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11 Jul 2014
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'The Godfather' book cover The Godfather, Part IV.

Today reporter Dominic Arkwright attempts a Godfather sequel

They sat hunched and brooding, the music from the wedding drifting through the window, the smoke from six fat cigars crawling through the air. The silence hung heavy as they absorbed what Sollozzo had just said.

“You what?” said the Don.

“It’s only a million dollars, Don Corleone,” said Sollozzo. “That’s all I need. But it’s the future. Today it’s narcotics, gambling and prostitution. But in ten years it’ll be rebranding consultancy”

“Don’t say that, Virgil. That’s a bad word.”

Don Vito stood up. They knew the meeting was over.

“I’m a reasonable man, Sollozzo. But I don’t want no money from rebranding. I want to stay clean. Drugs, gambling, prostitution - they’re clean. So, even on the day of my daughter’s wedding, I don’t mean no disrespect but the answer is no.”

Sollozzo, left the room, vowing vengeance. If he couldn’t start up a rebranding consultancy with the Don’s money, maybe he would have to “rebrand” the Don. And not in a nice way.

They crawled in like flies, knowing that a Sicilian would never refuse justice on the day of his daughter’s wedding.

“What is this ‘Pop Idol’, Johnny? Why you wanna be involved in stuff like that?”

Don Corleone loved Johnny Fontane like a son. He knew Johnny’s singing career was finished if he didn’t get a break. And if he couldn’t help his own Godson, the Don knew he was losing his grip.

“You’ll get the audition, Johnny,” he growled. “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse. Tom, go and see this Simon Cowell. Tell him either his brains, or his signature will be on that contract. Go now, Johnny, and win Pop Idol for the honour of the Corleone name.”

It was dark and the rain splashed heavily on the sidewalk as Don Corleone walked wearily to his car. The bullet caught him square on the bridge of his nose and blew his brain through the back of his skull. Sollozzo watched the blood and the fragments of skull drip down the side of the car on to the street. With, or without the Don’s money, Virgil Sollozzo was going to be the biggest name in corporate PR.

“He ain’t gonna make it, Mike” said Sonny. “Poppa’s gone. So you or me is going to take over the family business. Not Fredo, because he don’t act like a man. He likes flower-arranging and he’s started a book club.”

Mike combed his hair, took the handkerchief from his sleeve and dabbed at a spot of fluff on his jacket that had been annoying him all day. He knew it was time.

“You know, Sonny” he said, “Me and Fredo, we been thinking about getting out of this business. Fredo, he knows about flower-arranging. Me, I been to college. I know stuff. The business is yours Sonny. We’re going to set up a small hairdressing salon and manicure parlour. And Fredo’s going to teach flower-arranging to under-privileged children with his partner Pauli.”

Sonny Corleone pulled hard on his cigar, then drew it roughly from his mouth and stubbed it out vicously.

“Count me in,” he said. “Hug, anyone?”

And so there began a new era for the Corleone family. The Tattaglias and the Gambinis and the other families took care of the drugs and the gambling and the prostitution. The Corleones carved out a successful niche in the manicuring and flower-arranging business from their elegant but minimalist-decorated studio. They branched out into tapestry and raffia-work and dealt with their occasional differences in a fair and respectful way.

“I don’t like violence, Pauli. I’m a businessman,” said Fredo. “But you gotta know that YELLOW irises NEVER go with pink carnations. It’s yellow and BLUE. Or pink and WHITE. It’s NEVER yellow and pink. That’s showing disrespect Pauli. Disrespect for the irises.”

Fredo slammed the scissors hard down on the back of Pauli’s hand, pinning it to the table, as Mike looped the gift-wrapping tape around his neck. His eyes bulged and a stream of blood blasted from the severed artery in his neck. Pauli felt the tendons snap in his hand as he twitched and writhed like a puppet. He knew it was a matter of honour. He knew that this was justice as the life dripped out of him and he respected them for it.

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