The Pick Up
Michael Corleone suddenly felt himself become very nervous when he was standing in front of the Jack Dempsey's Restaurant. He stuffed his hands in his pockets, trying to hide how they were shaking, more to himself then anyone else. The hot pockets made his hands even more sticky and sweaty then before, but Michael didn't want to be reminded of what he was about to do, or how jumpy he was about it, so they stayed shoved down into his brown coat. His dark eyes darted back and forth through the New York streets, dimly lit with shop signs and car's lights passing by.
Virgil Sollozzo and that crooked cop McCluskey were supposed to be picking him up at the restaurant any minute now, but he didn't see a sign of them coming from any direction. Michael gulped. He suddenly worried that maybe they had found out about what Michael had been sent to do. Or maybe they had forgotten…or didn't take Michael seriously for discussing business. Or worst of all…maybe they had planned a hit on him instead.
He stood rooted to the spot, his stomach churning at the thought of what he was about to do, what would happen to him. Sonny and Tom told him he'd have to go into hiding for at least a year, maybe three or so at most. They had already planned for his trip to Sicily; he was supposed to get onto the ship first thing after her carried out his hit on Sollozzo and McCluskey. He didn't want to leave his family, New York, his fiancée, but he had to. There was no going back after this night, besides he was doing it all for his father…Michael just hoped he could live through it.
Suddenly a black car pulled up, almost out of nowhere. Though Michael was sure he couldn't move only a few moments ago, that he was rooted to the slap of cement he was standing on, he suddenly strode over to the car and opened the door. He looked inside and saw the faces of Sollozzo and McCluskey; he hoped he looked as composed as they did. Michael got in and took a seat; the car suddenly drove away, as fast as it had darted in. He felt a hand on his shoulder and nearly jumped.
"Glad you came, Michael, I hope we can straighten everything out. I mean this is terrible; it's not the way I wanted things to go at all. It should have never happened", Sollozzo said calmly, still resting his hand on Michael's shoulder.
"We'll straighten everything out tonight; I don't want my father bothered anymore".
"He won't be, Michael…I swear on my children. Look, you got to keep an open mind when we talk, I mean I hope you're not a hothead like your brother Sonny, you can't talk business with him", Sollozzo went on to explain.
Michael was surprised at how calm he had managed to stay this far. His hands weren't shaking anymore, his eyes weren't darting back and forth, but his mind was racing all around in circles. Somehow he had managed to numb his body, his expression to the situation, but not his stomach.
He heard McCluskey grunt from the back seat and then he extended his hand out to Michael, waiting for him to shake it.
"He's a good kid. I'm sorry about the other night, Mike. I gotta frisk you so turn around now, on your knees, facing me".
Michael shook his hand, and then took off his hat and obliged with McCluskey's orders.
His head raced back to only a few weeks ago, when he went to the hospital to see his father. Don Corleone had just been shot by Sollozzo or someone in his circle of confidants, he wasn't really sure of the details. Not long after, even when he father was weak and helpless in the hospital, Sollozzo set up another hit to kill his father. Luckily Michael was there for a visit when the hit was going to take place. He found himself in a strange situation, one he never even considered being in. Suddenly he had to take action, think of a quick plan to save his father. Michael and a nurse wheeled his father into a smaller, more private room so the hit men would be confused as to where his father was. Once his father was asleep again he went out to wait in the hall when a baker came by to see the Don, to offer his condolences. Sensing the danger wasn't quite over Michael took the man outside of the hospital with him and instructed him to pretend to hide a gun in his pocket as they waited for the hit car to come rolling by. The car soon came but the men inside saw Michael and the baker, convinced they were there as guards to Don Corleone, they kept on driving. The baker and Michael were both relieved when the car passed; leaving them both unharmed and their spirits lifted even more when they saw the flashing lights of police cars.
The squad pulled up and Officer McCluskey stepped out of the car, Michael's heart sank. He knew he was a crooked cop, easily influenced by whoever would offer him the most cash, even his only family had paid him off. But McCluskey was sent to make sure his father was unguarded, vulnerable to the hit planned for that night. Michael refused to leave when McCluskey demanded he did, telling him that the Don was his father, and that he was alone in his room and unprotected from anyone who wanted him dead. Their argument heated and then before Michael knew it he was on the ground, his nose bleeding profusely, McCluskey had punched his square in the face. He lay in disbelief on the ground, holding his nose which was leaking out streams of blood. And after that, to Michael's surprise, a cold, flowing, calm hatred went through his body, through his very veins. Somehow he had reacted to the situation in a way he thought wasn't possible. Michael wasn't so much angry over the punch but more over everything that was going on, his father's illness, his lack of protection, and the surging hatred kept flowing through him, but he managed to stifle it. The thought of revenge made his stifle it. Michael got up and saw Sonny's men coming over to him; he was relieved, he wouldn't have to knock that McCluskey's block off. When he went off with Sonny's men his hatred still hadn't subsided and Michael had a feeling punching the guy wouldn't be the way to relieve it, or at least wouldn't be a good way of doing it. Suddenly he thought of his father and how he would have dealt with a situation like he had, and to Michael's surprise he realized how similar they were.
That chain of events was the reason he was here now…to avenge his father. And these two had no idea; they just thought Michael was a citizen, incapable of cold blooded murder, a peacemaker for the family. Michael once considered himself that too, but after tonight he could never go back to being a citizen, not after that cold, surging feeling of hatred had run though his blood stream, after tonight he had set up his destiny, and he could never change it. But he had considered all of this before he agreed to kill Sollozzo and McCluskey; he was even surprised at himself for accepting the task, for being the one to volunteer for it. It was as if he was meant to carry out the hit, was born for it, that feeling of revenge was enough to make his jump feet first into the situation.
He heard Sollozzo's voice in the distant. "I guess I'm getting to old for my job, too grouchy, can't stand the aggravation", he said with lightness in his voice. "You know how it is….okay, he's clean".
Michael sat back down and put his hat one again, amazed at how his hands were still, how sweat wasn't running down his face. He looked out the window, a distant look in his eyes; he wouldn't let them see what he was really thinking, just like his father.
But suddenly they were on a bridge going towards New Jersey; Michael kept a calm face, but on the inside a bit of worry nibbled at his stomach. Where were they going? They were supposed to be heading towards another restraint in New York, not New Jersey. This would mess everything up, the plan would be ruined.
"We going to Jersey?" Michael asked coolly.
The car was silent for a moment then Sollozzo said quietly, "Maybe".
The placid humming of the road under their tires and the uneasy stillness within the car made Michael nervous, though he didn't look it. He watched the driver and the road intently, trying to think of a new plan if they were to dine in Jersey. He couldn't kill them if they ate at any other restaurant but the one he had been told, he'd simply have to talk business with them. He could do that, he was always a smart kid.
But before he could even think of what he would try to discuss with them the driver suddenly made a hard turn left. The car screeched as the wheel turned toward the opposite side of the road and the car seemed to make an impossible jump over the small barrier to the other lane. Everyone in the car flew up, almost hitting their head on the ceiling for a moment or two before crashing back down into their seats.
Sollozzo leaned forward and patted the driver on the shoulder.
"Nice work, Lou".
Michael understood now; they were making sure they weren't being followed. He should have known that all along, he felt rather stupid for getting so nervous, but it was just because it was his first time doing anything for the family business. Michael adjusted his tie and hat, his heart finally slowing down. The car was now zooming back into New York and the men became silent again.
Sooo, I was a little too lazy to write the whole thing this week, so I'll update soon. As usual leave me some reviews, feedback, comments, etc. blah blah blah :P Thanks for reading!