بخش 57

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بخش 57

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER 31

On that same day two limousines parked on the Long Beach mall. One of the big cars waited to take Connie Corleone, her mother, her husband and her two children to the airport. The Carlo Rizzi family was to take a vacation in Las Vegas in preparation for their permanent move to that city. Michael had given Carlo the order, over Connie’s protests. Michael had not bothered to explain that he wanted everyone out of the mall before the Corleone-Barzini Families’ meeting. Indeed the meeting itself was top secret. The only ones who knew about it were the capos of the Family.

The other limousine was for Kay and her children, who were being driven up to New Hampshire for a visit with her parents. Michael would have to stay in the mall; he had affairs too pressing to leave.

The night before Michael had also sent word to Carlo Rizzi that he would require his presence on the mall for a few days, that he could join his wife and children later that week. Connie had been furious. She had tried to get Michael on the phone, but he had gone into the city. Now her eyes were searching the mall for him, but he was closeted with Tom Hagen and not to be disturbed. Connie kissed Carlo good-bye when he put her in the limousine. “If you don’t come out there in two days, I’ll come back to get you,” she threatened him.

He gave her a polite husbandly smile of s@xual complicity. “I’ll be there,” he said.

She hung out the window. “What do you think Michael wants you for?” she asked. Her worried frown made her look old and unattractive.

Carlo shrugged. “He’s been promising me a big deal. Maybe that’s what he wants to talk about. That’s what he hinted anyway.” Carlo did not know of the meeting scheduled with the Barzini Family for that night.

Connie said eagerly, “Really, Carlo?”

Carlo nodded at her reassuringly. The limousine moved off through the gates of the mall.

It was only after the first limousine had left that Michael appeared to say good-bye to Kay and his own two children. Carlo also came over and wished Kay a good trip and a good vacation. Finally the second limousine pulled away and went through the gate.

Michael said, “I’m sorry I had to keep you here, Carlo. It won’t be more than a couple of days.”

Carlo said quickly, “I don’t mind at all.”

“Good,” Michael said. “Just stay by your phon chud I’ll call you when I’m ready for you. I have to get some other dope before. OK?”

“Sure, Mike, sure,” Carlo said. He went into his own house, made a phone call to the mistress he was discreetly keeping in Westbury, promising he would try to get to her late that night. Then he got set with a bottle of rye and waited. He waited a long time. Cars started coming through the gate shortly after noontime. He saw Clemenza get out of one, and then a little later Tessio came out of another. Both of them were admitted to Michael’s house by one of the bodyguards. Clemenza left after a few hours, but Tessio did not reappear.

Carlo took a breath of fresh air around the mall, not more than ten minutes. He was familiar with all the guards who pulled duty on the mall, was even friendly with some of them. He thought he might gossip a bit to pass the time. But to his surprise none of the guards today were men he knew. They were all strangers to him. Even more surprising, the man in charge at the gate was Rocco Lampone, and Carlo knew that Rocco was of too high a rank in the Family to be pulling such menial duty unless something extraordinary was afoot.

Rocco gave him a friendly smile and hello. Carlo was wary. Rocco said, “Hey, I thought you were going on vacation with the Don?”

Carlo shrugged. “Mike wanted me to stick around for a couple of days. He has something for me to do.”

“Yeah,” Rocco Lampone said. “Me too. Then he tells me to keep a check on the gate. Well, what the hell, he’s the boss.” His tones implied that Michael was not the man his father was; a bit derogatory.

Carlo ignored the tone. “Mike knows what he’s doing,” he said. Rocco accepted the rebuke in silence. Carlo said so long and walked back to the house. Something was up, but Rocco didn’t know what it was.

Michael stood in the window of his living room and watched Carlo strolling around the mall. Hagen brought him a drink, strong brandy. Michael sipped at it gratefully. Behind him, Hagen said, gently, “Mike, you have to start moving. It’s time.” Michael sighed. “I wish it weren’t so soon. I wish the old man had lasted a little longer.”

“Nothing will go wrong,” Hagen said. “If I didn’t tumble, then nobody did. You set it up real good.”

Michael turned away from the window. “The old man planned a lot of it. I never realized how smart he was. But I guess you know.”

“Nobody like him,” Hagen said. “But this is beautiful. This is the best. So you can’t be too bad either.”

“Let’s see what happens,” Michael said. “Are Tessio and Clemenza on the mall?”

Hagen nodded. Michael finished the brandy in his glass. “Send Clemenza in to me. I’ll instruct him personally. I don’t want to see Tessio at all. Just tell him I’ll be ready to go to the Barzini meeting with him in about a half hour. Clemenza’s people will take care of him after that.” Hagen said in a noncommittal voice, “There’s no way to let Tessio off the hook?”

“No way,” Michael said.

Upstate in the city of Buffalo, a small pizza parlor on a side street was doing a rush trade. As the lunch hours passed, business finally slackened off and the counterman took his round tin tray with its few leftover slices out of the window and put it on the shelf on the huge brick oven. He peeked into the oven at a pie baking there. The cheese had not yet started to bubble. When he turned back to the counter that enabled him to serve people in the street, there was a young, tough-looking man standing there. The man said, “Gimme a slice.” The pizza counterman took his wooden shovel and scooped one of the cold slices into the oven to warm it up. The customer, instead of waiting outside, decided to come through the door and be served. The store was empty now. The counterman opened the oven and took out the hot slice and served it on a paper plate. But the customer, instead of giving the money for it, was staring at him intently.

“I hear you got a great tattoo on your chest,” the customer said. “I can see the top of it over your shirt, how about letting me see the rest of it?”

The counterman froze. He seemed to be paralyzed.

“Open your shirt,” the customer said.

The counterman shook his head. “I got no tattoo,” he said in heavily accented English. “That’s the man who works at night.”

The customer laughed. It was an unpleasant laugh, harsh, strained. “Come on, unbutton your shirt, let me see.”

The counterman started backing toward the rear of the store, aiming to edge around the huge oven. But the customer raised his hand above the counter. There was a gun in it. He fired. The bullet caught the counterman in the chest and hurled him against the oven. The customer fired into his body again and the counterman slumped to the floor. The customer came around the serving shelf, reached down and ripped the buttons off the shirt. The chest was covered with blood, but the tattoo was visible, the intertwined lovers and the knife transfixing them. The counterman raised one of his arms feebly as if to protect himself. The gunman said, “Fabrizzio, Michael Corleone sends you his regards.” He extended the gun so that it was only a few inches from the counterman’s skull and pulled the trigger. Then he walked out of the store. At the curb a car was waiting for him with its door open. He jumped in and the car sped off.

Rocco Lampone answered the phone installed on one of the iron pillars of the gate. He heard someone saying, “Your package is ready,” and the click as the caller hung up. Rocco got into his car and drove out of the mall. He crossed the Jones Beach Causeway, the same causeway on which Sonny Corleone had been killed, and drove out to the railroad station of Wantagh. He parked his car there. Another car was waiting for him with two men in it. They drove to a motel ten minutes farther out on Sunrise Highway and turned into its courtyard. Rocco Lampone, leaving his two men in the car, went to one of the little chalet-type bungalows. One kick sent its door flying off its hinges and Rocco sprang into the room.

Phillip Tattaglia, seventy years old and naked as a baby, stood over a bed on which lay a young girl. Phillip Tattaglia’s thick head of hair was jet black, but the plumage of his crotch was steel gray. His body had the soft plumpness of a bird. Rocco pumped four bullets into him, all in the belly. Then he turned and ran back to the car. The two men dropped him off in the Wantagh station. He picked up his car and drove back to the mall. He went in to see Michael Corleone for a moment and then came out and took up his position at the gate.

Albert Neri, alone in his apartment, finished getting his uniform ready. Slowly he put it on, trousers, shirt, tie and jacket, holster and gunbelt. He had turned in his gun when he was suspended from the force, but, through some administrative oversight they had not made him give up his shield. Clemenza had supplied him with a new .38 Police Special that could not be traced. Neri broke it down, oiled it, checked the hammer, put it together again, clicked the trigger. He loaded the cylinders and was set to go.

He put the policeman’s cap in a heavy paper bag and then put a civilian overcoat on to cover his uniform. He checked his watch. Fifteen minutes before the car would be waiting for him downstairs. He spent the fifteen minutes checking himself in the mirror. There was no question. He looked like a real cop.

The car was waiting with two of Rocco Lampone’s men in front. Neri got into the back seat. As the car started downtown, after they had left the neighborhood of his apartment, he shrugged off the civilian overcoat and left it on the floor of the car. He ripped open the paper bag and put the police officer’s cap on his head.

At 55th Street and Fifth Avenue the car pulled over to the curb and Neri got out. He started walking down the avenue. He had a queer feeling being back in uniform, patrolling the streets as he had done so many times. There were crowds of people. He walked downtown until he was in front of Rockefeller Center, across the way from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. On his side of Fifth Avenue he spotted the limousine he was looking for. It was parked, nakedly alone between a whole string of red NO PARKING and NO STANDING signs. Neri slowed his pace. He was too early. He stopped to write something in his summons book and then kept walking. He was abreast of the limousine. He tapped its fender with his nightstick. The driver looked up in surprise. Neri pointed to the NO STANDING sign with his stick and motioned the driver to move his car. The driver turned his head away.

Neri walked out into the street so that he was standing by the driver’s open window. The driver was a tough-looking hood, just the kind he loved to break up. Neri said with deliberate insultingness, “OK, wise guy, you want me to stick a summons up your ass or do you wanta get moving?” The driver said impassively, “You better check with your precinct. Just give me the ticket if it’ll make you feel happy.”

“Get the hell out of here,” Neri said, “or I’ll drag you out of that car and break your ass.”

The driver made a ten-dollar bill appear by some sort of magic, folded it into a little square using just one hand, and tried to shove it inside Neri’s blouse. Neri moved back onto the sidewalk and crooked his finger at the driver. The driver came out of the car.

“Let me see your license and registration,” Neri said. He had been hoping to get the driver to go around the block but there was no hope for that now. Out of the corner of his eye, Neri saw three short, heavyset men coming down the steps of the Plaza building, coming down toward the street. It was Barzini himself and his two bodyguards, on their way to meet Michael Corleone. Even as he saw this, one of the bodyguards peeled off to come ahead and see what was wrong with Barzini’s car.

This man asked the driver, “What’s up?”

The driver said curtly, “I’m getting a ticket, no sweat. This guy must be new in the precinct.”

At that moment Barzini came up with his other bodyguard. He growled, “What the hell is wrong now?”

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