Guglielmo lounges on a plush couch in his living room, speaking on the phone with the reigning Miss Monadnock. His drive to find bone-marrow donors is ferocious, and the New Hampshire beauty queen is one of several dozen volunteers with whom he communicates on a regular basis. They find large groups that will host bone-marrow drives, and Guglielmo swoops in to seal the deal, showing people how to up results by milking their professional and social networks. Sometimes Guglielmo even swabs mouths himself — this from a guy who used to knock teeth out for a hobby.
"There are many misconceptions out there," says Guglielmo. "For one, there are people who think they're coming to donate bone marrow right then and there, when we're just swabbing your mouth to see if there's a match. For people who are matches— years ago it was a very painful procedure, but now 70 to 80 percent of the draws are right out of the arm, and the potential after-effects are flu-like symptoms. If you join the registry, you might be able to give someone the gift of life. It's hard for me to think that in the society we live in now, people are still dying because they can't find matches."
He thanks Miss Monadnock for her dedication, and assures her that their upcoming run should be a huge success.
Guglielmo moved to New Hampshire in 1982, to live free in a place where cops wouldn't recognize his mug. He was 19. By day, he worked a straight job as a carpenter; at night, he ran an underground fight club where thugs beat each other senseless for fistfuls of cash.
"There was no mob up here, so that was my big plan — I wanted to start a mob of fighters," Guglielmo says. "We used to go and beat the shit out of bikers who thought they liked to fight — we'd wreck parties and take the kegs and women back to our gym. I had guys rolling with me who were fucking animals — sometimes we'd leave 15 or 20 people unconscious in the street. There were 10 of us, but we could easily fight 30 guys."
In 1983, Scarface came out. Guglielmo watched that movie over and over, he says. He idolized Al Pacino's character: "I really thought I was Tony Montana," he says.
But his life was no mob movie. About a year later, he got a girl pregnant, but he claims she walked out on him before the child was born. Guglielmo says he called every hospital in New Hampshire before learning that their daughter had been placed for adoption. He hired a lawyer, but he had no chance at custody. Months earlier, Guglielmo had pistol-whipped the grandfather of his newborn daughter. Plus, he still had open warrants from New York. His lawyer told him that if he appeared in family court, he'd likely end up going to prison.
Instead of going back to face the music, Guglielmo plunged further into self-destruction, spending the 1985 holiday season with his nose on a coke plate and his lips on the bottle. "I'd drink and get high for 24 hours at a time," he says. "I lost my kid — I was at the end of my rope."