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Книга The Godfather. Содержание - Chapter 3

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Sonny was instantly alert. “How many times did he stay home the last couple of months?”

“Maybe three or four times,” Clemenza said. “I always asked Freddie if he wanted another guy but he said no. There’s been no cause, the last ten years things been smooth, you know.”

“Yeah,” Sonny said. “I’ll see you at my father’s house. Be sure you bring Paulie. Pick him up on your way over. I don’t care how sick he is. You got that?” He slammed down the phone without waiting for an answer.

His wife was weeping silently. He stared at her for a moment, then said in a harsh voice, “Any of our people call, tell them to get me in my father’s house on his special phone. Anybody else call, you don’t know nothing. If Tom’s wife calls, tell her that Tom won’t be home for a while, he’s on business.”

He pondered for a moment. “A couple of our people will come to stay here.” He saw her look of fright and said impatiently, “You don’t have to be scared, I just want them here. Do whatever they tell you to do. If you wanta talk to me, get me on Pop’s special phone but don’t call me unless it’s really important. And don’t worry.” He went out of the house.

Darkness had fallen and the December wind whipped through the mall. Sonny had no fear about stepping out into the night. All eight houses were owned by Don Corleone. At the mouth of the mall the two houses on either side were rented by family retainers with their own families and star boarders, single men who lived in the basement apartments. Of the remaining six houses that formed the rest of the half circle; one was inhabited by Tom Hagen and his family, his own, and the smallest and least ostentatious by the Don himself. The other three houses were given rent-free to retired friends of the Don with the understanding that they would be vacated whenever he requested. The harmless-looking mall was an impregnable fortress.

All eight houses were equipped with floodlights which bathed the grounds around them and made the mall impossible to lurk in. Sonny went across the street to his father’s house and let himself inside with his own key. He yelled out, “Ma, where are you?” and his mother came out of the kitchen. Behind her rose the smell of frying peppers. Before she could say anything, Sonny took her by the arm and made her sit down. “I just got a call,” he said. “Now don’t get worried. Pop’s in the hospital, he’s hurt. Get dressed and get ready to get down there. I’ll have a car and a driver for you in a little while. OK?”

His mother looked at him steadily for a moment and then asked in Italian, “Have they shot him?”

Sonny nodded. His mother bowed her head for a moment. Then she went back into the kitchen. Sonny followed her. He watched her turn off the gas under the panful of peppers and then go out and up to the bedroom. He took peppers from the pan and bread from the basket on the table and made a sloppy sandwich with hot olive oil dripping from his fingers. He went into the huge corner room that was his father’s office and took the special phone from a locked cabinet box. The phone had been especially installed and was listed under a phony name and a phony address. The first person he called was Luca Brasi. There was no answer. Then he called the safety-valve caporegime in Brooklyn, a man of unquestioned loyalty to the Don. This man’s name was Tessio. Sonny told him what had happened and what he wanted. Tessio was to recruit fifty absolutely reliable men. He was to send guards to the hospital, he was to send men out to Long Beach to work here. Tessio asked, “Did they get Clemenza too?” Sonny said, “I don’t want to use Clemenza’s people right now.” Tessio understood immediately, there was a pause, and then he said, “Excuse me, Sonny, I say this as your father would say it. Don’t move too fast. I can’t believe Clemenza would betray us.”

“Thanks,” Sonny said. “I don’t think so but I have to be careful. Right?”

“Right,” Tessio said.

“Another thing,” Sonny said. “My kid brother Mike goes to college in Hanover, New Hampshire. Get some people we know in Boston to go up and get him and bring him down here to the house until this blows over. I’ll call him up so he’ll expect them. Again I’m just playing the percentages, just to make sure.”

“OK,” Tessio said, “I’ll be over your father’s house as soon as I get things rolling. OK? You know my boys, right?”

“Yeah,” Sonny said. He hung up. He went over to a small wall safe and unlocked it. From it he took an indexed book bound in blue leather. He opened it to the T’s until he found the entry he was looking for. It read, “Ray Farrell $5,000 Christmas Eve.” This was followed by a telephone number. Sonny dialed the number and said, “Farrell?” The man on the other end answered, “Yes.” Sonny said, “This is Santino Corleone. I want you to do me a favor and I want you to do it right away. I want you to check two phone numbers and give me all the calls they got and all the calls they made for the last three months.” He gave Farrell the number of Paulie Gatto’s home and Clemenza’s home. Then he said, “This is important. Get it to me before midnight and you’ll have an extra very Merry Christmas.”

Before he settled back to think things out he gave Luca Brasi’s number one more call. Again there was no answer. This worried him but he put it out of his mind. Luca would come to the house as soon as he heard the news. Sonny leaned back in the swivel chair. In an hour the house would be swarming with Family people and he would have to tell them all what to do, and now that he finally had time to think he realized how serious the situation was. It was the first challenge to the Corleone Family and their power in ten years. There was no doubt that Sollozzo was behind it, but he would never have dared attempt such a stroke unless he had support from at least one of the five great New York families. And that support must have come from the Tattaglias. Which meant a full-scale war or an immediate settlement on Sollozzo’s terms. Sonny smiled grimly. The wily Turk had planned well but he had been unlucky. The old man was alive and so it was war. With Luca Brasi and the resources of the Corleone Family there could be but one outcome. But again the nagging worry. Where was Luca Brasi?

Chapter 3

Counting the driver, there were four men in the car with Hagen. They put him in the back seat, in the middle of the two men who had come up behind him in the street. Sollozzo sat up front. The man on Hagen’s right reached over across his body and tilted Hagen’s hat over his eyes so that he could not see. “Don’t even move your pinkie,” he said.

It was a short ride, not more than twenty minutes and when they got out of the car Hagen could not recognize the neighborhood because darkness had fallen. They led him into a basement apartment and made him sit on a straightbacked kitchen chair. Sollozzo sat across the kitchen table from him. His dark face had a peculiarly vulturine look.

“I don’t want you to be afraid,” he said. “I know you’re not in the muscle end of the Family. I want you to help the Corleones and I want you to help me.”

Hagen’s hands were shaking as he put a cigarette in his mouth. One of the men brought a bottle of rye to the table and gave him a slug of it in a china coffee cup. Hagen drank the fiery liquid gratefully. It steadied his hand and took the weakness out of his legs.

“Your boss is dead,” Sollozzo said. He paused, surprised at the tears that sprang to Hagen’s eyes. Then he went on. “We got him outside his office, in the street. As soon as I got the word, I picked you up. You have to make the peace between me and Sonny.”

Hagen didn’t answer. He was surprised at his own grief. And the feeling of desolation mixed with his fear of death. Sollozzo was speaking again. “Sonny was hot for my deal. Right? You know it’s the smart thing to do too. Narcotics is the coming thing. There’s so much money in it that everybody can get rich just in a couple of years. The Don was an old ‘Moustache Pete,’ his day was over but he didn’t know it. Now he’s dead, nothing can bring him back. I’m ready to make a new deal, I want you to talk Sonny into taking it.”

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