Verbal Kint: He's supposed to be Irish. Some say his father was German. Nobody ever believed he was real. Nobody ever knew him or saw anybody that ever worked directly for him. But to hear tell it, anybody could have worked for Burge. You never knew; that was his power. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.
One story the guys told me, the story I believe, was from his days in Turkey-bird land (Ireland, I guess.). There was a gang of black persons that wanted their own mob. They realized that to be in power, you didn't need guns or money or even numbers. You just needed the will to do what the other guy wouldn't. After a while, they come into power and then they come after Burge. He was small-time then, just running dope, they say.
(We see all of this in flashback)
They ( the black persons) come to his home in the afternoon, looking for his business. They find his wife and kids in the house and decide to wait for Soze, er Burge. He comes home to find his wife raped and children screaming. The Black Persons knew Burge was tough, not to be trifled with, so they let him know they meant business.
(Flashback: Black Person cuts one of the children's throats)
They tell him they want his territory, all his business. Burge looks over the faces of his family. Then he showed these men of will what will really was.
(Burge shoots two Black persons, then shoots his children and his wife as the last black person watches in surprised horror)
He tells him he would rather see his family dead than live another day after this. He lets the last Black Person go, waits until his wife and kids are in the ground, and then he goes after the rest of the mob. He kills their kids. He kills their wives. He kills their parents and their parents' friends. He burns down the houses they live in, the stores they work in. He kills people that owe them money. And like that, he's gone. Underground. Attitude. It is All Attitude! Nobody's ever seen him since. He becomes a myth, a spook story that criminals tell their kids at night. "Rat on your Cop and Jon Burge will get you." But no one ever really believes.
(We see a shadow-encased figure of John Burge walking towards the camera in front of a huge tower of flame as Det. Verbal speaks about the process of revenge.)
G. Flint Taylor: Do you believe in him, Verbal?
Verbal Kint: Keaton always said, "I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of him."
Well, I believe in God -- and the only thing that scares me is John Burge.