The Godfather: An Excerpt

“For the second time he saw Michael Corleone’s face freeze into a mask that resembled uncannily the Don’s.

“Tom, don’t let anybody kid you. It’s all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of shit every man has to eat every day of his life is personal. They call it business. OK. But it’s personal as hell. You know where I learned that from? The Don. My old man. The Godfather. If a bolt of lightning hit a friend of his the old man would take it personal. He took my going into the Marines personal. That’s what makes him great. The Great Don. He takes everything personal. Like God. He knows every feather that falls from the tail of a sparrow or however the hell it goes. Right? And you know something? Accidents don’t happen to people who take accidents as a personal insult. So I came late, OK, but I’m coming all the way. Damn right, I take that broken jaw personal; damn right, I take Sollozzo trying to kill my father personal.” He laughed.

“Tell the old man I learned it all from him and that I’m glad I had this chance to pay him back for all he did for me. He was a good father.” He paused and then he said thoughtfully to Hagen, “You know, I can never remember him hitting me. Or Sonny. Or Freddie. And of course Connie, he wouldn’t even yell at her. And tell me the truth, Tom, how many men do you figure the Don killed or had killed.”

Tom Hagen turned away. “I’ll tell you one thing you didn’t learn from him: talking the way you’re talking now. There are things that have to be done and you do them and you never talk about them. You don’t try to justify them. They can’t be justified. You just do them. Then you forget it.”

Michael Corleone frowned. He said quietly, “As the Consigliere, you agree that it’s dangerous to the Don and our Family to let Sollozzo live?”
“Yes,” Hagen said.
“OK,” Michael said. “Then I have to kill him.”

 

Page 282

The Godfather, Mario Puzo

“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” ― James A. Michener

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