Michael Corleone stood on a long wooden dock in Palermo and watched the great ocean liner set sail for America. He was to have sailed on that ship, but new instructions had come from his father.
He waved goodbye to the men on the little fishing boat who had brought him to this dock, men who had guarded him these past years. The fishing boat rode the white wake of the ocean liner, a brave little duckling after its mother. The men on it waved back; he would see them no more.
The dock itself was alive with scurrying laborers in caps and baggy clothes unloading other ships, loading trucks that had come to the long dock. They were small wiry men who looked more Arabic than Italian, wearing billed caps that obscured their faces. Amongst them would be new bodyguards making sure he came to no harm before he met with Don Croce Malo, Capo di Capi of the "Friends of the Friends," as they were called here in Sicily. Newspapers and the outside world called them the Mafia, but in Sicily the word Mafia never passed the lips of the ordinary citizen. As they would never call Don Croce Malo the Capo di Capi but only "The Good Soul."
In his two years of exile in Sicily, Michael had heard many tales about Don Croce, some so fantastic that he almost did not believe in the existence of such a man. But the instructions relayed from his father were explicit: he was ordered to have lunch with Don Croce this very day. And the two of them were to arrange for the escape from Sicily of the country's greatest bandit, Salvatore Guiliano. Michael Corleone could not leave Sicily without Guiliano.
Down at the end of the pier, no more than fifty yards away, a huge dark car was parked in the narrow street. Standing before it were three men, dark rectangles cut out of the glaring sheet of light that fell like a wall of gold from the sun. Michael walked toward them. He paused for a moment to light a cigarette and survey the city.
Palermo rested in the bottom of a bowl created by an extinct volcano, overwhelmed by mountains on three sides, and escaping into the dazzling blue of the Mediterranean Sea on the fourth side. The city shimmered in the golden rays of the Sicilian noontime sun. Veins of red light struck the earth, as if reflecting the blood shed on the soil of Sicily for countless centuries. The gold rays bathed stately marble columns of Greek temples, spidery Moslem turrets, the fiercely intricate facades of Spanish cathedrals; on a far hillside frowned the battlements of an ancient Norman castle. All left by diverse and cruel armies that had ruled Sicily since before Christ was born. Beyond the castle walls, cone-shaped mountains held the slightly effeminate city of Palermo in a strangler's embrace, as if both were sinking gracefully to their knees, a cord pulling tightly around the city's neck. Far above, countless tiny red hawks darted across the brilliant blue sky.
Michael walked toward the three men waiting for him at the end of the pier. Features and bodies formed out of their black rectangles. With each step he could see them more clearly and they seemed to loosen, to spread away from each other as if to envelop him in their greeting.
All three of these men knew Michael's history. That he was the youngest son of the great Don Corleone in America, the Godfather, whose power extended even into Sicily. That he had murdered a high police official of New York City while executing an enemy of the Corleone Empire. That he had been in hiding and exile here in Sicily because of those murders and that now finally, matters having been "arranged," he was on his way back to his homeland to resume his place as crown prince to the Corleone Family. They studied Michael, the way he moved so quickly and effortlessly, his watchful wariness, the caved-in side of his face which gave him the look of a man who had endured suffering and danger. He was obviously a man of "respect."
As Michael stepped off the pier the first man to greet him was a priest, body plump in cassock, his head crowned by a greasy batlike hat. The white clerical collar was sprinkled with red Sicilian dust, the face above was worldly with flesh.
This was Father Beniamino Malo, brother to the great Don Croce. He had a shy and pious manner, but he was devoted to his renowned relative and never flinched at having the devil so close to his bosom. The malicious even whispered that he handed over the secrets of the confessional to Don Croce.
Father Beniamino smiled nervously as he shook Michael's hand and seemed surprised and relieved by Michael's friendly, lopsided grin, so unlike that of a famous murderer.
The second man was not so cordial, though polite enough. This was Inspector Federico Velardi, head of the Security Police of all Sicily. He was the only one of the three who did not have a welcoming smile on his face. Thin and far too beautifully tailored for a man who received a government salary, his cold blue eyes shot two genetic bullets from long-ago Norman conquerors. Inspector Velardi could have no love for an American who killed high-ranking police officials. He might try his luck in Sicily. Velardi's handshake was like the touching of swords.
The third man was taller and bulkier; he seemed huge beside the other two. He imprisoned Michael's hand, then pulled him forward into an affectionate embrace. "Cousin Michael," he said. "Welcome to Palermo." He drew back and regarded Michael with a fond but wary eye. "I am Stefano Andolini, your father and I grew up together in Corleone. I saw you in America, when you were a child. Do you remember me?"
Oddly enough Michael did remember. For Stefano Andolini was that rarest of all Sicilians, a redhead. Which was his cross, for Sicilians believe that Judas was a redheaded man. His face too was unforgettable. The mouth was huge and irregular, the thick lips like bloody hacked meat; above were hairy nostrils, and eyes cavernous in deep sockets. Though he was smiling, it was a face that made you dream of murder.
With the priest, Michael understood the connection at once. But Inspector Velardi was a surprise. Andolini, carrying out the responsibility of a relative, carefully explained to Michael the Inspector's official capacity. Michael was wary. What was the man doing here? Velardi was reputed to be one of Salvatore Guiliano's most implacable pursuers. And it was obvious that the Inspector and Stefano Andolini disliked each other; they behaved with the exquisite courtesy of two men readying themselves for a duel to the death.
The chauffeur had the car door open for them. Father Beniamino and Stefano Andolini ushered Michael into the back seat with deferential pats. Father Beniamino insisted with Christian humility that Michael sit by the window while he sat in the middle, for Michael must see the beauties of Palermo. Andolini took the other back seat. The Inspector had already jumped in beside the chauffeur. Michael noticed that Inspector Velardi held the door handle so that he could twist it open quickly. The thought passed through Michael's mind that perhaps Father Beniamino had scurried into the middle seat to make himself less of a target.
Like a great black dragon, the car moved slowly through the streets of Palermo. On this avenue rose graceful Moorish-looking houses, massive Greek-columned public buildings, Spanish cathedrals. Private houses painted blue, painted white, painted yellow, all had balconies festooned with flowers that formed another highway above their heads. It would have been a pretty sight except for squads of carabinieri, the Italian National Police, who patrolled every corner, rifles at the ready. And more of them on the balconies above.
Their car dwarfed the other vehicles surrounding it, especially the mule-drawn peasant carts which carried in most of the fresh produce from the countryside. These carts were painted in gay, vivid colors, every inch of them down to the spokes of the wheels, the shafts that held the mules. On the sides of many carts were murals showing helmeted knights and crowned kings in dramatic scenes from the legends of Charlemagne and Roland, those ancient heroes of Sicilian folklore. But on some carts Michael saw scrawled, beneath the figure of a handsome youth in moleskin trousers and sleeveless white shirt, guns in his belt, guns slung over his shoulder, a legend of two lines which always ended with great red letters that spelled out the name Guiliano.
During his exile in Sicily, Michael had heard a good deal about Salvatore Guiliano. His name had always been in the newspapers. People everywhere talked about him. Michael's bride, Apollonia, had confessed that every night she said prayers for the safety of Guiliano, as did nearly all the children and young people of Sicily. They adored him, he was one of them, he was the man they all dreamed of becoming. Young, in his twenties, he was acclaimed a great general because he outfought the carabinieri armies sent against him. He was handsome and he was generous, he gave most of his criminal earnings to the poor. He was virtuous and his bandits were never permitted to molest women or priests. When he executed an informer or a traitor, he always gave the victim time to say his prayers and cleanse his soul in order to be on the best of terms with the rulers of the next world. All this Michael knew without being briefed.
They turned off the avenue and a huge black-lettered poster on a house wall caught Michael's eye. He just had time to see the word Guiliano on the top line. Father Beniamino had been leaning toward the window and said, "It is one of Guiliano's proclamations. Despite everything he still controls Palermo at night."
"And what does it say?" Michael asked.
"He permits the people of Palermo to ride the streetcars again," Father Beniamino said.
"He permits?" Michael asked with a smile. "An outlaw permits?"
On the other side of the car Stefano Andolini laughed. "The carabinieri ride the trams so Guiliano blows them up. But first he warned the public not to use them. Now he is promising not to blow them up anymore."
Michael said dryly, "And why did Guiliano blow up trams full of police?"
Inspector Velardi turned his head, blue eyes glaring at Michael. "Because Rome in its stupidity arrested his father and mother for consorting with a known criminal, their own son. A Fascist law never repealed by the republic."
Father Beniamino said with quiet pride. "My brother, Don Croce, arranged for their release. Oh, my brother was very angry with Rome."
Christ, Michael thought. Don Croce was angry with Rome? Who the hell was this Don Croce besides being pezzonovante in the Mafia?
The car stopped in front of a block-long, rose-colored building. Blue minarets crowned each separate corner. Before the entrance an extraordinary, wide green-striped canopy lettered Hotel Umberto was guarded by two doormen stuffed into dazzling gold-buttoned uniforms. But Michael was not distracted by this splendor.
His practiced eye photographed the street in front of the hotel. He spotted at least ten bodyguards walking in couples, leaning against the iron railings. These men were not disguising their function. Unbuttoned jackets revealed weapons strapped to their bodies. Two of them smoking thin cigars blocked Michael's path for a moment when he came out of the car, scrutinizing him closely – measuring him for a grave. They ignored Inspector Velardi and the others.
As the group entered the hotel, the guards sealed off the entrance behind them. In the lobby four more guards materialized and escorted them down a long corridor. These men had the proud looks of palace servants to an emperor.
The end of the corridor was barred by two massive oaken doors. A man seated in a high, thronelike chair stood up and unlocked the doors with a bronze key. He bowed, giving Father Beniamino a conspiratorial smile as he did so.
The doors opened into a magnificent suite of rooms; open French windows revealed a luxuriously deep garden beyond, which blew in the smell of lemon trees. As they entered Michael could see two men posted on the inside of the suite. Michael wondered why Don Croce was so heavily guarded. He was Guiliano's friend, he was the confidant of the Minister of Justice in Rome and therefore safe from the carabinieri who filled the town of Palermo. Then who, and what, did the great Don fear? Who was his enemy?
The furniture in the living room of the suite had been originally designed for an Italian palace – gargantuan armchairs, sofas as long and deep as small ships, massive marble tables that looked as if they had been stolen from museums. They suitably framed the man who now came in from the garden to greet them. His arms were held out to embrace Michael Corleone. Standing, Don Croce was almost as wide as he was tall. Thick gray hair, crinkly as a Negro's, carefully barbered, crowned a head massively leonine. His eyes were lizardly dark, two raisins embedded on top of heavily fleshed cheeks. These cheeks were two great slabs of mahogany, the left side planed smooth, the other creased with overgrown flesh. The mouth was surprisingly delicate, and above it was a thin mustache. The thick imperial spike of a nose nailed his face together.
But beneath that emperor's head he was all peasant. Huge ill-fitting trousers encircled his enormous middle, and these were held up by wide off-white suspenders. His voluminous shirt was white and freshly laundered but not ironed. He wore no tie or coat and his feet were bare on the marble floor.
He did not look like a man who "wet his beak" from every business enterprise in Palermo down to the lowly market stalls in the square. It was hard to believe that he was responsible for a thousand deaths. That he ruled Western Sicily far more than did the government in Rome. And that he was richer than the dukes and barons who owned great Sicilian estates.
The embrace he gave Michael was swift and light as he said, "I knew your father when we were children. It is a joy to me that he has such a fine son." Then he inquired as to the comfort of his guest's journey and his present necessities. Michael smiled and said he would enjoy a morsel of bread and a drop of wine. Don Croce immediately led him into the garden, for like all Sicilians he ate his meals out of doors when he could.
A table had been set up by a lemon tree. It sparkled with polished glass and fine white linen. Wide bamboo chairs were pulled back by servants. Don Croce supervised the seating with a vivacious courtesy, younger than his age; he was now in his sixties. He sat Michael on his right and his brother, the priest, on his left. He placed Inspector Velardi and Stefano Andolini across from him and regarded them both with a certain coolness.
All Sicilians are good eaters, when there is food to be had, and one of the few jokes people dared to make about Don Croce was that he would rather eat well than kill an enemy. Now he sat with a smile of benign pleasure on his face, knife and fork in hand as the servants brought out the food. Michael glanced around the garden. It was enclosed by a high stone wall and there were at least ten guards scattered around at their own small luncheon tables, but no more than two at each table and well away to give Don Croce and his companions privacy. The garden was filled with the fragrance of lemon trees and olive oil.
Don Croce served Michael personally, ladling roasted chicken and potatoes onto his plate, supervising the tossing of grated cheese on his little side dish of spaghetti, filling his wineglass with cloudy local white wine. He did this with an intense interest, a genuine concern that it was a matter of importance for his new friend to eat and drink well. Michael was hungry, he had not tasted food since dawn, and the Don was kept busy replenishing his plate. He also kept a sharp eye on the plates of the other guests, and when necessary he made a gesture for a servant to fill a glass or cover an empty dish with food.
Finally they were done, and sipping his cup of espresso, the Don was ready for business.
He said to Michael, "So you're going to help our friend Guiliano run off to America."
"Those are my instructions," Michael said. "I must make certain he enters America without misfortune."
Don Croce nodded; his massive mahogany face wore the sleepy amiable look of the obese. His vibrant tenor voice was surprising from that face and body. "It was all arranged between me and your father, I was to deliver Salvatore Guiliano to you. But nothing runs smooth in life, there is always the unexpected. It is now difficult to keep my part of the bargain." He held up his hand to keep Michael from interrupting. "Through no fault of my own. I have not changed. But Guiliano no longer trusts anyone, not even me. For years, almost from the first day he became an outlaw, I helped him survive; we were partners. With my help he became the greatest man in Sicily though even now he is a mere boy of twenty-seven. But his time is over. Five thousand Italian soldiers and field police are searching the mountains. Still he refuses to put himself in my hands."
"Then there is nothing I can do for him," Michael said. "My orders are to wait no more than seven days, then I must leave for America."
And even as he said this he wondered why it was so important for his father to have Guiliano escape. Michael desperately wanted to get home after so many years of exile. He worried about his father's health. When Michael had fled America his father had been lying, critically wounded, in the hospital. Since his flight his older brother Sonny had been murdered. The Corleone Family had been engaged in a desperate battle for survival against the Five Families of New York. A battle that had reached from America into the heart of Sicily to kill Michael's young bride. It was true that messengers from his father had brought news that the old Don had recovered from his wounds, that he had made peace with the Five Families, that he had arranged for all charges against Michael to be dropped. But Michael knew that his father was waiting for him to come to be his right-hand man. That everyone in his family would be anxious to see him – his sister, Connie, his brother Freddie, his foster brother, Tom Hagen, and his poor mother, who would certainly still be grieving over the death of Sonny. Michael thought fleetingly of Kay – would she still be thinking of him after his vanishing for two years? But the crucial thing was: Why was his father delaying his return? It could only be for something of the utmost importance connected with Guiliano.
Suddenly he was aware of Inspector Velardi's cold blue eyes studying him. The thin aristocratic face was scornful, as if Michael had shown cowardice.
"Be patient," Don Croce said. "Our friend Andolini still serves as contact between me and Guiliano and his family. We will all reason together. When you leave here, you will visit Guiliano's father and mother in Montelepre, it is on your way to Trapani." He paused for a moment and smiled, a smile that did not break the massiveness of his cheeks. "I have been told of your plans. All of them." He said this with peculiar emphasis, but, Michael thought, he could not possibly know all the plans. The Godfather never told anyone all of anything.
Don Croce went on smoothly. "All of us who love Guiliano agree on two things. He can no longer stay in Sicily and he must emigrate to America. Inspector Velardi is in accord."
"That is strange even for Sicily," Michael said with a smile. "The Inspector is head of the Security Police sworn to capture Guiliano."
Don Croce laughed, a short mechanical laugh. "Who can understand Sicily? But this is simple. Rome prefers Guiliano happy in America, not screaming accusations from the witness cage in a Palermo court. It's all politics."
Michael was bewildered. He felt an acute discomfort. This was not going according to plan. "Why is it in Inspector Velardi's interest to have him escape? Guiliano dead is no danger."
Inspector Velardi answered in a contemptuous voice. "That would be my choice," he said. "But Don Croce loves him like a son."
Stefano Andolini stared at the Inspector malevolently. Father Beniamino ducked his head as he drank from his glass. But Don Croce said sternly to the Inspector, "We are all friends here, we must speak the truth to Michael. Guiliano holds a trump card. He has a diary he calls his Testament. In it he gives proofs that the government in Rome, certain officials, have helped him during his years of banditry, for purposes of their own, political purposes. If that document becomes public the Christian Democratic government would fall and we would have the Socialists and Communists ruling Italy. Inspector Velardi agrees with me that anything must be done to prevent that. So he is willing to help Guiliano escape with the Testament with the understanding that it will not be made public."
"Have you seen this Testament?" Michael asked. He wondered if his father knew about it. His instructions had never mentioned such a document.
"I know of its contents," Don Croce said.
Inspector Velardi said sharply, "If I could make the decision I would say kill Guiliano and be damned to his Testament."
Stefano Andolini glared at the Inspector with a look of hatred so naked and intense that for the first time Michael realized that here was a man almost as dangerous as Don Croce himself. Andolini said, "Guiliano will never surrender and you are not a good enough man to put him in his grave. You would be much wiser to look after yourself."
Don Croce raised his hand slowly and there was silence at the table. He spoke slowly to Michael, ignoring the others. "It may be I cannot keep my promise to your father to deliver Guiliano to you. Why Don Corleone concerns himself in this affair, I can't tell you. Be assured he has his reasons and that those reasons are good. But what can I do? This afternoon you go to Guiliano's parents, convince them their son must trust me and remind those dear people that it was I who had them released from prison." He paused for a moment. "Then perhaps we can help their son."
In his years of exile and hiding, Michael had developed an animal instinct for danger. He disliked Inspector Velardi, he feared the murderous Stefano Andolini, Father Beniamino gave him the creeps. But most of all Don Croce sent alarm signals clanging through his brain.
All the men at the table hushed their voices when they spoke to Don Croce, even his own brother, Father Beniamino. They leaned toward him with bowed heads waiting for his speech, they even stopped chewing their food. The servants circled around him as if he were a sun, the bodyguards scattered around the garden constantly kept their eyes on him, ready to spring forward at his command and tear everyone to pieces.
Michael said carefully, "Don Croce, I am here to follow your every wish."
The Don nodded his huge head in benediction, folded his well-shaped hands over his stomach and said in his powerful tenor voice, "We must be absolutely frank with each other. Tell me, what are your plans for Guiliano's escape? Speak to me as a son to his father."
Michael glanced quickly at Inspector Velardi. He would never speak frankly, before the head of the Security Police of Sicily. Don Croce understood immediately. "Inspector Velardi is completely guided by my advice," he said. "You may trust him as you do me."
Michael raised his glass of wine to drink. Over it he could see the guards watching them, spectators at a play. He could see Inspector Velardi grimace, not liking even the diplomacy of the Don's speech, the message being clear that Don Croce ruled him and his office. He saw the frown on the murderous huge-lipped face of Stefano Andolini. Only Father Beniamino refused to meet his gaze and bowed his head. Michael drank the glass of cloudy white wine and a servant immediately refilled it. Suddenly the garden seemed a dangerous place.
He knew in his bones that what Don Croce had said could not be true. Why should any of them at this table trust the head of the Security Police of Sicily? Would Guiliano? The history of Sicily was larded with treachery, Michael thought sourly; he remembered his dead wife. So why was Don Croce being so trustful? And why the massive security around him? Don Croce was the top man of the Mafia. He had the most powerful connections in Rome and indeed served as their unofficial deputy here in Sicily. Then what did Don Croce fear? It could only be Guiliano.
But the Don was watching. Michael tried to speak with the utmost sincerity. "My plans are simple. I am to wait in Trapani until Salvatore Guiliano is delivered to me. By you and your people. A fast ship will take us to Africa. We will of course have the necessary papers of identity. From Africa we fly to America where it has been arranged for us to enter without the usual formalities. I hope it will be as easy as they have made it sound." He paused for a moment. "Unless you have another counsel."
The Don sighed and drank from his glass. Then he fixed his eyes on Michael. He started to speak slowly and impressively. "Sicily is a tragic land," he said. "There is no trust. There is no order. Only violence and treachery in abundance. You look wary, my young friend, and you have every right. And so, too, our Guiliano. Let me tell you this: Turi Guiliano could not have survived without my protection; he and I have been two fingers on one hand. And now he thinks me his enemy. Ah, you can't know what sorrow this brings me. My only dream is that one day Turi Guiliano can return to his family and be acclaimed the champion of Sicily. He is a true Christian and a brave man. And with a heart so tender that he has won the love of every Sicilian." Don Croce paused and drank off a glass of wine. "But the tide has turned against him. He is alone in the mountains with barely a handful of men to face the army that Italy sends against him. And he has been betrayed at every turn. So he trusts no one, not even himself."
The Don looked at Michael for a moment very coldly. "If I were completely honest," he said, "if I did not love Guiliano so much, perhaps I would give advice I do not owe you. Perhaps I should say, in all fairness, go home to America without him. We are coming to the end of a tragedy which in no way concerns you." The Don paused for a moment and sighed again. "But of course, you are our only hope and I must beg you to stay and help our cause. I will assist in every way, I will never desert Guiliano." Don Croce raised his wineglass. "May he live a thousand years."
They all drank and Michael calculated. Did the Don want him to stay or to desert Guiliano? Stefano Andolini spoke. "Remember we have promised the parents of Guiliano that Michael will visit them in Montelepre."
"By all means," Don Croce said gently. "We must give his parents some hope."
Father Beniamino said with a too humble insistence, "And perhaps they will know something about the Testament."
Don Croce sighed. "Yes, Guiliano's Testament. He thinks it will save his life or at least avenge his death." He spoke directly to Michael. "Remember this. Rome fears the Testament, but I do not. And tell his parents what is written on paper affects history. But not life. Life is a different history."
The road from Palermo to Montelepre was no more than a one-hour drive. But in that hour Michael and Andolini went from the civilization of a city to the primitive culture of the Sicilian countryside. Stefano Andolini drove the tiny Fiat, and in the afternoon sun his close-shaved cheeks and chin blazed with countless grains of scarlet hair roots. He drove carefully and slowly, as men do who have learned to drive motor vehicles late in life. The Fiat panted as if short of breath as it wound uphill through the enormous range of mountains.
At five different points they were stopped by roadblocks of the National Police, platoons of at least twelve men backed by an armored car bristling with machine guns. Andolini's papers got them through.
It was strange to Michael that the country could become so wild and primitive such a short distance from the great city of Palermo. They passed tiny villages of stone houses that were precariously balanced on steep slopes. These slopes were carefully gardened into terraced narrow fields growing neat rows of spiky green plants. Small hills were studded with countless huge white boulders half-buried in moss and bamboo stalks; in the distance they looked like vast unsculptured cemeteries.
At intervals along the road were holy shrines, padlocked wooden boxes that held statues of the Virgin Mary or some particular favored saint. At one of these shrines, Michael saw a woman on her knees praying, her husband sitting in their donkey-drawn cart guzzling a bottle of wine. The donkey's head drooped like a martyr's.
Stefano Andolini reached over to caress Michael's shoulder and said, "It does my heart good to see you, my dear cousin. Did you know that the Guilianos are related to us?"
Michael was sure this was a lie; there was something in that foxily red smile. "No," he said. "I only knew the parents worked for my father in America."
"As I did," Andolini said. "We helped build your father's house on Long Island. Old Guiliano was a fine bricklayer, and though your father offered him a place in the olive oil business, he stuck to his trade. He worked like a Negro for eighteen years and saved like a Jew. Then he came back to Sicily to live like an Englishman. But the war and Mussolini made their lire worthless and now he owns only his house and a small piece of land to farm. He curses the day he left America. They thought their little boy would grow up a prince and now he is a bandit."
The Fiat had stirred up a cloud of dust; alongside the road growths of prickly pears and bamboo had a ghostly appearance, the pears in their clusters seeming to form human hands. In the valleys they could see the olive groves and grapevines. Suddenly Andolini said, "Turi was conceived in America."
He saw Michael's questioning glance. "Yes, he was conceived in America but born in Sicily. A few months' wait and Turi would be an American citizen." He paused for a moment. "Turi always talks about that. Do you really think you can help him escape?"
"I don't know," Michael said. "After lunch with the Inspector and Don Croce, I don't know what anything means. Do they want me to help? My father said Don Croce would do so. He never mentioned the Inspector."
Andolini brushed back his thinning hair. Unconsciously his foot pressed down on the gas pedal and the Fiat scooted forward. "Guiliano and Don Croce are enemies now," he said. "But we have made plans without Don Croce. Turi and his parents count on you. They know your father has never been false to a friend."
Michael said, "And whose side are you on?"
Andolini sighed. "I fight for Guiliano," he said. "We have been comrades for the last five years and before that he spared my life. But I live in Sicily and so cannot defy Don Croce to his face. I walk a tight rope between the two, but I will never betray Guiliano."
Michael thought, What the hell was the man saying? Why couldn't he get a straight answer from any of them? Because this was Sicily, he thought. Sicilians had a horror of truth. Tyrants and Inquisitors had tortured them for the truth over thousands of years. The government in Rome with its legal forms demanded the truth. The priest in the confessional box commanded the truth under pain of everlasting hell. But truth was a source of power, a lever of control, why should anyone give it away?
He would have to find his own way, Michael thought, or perhaps abandon the mission and hurry home. He was on dangerous ground here, there was obviously some sort of vendetta between Guiliano and Don Croce and to be caught in the vortex of a Sicilian vendetta was suicidal. For the Sicilian believes that vengeance is the only true justice, and that it is always merciless. On this Catholic island, statues of a weeping Jesus in every home, Christian forgiveness was a contemptible refuge of the coward.
"Why did Guiliano and Don Croce become enemies?" Michael asked.
"Because of the tragedy at the Portella della Ginestra," Andolini said. "Two years ago. After that it was never the same. Guiliano blamed Don Croce."
Suddenly the car seemed to drop almost vertically, the road was descending out of the mountains into a valley. They passed the ruins of a Norman castle, built to terrorize the countryside nine hundred years ago and now crawling with harmless lizards and a few stray goats. Down below, Michael could see the town of Montelepre.
It was buried deep in the closely surrounding mountains as if it were a bucket hanging in the bottom of a well. It formed a perfect circle, there were no outlying houses, and the late afternoon sun bathed the stones of its walls with dark red fire. Now the Fiat was coasting down a narrow twisting street and Andolini braked it to a stop where a roadblock manned by a platoon of carabinieri barred their way. One motioned with his rifle for them to get out of the car.
Michael watched Andolini show his documents to the police. He saw the special red-bordered pass that he knew could only be issued by the Minister of Justice in Rome. Michael had one himself which he had been instructed to show only as a last resort. How did a man like Andolini get such a powerful document?
Then they were back in the car and rolling through the narrow streets of Montelepre, so narrow that if a car came from the opposite direction they could not pass each other. The houses all had elegant balconies and were painted different colors. Many were blue, a few less were white and there were some painted pink. A very few were yellow. At this time of the day the women were inside cooking dinner for their husbands. But no children were in the streets. Instead, each corner was patrolled by a pair of carabinieri. Montelepre looked like an occupied town under martial law. Only a few old men looked down from their balconies with faces of stone.
The Fiat stopped in front of a row of attached houses, one of which was painted a bright blue and had a gate in which the grillwork formed the letter "G." The gate was opened by a small wiry man of about sixty who wore an American suit, dark and striped, a white shirt and a black tie. This was Guiliano's father. He gave Andolini a quick but affectionate embrace. He patted Michael on the shoulder almost gratefully as he ushered them into the house.
Guiliano's father had the face of a man suffering the awaited death of a loved one terminally ill. It was obvious he was controlling his emotions very strictly, but his hand went up to his face as if to force his features to keep their shape. His body was rigid, moving stiffly, yet wavering slightly.
They entered a large sitting room, luxurious for a Sicilian home in this small town. Dominating the room was a huge enlargement of a photograph, too fuzzy to be recognizable, framed in oval cream-colored wood. Michael knew immediately this must be Salvatore Guiliano. Beneath, on a small round black table, was a votive light. On another table was a framed picture defined more clearly. Father, mother and son stood against a red curtain, the son with his arm possessively around his mother. Salvatore Guiliano looked directly into the camera, as if challenging it. The face was extraordinarily handsome, like that of a Grecian statue, the features a little heavy as though wrought in marble, the lips full and sensual, the eyes oval with half-closed lids set wide apart. It was the face of a man without self-doubt, determined to impose himself upon the world. But what no one had prepared Michael for was the good-humored sweetness of that handsome face.
There were other pictures of him with his sisters and their husbands, but these were almost hidden on shadowy corner tables.
Guiliano's father led them into the kitchen. Guiliano's mother turned from the cooking stove to greet them. Maria Lombardo Guiliano looked much older than the photograph of her in the other room, indeed looked like some other woman. Her polite smile was like a rictus on the bone-set exhaustion of her face, her skin chapped and rough. Her hair was long and full over her shoulders but streaked with heavy ropes of gray. What was startling was her eyes. They were almost black with an impersonal hatred of this world that was crushing her and her son.
She ignored her husband and Stefano Andolini, she spoke directly to Michael. "Have you come to help my son or not?" The other two men looked embarrassed at the rudeness of her question, but Michael smiled at her gravely.
"Yes, I am with you."
Some of the tension went out of her, and she bowed her head into her hands as if she had expected a blow. Andolini said to her in a soothing voice, "Father Beniamino asked to come, I told him you did not wish it."
Maria Lombardo raised her head and Michael marveled at how her face showed every emotion she felt. The scorn, the hatred, the fear, the irony of her words matching the flinty smile, the grimaces she could not repress. "Oh, Father Beniamino has a good heart, without a doubt," she said. "And with that good heart of his he is like the plague, he brings death to an entire village. He is like the sisal plant – brush against him and you will bleed. And he brings the secrets of the confessional to his brother, he sells the souls in his keeping to the devil."
Guiliano's father said with quiet reasonableness, as if he were trying to quiet a madman, "Don Croce is our friend. He had us released from prison."
Guiliano's mother burst out furiously, "Ah, Don Croce, 'The Good Soul,' how kind he is always. But let me tell you, Don Croce is a serpent. He aims a gun forward and slaughters his friend by his side. He and our son were going to rule Sicily together, and now Turi is hiding alone in the mountains and 'The Good Soul' is free as air in Palermo with his whores. Don Croce has only to whistle and Rome licks his feet. And yet he has committed more crimes than our Turi. He is evil and our son is good. Ah, if I were a man like you I would kill Don Croce. I would put 'The Good Soul' to rest." She made a gesture of disgust. "You men understand nothing."
Guiliano's father said impatiently, "I understand our guest must be on the road in a few hours and that he must eat something before we can talk."
Guiliano's mother suddenly became quite different. She was solicitous. "Poor man, you've traveled all day to see us, you had to listen to Don Croce's lies and my ravings. Where do you go?"
"I must be in Trapani by morning," Michael said. "I stay with friends of my father until your son comes to me."
There was a stillness in the room. He sensed they all knew his history. They saw the wound he had lived with for two years, the caved-in side of his face. Guiliano's mother came to him and gave him a quick embrace.
"Have a glass of wine," she said. "Then you go for a walk through the town. Food will be waiting on the table within the hour. And by that time Turi's friends will have arrived and we can talk sensibly."
Andolini and Guiliano's father put Michael between them and strolled down the narrow, cobbled streets of Montelepre, the stones gleaming black now that the sun had fallen out of the sky. In the hazy blue air before twilight, only the figures of the National Police, the carabinieri, moved around them. At every intersection, thin snakelike alleyways ran like venom off the Via Bella. The town seemed deserted.
"This was once a lively town," Guiliano's father said. "Always, always very poor, like all of Sicily, a lot of misery, but it was alive. Now more than seven hundred of our citizens are in jail, arrested for conspiracy with my son. They are innocent, most of them, but the government arrests them to frighten the others, to make them inform against my Turi. There are over two thousand National Police around this town and other thousands hunt Turi in the mountains. And so people no longer eat their dinner out of doors, their children can no longer play in the street. The police are such cowards they fire their guns if a rabbit runs across the road. There is a curfew after dark, and if a woman of the town wants to visit a neighbor and is caught they offer her indignities and insults. The men they cart off to torture in their Palermo dungeons." He sighed. "Such things could never happen in America. I curse the day I left."
Stefano Andolini made them pause as he lit a small cigar. Puffing, he said with a smile, "Tell the truth, all Sicilians prefer smelling the shit of their villages to the best perfumes in Paris. What am I doing here? I could have escaped to Brazil like some others. Ah, we love where we are born, we Sicilians, but Sicily does not love us."
Guiliano's father shrugged. "I was a fool to come back. If I had only waited a few more months my Turi would have been an American by law. But the air of that country must have seeped into his mother's womb." He shook his head in bewilderment. "Why did my son always concern himself with the troubles of other people, even those not related by blood? He always had such grand ideas, he always talked of justice. A true Sicilian talks of bread."
As they walked down the Via Bella, Michael saw that the town was built ideally for ambush and guerrilla warfare. The streets were so narrow that only one motor vehicle could pass through, and many were only wide enough for the small carts and donkeys Sicilians still used for the transport of goods. A few men could hold back any invading force and then escape to the white limestone mountains that encircled the town.
They descended into the central square. Andolini pointed to the small church that dominated it and said, "It was in this church that Turi hid when the National Police tried to capture him that very first time. Since then, he has been a ghost." The three men watched the church door as if Salvatore Guiliano might appear before them.
The sun dropped behind the mountains, and they returned to the house just before curfew. Two strange men were waiting inside for them, strangers only to Michael, for they embraced Guiliano's father and shook Stefano Andolini's hand.
One was a slim young man with extremely sallow skin and huge dark feverish eyes. He had a dandyish mustache and an almost feminine prettiness, but he was in no way effeminate looking. He had the air of proud cruelty that comes to a man with a will to command at any cost.
When he was introduced as Gaspare Pisciotta, Michael was astonished. Pisciotta was Turi Guiliano's second in command, his cousin and his dearest friend. Next to Guiliano, he was the most wanted man in Sicily, with a price of five million lire on his head. From the legends Michael had heard, the name Gaspare Pisciotta conjured up a more dangerous and evil-looking man. And yet here he stood, so slender and with the feverish flush of the consumptive on his face. Here in Montelepre surrounded by two thousand of Rome's military police.
The other man was equally surprising but for a different reason. At first glance, Michael flinched. The man was so small that he could be taken for a dwarf but had such dignified bearing that Michael sensed immediately that his flinching might give mortal offense. He was dressed in an exquisitely tailored gray pin-striped suit, and a wide, rich-looking silver-toned tie rode down his creamy white shirt. His hair was thick and almost white; he could be no more than fifty years of age. He was elegant. Or as elegant as a very short man could be. He had a craggy, handsome face with a generous but sensitively curved mouth.
He recognized Michael's discomfort and greeted him with an ironic but kindly smile. He was introduced as Professor Hector Adonis.
Maria Lombardo Guiliano had dinner set out on the table in the kitchen. They ate by a window near the balcony where they could see the red-streaked sky, the darkness of night snuffing out the surrounding mountains. Michael ate slowly, aware they were all watching him, judging him. The food was very plain but good, spaghetti with the black inky sauce of squid and rabbit stew, hot with red pepper tomato sauce. Finally Gaspare Pisciotta spoke in the local Sicilian dialect. "So, you are the son of Vito Corleone who is greater even than our own Don Croce, they tell me. And it is you who will save our Turi."
His voice had a cool mocking tone, a tone that invited you to take offense if you dared. His smile seemed to question the motive behind every action, as if to say, "Yes, it's true you are doing a good deed, but for what purpose of your own?" Yet it was not at all disrespectful, he knew Michael's history, they were fellow murderers.
Michael said, "I follow my father's orders. I am to wait in Trapani until Guiliano comes to me. Then I will take him to America."
Pisciotta said more seriously, "And once Turi is in your hands, you guarantee his safety? You can protect him against Rome?"
Michael was aware of Guiliano's mother watching him intently, her face strained with anxiety. He said carefully, "As much as a man can guarantee anything against fate. Yes, I'm confident."
He saw the mother's face relax, but Pisciotta said harshly, "I am not. You put your trust in Don Croce this afternoon. You told him your plan of escape."
"Why should I not?" Michael fired back. How the hell did Pisciotta know the details of his lunch with Don Croce so quickly? "My father's briefing said that Don Croce would arrange Guiliano's delivery to me. In any case I told him only one escape plan."
"And the others?" Pisciotta asked. He saw Michael hesitate. "Speak freely. If the people in this room cannot be trusted then there is no hope for Turi."
The little man, Hector Adonis, spoke for the first time. He had an extraordinarily rich voice, the voice of a born orator, a natural persuader of men. "My dear Michael, you must understand that Don Croce is Turi Guiliano's enemy. Your father's information is behind the times. Obviously we can't deliver Turi to you without taking precautions." He spoke the elegant Italian of Rome, not the Sicilian dialect.
Guiliano's father broke in. "I trust Don Corleone's promise to help my son. Of that there can be no question."
Hector Adonis said, "I insist, we must know your plans."
"I can tell you what I told Don Croce," Michael said. "But why should I tell anyone my other plans? If I asked you where Turi Guiliano was hiding now, would you tell me?"
Michael saw Pisciotta smile with genuine approval of his answer. But Hector Adonis said, "It's not the same thing. You have no reason for knowing where Turi hides. We must know your plans to help."
Michael said quietly, "I know nothing about you."
A brilliant smile broke across the handsome face of Hector Adonis. Then the little man stood up and bowed. "Forgive me," he said with the utmost sincerity. "I was Turi's schoolteacher when he was a little boy and his parents honored me by making me his godfather. I am now a Professor of History and Literature at the University of Palermo. However, my best credentials can be vouched for by everyone at this table. I am now, and have always been, a member of Guiliano's band."
Stefano Andolini said quietly, "I too am a member of the band. You know my name and that I am your cousin. But I am also called Fra Diavalo. "
This too was a legendary name in Sicily that Michael had heard many times. He has earned that murderer's face, Michael thought. And he too was a fugitive with a price on his head. Yet that afternoon he had sat down to lunch next to Inspector Velardi.
They were all waiting for him to answer. Michael had no intention of telling them his final plans, but he knew he must tell them something. Guiliano's mother was staring at him intently. He spoke directly to her. "It's very simple," Michael said. "First I must warn you I can wait no longer than seven days, I have been away from home too long and my father needs my help in troubles of his own. Of course you understand how anxious I am to return to my family. But it is my father's wish that I help your son. My last instructions from the courier were that I visit Don Croce here, then proceed to Trapani. There I stay at the villa of the local Don. Waiting there will be men from America whom I can trust absolutely. Qualified men." He paused for a moment. The word "qualified" had a special meaning in Sicily, usually applied to high-ranking Mafia executioners. He went on. "Once Turi comes to me he will be safe. The villa is a fortress. And within a few hours we will board a fast ship to a city in Africa. There a special plane waits to take us immediately to America and there he will be under my father's protection and you need fear for him no more."
Hector Adonis said, "When will you be ready to accept Turi Guiliano?"
Michael said, "I will be in Trapani by early morning. Give me twenty-four hours from then."
Suddenly Guiliano's mother burst into tears. "My poor Turi trusts no one any longer. He will not go to Trapani."
"Then I can't help him," Michael said coldly.
Guiliano's mother seemed to fold up with despair. It was Pisciotta unexpectedly who went to comfort her. He kissed her and held her in his arms. "Maria Lombardo, don't worry," he said. "Turi still listens to me. I will tell him we all believe in this man from America, isn't that true?" He looked at the other men inquiringly and they nodded. "I will bring Turi to Trapani myself."
Everyone seemed content. Michael realized that his cold reply was what had convinced them to trust him. Sicilians all, they were suspicious of a too warm and human generosity. On his part, he was impatient with their carefulness and the disarray of his father's plans. Don Croce was now an enemy, Guiliano might not come to him quickly, indeed might not come at all. After all, what was Turi Guiliano to him? For that matter, he wondered again, what was Guiliano to his father?
They were ushering him into the small living room where the mother served coffee and anisette, apologizing that there was no sweet. The anisette would warm Michael for his long night journey to Trapani, they said. Hector Adonis took a gold cigarette case out of his elegantly tailored jacket and offered it around, then put a cigarette into his own delicately cut mouth and so far forgot himself that he leaned back in his chair so that his feet no longer touched the floor. For a moment he looked like a puppet dangling from a cord.
Maria Lombardo pointed to the huge portrait on the wall. "Isn't he handsome?" she said. "And he is as good as he is beautiful. My heart broke when he became an outlaw. Do you remember that terrible day, Signor Adonis? And all the lies they tell about the Portella della Ginestra? My son would never have done such a thing."
The other men were embarrassed. Michael wondered for the second time that day what had happened at the Portella della Ginestra but did not want to ask.
Hector Adonis said, "When I was Turi's teacher, he was a great reader, he knew the legends of Charlemagne and Roland by heart and now he is one of the myths himself. My heart broke, too, when he became an outlaw."
Guiliano's mother said bitterly, "He will be lucky if he remains alive. Oh, why did we want our son born here? Oh, yes, we wanted him to be a true Sicilian." She gave a wild and bitter laugh. "And so he is. He goes in fear of his life and with a price on his head." She paused and then said with fierce conviction, "And my son is a saint."
Michael noticed that Pisciotta smiled in a peculiar way, as people do when listening to fond parents who speak too sentimentally about their children's virtues. Even Guiliano's father made a gesture of impatience. Stefano Andolini smiled in a crafty way and Pisciotta said affectionately but coolly, "My dear Maria Lombardo, don't make out your son to be so helpless. He gave better than he received and his enemies fear him still."
Guiliano's mother said more calmly, "I know he's killed many times, but he never committed an injustice. And he always gave them time to cleanse their souls and say their last prayers to God." Suddenly she took Michael by the hand and led him into the kitchen and out onto the balcony. "None of those others really know my son," she said to Michael. "They don't know how kind and gentle he is. Maybe he has to be one way with other men, but he was his true self with me. He obeyed my every word, he never said a harsh word to me. He was a loving dutiful son. In his first days as an outlaw he looked down from the mountains but could not see. And I looked up and could not see. But we felt each other's presence, each other's love. And I feel him now tonight. And I think of him alone in those mountains with thousands of soldiers hunting him down and my heart breaks. And you may be the only one who can save him. Promise me you will wait." She held his hands tightly in her own and tears streamed down her cheeks.
Michael looked out on the dark night, the town of Montelepre nestled in the belly of the great mountains, only the central square showing a pinpoint of light. The sky was stitched with stars. In the streets below there came the occasional clank of small arms and the hoarse voices of patrolling carabinieri. The town seemed full of ghosts. They came on the soft, summer night air laden with the smell of lemon trees, the small whirring of countless insects, the sudden shout of a roving police patrol.
"I'll wait as long as I can," Michael said gently. "But my father needs me at home. You must make your son come to me."
She nodded and then led him back to the others. Pisciotta was pacing up and down the room. He seemed nervous. "We have decided that we must all wait here until daybreak and curfew is over," he said. "There are too many trigger-happy soldiers out there in the dark and there could be an accident. Do you object?" he asked Michael.
"No," Michael said. "As long as it's not too much of an imposition on our hosts."
They dismissed this as irrelevant. They had stayed up through the night many times when Turi Guiliano had sneaked into town to visit his parents. And besides they had many things to talk about, many details to settle. They got comfortable for the long night ahead. Hector Adonis shed his jacket and tie but still looked elegant. The mother brewed fresh coffee.
Michael asked them to tell him everything they could about Turi Guiliano. He felt he had to understand. His parents again told him what a wonderful son Turi had been always. Stefano Andolini told about the day Turi Guiliano had spared his life. Pisciotta told funny stories about Turi's daring and sense of fun and lack of cruelty. Though he could be merciless with traitors and enemies, he never offered an insult to their manhood with torture and humiliation. And then he told the story of the tragedy at the Portella della Ginestra. "He wept that day," Pisciotta said. "In front of all the members of his band."
Maria Lombardo said, "He could not have killed those people at Ginestra."
Hector Adonis soothed her. "We all know that. He was born gentle." He turned to Michael and said, "He loved books, I thought he would become a poet or a scholar. He had a temper, but he was never cruel. Because his was an innocent rage. He hated injustice. He hated the brutality of the carabinieri toward the poor and their obsequiousness toward the rich. Even as a boy he was outraged when he heard of a farmer who could not keep the corn he grew, drink the wine he pressed, eat the pigs he slaughtered. And yet he was a gentle boy."
Pisciotta laughed. "He is not so gentle now. And you, Hector, don't play the little schoolteacher now. On horseback you were as big a man as any of us."
Hector Adonis looked at him sternly. "Aspanu," he said, "this is not the time for your wit."
Pisciotta said to him excitedly, "Little man, do you think I can ever be afraid of you?"
Michael noted that Pisciotta's nickname was Aspanu, and that there was ingrained dislike between the two men. Pisciotta's constant reference to the other man's size, the stern tone in which Adonis always spoke to Pisciotta. There was, in fact, a distrust in the air amongst all of them; the others seemed to hold Stefano Andolini at arm's length, Guiliano's mother seemed to trust no one completely. And yet as the night wore on it was clear that they all loved Turi.
Michael said cautiously, "There is a Testament written by Turi Guiliano. Where is it now?"
There was a long silence, all of them watching him intently. And suddenly their distrust included him.
Finally Hector Adonis spoke. "He started writing it on my advice and I helped him with it. Every page is signed by Turi. All the secret alliances with Don Croce, with the government in Rome and the final truth about the Portella della Ginestra. If it were made public the government must surely fall. It is Guiliano's last card to play if things come to the worst."
"I hope then you have it in a safe place," Michael said.
Pisciotta said, "Yes, Don Croce would like to get his hands on the Testament."
Guiliano's mother said, "At the proper time we will arrange to have the Testament delivered to you. Perhaps you can send it to America with the girl."
Michael looked at them all with surprise. "What girl?" They all looked away, as if with embarrassment or apprehension. They knew this was an unpleasant surprise and were afraid of his reaction.
Guiliano's mother said, "My son's fiancee. She is pregnant." She turned to the others. "She won't vanish into thin air. Will he take her or not? Let him say so now." Though she tried to maintain her composure it was obvious she was worried about Michael's reaction. "She will come to you in Trapani. Turi wants you to send her ahead of him to America. When she sends word back that she is safe, then Turi will come to you."
Michael said cautiously, "I have no instructions. I would have to consult my people in Trapani about the time element. I know that you and your husband are to follow once your son gets to America. Can't the girl wait and go with you?"
Pisciotta said harshly, "The girl is your test. She will send back a code word and then Guiliano will know he is dealing not only with an honest man but an intelligent one. Only then can he believe you can get him safely out of Sicily."
Guiliano's father said angrily, "Aspanu, I have already told you and my son. Don Corleone has given his word to help us."
Pisciotta said smoothly, "Those are Turi's orders."
Michael thought quickly. Finally he said, "I think it's very clever. We can test the escape route and see if it is compromised." He had no intention of using the same escape route for Guiliano. He said to Guiliano's mother, "I can send you and your husband with the girl." He looked at them questioningly, but both the parents shook their heads.
Hector Adonis said to them gently, "It's not a bad idea."
Guiliano's mother said, "We will not leave Sicily while our son is still here." Guiliano's father folded his arms and nodded in agreement. And Michael understood what they were thinking. If Turi Guiliano died in Sicily, they had no wish to be in America. They must stay to mourn him, to bury him, bring flowers to his grave. The final tragedy belonged to them. The girl could go, she was bound only by love, not by blood.
Sometime during the night Maria Lombardo Guiliano showed Michael a scrapbook filled with newspaper stories, posters showing the different prices placed on Guiliano's head by the government in Rome. She showed a picture story published in America by Life magazine in 1948. The story stated that Guiliano was the greatest bandit of modern times, an Italian Robin Hood who robbed the rich to help the poor. It also printed one of the famous letters that Guiliano had sent to the newspapers.
It read: "For five years I have fought to make Sicily free. I have given to the poor what I have taken from the rich. Let the people of Sicily speak out whether I am an outlaw or a fighter for freedom. If they speak against me, I will deliver myself into your hands for judgment. As long as they speak for me I will continue to wage total war."
It sure as hell didn't sound like a bandit on the run, Michael thought, as Maria Lombardo's proud face beamed at him. He felt an identification with her, she looked very much like his own mother. Her face was seamed with past sorrows, but her eyes blazed with a natural love for even more combat against her fate.
Finally it was dawn and Michael rose and said his goodbyes. He was surprised when Guiliano's mother gave him a warm embrace.
"You remind me of my son," she said. "I trust you." She went to the mantel and took down a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary. It was black. The features were Negroid. "Take this as a gift. It is the only thing I own worthy to give you." Michael tried to refuse, but she pressed it on him.
Hector Adonis said, "There are only a few of those statues left in Sicily. Curious, but we are very close to Africa."
Guiliano's mother said, "It doesn't matter what she looks like, you can pray to her."
"Yes," Pisciotta said. "She can do as much good as the other." There was contempt in his voice.
Michael watched Pisciotta take his leave of Guiliano's mother. He could see the real affection between them. Pisciotta kissed her on both cheeks and patted her reassuringly. But she put her head on his shoulder for a brief moment and said, "Aspanu, Aspanu, I love you as I love my son. Don't let them kill Turi." She was weeping.
Pisciotta lost all his coldness, his body seemed to crumple, his dark bony face softened. "You will all grow old in America," he said.
Then he turned to Michael. "I will bring Turi to you within the week," he said.
He went out the door quickly and silently. He had his own special red-bordered pass and he could melt again into the mountains. Hector Adonis would remain with the Guilianos, though he owned a house in town.
Michael and Stefano Andolini got into the Fiat and drove through the central square and onto the road that led to Castelvetrano and the coastal city of Trapani. With Andolini's slow tentative driving and the numerous military roadblocks, it was noon before they came to the town of Trapani.