Книга The Godfather. Содержание - Chapter 9

Michael thought ruefully, there goes my date with Kay. Sonny wouldn’t let him out of the house. But Hagen said impatiently, “No, he could have snatched Mike anytime if he wanted insurance. But everybody knows that Mike is not in the Family business. He’s a civilian and if Sollozzo snatches him, then he loses all the other New York Families. Even the Tattaglias would have to help hunt him down. No, it’s simple enough. Tomorrow we’ll get a representative from all the Families who’ll tell us we have to do business with the Turk. That’s what he’s waiting for. That’s his ace in the hole.”

Michael heaved a sigh of relief. “Good,” he said. “I have to go into town tonight.”

“Why?” Sonny asked sharply.

Michael grinned. “I figure I’ll drop in to the hospital and visit the old man, see Mom and Connie. And I got some other things to do.” Like the Don, Michael never told his real business and now he didn’t want to tell Sonny he was seeing Kay Adams. There was no reason not to tell him, it was just habit.

There was a loud murmur of voices in the kitchen. Clemenza went out to see what was happening. When he came back he was holding Luca Brasi’s bulletproof vest in his hands. Wrapped in the vest was a huge dead fish.

Clemenza said dryly, “The Turk has heard about his spy Paulie Gatto.”

Tessio said just as dryly, “And now we know about Luca Brasi.”

Sonny lit a cigar and took a shot of whiskey. Michael, bewildered, said. “What the hell does that fish mean?” It was Hagen the Irisher, the Consigliere, who answered him. “The fish means that Luca Brasi is sleeping on the bottom of the ocean,” he said. “It’s an old Sicilian message.”

Chapter 9

When Michael Corleone went into the city that night it was with a depressed spirit. He felt that he was being enmeshed in the Family business against his will and he resented Sonny using him even to answer the phone. He felt uncomfortable being on the inside of the Family councils as if he could be absolutely trusted with such secrets as murder. And now, going to see Kay, he felt guilty about her also. He had never been completely honest with her about his family. He had told her about them but always with little jokes and colorful anecdotes that made them seem more like adventurers in a Technicolor movie than what they really were. And now his father had been shot down in the street and his eldest brother was making plans for murder. That was putting it plainly and simply but that was never how he would tell it to Kay. He had already said his father being shot was more like an “accident” and that all the trouble was over. Hell, it looked like it was just beginning. Sonny and Tom were off-center on this guy Sollozzo, they were still underrating him, even though Sonny was smart enough to see the danger. Michael tried to think what the Turk might have up his sleeve. He was obviously a bold man, a clever man, a man of extraordinary force. You had to figure him to come up with a real surprise. But then Sonny and Tom and Clemenza and Tessio were all agreed that everything was under control and they all had more experience than he did. He was the “civilian” in this war, Michael thought wryly. And they’d have to give him a hell of a lot better medals than he’d gotten in World War II to make him join this one.

Thinking this made him feel guilty about not feeling more sympathy for his father. His own father shot fall of holes and yet in a curious way Michael, better than anyone else, understood when Tom had said it was just business, not personal. That his father had paid for the power he had wielded all his life, the respect he had extorted from all those around him.

What Michael wanted was out, out of all this, to lead his own life. But he couldn’t cut loose from the family until the crisis was over. He had to help in a civilian capacity. With sudden clarity he realized that he was annoyed with the role assigned to him, that of the privileged noncombatant, the excused conscientious objector. That was why the word “civilian” kept popping into his skull in such an irritating way.

When he got to the hotel, Kay was waiting for him in the lobby. (A couple of Clemenza’s people had driven him into town and dropped him off on a nearby corner after making sure they were not followed.)

They had dinner together and some drinks. “What time are you going to visit your father?” Kay asked.

Michael looked at his watch. “Visiting hours end at eight-thirty. I think I’ll go after everybody has left. They’ll let me up. He has a private room and his own nurses so I can just sit with him for a while. I don’t think he can talk yet or even know if I’m there. But I have to show respect.”

Kay said quietly, “I feel so sorry for your father, he seemed like such a nice man at the wedding. I can’t believe the things the papers are printing about him. I’m sure most of it’s not true.”

Michael said politely, “I don’t think so either.” He was surprised to find himself so secretive with Kay. He loved her, he trusted her, but he would never tell her anything about his father or the Family. She was an outsider.

“What about you?” Kay asked. “Are you going to get mixed up in this gang war the papers are talking about so gleefully?”

Michael grinned, unbuttoned his jacket and held it wide open. “Look, no guns,” he said. Kay laughed.

It was getting late and they went up to their room. She mixed a drink for both of them and sat on his lap as they drank. Beneath her dress she was all silk until his hand touched the glowing skin of her thigh. They fell back on the bed together and made love with all their clothes on, their mouths glued together. When they were finished they lay very still, feeling the heat of their bodies burning through their garments. Kay murmured, “Is that what you soldiers call a quickie?”

“Yeah,” Michael said.

“It’s not bad,” Kay said in a judicious voice.

They dozed off until Michael suddenly started up anxiously and looked at his watch. “Damn,” he said. “It’s nearly ten. I have to get down to the hospital.” He went to the bathroom to wash up and comb his hair. Kay came in after him and put her arms around his waist from behind. “When are we going to get married?” she asked.

“Whenever you say,” Michael said. “As soon as this family thing quiets down and my old man gets better. I think you’d better explain things to your parents though.”

“What should I explain?” Kay said quietly.

Michael ran the comb through his hair. “Just say that you’ve met a brave, handsome guy of Italian descent. Top marks at Dartmouth. Distinguished Service Cross during the war plus the Purple Heart. Honest. Hard-working. But his father is a Mafia chief who has to kill bad people, sometimes bribe high government officials and in his line of work gets shot full of holes himself. But that has nothing to do with his honest hardworking son. Do you think you can remember all that?”

Kay let go his body and leaned against the door of the bathroom. “Is he really?” she said. “Does he really?” She paused. “Kill people?”

Michael finished combing his hair. “I don’t really know,” he said. “Nobody really knows. But I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Before he went out the door she asked, “When will I see you again?”

Michael kissed her. “I want you to go home and think things over in that little hick town of yours,” he said. “I don’t want you to get mixed up in this business in any way. After the Christmas holidays I’ll be back at school and we’ll get together up in Hanover. OK?”

“OK,” she said. She watched him go out the door, saw him wave before he stepped into the elevator. She had never felt so close to him, never so much in love and if someone had told her she would not see Michael again until three years passed, she would not have been able to bear the anguish of it.

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