Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood & Bourbon
Roberto "Gamberro" Vaccaro
Entitled Honduran-Italian thug
“The tragedy of machismo is that a man is never quite man enough.”
“We are well on our way to becoming a banana republic in every respect except, of course, that we don’t grow bananas.”
“Happiness lies within one’s self, and the way to dig it out is with cocaine.”
“I’ve never had a problem with drugs. I’ve had problems with the police.”
”All men mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”
At most angles, the ghoul known as the Gamberro looks like a handsome man: machismo made flesh. At another, though, he could be described as a pretentious boytoy thug. But describing him as such would be most unwise, unless one wants to see him from a particularly painful angle. Like being on the curb, getting one’s teeth kicked in.
Compared to most men, he’s short, but his lean, prison-yard muscles make him look taller. Compared to most men, he’s young, probably not old enough to legally buy alcohol. But his gang-touting tats, cocaine-dusted nose, and body-bag stare make it clear that carding him would be a fatal mistake. His dark hair is short, freshly cut, and coiffed in that casually messy way that actually takes precise preening. He wears a gold cross, diamond earrings, skinny jeans, and tank tops that oh so intentionally show off his sun-ripe Sicilian-Latino skin and probably peacocking-flexed physique. All in all, he looks like he’s auditioning for a boy band or Tween Bop pin-up. In realty, though, he probably just got done lighting a broken-legged dog on fire or pissing into the mouth of a duct-tape-bound grandmother.
Name: Roberto Raul Vaccaro
Aliases: El Gamberro
Race: Mixed (part Caucasian, part Latino)
Date of Birth: May 13th, 1989 (Tegucigalpa, Honduras)
Date of Ghouling: November 29th, 2007 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Date of Embrace: Late March, 2016 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Apparent Age: Late teens
Real Age: Approx. 30
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black
In 2007, U.S. President Jim Marshall began talks with his Honduran counterpart on using US Special Forces to tackle Honduras’ growing drug cartels along the Mosquito Coast. It was a familiar refrain to Honduran-US relations, one beginning in 1903 when US boots stomped down in, or on, Honduras to protect the financial interests of American fruit tycoons. That refrain largely repeated itself in the 1980s when US troops and CIA-backed Contras used Honduras as a base of operations against the communist regime in neighboring Nicaragua. Consequently, 2007’s presidential meetings only strengthened the US’ century-old foothold in Honduras. After all, bananas won’t protect themselves–or the pockets of banana republic robber barons.
Notwithstanding, 2007 marked another, far less front-stage exchange in Honduras-US relations. Alongside a cargo ship full of Castle Food bananas, Roberto Vaccaro was imported to the US. Unlike the iced-cooled bananas, he was already rotten when he arrived in New Orleans’ port.
A distant descendant of Joseph Vaccaro, the Sicilian-American owner of the Standard Fruit Company and notorious “Ice King of New Orleans,” Roberto hailed from a Vaccaro bloodline that had mingled with Honduras’ banana republic presidents, generals, and equally scrupleless businessmen. Following this trend, Roberto’s mother and father were, respectively, a Standard Fruit Company executive and officer of Battallón 316, the infamous Honduran army unit responsible for carrying out political assassinations and torture of suspected political opponents during the 1980s.
Born into such a privileged if morally bankrupt family, Roberto gleefully grew up on stories of wartime atrocities and ruthless business dealings, Roberto might well have followed in either of his parents’ footsteps had not both of his parents and little sisters been killed in 1998 when a Hurricane Mitch-wrought mudslide swept away his family’s seaside villa in La Ceiba. Unlike the rest of his immediate family and the other 5,000 hurricane-slain in Honduras, Roberto was among the country’s 12,000 non-fatal casualties. Yet, with over 70% of the country’s crops and infrastructure destroyed, Roberto’s surviving next of kin decided to relocate themselves and the shell-shocked orphan to New Orleans while their country slowly rebuilt itself.
The New Orleanian Vaccaros accepted their refugee ‘cousins,’ but did so tepidly, as the hurricane had devastated the entire family’s banana trade and related cash flow. The refugees’ collective acculturative and post-traumatic stress also didn’t help foster intrafamilial harmony. Unsurprisingly, the transplanted kids handled the transition poorly, and Roberto worst of all. He railed against anyone who told him what to do, as they were clearly not his parents. To hide his pain and grief, he lashed out at both adults and peers, fighting with cousins, stealing from aunts and uncles, and generally becoming a nuisance to his extended family and neighborhood. Amongst the former, he soon became known “el Gamberro,” a Spanish term for a pettily destructive hooligan, punk, or thug.
He became a similar menace at school, but Roberto found his primarily white classmates, teachers, and administrators far less tolerant than his family. Relatedly, he to his horror was treated as as low-class trash due to his skin and accent, which flew in direct contrast to his prior life where his family was widely known, feared, and respected as high-class blue bloods. Angered at this ‘injustice’, Roberto only acted up further, getting into increasingly violent schoolyard scuffles, sexually assaulting rivals’ girlfriends in middle school, and setting fire to a teacher’s desk after the history teacher asked Roberto to share with the class what “growing up in a third-world country was like.” Roberto’s academic disciplinary record ballooned like an infected pimple, eventually bursting into a full-blown criminal record. At first, his well-connected family kept him out of any real legal troubles, but his unrepentant disrespect and delinquency eventually convinced them that an 18-month stint in juvenile detention would teach him some much-needed humility, if not manners.
It didn’t. Instead, prison only served to stoke his anger towards his family, the world, and a god that seemed hell-bent on disrespecting him and denying him from getting all he was “due." Intent on claiming that due “and then some” at whatever means necessary, he spent his time in lockup rubbing shoulders with other criminals, learning how to be not a better law-abiding citizen, but rather a ‘better’ law-breaking criminal. He made contacts amongst ‘brown and blacks’ gangs, but particularly with Chicanos allied to Mexican cartels. Most notably, Roberto made inroads with the Los Zetas by using a toothbrush shiv to stab out the eyes of a KKK-backed fellow inmate. The violent incident got larger attention when the then-state senator Nathan Malveaux and his GOP bloc used it to decry the “influx of degenerate immigrants that sob a good story when seeking asylum, but in truth come to spread drugs, violence, and crime with all the insidious destructiveness of plague rats." Allegedly, Roberto responded by calling Nathan’s senatorial office to threaten that his biggest “spreading” would be the legs of the senator’s then-teenage daughter.
The Teenage Kingpin
As a result, Roberto had barely been transferred to the Farm, before he and a cadre of other foreign-born inmates were deported in a largely successful GOP publicity stunt. Roberto couldn’t have been happier–and he made sure to send a fruit basket to thank Senator Malveaux. Thereafter, Roberto used his family’s old military and political connections to escape Honduran persecution and slip off into the Mosquito Coast. There, he fell in with a group of Miskito and Creole youth whose parents had been Battallón 316-allied Contras against the Sandinista regime. In short order, Roberto took control of the group and roused them into joining the drug trade. Nominally, they did so to earn money to buy guns and other supplies in support of gaining independence for the Communitarian Nation of Moskitia. As for Roberto, though, his true cause was much simpler: power–and specifically power for himself. He used his family’s shipping connections and prison-made contacts to manufacture cocaine (known locally as “white lobster”) in the jurisdictionally blurry no-man lands of La Mosquitia, smuggling them into the US (particularly via New Orleans’ port). His group was by no means the only one involved in this lucrative, illegal trade, but the teenager still managed to violently, swiftly carve out a significant piece of the pie–for himself.
Doing so, however, cost him supporters and made him many enemies. Thus, when Presidents Marshall’s and Zelaya’s talks led to US Special Forces once more intervening in the region, some of Roberto’s rivals and turncoat followers betrayed him. A Los Zetas ally, however, alerted him, giving him barely enough time to flee his camp, escape to La Ceiba, and stow away on a family-operated fruit cargo ship. That ship took him back to New Orleans.
Now an illegal immigrant and wanted criminal, the irate, adolescent ex-drug lord initially laid low in the port city as he pondered his next move. But patience was never Roberto’s strong suit, and it was not long before the prideful, indulgent youth hit up the bars and clubs of the French Quarter. There, that same proud and lustful spirit caused him to spit in the face and break the nose of a man who tried to muscle in on the bar-hopping girl he had been seducing.
Unfortunately for Roberto, the man he assaulted was no man. Or he was, but just wasn’t one anymore. Rather than take offense at the teen’s violent machismo, Reynaldo Gui was impressed. Sure, he still beat the living shit out of the pitifully outclassed punk, but he respected the kid’s cojones all the same, especially when he took the licking like a man. Moreover, as he learned of Roberto’s past, he came to appreciate the youth’s experience, talent, and–most importantly to the recently transplanted Ventrue–_usefulness_. Namely, Roberto had significant local knowledge of New Orleans’ criminal underworld. He also had some sway with the local Black Hand, or at least its Vaccaro-backed caporegime, as his extended family had largely forgiven the ‘Gamberro’ once he had shared some spoils of his ‘white lobster’. There were also Roberto’s international connections, both with the remnants of his Honduran cocaine ring and the related Mexico-based Los Zetas. Three nights of blood made those connections–and the ‘Gamberro’ himself–all belong to Gui.
The Blooded Kingpin
Since then, he’s served as his domitor’s most trusted ghoul in the Big Easy–in part because he allegedly killed off all serious competitors to that claim. Rumor claims he often hunts for Reynaldo, obtaining vessels that meet the Ventrue’s ‘refined palate.’ More typically though, Gui uses him as a herald–but the messages delivered by the Gamberro are exclusively ones of punishment or threats of such. Like Gui, he knows his mixed Italian-Honduran blood means he’ll never become a made man, but he serves as a de facto Black Hand soldato involved in extortion, cocaine, knee-breaking, arson, and anything else that makes him feel powerful or rich (as money also makes him feel powerful). Nominally, he serves his family-backed capo, but truly he serves Gui alone. Typically, serving anyone besides himself would be unbearable for the arrogant youth, but his pride (and the blood bond) is so great that he self-deludedly believes he is serving Gui solely because it’s in his best interests–i.e., a guaranteed path to becoming a bluest of blue bloods (as the youth cannot even fathom Gui not eventually Embrace him). In the meantime, his inflated ego delights in feeling superior to all mortals and all non-Ventrue ghouls.
The only thing disquieting his self-presumed pre-Requiem is his sexuality. Namely, Roberto used to be a poster child for toxic heterosexual machismo, but since Gui ghouled him, sex with women has felt like a hollow farce. Lately, he’s begun to violently take out his frustrations on such partners, blaming them for not being good enough for him, or not good enough to give him what he wants. Or more precisely, what he feels like he deserves. As a consequence, he’s been darkly entertaining whether that ever-elusive satisfaction might be granted by someone or something else. He’s not sure who or what that might be, but he’s unlikely to be deterred by anything so paltry as morality, decency, or consent. After all, if the Gamberro’s learned one thing, it’s that the world won’t give you your ‘due.’ You’ve got to take it.
The Twice-Blooded Kingpin
Eventually, he did.
How the Gamberro became Kindred, he doesn’t say. What everyone does know is that Reynaldo Gui disappeared around the time of the 2016 Battle of Mt. Carmel and the subsequent clashes between the prince and his rivals. The newly-Embraced Gamberro and his street gang (several of whom he ghouled) fought in the Battle of the Arts District and helped the Bourbons to seize their new territory. The Gamberro eschewed taking any for himself—crime in the CBD is low next to the Quarter, after all—but made his bones in battle against the prince’s followers, several of whose ghouls he graphically killed by setting on fire (despite his own new aversion to such) and cutting open their bladders to make “piss themselves,” given his newfound inability to do so. The Gamberro does not appear to mourn the loss of his former domitor one bit, and has since taken over the entirety of Gui’s former holdings. Antoine Savoy has had no objection to this.
The greater surprise, to those Kindred who knew of Gui’s ghoul before his Embrace, was when the Gamberro came out as Lasombra. He still did not name his sire, proclaiming that he is his “own man" and owes nothing to nobody. He’s loudly disparaged his former domitor’s clan more than once—and done far worse to Ventrue Kindred and ghouls who crossed his path during the Battle of the Arts District. Once, he may have wished to be one of them, but the Lasombra are heir to no less aristocratic a deathright, and their brutal temperament suits the Gamberro far better than the Kingship Clan’s refined airs. Yes, the Gamberro is happy indeed.
The world has finally given him his due.
The Gamberro has taken over his former domitor’s territory along the French Quarter’s waterfront. It’s one of the most violent and crime-ridden areas of the city.
Status: Ghouls •, Ice Kings ••
An original Miskitu member of Roberto’s cocaine ring who accompanied him during his stowaway international escape. Avid ‘sampler’ of the gang’s snowy product. Simultaneously paranoid about cops, ICE, gnomes, ghosts, and lobster aliens, although he enjoys outwitting the police with an almost religious fervor (gnomes are impossible to outwit). When not nigh-ODing on cocaine, he’s a remarkably good drive-by shooter and sniper, as he was one of the Contra’s child soldiers and killed more men than most Army Rangers before he grew his first pubic hair. He used to dream of using drug money to free his people, but he’s since settled for dreaming of snorting mountains of cocaine and having sex with a giant rabbit goddess–or at least crack whores he forces to dress up in abandoned mall Easter Bunny costumes.
Status: Ghouls •, Ice Kings ••
A Filipino wannabe b-boy and rapper descended from the city’s last Filipino consulate general. His more immediate ancestors abandoned drying shrimp in the lower French Quarter to build a chain of dry cleaners they manage from Bayou St. John. When not locking delinquent debtors in freezers, selling expired credit card numbers, or otherwise assisting the Ice Kings, JayPee spends his time posting crappy Spanglish rap and dance videos on his MeVid channel and/or lambasting Dougy Two-Toes’ social media posts (as the two used to be friends but had a bad falling out over something neither can right remember).
Status: Ghouls •, Ice Kings •
The Ice Kings’ newest member, Leon is a Polish-American runaway from Chicago’s Portage Park. After one too many half-smoked roaches under Leon’s bed and one too many visits from his school truancy officer, Leon’s father had planned to ship Leon off to a wilderness reform camp in Wisconsin. Leon retaliated by filling a backpack with his dead mother’s jewelry, his dad’s beer cans, a laptop, and some clothes, and using his girlfriend’s credit card to buy a one-way Amtrak ticket to the farthest single-train stop he could find: New Orleans. Unsure of what to do next, he visited the French Quarter, where he had the misfortune of crossing paths with the Ice Kings. By the time he realized what he had gotten himself into, he knew his chances of leaving–alive–are slim. Presently, he spends his time wavering between trying to keep his head, hands, and nose clean to better concoct a smart exit strategy and just free-fall diving into the gang’s soul-killing violence, drugs, sex, and criminal excesses. Until committing to either path, he conspicuously avoids the local exotic cuisine for eating at bland drive-through chains (Hallahan’s is his favorite) and complains, privately if not publicly, about the constant, insufferable heat, humidity, and bugs.
The Gamberro is a recently established figure among his clan and Antoine Savoy’s followers, and has an eye towards climbing higher still among their ranks. His standing in the larger Camarilla, owing to his self-professed Lasombra blood, is negligible. (Camarilla Status 0, Bourbon Sanctified Status •, Lasombra Status •)
These nights, the Gamberro runs a Black-Hand-affiliated French Quarter street gang called the Reyes de Hielo (i.e., the Ice Kings). The name serves not only to self-indulgently reference Roberto’s infamous ancestor, but also nods to their wielding of ice picks (among other weapons), smuggling drugs amidst ice-controlled cargo, targeting ICE agents, and locking people in walk-in industrial freezers or chest freezers to make them talk–or just kill them in a way that tickles the Gamberro’s degenerate fancy without wasting a drop of blood. Besides the Gamberro, the Ice Kings consist of several Creoles and Miskitus from Roberto’s old Honduran cocaine ring as well as newer domestic allies such as runaways, gangbangers from Chicago, and former cellmates. (Ice Kings Status •••)
Jade Kalani ran into Gamberro during the 1920’s themed party at the Evergreen. He was with his domitor, Reynaldo Gui, and the three of them removed themselves from the party to “talk business” in Gui’s office upstairs, which turned into a few rounds of fucking. When Gamberro tried to hit Jade during sex his domitor held him back and told him to “save it for the kine.” He was dismissed from the room while Jade and Gui discussed the actual business she had for him.
The next evening Gamberro came with Gui to meet with Jade at her spa so she could swap Will Carolla’s destroyed body for a staked prisoner she’d wanted from Gui. Gamberro left to get the body of the staked lick, but he wasn’t hauling a prisoner when he came back. Instead, he brought a handful of Kindred friends and revealed he’d just been Embraced himself. Happily betraying his former domitor, he helped the coterie to stake and torture Gui as part of a hit job sanctioned by Antoine Savoy. Gamberro and his new friends took Jade with them while their ringleader, a new face around the Quarter named Draco, murdered a pair of kine in the suburbs and held an orgy on top of their corpses.
• Unknown sire
• Roberto “Gamberro” Vacarro (e. early 21st century)
Unknown. The Gamberro has not disclosed his sire.