The Family Corleone

The Family Corleone by Ed Falco

Book: The Family Corleone by Ed Falco Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ed Falco
flasks. All through the spacious room, waiters hurried past each other, carrying trays laden with food and drink to scores of tables surrounded by the well-dressed and the well-heeled.
    Sonny and Cork had both been drinking for hours, as had Vinnie, Angelo, and Nico. Stevie hadn’t shown up, though they’d all agreed to celebrate at Juke’s. Vinnie and Angelo were both wearing tuxes.Angelo had started out the night with his hair combed back neatly off his face, but as the night and the drinks wore on, a few strands of loose hair kept breaking free and falling over his face. Nico and Sonny were dressed in double-breasted suits with big lapels and satin ties, Nico’s bright green and Sonny’s soft blue, to go with his new fedora. Most of the dames at Juke’s were in their twenties and older, but that didn’t keep the boys from dancing with them, and now, sometime around midnight, they were all sweaty and in various stages of drunkenness. They had opened their collars and loosened their ties, and they were laughing readily at each other’s jokes. Cork, who was the least dressed up of the gang in a tweed suit with a vest and bow tie, was the drunkest. “Jaysus,” he said, announcing the obvious, “I’m in me cups, gentlemen!” He rested his head on the table.
    “
In me cups
,” Sonny repeated, amused by the phrase. “How about we get you some coffee?”
    Cork bolted upright. “Coffee?” He pulled a flask out of his pocket. “While I’ve still got first-rate Canadian malt whiskey?”
    “Hey, you thievin’ mick,” Nico said. “How many bottles did you filch for yourself?”
    Cork said, “Ah, shaddup, you guinea-wop-dago son of a bitch!”
    Since the night of the hijacking, that line had been repeated for laughs again and again, and it didn’t fail at Juke’s. Vinnie Romero’s laughter ended abruptly when he saw Luca Brasi walk into the club. “Hey, boys,” he said to the others, “look at this.”
    Luca came into the club with Kelly O’Rourke on his arm. He was in tails and striped pants, a white boutonniere pinned to his lapel. Kelly pressed up against him in a slinky cream-colored evening gown, strapless on one shoulder. A heart-shaped diamond pin at her hip held the bunched-up fabric of the dress so that it formed a kind of sash. They followed the maître d’ to a table at the front of the club, close to the band. When Luca spotted Cork and the boys watching him, he nodded to them, said a word to the maître d’, and then brought Kelly over to the table. “What do you know,” he said, “if it ain’t the sneaker gang.”
    The boys all stood, and Luca shook hands with Cork. “Who’s this mug?” Luca asked, looking at Sonny.
    “This mug?” Cork said, shoving Sonny. “Just some palooka swipin’ drinks off us.”
    “Hey!” Sonny said. He scratched his head and tried to look drunker than he was. “What’s the sneaker gang?”
    “Never mind,” Cork said to Sonny. “It ain’t nothin’.” To Luca he said, “Who’s the gorgeous doll?”
    “What’s it to you?” Luca said, and he threw a pretend punch toward Cork’s jaw.
    Kelly introduced herself and said, “I’m Luca’s girl.”
    “Lucky dog,” Cork said, looking at Luca.
    Kelly wrapped her arms around Luca’s arm and leaned on him, her eyes on Sonny. “Hey,” she said. “Aren’t you a friend of that college boy, Tom somebody?”
    “What college boy?” Luca asked Kelly, without giving Sonny a chance to respond.
    “Just a college boy,” Kelly said. “Why, Luca? You’re not jealous of some college boy, are you? You know I’m your girl.” She put her head on his shoulder.
    Luca said, “I ain’t jealous of anybody, Kelly. You know me better than that.”
    “Sure, I know you better than that,” Kelly said, hugging his arm tighter. “Well,” she asked Sonny, “do you know him?”
    “Tom somebody?” Sonny said. He dropped one hand into the pocket of his jacket, and he noticed that Luca’s eyes followed the

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