Perhaps it was the stalemate that made Sonny Corleone embark on the bloody course of attrition that ended in his own death. Perhaps it was his dark violent nature given full rein.
In any case, that spring and summer he mounts senseless raids on enemy auxiliaries. Tattaglia Family pimps were shot to death in Harlem, dock goons were massacred. Union officials who owed allegiance to the Five Families were warned to stay neutral, and when the Corleone bookmakers and shylocks were still barred from the docks, Sonny sent Clemenza and his regime to wreak havoc upon the long shore.
This slaughter was senseless because it could not affect affect the outcome of the war. Sonny was a brilliant tactician and wears his brilliant victories. But what was needed was the strategical genius of Don Corleone. The whole thing degenerated into such a deadly guerrilla war that both sides found themselves losing a great deal of revenue and lives to no purpose. The Corleone Family was finally forced to close down some of its most profitable bookmaking stations, including the book given to son-in-law Carlo Rizzi for his living. Carlo took to drink and running with chorus girls and giving his wife Connie a hard time. Since his beating at the hands of Sonny he had not dared to hit his wife again but he had not slept with her. Connie had thrown herself at his feet and he had spurned her, as he thought, like a Roman, with exquisite patrician pleasure. He had sneered at her, “Go call your brother and tell him I won’t screw you, maybe he’ll beat me up until I get a hard on.”
But he was in deadly fear of Sonny though they treated each other with cold politeness. Carlo had the sense to realize that Sonny would kill him, that Sonny was a man who could, with the naturalness of an animal, kill another man, while he himself would have to call up all his courage, all his will, to commit murder. It never occurred to Carlo that because of this he was a better man than Sonny Corleone, if such terms could be used; he envied Sonny his awesome savagery, a savagery which was now becoming a legend.
Tom Hagen, as the Consigliere, disapproved of Sonny’s tactics and yet decided not to protest to the Don simply because the tactics, to some extent, worked. The Five Families seemed to be cowed, finally, as the attrition went on, and their counterblows weakened and finally ceased altogether. Hagen at first distrusted this seeming pacification of the enemy but Sonny was jubilant. “I’ll pour it on,” he told Hagen, “and then those bastards will come begging for a deal.”
Sonny was worried about other things. His wife was giving him a hard time because the rumors had gotten to her that Lucy Mancini had bewitched her husband. And though she joked publicly about her Sonny’s equipment and technique, he had stayed away from her too long and she missed him in her bed, and she was making life miserable for him with her nagging.
In addition to this Sonny was under the enormous strain of being a marked man. He had to be extraordinarily careful in all his movements and he knew that his visits to Lucy Mancini had been charted by the enemy. But here he took elaborate precautions since this was the traditional vulnerable spot. He was safe there. Though Lucy had not the slightest suspicion, she was watched twenty-four hours a day by men of the Santino regime and when an apartment became vacant on her floor it was immediately rented by one of the most reliable men of that regime.
The Don was recovering and would soon be able to resume command. At that time the tide of battle must swing to the Corleone Family. This Sonny was sure of. Meanwhile he would guard his Family’s empire, earn the respect of his father, and, since the position was not hereditary to an absolute degree, cement his claim as heir to the Corleone Empire.
But the enemy was making its plans. They too had analyzed the situation and had come to the conclusion that the only way to stave off complete defeat was to kill Sonny Corleone. They understood the situation better now and felt it was possible to negotiate with the Don, known for his logical reasonableness. They had come to hate Sonny for his bloodthirstiness, which they considered barbaric. Also not good business sense. Nobody wanted the old days back again with all its turmoil and trouble.
One evening Connie Corleone received an anonymous phone call, a girl’s voice, asking for Carlo. “Who is this?” Connie asked.
The girl on the other end giggled and said, “I’m a friend of Carlo’s. I just wanted to tell him I can’t see him tonight. I have to go out of town.”
“You lousy bitch,” Connie Corleone said. She screamed it again into the phone. “You lousy tramp bitch.” There was a click on the other end.
Carlo had gone to the track for that afternoon and when he came home in the late evening he was sore at losing and half drunk from the bottle he always carried. As soon as he stepped into the door, Connie started screaming curses at him. He ignored her and went in to take a shower. When he came out he dried his naked body in front of her and started dolling up to go out.
Connie stood with hands on hips, her face pointy and white with rage. “You’re not going anyplace,” she said. “Your girl friend called and said she can’t make it tonight. You lousy bastard, you have the nerve to give your whores my phone number. I’ll kill you, you bastard.” She rushed at him, kicking and scratching.
He held her off with one muscular forearm. “You’re crazy,” he said coldly. But she could see he was worried, as if he knew the crazy girl he was screwing would actually pull such a stunt. “She was kidding around, some nut,” Carlo said.
Connie ducked around his arm and clawed at his face. She got a little bit of his cheek under her fingernails. With surprising patience he pushed her away. She noticed he was careful because of her pregnancy and that gave her the courage to feed her rage. She was also excited. Pretty soon she wouldn’t be able to do anything, the doctor had said no sex for the last two months and she wanted it, before the last two months started. Yet her wish to inflict a physical injury on Carlo was very real too. She followed him into the bedroom.
She could see he was scared and that filled her with contemptuous delight. “You’re staying home,” she said, “you’re not going out.”
“OK, OK,” he said. He was still undressed, only wearing his shorts. He liked to go around the house like that, he was proud of his V-shaped body, the golden skin. Connie looked at him hungrily. He tried to laugh. “You gonna give me something to eat at least?”
That mollified her, his calling on her duties, one of them at least. She was a good cook, she had learned that from her mother. She sauteed veal and peppers, preparing a mixed salad while the pan simmered. Meanwhile Carlo stretched out on his bed to read the next day’s racing form. He had a water glass full of whiskey beside him which he kept sipping at.
Connie came into the bedroom. She stood in the doorway as if she could not come close to the bed without being invited. “The food is on the table,” she said.
“I’m not hungry yet,” he said, still reading the racing form.
“It’s on the table,” Connie said stubbornly.
“Stick it up your ass,” Carlo said. He drank off the rest of the whiskey in the water glass, tilted the bottle to fill it again. He paid no more attention to her.
Connie went into the kitchen, picked up the plates filled with food and smashed them against the sink. The loud crashes brought Carlo in from the bedroom. He looked at the greasy veal and peppers splattered all over the kitchen walls and his finicky neatness was outraged. “You filthy guinea spoiled brat,” he said venomously. “Clean that up right now or I’ll kick the shit out of you.”
“Like hell I will,” Connie said. She held her hands like claws ready to scratch his bare chest to ribbons.
Carlo went back into the bedroom and when he came out he was holding his belt doubled in his hand. “Clean it up,” he said and there was no mistaking the menace in his voice. She stood there not moving and he swung the belt against her heavily padded hips, the leather stinging but not really hurting. Connie retreated to the kitchen cabinets and her hand went into one of the drawers to haul out the long bread knife. She held it ready.
Carlo laughed. “Even the female Corleones are murderers,” he said. He put the belt down on the kitchen table and advanced toward her. She tried a sudden lunge but her pregnant heavy body made her slow and he eluded the thrust she aimed at his groin in such deadly earnest. He disarmed her easily and then he started to slap her face with a slow medium-heavy stroke so as not to break the skin. He hit her again and again as she retreated around the kitchen table trying to escape him and he pursued her into the bedroom. She tried to bite his hand and he grabbed her by the hair to lift her head up. He slapped her face until she began to weep like a little girl, with pain and humiliation. Then he threw her contemptuously onto the bed. He drank from the bottle of whiskey still on the night table. He seemed very drunk now, his light blue eyes had a crazy glint in them and finally Connie was truly afraid.
Carlo straddled his legs apart and drank from the bottle. He reached down and grabbed a chunk of her pregnant heavy thigh in his hand. He squeezed very hard, hurting her and making her beg for mercy. “You’re fat as a pig,” he said with disgust and walked out of the bedroom.
Thoroughly frightened and cowed, she lay in the bed, not daring to see what her husband was doing in the other room. Finally she rose and went to the door to peer into the living room. Carlo had opened a fresh bottle of whiskey and was sprawled on the sofa. In a little while he would drink himself into sodden sleep and she could sneak into the kitchen and call her family in Long Beach. She would tell her mother to send someone out here to get her. She just hoped Sonny didn’t answer the phone, she knew it would be best to talk to Tom Hagen or her mother.
It was nearly ten o’clock at night when the kitchen phone in Don Corleone’s house rang. It was answered by one of the Don’s bodyguards who dutifully turned the phone over to Connie’s mother. But Mrs. Corleone could hardly understand what her daughter was saying, the girl was hysterical yet trying to whisper so that her husband in the next room would not hear her. Also her face had become swollen because of the slaps, and her puffy lips thickened her speech. Mrs. Corleone made a sign to the bodyguard that he should call Sonny, who was in the living room with Tom Hagen.
Sonny came into the kitchen and took the phone from his mother. “Yeah, Connie,” he said.
Connie was so frightened both of her husband and of what her brother would do that her speech became worse. She babbled, “Sonny, just send a car to bring me home, I’ll tell you then, it’s nothing, Sonny. Don’t you come. Send Tom, please, Sonny. It’s nothing, I just want to come home.”
By this time Hagen had come into the room. The Don was already under a sedated sleep in the bedroom above and Hagen wanted to keep an eye on Sonny in all crises. The two interior bodyguards were also in the kitchen. Everybody was watching Sonny as he listened on the phone.
There was no question that the violence in Sonny Corleone’s nature rose from some deep mysterious physical well. As they watched they could actually see the blood rushing to his heavily corded neck, could see the eyes film with hatred, the separate features of his face tightening, growing pinched, then his face took on the grayish hue of a sick man fighting off some sort of death, except that the adrenaline pumping through his body made his hands tremble. But his voice was controlled, pitched low, as he told his sister, “You wait there. You just wait there.” He hung up the phone.
He stood there for a moment quite stunned with his own rage, then he said, “The fucking sonofabitch, the fucking sonofabitch.” He ran out of the house.
Hagen knew the look on Sonny’s face, all reasoning power had left him. At this moment Sonny was capable of anything. Hagen also knew that the ride into the city would cool Sonny off, make him more rational. But that rationality might make him even more dangerous, though the rationality would enable him to protect himself against the consequences of his rage. Hagen heard the car motor roaring into life and he said to the two bodyguards, “Go after him.”
Then he went to the phone and made some calls. He arranged for some men of Sonny’s regime living in the city to go up to Carlo Rizzi’s apartment and get Carlo out of there. Other men would stay with Connie until Sonny arrived. He was taking a chance, thwarting Sonny, but he knew the Don would back him up. He was afraid that Sonny might kill Carlo in front of witnesses. He did not expect trouble from the enemy. The Five Families had been quiet too long and obviously were looking for peace of some kind.
By the time Sonny roared out of the mall in his Buick, he had already regained, partly, his senses. He noted the two bodyguards getting into a car to follow him and approved. He expected no danger, the Five Families had quit counterattacking, were not really fighting anymore. He had grabbed his jacket in the foyer and there was a gun in a secret dashboard compartment of the car, the car registered in the name of a member of his regime, so that he personally could not get into any legal trouble. But he did not anticipate needing any weapon. He did not even know what he was going to do with Carlo Rizzi.
Now that he had a chance to think, Sonny knew he could not kill the father of an unborn child, and that father his sister’s husband. Not over a domestic spat. Except that it was not just a domestic spat. Carlo was a bad guy and Sonny felt responsible that his sister had met the bastard through him.
The paradox in Sonny’s violent nature was that he could not hit a woman and had never done so. That he could not harm a child or anything helpless. When Carlo had refused to fight back against him that day, it had kept Sonny from killing him; complete submission disarmed his violence. As a boy, he had been truly tenderhearted. That he had become a murderer as a man was simply his destiny.
But he would settle this thing once and for all, Sonny thought, as he headed the Buick toward the causeway that would take him over the water from Long Beach to the parkways on the other side of Jones Beach. He always used this route when he went to New York. There was less traffic.
He decided he would send Connie home with the bodyguards and then he would have a session with his brotherin-law. What would happen after that he didn’t know. If the bastard had really hurt Connie, he’d make a cripple out of the bastard. But the wind coming over the causeway, the salty freshness of the air, cooled his anger. He put the window down all the way.
He had taken the Jones Beach Causeway, as always, because it was usually deserted this time of night, at this time of year, and he could speed recklessly until he hit the parkways on the other side. And even there traffic would be light. The release of driving very fast would help dissipate what he knew was a dangerous tension. He had already left his bodyguards car far behind.
The causeway was badly lit, there was not a single car. Far ahead he saw the white cone of the manned tollbooth.
There were other tollbooths beside it but they were staffed only during the day, for heavier traffic. Sonny started braking the Buick and at the same time searched his pockets for change. He had none. He reached for his wallet, flipped it open with one hand and fingered out a bill. He came within the arcade of light and he saw to his mild surprise a car in the tollbooth slot blocking it, the driver obviously asking some sort of directions from the toll taker. Sonny honked his horn and the other car obediently rolled through to let his car slide into the slot.
Sonny handed the toll taker the dollar bill and waited for his change. He was in a hurry now to close the window. The Atlantic Ocean air had chilled the whole car. But the toll taker was fumbling with his change; the dumb son of a bitch actually dropped it. Head and body disappeared as the toll man stooped down in his booth to pick up the money.
At that moment Sonny noticed that the other car had not kept going but had parked a few feet ahead, still blocking his way. At that same moment his lateral vision caught sight of another man in the darkened tollbooth to his right. But he did not have time to think about that because two men came out of the car parked in front and walked toward him. The toll collector still had not appeared. And then in the fraction of a second before anything actually happened, Santino Corleone knew he was a dead man. And in that moment his mind was lucid, drained of all violence, as if the hidden fear finally real and present had purified him.
Even so, his huge body in a reflex for life crashed against the Buick door, bursting its lock. The man in the darkened tollbooth opened fire and the shots caught Sonny Corleone in the head and neck as his massive frame spilled out of the car. The two men in front held up their guns now, the man in the darkened tollbooth cut his fire, and Sonny’s body sprawled on the asphalt with the legs still partly inside. The two men each fired shots into Sonny’s body, then kicked him in the face to disfigure his features even more, to show a mark made by a more personal human power.
Seconds afterward, all four men, the three actual assassins and the bogus toll collector, were in their car and speeding toward the Meadowbrook Parkway on the other side of Jones Beach. Their pursuit was blocked by Sonny’s car and body in the tollgate slot but when Sonny’s bodyguards pulled up a few minutes later and saw his body lying there, they had no intention to pursue. They swung their car around in a huge arc and returned to Long Beach. At the first public phone off the causeway one of them hopped out and called Tom Hagen. He was very curt and very brisk. “Sonny’s dead, they got him at the Jones Beach toll.”
Hagen’s voice was perfectly calm. “OK,” he said. “Go to Clemenza’s house and tell him to come here right away. He’ll tell you what to do.”
Hagen had taken the call in the kitchen, with Mama Corleone bustling around preparing a snack for the arrival of her daughter. He had kept his composure and the old woman had not noticed anything amiss. Not that she could not have, if she wanted to, but in her life with the Don she had learned it was far wiser not to perceive. That if it was necessary to know something painful, it would be told to her soon enough. And if it was a pain that could be spared her, she could do without. She was quite content not to share the pain of her men, after all did they share the pain of women? Impassively she boiled her coffee and set the table with food. In her experience pain and fear did not dull physical hunger; in her experience the taking of food dulled pain. She would have been outraged if a doctor had tried to sedate her with a drug, but coffee and a crust of bread were another matter; she came, of course, from a more primitive culture.
And so she let Tom Hagen escape to his corner conference room and once in that room, Hagen began to tremble so violently he had to sit down with his legs squeezed together, his head hunched into his contracted shoulders, hands clasped together between his knees as if he were praying to the devil.
He was, he knew now, no fit Consigliere for a Family at war. He had been fooled, faked out, by the Five Families and their seeming timidity. They had remained quiet, laying their terrible ambush. They had planned and waited, holding their bloody hands no matter what provocation they had been given. They had waited to land one terrible blow. And they had. Old Genco Abbandando would never have fallen for it, he would have smelled a rat, he would have smoked them out, tripled his precautions. And through all this Hagen felt his grief. Sonny had been his true brother, his savior; his hero when they had been boys together. Sonny had never been mean or bullying with him, had always treated him with affection, had taken him in his arms when Sollozzo had turned him loose. Sonny’s joy at that reunion had been real. That he had grown up to be a cruel and violent and bloody man was, for Hagen, not relevant.
He had walked out of the kitchen because he knew he could never tell Mama Corleone about her son’s death. He had never thought of her as his mother as he thought of the Don as his father and Sonny as his brother. His affection for her was like his affection for Freddie and Michael and Connie. The affection for someone who has been kind but not loving. But he could not tell her. In a few short months she had lost all her sons; Freddie exiled to Nevada, Michael hiding for his life in Sicily, and now Santino dead. Which of the three had she loved most of all? She had never shown.
It was no more than a few minutes. Hagen got control of himself again and picked up the phone. He called Connie’s number. It rang for a long time before Connie answered in a whisper.
Hagen spoke to her gentiy. “Connie, this is Tom. Wake your husband up, I have to talk to him.”
Connie said in a low frightened voice, “Tom, is Sonny coming here?”
“No,” Hagen said. “Sonny’s not coming there. Don’t worry about that. Just wake Carlo up and tell him it’s very important I speak to him.”
Connie’s voice was weepy. “Tom, he beat me up, I’m afraid he’ll hurt me again if he knows I called home.”
Hagen said gently, “He won’t. He’ll talk to me and I’ll straighten him out. Everything will be OK. Tell him it’s very important, very, very important he come to the phone. OK?”
It was almost five minutes before Carlo’s voice came over the phone, a voice half slurred by whiskey and sleep. Hagen spoke sharply to make him alert.
“Listen, Carlo,” he said, “I’m going to tell you something very shocking. Now prepare yourself because when I tell it to you I want you to answer me very casually as if it’s less than it is. I told Connie it was important so you have to give her a story. Tell her the Family has decided to move you both to one of the houses in the mall and to give you a big job. That the Don has finally decided to give you a chance in the hope of making your home life better. You got that?”
There was a hopeful note in Carlo’s voice as he answered, “Yeah, OK.”
Hagen went on, “In a few minutes a couple of my men are going to knock on your door to take you away with them. Tell them I want them to call me first. Just tell them that. Don’t say anything else. I’ll instruct them to leave you there with Connie. OK?”
“Yeah, yeah, I got it,” Carlo said. His voice was excited. The tension in Hagen’s voice seemed to have finally alerted him that the news coming up was going to be really important.
Hagen gave it to him straight. “They killed Sonny tonight. Don’t say anything. Connie called him while you were asleep and he was on his way over there, but I don’t want her to know that, even if she guesses it, I don’t want her to know it for sure. She’ll start thinking it’s all her fault. Now I want you to stay with her tonight and not tell her anything. I want you to make up with her. I want you to be the perfect loving husband. And I want you to stay that way until she has her baby at least. Tomorrow morning somebody, maybe you, maybe the Don, maybe her mother, will tell Connie that her brother got killed. And I want you by her side. Do me this favor and I’ll take care of you in the times to come. You got that?”
Carlo’s voice was a little shaky. “Sure, Tom, sure. Listen, me and you always got along. I’m grateful. Understand?”
“Yeah,” Hagen said. “Nobody will blame your fight with Connie for causing this, don’t worry about that. I’ll take care of that.” He paused and softly, encouragingly, “Go ahead now, take care of Connie.” He broke the connection.
He had learned never to make a threat, the Don had taught him that, but Carlo had gotten the message all right: he was a hair away from death.
Hagen made another call to Tessio, telling him to come to the mall in Long Beach immediately. He didn’t say why and Tessio did not ask. Hagen sighed. Now would come the part he dreaded.
He would have to waken the Don from his drugged slumber. He would have to tell the man he most loved in the world that he had failed him, that he had failed to guard his domain and the life of his eldest son. He would have to tell the Don everything was lost unless the sick man himself could enter the battle. For Hagen did not delude himself. Only the great Don himself could snatch even a stalemate from this terrible defeat. Hagen didn’t even bother checking with Don Corleone’s doctors, it would be to no purpose. No matter what the doctors ordered, even if they told him that the Don could not rise from his sickbed on pain of death, he must tell his adoptive father and then follow him. And of course there was no question about what the Don would do. The opinions of medical men were irrelevant now, everything was irrelevant now. The Don must be told and he must either take command or order Hagen to surrender the Corleone power to the Five Families.
And yet with all his heart, Hagen dreaded the next hour. He tried to prepare his own manner. He would have to be in all ways strict with his own guilt. To reproach himself would only add to the Don’s burden. To show his own grief would only sharpen the grief of the Don. To point out his own shortcomings as a wartime Consigliere, would only make the Don reproach himself for his own bad judgment for picking such a man for such an important post.
He must, Hagen knew, tell the news, present his analysis of what must be done to rectify the situation and then keep silent. His reactions thereafter must be the reactions invited by his Don. If the Don wanted him to show guilt, he would show guilt; if the Don invited grief, he would lay bare his genuine sorrow.
Hagen lifted his head at the sound of motors, cars rolling up onto the mall. The caporegimes were arriving. He would brief them first and then he would go up and wake Don Corleone. He got up and went to the liquor cabinet by the desk and took out a glass and bottle. He stood there for a moment so unnerved he could not pour the liquid from bottle to glass. Behind him, he heard the door to the room close softly and, turning, he saw, fully dressed for the first time since he had been shot, Don Corleone.
The Don walked across the room to his huge leather armchair and sat down. He walked a little stiffly, his clothes hung a little loosely on his frame but to Hagen’s eyes he looked the same as always. It was almost as if by his will alone the Don had discarded all external evidence of his still weakened frame. His fact was sternly set with all its old force and strength. He sat straight in the armchair and he said to Hagen, “Give me a drop of anisette.”
Hagen switched bottles and poured them both a portion of the fiery, licorice-tasting alcohol. It was peasant, homemade stuff, much stronger than that sold in stores, the gift of an old friend who every year presented the Don with a small truckload.
“My wife was weeping before she fell asleep,” Don Corleone said. “Outside my window I saw my caporegimes coming to the house and it is midnight. So, Consigliere of mine, I think you should tell your Don what everyone knows.”
Hagen said quietly, “I didn’t tell Mama anything. I was about to come up and wake you and tell you the news myself. In another moment I would have come to waken you.”
Don Corleone said impassively, “But you needed a drink first.”
“Yes,” Hagen said.
“You’ve had your drink,” the Don said. “You can tell me now.” There was just the faintest hint of reproach for Hagen’s weakness.
“They shot Sonny on the causeway,” Hagen said. “He’s dead.”
Don Corleone blinked. For just the fraction of a second the wall of his will disintegrated and the draining of his physical strength was plain on his face. Then he recovered.
He clasped his hands in front of him on top of the desk and looked directly into Hagen’s eyes. “Tell me everything that happened,” he said. He held up one of his hands. “No, wait until Clemenza and Tessio arrive so you won’t have to tell it all again.”
It was only a few moments later that the two caporegimes were escorted into the room by a bodyguard. They saw at once that the Don knew about his son’s death because the Don stood up to receive them. They embraced him as old comrades were permitted to do. They all had a drink of anisette which Hagen poured them before he told them the story of that night.
Don Corleone asked only one question at the end. “Is it certain my son is dead?”
Clemenza answered. “Yes,” he said. “The bodyguards were of Santino’s regime but picked by me. I questioned them when they came to my house. They saw his body in the light of the tollhouse. He could not live with the wounds they saw. They place their lives in forfeit for what they say.”
Don Corleone accepted this final verdict without any sign of emotion except for a few moments of silence. Then he said, “None of you are to concern yourselves with this affair. None of you are to commit any acts of vengeance, none of you are to make any inquiries to track down the murderers of my son without my express command. There will be no further acts of war against the Five Families without my express and personal wish. Our Family will cease all business operations and cease to protect any of our business operations until after my son’s funeral. Then we will meet here again and decide what must be done. Tonight we must do what we can for Santino, we must bury him as a Christian. I will have friends of mine arrange things with the police and all other proper authorities. Clemenza, you will remain with me at all times as my bodyguard, you and the men of your regime. Tessio, you will guard all other members of my Family. Tom, I want you to call Amerigo Bonasera and tell him I will need his services at some time during this night. To wait for me at his establishment. It may be an hour, two hours, three hours. Do you all understand that?”
The three men nodded. Don Corleone said, “Clemenza, get some men and cars and wait for me. I will be ready in a few minutes. Tom, you did well. In the morning I want Constanzia with her mother. Make arrangements for her and her husband to live in the mall. Have Sandra’s friends, the women, go to her house to stay with her. My wife will go there also when I have spoken with her. My wife will tell her the misfortune and the women will arrange for the church to say their masses and prayers for his soul.”
The Don got up from his leather armchair. The other men rose with him and Clemenza and Tessio embraced him again. Hagen held the door open for the Don, who paused to look at him for a moment. Then the Don put his hand on Hagen’s cheek, embraced him quickly, and said, in Italian, “You’ve been a good son. You comfort me.” Telling Hagen that he had acted properly in this terrible time. The Don went up to his bedroom to speak to his wife. It was then that Hagen made the call to Amerigo Bonasera for the undertaker to redeem the favor he owed to the Corleones.