Chapter 3 Virgil Sollozzo
Virgil Sollozzo was excellent at killing people with a knife. He was a strongly-built man with dark eyes and a wide, cruel mouth, but today he was trying to be polite and friendly. He had an important favour to ask, which was why he had asked for this meeting with Don Corleone.
'Don Corleone,' he smiled warmly. 'I need money to help me start a new business in drugs,' he said. 'If you give me one million dollars, I can promise you between three and four million dollars in your first year.
After that, you'll get even more.'
Don Corleone said nothing at first. He seemed to be thinking. He looked around the room, at Sonny and Tom Hagen, and at Clemenza and Tessio, his two oldest friends.
They were all watching him quietly with serious faces, waiting to hear his reply. Finally, he turned back to
Sollozzo. 'Why do you come to me?' he asked in his usual rough whisper.
'I need a man who has important friends,' Sollozzo said, lowering hiseyes respectfully towards the Don.
'And what about the Tattaglia family? How much will they get?'
Sollozzo looked surprised. He didn't know that Don Corleone had discovered that he worked with the Tattaglias. He nodded his congratulations in the direction of Tom Hagen, who had obviously done his homework, and turned back to Don Corleone. 'Don't worry,' he said. 'I'll pay the Tattaglias from my own money.'
Don Corleone didn't reply. He stood up slowly, took a bottle from the table and politely offered Sollozzo some more wine. Sollozzo watched with a worried look as the Don sat down next to him.
Finally, Don Corleone spoke. 'I said that I would see you because I heard you were a serious man. You are a man I should respect. But I must refuse your offer. I will give you my reasons. It's true I have a lot of important friends in Government and the Law. But they wouldn't be my friends if they knew my business was drugs. Drugs is a dirty business.'
'But nobody will know,' Sollozzo said. 'I promise you the Tattaglias will make sure that nobody finds out.'
Don Corleone opened his mouth to reply but, before he could speak, Sonny said: 'Are you saying that the Tattaglias can promise that they'll ...?'