Taft: My friends, my heart weeps. For many years we have benefited from this thing of ours. With our friends in insurance, banking, energy, and nursing homes, we have earned untold riches. Anyone who wishes to do business in this state, they must first pay us. But now it is all being threatened. Our associate, Mr. Noe, has failed to protect our rare coins and collectibles racket. He has brought unwanted attention to us all.
Consigliere Jimmy Petro: Godfather, my heart sobs too, though mixed with periodic convulsions. Noe has been a good earner for us. His generosity is known to our friends in Washington. But we can no longer offer him our protection. We must make Noe sleep with the fishes before he sings to the feds.
Taft, pounding his fist on the table, his face crimson with fury: Petro! Why must you always speak of fishing? We have pressing business matters --
Petro, interrupting, fear engraved in his face: My deepest apologies, Godfather. It was my desire to employ a traditional criminal euphemism, implying that I wish to make Noe dead. Sadly, I have failed you, Don Roberto.
Taft, regaining composure: Petro, it is I who must apologize. It is a sign of our declining fortunes that we can no longer speak fluent criminal. For this, I am responsible. But I must agree: Noe should sleep in the freezer. How do you propose we do this?
Capo Betty Montgomery, chomping on a cigar: I say we get the lobbyists. They're degenerates. Savages. They'd garrote their own mothers for a day-pass to Cedar Point.
Petro: It is true, Capo Montgomery. The lobbyists, they are beasts from the wilderness. But they are also whores. If the G-Men get to them, they would rat us out for a two-liter of Mountain Dew. They cannot be trusted for such sensitive work.
Taft: What about the bankers? Surely the Bank One Family wishes to return a favor for allowing them to wet their beak on that $25 million no-bid child-support contract.
Petro: I agree, Godfather. The bankers have benefited from many sweetheart deals, and we have protected them from predatory lending laws. But they would try to crush Noe to death by selling him a mortgage at 12 points above prime, and he would live to take revenge.
Taft: Capo Blackwell, you are the most streetwise among us. Perhaps we can call on your friends at the Crips and Bloods?
Blackwell: To my regret, Godfather, we have been unable to locate their offices, and they have failed to register articles of incorporation. But there exists a fiercer gang, with many more guns -- Focus on the Family.
Taft, slapping Blackwell hard across the face: Blackwell! This is no time for focus groups! We are bloodthirsty criminals, not politicians!
Blackwell: Well, actually --
Taft, furious, turning to his bodyguards: Take Blackwell outside! Force him to read the works of Chuck Yarborough! We must teach him to respect the family business!
Montgomery, as a whimpering Blackwell is taken away: I say we call FirstEnergy. They owe us after letting 'em skim $12 billion on that 'stranded costs' scam. These guys, they got a gift for turning people's lights out, if you know what I'm saying. We could get a two-for-one and whack Blackwell too.
Taft: Worry not about Blackwell. Even the strongest of men cannot survive the Yarborough. But our friends at FirstEnergy, they are weak and foolish. They would blow up most of Toledo and southern Michigan, bringing us unneeded attention. Besides, they require millions in subsidies just to walk across the street.
Montgomery: What about the Chamber of Commerce, Godfather? They will do anything to protect our interests.
Taft, again slamming his fist on the table: Fools! I am surrounded by fools! Do you not remember, Montgomery, the last time we trusted the Chamber Family to do a job? They were supposed to take out the Supreme Court justice, Alice Robie Resnick! All they brought us was shame! Still today, she taunts us from the bench with her presence!
We must accept our fate. Our family has grown weak. There is no one left to handle such important work. Deters is hiding in Cincinnati. Householder? Now there was a man who would arc-weld his own children for a nickel. And where are these men today? Gone! This leaves me no other choice. I must make Noe sleep in the fryer myself!
Petro, looking tentative: Godfather, I'm . . . ah . . . not sure that's such a swell idea. Seeing as how you . . . ah . . . kind of inherited the job from your dad and, ah . . . you're not really used to getting your hands dirty, and, ah . . . you're still kinda struggling to get that whole fishes thing right, and, ah . . . aren't you late for a tee time or something?
Taft, with a self-satisfied air: Nonsense, Petro! I am a man of the street! Why, I once socked a fellow at Yale! I will slay Noe myself and prove to all that the Taft Family is still to be feared!
Petro: But Don Roberto, this man Noe, he is said to be among the most dangerous of the coin and collectibles merchants.
Taft: Petro, I am perfectly capable of sleeping with someone. [Turning to bodyguard] Hand me your weapon, minion! [Examines the gun, then stares down the end of the barrel] How do you operate this thing? Do you pull this little lever like this . . . ?
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