بخش 10

کتاب: پدرخوانده / فصل 10

بخش 10

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 18 دقیقه
  • سطح سخت

دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

این فصل را می‌توانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید

دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

فایل صوتی

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متن انگلیسی فصل

At a quarter to five that afternoon, Don Corleone had finished checking the papers the office manager of his olive oil company had prepared for him. He put on his jacket and rapped his knuckles on his son Freddie’s head to make him take his nose out of the afternoon newspaper. “Tell Gatto to get the car from the lot,” he said. “I’ll be ready to go home in a few minutes.” Freddie grunted. “I’ll have to get it myself. Paulie called in sick this morning. Got a cold again.”

Don Corleone looked thoughtful for a moment. “That’s the third time this month. I think maybe you’d better get a healthier fellow for this job. Tell Tom.”

Fred protested. “Paulie’s a good kid. If he says he’s sick, he’s sick. I don’t mind getting the car.” He left the office. Don Corleone watched out the window as his son crossed Ninth Avenue to the parking lot. He stopped to call Hagen’s office but there was no answer. He called the house at Long Beach but again there was no answer. Irritated, he looked out the window. His car was parked at the curb in front of his building. Freddie was leaning against the fender, arms folded, watching the throng of Christmas shoppers. Don Corleone put on his jacket. The office manager helped him with his overcoat. Don Corleone grunted his thanks and went out the door and started down the two flights of steps.

Out in the street the early winter light was failing. Freddie leaned casually against the fender of the heavy Buick. When he saw his father come out of the building Freddie went out into the street to the driver’s side of the car and got in. Don Corleone was about to get in on the sidewalk side of the car when he hesitated and then turned back to the long open fruit stand near the corner. This had been his habit lately, he loved the big out-of-season fruits, yellow peaches and oranges, that glowed in their green boxes. The proprietor sprang to serve him. Don Corleone did not handle the fruit. He pointed. The fruit man disputed his decisions only once, to show him that one of his choices had a rotten underside. Don Corleone took the paper bag in his left hand and paid the man with a five-dollar bill. He took his change and, as he turned to go back to the waiting car, two men stepped from around the corner. Don Corleone knew immediately what was to happen.

The two men wore black overcoats and black hats pulled low to prevent identification by witnesses. They had not expected Don Corleone’s alert reaction. He dropped the bag of fruit and darted toward the parked car with startling quickness for a man of his bulk. At the same time he shouted, “Fredo, Fredo.” It was only then that the two men drew their guns and fired.

The first bullet caught Don Corleone in the back. He felt the hammer shock of its impact but made his body move toward the car. The next two bullets hit him in the buttocks and sent him sprawling in the middle of the street. Meanwhile the two gunmen, careful not to slip on the rolling fruit, started to follow in order to finish him off. At that moment, perhaps no more than five seconds after the Don’s call to his son, Frederico Corleone appeared out of his car, looming over it. The gunmen fired two more hasty shots at the Don lying in the gutter. One hit him in the fleshy part of his arm and the second hit him in the calf of his right leg. Though these wounds were the least serious they bled profusely, forming small pools of blood beside his body. But by this time Don Corleone had lost consciousness.

Freddie had heard his father shout, calling him by his childhood name, and then he had heard the first two loud reports. By the time he got out of the car he was in shock, he had not even drawn his gun. The two assassins could easily have shot him down. But they too panicked. They must have known the son was armed, and besides too much time had passed. They disappeared around the corner, leaving Freddie alone in the street with his father’s bleeding body. Many of the people thronging the avenue had flung themselves into doorways or on the ground, others had huddled together in small groups.

Freddie still had not drawn his weapon. He seemed stunned. He stared down at his father’s body lying face down on the tarred street, lying now in what seemed to him a blackish lake of blood. Freddie went into physical shock. People eddied out again and someone, seeing him start to sag, led him to the curbstone and made him sit down on it. A crowd gathered around Don Corleone’s body, a circle that shattered when the first police car sirened a path through them. Directly behind the police was the Daily News radio car and even before it stopped a photographer jumped out to snap pictures of the bleeding Don Corleone. A few moments later an ambulance arrived. The photographer turned his attention to Freddie Corleone, who was now weeping openly, and this was a curiously comical sight, because of his tough, Cupid-featured face, heavy nose and thick mouth smeared with snot. Detectives were spreading through the crowd and more police cars were coming up. One detective knelt beside Freddie, questioning him, but Freddie was too deep in shock to answer. The detective reached inside Freddie’s coat and lifted his wallet. He looked at the identification inside and whistled to his partner. In just a few seconds Freddie had been cut off from the crowd by a flock of plainclothesmen. The first detective found Freddie’s gun in its shoulder holster and took it. Then they lifted Freddie off his feet and shoved him into an unmarked car. As that car pulled away it was followed by the Daily News radio car. The photographer was still snapping pictures of everybody and everything.

In the half hour after the shooting of his father, Sonny Corleone received five phone calls in rapid succession. The first was from Detective John Phillips, who was on the family payroll and had been in the lead car of plainclothesmen at the scene of the shooting. The first thing he said to Sonny over the phone was, “Do you recognize my voice?”

“Yeah,” Sonny said. He was fresh from a nap, called to the phone by his wife.

Phillips said quickly without preamble, “Somebody shot your father outside his place. Fifteen minutes ago. He’s alive but hurt bad. They’ve taken him to French Hospital. They got your brother Freddie down at the Chelsea precinct. You better get him a doctor when they turn him loose. I’m going down to the hospital now to help question your old man, if he can talk. I’ll keep you posted.” Across the table, Sonny’s wife Sandra noticed that her husband’s face had gone red with flushing blood. His eyes were glazed over. She whispered, “What’s the matter?” He waved at her impatiently to shut up, swung his body away so that his back was toward her and said into the phone, “You sure he’s alive?”

“Yeah, I’m sure,” the detective said. “A lot of blood but I think maybe he’s not as bad as he looks.”

“Thanks,” Sonny said. “Be home tomorrow morning eight sharp. You got a grand coming.”

Sonny cradled the phone. He forced himself to sit still. He knew that his greatest weakness was his anger and this was one time when anger could be fatal. The first thing to do was get Tom Hagen. But before he could pick up the phone, it rang. The call was from the bookmaker licensed by the Family to operate in the district of the Don’s office. The bookmaker had called to tell him that the Don had been killed, shot dead in the street. After a few questions to make sure that the bookmaker’s informant had not been close to the body, Sonny dismissed the information as incorrect. Phillips’ dope would be more accurate. The phone rang almost immediately a third time. It was a reporter from the Daily News. As soon as he identified himself, Sonny Corleone hung up.

He dialed Hagen’s house and asked Hagen’s wife, “Did Tom come home yet?” She said, “No,” that he was not due for another twenty minutes but she expected him home for supper. “Have him call me,” Sonny said.

He tried to think things out. He tried to imagine how his father would react in a like situation. He had known immediately that this was an attack by Sollozzo, but Sollozzo would never have dared to eliminate so high-ranking a leader as the Don unless he was backed by other powerful people. The phone, ringing for the fourth time, interrupted his thoughts. The voice on the other end was very soft, very gentle. “Santino Corleone?” it asked.

“Yeah,” Sonny said.

“We have Tom Hagen,” the voice said. “In about three hours he’ll be released with our proposition. Don’t do anything rash until you’ve heard what he has to say. You can only cause a lot of trouble. What’s done is done. Everybody has to be sensible now. Don’t lose that famous temper of yours.” The voice was slightly mocking. Sonny couldn’t be sure, but it sounded like Sollozzo. He made his voice sound muted, depressed. “I’ll wait,” he said. He heard the receiver on the other end click. He looked at his heavy gold-banded wristwatch and noted the exact time of the call and jotted it down on the tablecloth.

He sat at the kitchen table, frowning. His wife asked, “Sonny, what is it?” He told her calmly, “They shot the old man.” When he saw the shock on her face he said roughly, “Don’t worry, he’s not dead. And nothing else is going to happen.” He did not tell her about Hagen. And then the phone rang for the fifth time.

It was Clemenza. The fat man’s voice came wheezing over the phone in gruntlike gasps. “You hear about your father?” he asked.

“Yeah.” Sonny said. “But he’s not dead.” There was a long pause over the phone and then Clemenza’s voice came packed with emotion, “Thank God, thank God.” Then anxiously, “You sure? I got word he was dead in the street.”

“He’s alive,” Sonny said. He was listening intently to every intonation in Clemenza’s voice. The emotion had seemed genuine but it was part of the fat man’s profession to be a good actor.

“You’ll have to carry the ball, Sonny,” Clemenza said. “What do you want me to do?”

“Get over to my father’s house,” Sonny said. “Bring Paulie Gat to.”

“That’s all?” Clemenza asked. “Don’t you want me to send some people to the hospital and your place?”

“No, I just want you and Paulie Gat to,” Sonny said. There was a long pause. Clemenza was getting the message. To make it a little more natural, Sonny asked, “Where the hell was Paulie anyway? What the hell was he doing?”

There was no longer any wheezing on the other end of the line. Clemenza’s voice was guarded. “Paulie was sick, he had a cold, so he stayed home. He’s been a little sick all winter.”

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?

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