Chapter 4: Sicilian Message
Late that night, Michael and Kay were coming out of a theater. Although they were staying in New York, Michael had told his family that he was in New Hampshire, over a hundred miles away. 'If I told my family we were in New York, we would have to see them right away,' he told Kay. 'Then we wouldn't be able to be alone together.'
The night was freezing, and Michael and Kay held each other closely as they walked slowly along the crowded sidewalk.
'What do you want for Christmas?' he asked Kay.
Kay laughed and kissed his frozen cheek. 'Just you,' she said.
They walked a little further, then suddenly Kay stopped. Mike,' she said, looking behind her, her face white with shock.
'What's the matter?' said Mike, confused.
She took his hand and led him back to a newspaper shop they had just passed. She pointed to a newspaper. Michael picked it up. 'VITO CORLEONE SHOT FIVE TIMES' he read on the front page. Opening it, he saw a photograph of his father. 'KILLERS SHOOT UNDERWORLD BOSS'.
Without looking at Kay, he ran across the street to a public telephone and rang Sonny.
'Sonny?' he said. 'It's Michael. Is he all right?'
'We don't know yet, but he's hit bad, Mikey,' his brother said. 'Where have you been? We've been worried.'
Michael suddenly felt guilty about lying to his family about New Hampshire. 'I called. Didn't Tom tell you?'
'No. But come home, Mikey. You should be with Mama. We need you.'
Michael put down the phone. Kay, who had followed him across the road, looked at him with tears in her eyes. Michael kissed her and hugged her tightly. Then, stepping away from her, he said: 'Go back to the hotel, Kay. I've got to go home.'
As soon as Sonny had put down the phone, there was a knock on the door.
'They say he's dead, Sonny,' said Pete Clemenza as he came in. Sonny took him roughly by the collar and threw him against the wall.
'Take it easy,' Clemenza cried.
Sonny took a deep breath and took his hands away. 'I'm sorry,' he said. And then asked: 'How's Paulie?'
'Paulie wasn't there. He was sick.'
'What do you mean? How many times has he been sick?'
'I don't know, Sonny,' Clemenza said, half afraid, half confused. 'Three, maybe four times.'
'Listen. I don't care how sick he is. I want you to bring him to myfather's house now. Do you understand?'
After Clemenza had gone, Sonny looked at his wife, who was standing nervously in the doorway, holding a crying baby. He hugged and kissed them both, trying to calm them down. Trying to calm himself down.
Suddenly, the phone rang again. The voice on the other end was very soft, very gentle: 'We have Tom Hagen,' the voice said. 'In about three hours we'll let him go. He'll have a message for you. Don't do anything stupid until you've heard what he has to say. Your father's dead. Let's all keep clear-headed about this, OK?'
OK.' Although he felt like shouting, Sonny spoke quietly. 'I'll wait.'
He immediately left his house and crossed the private road to the one where his father lived. He found his mother in the kitchen.
'Papa's hurt,' he told her. 'I don't know how bad.'
His mother just said: 'I'll go and get ready. I might be able to see him.'
She didn't ask her son any questions. A Sicilian woman was taught never to ask men questions.
Sonny took a mouthful of bread, went into his father's office and picked up the phone. 'Tessio? I want fifty good men here right away.'
'What about Clemenza's people?' Tessio asked.
'No. I don't want to use his men right now.'
Then he made a second call. This time it was to a friend of his who worked for the telephone company. 'Farrell? I want you to do me a favor. I want you to check two phone numbers for me. Give me all the
calls they made and received over the last three months. It's very important. Give me the information before midnight.' He gave him Paulie Gatto's and Pete Clemenza's numbers.
Then he made a third call. He phoned Luca Brasi. But this time there was no answer.
When Michael arrived, he found his father's house full of men he didn't know. He went into the living-room, shook hands with a sad-looking Pete Clemenza, kissed Tom Hagen's wife on the cheek, then went into
his father's corner-room office.
Sonny was sitting with Tessio, talking quietly. When he saw Michael, he stood up and ran towards him. 'I'm really glad to see you,' he said, hugging his brother warmly. 'Mama's at the hospital with the old man.
He's going to be OK, thank God.' But then he saw Michael sit down, and he stopped smiling. 'What are you doing?' he said. 'I'm talking important business with Tessio.'
'Maybe I can help, 'Michael said.
'If you stay here, you'll hear things you shouldn't,' Sonny warned him.
'The old man will kill me if he finds out.'
Michael stared at his brother. 'He's my father too,' he said quietly.
'OK,' said Sonny, annoyed at Michael's refusal to leave. 'You want to hear? Then I'll tell you. Whose head do we shoot off, Paulie's or Clemenza´s? One of them betrayed the old man to Sollozzo. Who do you think it was?'
If Sonny was hoping to shock Michael, he didn't succeed. His younger brother just looked at him coldly and said: 'Not Clemenza.'
Sonny stared at his brother for a moment, then looked at Tessio with disbelief. 'I don't believe it. The college boy's right. It was Paulie. I had their numbers checked. While Paulie was sick, he got phone calls from
Michael got up and stood in front of his brother. 'Is there going to be a war, Sonny?' he said.
'Of course there is. Unless the old man tells me different. Sollozzo's a dead man. I'm going to hit all five families if I have to The Tattaglias are going to eat dirt.'
'Wait, Sonny' Michael said with a look of warning in his eyes. 'This isn't how Papa would do it.'
Just then, they heard loud voices from outside the door, and the sound of people laughing. Sonny Michael and Tessio rushed out of the room and saw Tom Hagen standing at the front door, hugging his wife and smiling.
Sonny, Tom, Clemenza and Tessio sat in the Godfather's office, talking.
They were planning to kill Sollozzo, wondering where Luca Brasi was, thinking about what to do if the Godfather died. Michael sat by the desk, listening to the conversation, but not permitted to speak. There was a knock at the door, and Paulie Gatto came in. He was blowing his nose, and looked very ill.
'There's a man at the gate,' Paulie said, looking at Sonny. 'He's got something for you.'
Sonny sent Tessio out to see what it was. Then he smiled at Paulie. 'Are you OK, Paulie?' he asked. 'Why don't you go to the kitchen and get something to drink? You look terrible.'
When Paulie had gone, Sonny turned to Clemenza. 'I want you to kill him tomorrow,' he said. 'He betrayed the old man to Sollozzo. I don't want to see him again.'
Clemenza hid his surprise and just nodded. To him, it was just a job. Then Tessio came into the room. He was carrying something inside a large piece of brown paper. He gave it to Sonny, and stepped back. Sonny opened the paper. Inside, there was Luca Brasi's jacket. And inside the jacket, there was a dead fish. Sonny looked up at Tessio, confused. 'What's this?' he asked.
'It's a Sicilian message,' Tessio said in his deep but strangely gentle voice. 'It means that Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.'
Chapter 5: Seeds of Revenge
The next night, before going to visit his father in hospital, Michael had dinner with Kay in the hotel. They didn't talk much. Kay kept looking across the table at him, worried by his silence. Finally, he put down his glass of wine, stood up and said: 'I have to go.'
'Can I come with you?' Kay said, staring at her food.
'There'll be policemen at the hospital,' Michael said, putting on his coat. 'Reporters too. I don't want to get you mixed up in this.'
Kay looked at him sadly. She understood that, since the shooting of his father, he was different. He was more distant from her. 'When will I see you again?' she asked quietly.
Michael found it difficult to look her in the eyes. 'Go back to your parents and I'll call you,' he said. But Kay repeated her question: 'When will I see you again?' This time, Michael looked at her. 'I don't know,' he said, touching her gently on the shoulder. Then, without another word, he left her sitting alone at the table and walked towards the door.
When Michael got out of the taxi, he was surprised to see that the street outside the hospital was quiet and empty. When he climbed the steps and went through the front door, he was even more surprised to find that there was nobody inside the hospital either. 'Where are Tessio's and Clemenza's men?' he thought nervously as he took the lift up to the fourth floor.
There was nobody outside his father's room. Michael opened the door slowly and walked inside. His father was lying in bed; glass bottles hung next to him. As Michael stood by the bed and looked down at his sleeping father, he heard a noise behind him in the doorway.
He turned quickly. It was only a nurse.
'What are you doing here?' she whispered angrily.
'I'm Michael Corleone. This is my father. There's nobody here. What happened to the guards?'
'Your father had too many visitors. The police came and made them all leave ten minutes ago.'
Michael thought quickly. He picked up the phone by the bed and told Sonny to send some people to the hospital at once. Then he told the nurse to help him move his father's bed to another room. When she complained, he said: 'You know my father? Men are coming here to kill him. You understand? Now help me, please.'
As Michael and the nurse were pushing the bed carefully through the narrow door of another room, they heard the sound of someone coming up the stairs. Michael closed the door quietly and looked through the window. He saw a man in a black hat and long black coat carrying flowers. Michael didn't know who he was, but decided that he didn't look like a killer.
'Who are you?' he said, opening the door.
The man turned round, surprised. 'I am Enzo,' he said. 'The baker.'
'Listen, Enzo,' Michael said. 'You'd better get out of here. There's going to be trouble.'
Enzo lifted his head and looked at Michael proudly. 'If there is trouble, I stay here to help you. For your father.'
Michael didn't argue. He needed help. 'Go outside,' he told Enzo, 'and stand in front of the hospital. I'll be out in a minute.'
He went back into the dark room and looked down at his father. 'It's all right, Papa,' he whispered, softly touching his father's grey hair. 'I'll take care of you now.' He bent down to kiss his father's hand and, when he
looked up, he saw a tear in the corner of his father's eye.
Michael found Enzo outside on the steps in front of the hospital. He threw Enzo's flowers away, turned up the collar of Enzo's coat and told him to put his hand in his pocket as if he had a gun. They waited nervously in the icy cold and dark.
A few minutes later, the silence was broken by the soft sound of an engine moving slowly along the street. Michael and Enzo held their breath as a long black car appeared in front of the hospital gates and stopped.
Shadowy shapes of men in hats moved inside the car. They seemed to be talking to each other. Then the car moved quickly away.
Michael smiled at Enzo. 'You did well,' he said.
Enzo smiled and took out a packet of cigarettes, but his hands were shaking. Michael lit a cigarette for him. To his surprise, his own hands weren't shaking at all. He felt completely calm.
Suddenly, there was the sound of police cars, and the street outside the hospital was filled with policemen.
'Good old Sonny,' Michael smiled as he walked down the steps to meet them. What happened next took him completely by surprise. Two policemen took him roughly by the arms while a third policeman searched him. A huge police captain with a strong red face and white hair walked towards him.
'I thought I locked all you gangsters up,' he said angrily to Michael.
'Who are you?'
Michael looked up into the police captain's fiery eyes and said, unafraid: 'What happened to the men guarding my father, captain?'
'You little animal!' the captain shouted. 'Don't tell me my business! Now, get out of here and stay away from this hospital!'
The policemen let go of Michael's arms, but Michael didn't move. 'I'm not going until you put some guards outside my father's room,' he said.
The captain shouted to his men: 'Take him away!'
Michael stared at him coldly. 'What's Sollozzo paying you to betray my father, captain?'
At this, the captain lost all control. 'Hold his arms!' he told the policemen behind Michael. Then, as they held him, he hit Michael hard in the face.
Before he could hit Michael again, another car suddenly arrived. It was Tom Hagen with a group of men to guard the Godfather. Tom saw Michael's face covered in blood and said: 'Do you want to report this?'
Michael had trouble talking, but he managed to say: 'That's OK, Tom. It was an accident.' As he spoke, he didn't take his eyes off the police captain. He tried to smile. He didn't want to show anyone how he really
felt at that moment. Seeds of revenge were growing in his icy heart.
Chapter 6: Nothing Personal
The entrance to the private road where the Corleone family lived was crowded with cars and men with guns. As Michael and Clemenza got out of the car together and walked in, Tessio came to meet them.
'Why all the guns?' Clemenza asked.
'We'll need them,' Tessio said. 'After Sollozzo tried to kill the Don at the hospital, Sonny got angry. We killed Bruno Tattaglia at four o'clock this morning.'
Inside the house, Sonny was in an excited, happy mood. He held Michael's badly bruised face in his hands and laughed. 'Hey Mikey, you look beautiful!'
Michael pushed his brother's hands away and went to pour himself a drink to take away the pain.
'Hey, Tom,' Sonny said, turning to the Consigliori. 'Listen to this. Sollozzo wants to talk. He wants us to send Michael to hear his offer.'
Tom looked worried. Sonny was talking and laughing as if it was all a joke. 'Perhaps we should hear what Sollozzo has to say,' he said, 'We don't want another war.'
Sonny stopped smiling at once. 'No!' he said, suddenly angry. 'No more. Not this time. No more meetings. No more Sollozzo tricks. I want Sollozzo dead. If not, we'll have a war!'
'You're taking things too personally,' Tom said, getting angry too. 'This is business.'
'I don't want your advice,' Sonny said.'I just want you to help me win, all right?'
When everybody had calmed down, Tom explained to Sonny why he thought killing Sollozzo was a bad idea.
'Sollozzo's paying the police captain who hit Michael a lot of money. His name's McCluskey. He's agreed to be Sollozzo's bodyguard at the meeting. Now you must understand, Sonny, that you can't kill Sollozzo while he's with McCluskey. Nobody's ever shot a New York police captain. It would be a disaster. All the five families would come after you. All our important friends would disappear. We'd have no friends in the world. We'd be finished!'
Sonny listened to Tom carefully, and finally agreed to wait. But Michael, who had heard the whole conversation from his armchair said: 'We can't wait.'
Sonny and Tom stared at him in surprise, but Michael went on thoughtfully: 'We've got to kill Sollozzo before he kills Papa.'
Tom thought for a moment, and then said quietly: 'Mike's right.'
'But you just told me we can't kill him because of McCluskey!' Sonny said, waving one arm angrily at Tom.
'They want to have a meeting, right?' Michael began to take control of the conversation. 'Find out where it's going to be. If Clemenza can think of a way of hiding a gun there, I'll kill them both.'
There was a long silence as everybody looked at each other in disbelief at what they had heard Michael say. Then Clemenza laughed, closely followed by Sonny and Tessio. Only Tom looked serious. He knew that
Michael wasn't joking.
'Hey,' Sonny laughed, walking up and down in front of Michael, who sat strangely still in his armchair looking straight in front of him. 'What areyou going to do? Nice college boy. You want to kill a police captain
because he hit you in the face? This is business. You're taking it too personally.'
Tom smiled to himself. He had used those exact words to Sonny minutes earlier. Michael became angry. 'This is a policeman who's mixed up in drugs. He's dishonest.' He turned to Tom. 'Listen, if he's killed, our friends in the newspapers will make a good story out of it. Isn't that true, Tom?'
Tom looked at Michael thoughtfully for a second before saying: 'You might be right.'
'All right, all right!' Sonny held up his hands. He gave Michael long, hard look, then shook his head as if he didn't want to hear what he was saying. 'OK, we'll do it. Clemenza will teach you everything you need to know. We'll take care of everything. When it's over, thing will be very bad, but that'll be our problem. You'll be out of it, Mikey. We'll make you disappear for a nice long holiday until things calm down.' He looked at Michael, and added in a quiet voice filled with respect for his younger brother: 'You can do it, Mikey. I know you can.'
Michael smiled. He was beginning to feel a real Corleone at last. 'I learnedt things from my father too,' he said.
Eventually, after a lot of nervous preparation, the meeting between Michael and Sollozzo was arranged. At the last minute, Sonny was able to discover where it was going to take place: a small family restaurant in the Bronx* called 'Louie's'.
Michael waited alone, as agreed with Sollozzo, outside Dempsey's restaurant on Broadway. Finally, a large black car stopped in front of him, and Michael got into the passenger seat. In the back seat sat Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey, although this evening the policeman was not in uniform.
Sollozzo put a friendly hand on Michael's shoulder and said: I'm glad you came, Mike. We're going to solve all our problems tonight.'
'I don't want anyone to try to hurt my father again,' Michael replied in a quiet, cold voice.
'Don't worry,' Sollozzo said warmly. 'He'll be safe. I promise. But please keep an open mind when we talk. I hope you're not a hothead like your brother, Sonny. You can't talk business with him.'
Just then, McCluskey moved forward in his seat and offered Michael his hand. 'You're a good boy,' he said in a strong, friendly voice. 'I'm sorry about the other night, Mike. Nothing personal, I hope. I'm getting too old for my job, I guess.'
Without turning round, Michael shook the policeman's hand over his shoulder.
'And now I'm afraid I've got to search you,' McCluskey said. 'So turn round please, on your knees
Michael did as he was asked. 'He's clean,' McCluskey said at last, sitting back next to Sollozzo. Michael slowly put his hat back on his head, and stared out of the window with a dead look in his eyes. Half an hour later, McCluskey, Sollozzo and Michael were sitting at a small round table in the middle of a quiet restaurant.
'How's the Italian food here? 'McCluskey asked Sollozzo with real interest.
'Good,' Sollozzo replied. 'The best in the city.'
When the waiter had poured wine into their glasses, Sollozzo began to talk to Michael in Italian. 'I have great respect for your father,' he said.
'What happened between him and me is just business. His thinking is old-fashioned. Let's forget these disagreements. I want peace.'
Michael tried to reply in Italian, but he couldn't think of the words. So he spoke English instead. 'You must promise me that no one will try to kill my father again.'
Sollozzo looked at Michael in wide-eyed innocence. 'You think too much of me,' he said. 'I'm the one in danger, not your father. I'm not as clever as you think. All I want is peace.'
Michael looked at McCluskey. The policeman seemed more interested in his food than the conversation. He turned back to Sollozzo, thought for a moment, then said: 'I have to go 'to the bathroom. Is that OK?'
'No problem,' said McCluskey.
But Sollozzo didn't like it. When Michael stood up, he stopped him and searched him very carefully. Finally satisfied that Michael wasn't carrying a gun, he sat down again. 'Don't take too long,' he said, staring at Michael moodily.
Michael found the gun hidden in the toilet. Clemenza had done his job well. He pushed the gun into the top of his trousers, buttoned his jacket, took a few deep breaths to calm himself down, and returned to the restaurant.
Sollozzo was sitting with his back to him, smoking a cigarette. McCluskey looked at Michael out of the corner of his eye, but went on eating. Sollozzo turned round. Michael walked back to his chair and sat down. Sollozzo began talking again in Italian, but Michael couldn't understand a word. He wasn't listening. All he could hear was the sound of his heart, the thunder of blood between his ears. Somewhere behind the restaurant there was the sound of a train. It was getting louder.
McCluskey went on eating greedily. Sollozzo moved his face closer to Michael's to talk above the noise of the train. Now was the moment.
Michael jumped to his feet, pulled the gun from his trousers, pointed it straight at Sollozzo's head and fired. The bullet hit Sollozzo between the eyes. McCluskey stared at Sollozzo in surprise, as if watching something far away. He did not seem to realize his own danger. His fork was half-way to his mouth. He was just beginning to understand what was happening when Michael fired at him. The shot was bad. It hit McCluskey in the throat. He dropped his fork, put his hands to his neck and began to cough up food and blood. Very carefully, very coolly, Michael fired the next bullet straight into the policeman's brain.
McCluskey stared at Michael for a second then fell forward, his head hitting the table with a crash. Michael turned away. He let the gun fall from his hand and, looking straight in front of him, he walked quickly out of the restaurant, round the corner and into the car where Tessio was waiting to drive him away.
Chapter 7: Apollonia
After the shooting of Captain McCluskey, the police took revenge on all five New York families. The Five Families War of 1946 had begun. But Michael wasn't there. He was hiding thousands of miles away, in Sicily.
He was staying with Don Tommasino, a friend of his father's and aGodfather himself. In the evenings, Michael sat in a huge garden filled with flowers, drinking wine and hearing old stories about his family. During the day, he walked in the Sicilian countryside, dressed in old clothes. Two bodyguards, Fabrizio and Calo, went everywhere with him, carrying guns over their shoulders. Michael often thought of Kay during these long walks in the white hot sun. He felt sad and guilty that he had left America without saying goodbye to her.
One morning, seven months after arriving in Sicily, Michael decided to walk into the mountains past the hilltop town of Corleone. He walked with his two bodyguards along dusty country roads, past fruit-trees and fields of flowers. The hot, still air was rich with the smell of oranges. Along the way, they met a group of girls and children picking flowers.
They stopped to watch them pass. One girl in a simple dress with abasket over her arm stopped in front of Michael to pick a small pink flower. Michael watched her, studying the way that her long, brown hair
shone in the sunlight and hung around her face. Suddenly, the girl lifted her head and looked at him. She had large brown eyes, and her heart-shaped mouth was red with the juice of grapes.
Michael felt weak, as if hit by lightning. He had never seen anyone so lovely. The girl lowered her eyes with a shy smile, ran back to join her friends and disappeared down the road. Fabrizio noticed the look on Michael's
face and laughed. 'Let's go and find out who she is,' he suggested. Michael agreed, and followed Fabrizio and Calo down a narrow path towards the village where the girls and children had gone.
In the village, they sat at a table outside a small cafe. The owner of the
cafe was a short man with white hair and a dark moustache. He was a friendly man and he smiled as he served them, not worried at all by the fact that his customers carried guns. When Fabrizio asked the cafe owner about the beautiful girl they had seen picking flowers, and described her to him, a strange thing happened. The man stopped smiling, looked at the three men angrily, and disappeared inside the cafe. Fabrizio followed him inside and, moments later, ran out looking nervous.
'Quick, we must go,' he said to Michael. 'He's really angry. The girl's his daughter.'
But Michael didn't move. He stared at Fabrizio and said: 'I want to speak to him.'
Fabrizio quickly drank some wine, picked up his gun and went inside to bring the man to Michael. The cafe owner appeared with two young, strong-looking men at his side. They were his sons. He looked down at Michael without speaking, a hard look in his eye.
Michael spoke to him quietly. 'I'm sorry if I made you angry,' he said. I'm an American hiding in Sicily. My name's Michael. You can tell the police, and make a lot of money. But then your daughter would lose a
father instead of getting a husband. With your agreement, I would like to meet your daughter. With all respect.'
The café owner's face softened. He looked with interest at Michael, this young man with the strange mixture of softness and confidence in his voice. He noticed that the two men with guns looked at this young man with great respect. He was obviously important, and probably rich.
' Come on Sunday afternoon,' he said. 'My name is Vitelli and my house is up there in the hills, above the village.'
'And what's you daughter's name?' Michael said, standing up and shaking the man's hand.
'Apollonia, 'the cafe owner smiled.
That Sunday, Michael, dressed in his best clothes, brought presents for Apollonia and all her family. He gave Apollonia some jewelry. He began to visit the family home regularly after that. One evening, at the dinner table, he noticed that she was wearing the jewelry he had given her. It was her way of saying that she liked him. He invited her for a walk in the country, and she agreed. They walked side by side, but they were careful not to touch each other. They were not alone. All the women in Apollonia's family walked behind them, followed by Calo and Fabrizio, carrying their guns.
Two weeks later, Michael and Apollonia got married. Compared to his sister's wedding to Carlo in New York two years earlier, it was a simple Sicilian wedding. Apollonia wore white while all the other women wore black. The villagers stood in the streets and threw flowers as the couple passed on foot from the church to Apollonia's house in the hills. The wedding guests walked behind the couple and, behind the guests, there
was a band of musicians. The wedding party went on until midnight. Then Michael took Apollonia away, and drove her to Don Tommasino's house outside Corleone.
Chapter 8: A Bridge Too Far
Two years after their wedding, Connie and Carlo Rizzi were not happily married. Carlo drank a lot and saw other women. Connie shouted at him all the time, and Carlo used to hit her. One day, Sonny visited his sister
and saw her face was covered in bruises. He became very angry and, although Connie tried to stop him, he rushed away to find Carlo.
He found Carlo sitting outside the betting shop where he worked. Sonny jumped out of his car and ran quickly towards him. Carlo tried to escape, but Sonny dived and caught him by the ankles, pulling him down with a crash. Then, while Carlo was still on the ground, Sonny kicked and hit him, screaming at him all the time. Carlo didn't try to fight. He stayed on his knees and covered his head with his hands.
Finally, Sonny grew tired. He looked down at Carlo's bruised and bloody body and said: 'If you ever touch my sister again, I'll kill you!'
A few weeks later, the telephone rang in the kitchen of Don Corleone's house. Sonny was called to the phone. It was Connie, and she was crying. Carlo had hit her badly, and she wanted to come home. As he listened, Sonny's face went red and he began to shake. 'I'm coming right over,' he told his sister. 'Just wait there.'
'Please Sonny, don't ...' Connie began, but Sonny put down the phone and ran straight out of the house.
Tom Hagen tried to stop him, but Sonny refused to listen. As Sonny drove quickly out of the gates, Tom told two bodyguards to follow him.
Between Long Island and the City of New York, there was a kind of bridge. Before anyone could cross, they had to stop at the tollbooth and pay. When Sonny arrived at the bridge, only one tollbooth was open. He had to wait because another car was in front of him. Sonny impatiently looked for some money in his jacket pocket. The car in front of Sonny drove forward a little way and stopped. Sonny drove up to the tollbooth. He gave the man inside his money and tried to drive away, but the car was still in front of him. The man in the tollbooth dropped the money and bent down to pick it up.
From the corner of his eye, Sonny noticed something moving in the empty tollbooth on his right. He looked round and saw four men standing in the windows looking at him. At the same moment, two men got out of the car in front and began to walk towards him. They were carrying machine-guns. Sonny thought about driving backwards, but he was too late. In the second before anything happened, Sonny knew that he was a dead man.
There was a sudden thunder of noise, and bullets crashed through the windows of his car from all directions. Before Sonny could dive for cover, he was hit several times in the chest and head. But he was a strong man. He refused to die quietly. He pulled himself across the seat, opened the door and half jumped, half fell out of the car. He tried to pull his gun from his jacket, but bullets continued to hit him. At last, with a wild and angry look on his face, he fell to the ground in a pool of blood and stopped moving.
By the time the bodyguards that Tom had sent to follow him arrived, Sonny Corleone, eldest son of Vito Corleone, was dead, and his killers were gone.
Later that night, Tom Hagen sat alone in Don Corleone's dark office, drinking. He couldn't believe that Sonny was dead. He heard the door behind him open and close. Turning round, he saw Don Corleone. He looked very old and tired as he walked stiffly across the room. He had lost weight, and his clothes hung loosely from his body.
'Give me some wine,' he said as he lowered himself slowly into his favorite leather armchair. He waited while Tom poured him a drink, then half spoke, half whispered: 'My wife was crying before she fell asleep. Outside my window, I saw Tessio and Clemenza coming to the house and it's midnight. So, Tom, I think you should tell your Don what everybody already knows.'
'I was about to come up and tell you, 'Tom said.
'But you needed a drink first.'
'Yes, 'Tom looked down, ashamed.
'You've had your drink. You can tell me now.'
Tom looked up, his eyes filled with tears. 'They shot Sonny,' he said, his voice shaking. 'He's dead.'
Don Corleone closed his eyes. For a second he, too, seemed about to cry. But when he opened his eyes again, they were dry. 'I want no revenge,' he said sadly. 'I want you to arrange a meeting with the heads of the five families. This war stops now.'