1922.

Works Cited

“Ball Parks of Baseball.” Yankee Stadium. www.ballparksofbaseball.com/ballparks/old-yankee-                       stadium/. n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2018.

The Bible. New International Version, 1978.


Biography. “Al Capone Biography.” A&E Television Network, www.biography.com/people/al-o                   capone-9237536. n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2018.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925. Print.

On This Day. Historical Events of 1922. www.onthisday.com/events/date/1922. n.d. Web. 7 Feb.      2018.

“The Roaring 20’s: Crash Course U.S. History #32.” YouTube, Uploaded by CrashCourse, 4                  October 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfOR1XCMf7A. Web. 7 Feb. 2018.