Joey Zasa: Michael Corleone’s Sad Puppy (A Morality Tale)

Come, Sad Puppies, and sit around the fire.

Perhaps this is the very fire by which Mary Shelley created Frankenstein. Or not. It’s just a fire, and I don’t write Science Fiction/Fantasy. Deal with it.

Nevertheless, there is a tale you should hear:

The Tale of Joey Zasa

It’s New York City in the 1970s, and Joey Zasa has taken control of the Corleone crime syndicate. In another age, Zasa may have been the most powerful crime boss to ever rule a family; however, he comes to power at a time when crime families desire more legitimacy and overall public opinion is turning against the gangster lifestyle.

A smart businessman, Zasa nonetheless earns Michael Corleone’s displeasure by dealing narcotics and living a flamboyant, high-profile lifestyle – both of which draw unwanted attention to the family’s criminal activities. Furthermore, Michael forces Joey to make peace with Vincent Mancini (Michael’s nephew), who claims Zasa has been publicly insulting Michael and views Zasa as a legitimate threat to Michael. These perceived slights gnaw at Joey Zasa, and – after an unsuccessful attempt to eliminate Vincent – he plots Michael’s downfall.

Aligning himself with Michael’s enemies, Zasa engineers an admittedly brilliant mass murder of various Dons of the Commission in Atlantic City, New Jersey; unfortunately for Zasa, Michael Corleone – his chief target – escapes.

Fast forward in time: New York’s Little Italy is celebrating a religious festival dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and Zasa has put up a Cadillac as a raffle prize. A Corleone accomplice scratches the Cadillac, infuriating Zasa. His henchmen go after the vandal, only to be gunned down by disguised hitmen. Zasa himself flees on foot, but his escape is hindered by a locked door. He is shot three times in the back by Vincent Mancini, who had disguised himself as a mounted police officer.

Now, Sad Puppies, do you see? Do you see the lesson you should learn?

You are Joey Zasa. Considering yourselves slighted, you engineered the downfall of those who opposed you. It remains to be seen what – if any – ultimate victories you may secure. What is certain is the stunt is unlikely to be repeated. I’m not saying someone is going to gun you down; in fact, they shouldn’t. That would be murder most foul and an atrocity beyond the pale. What I am saying is that you won’t get away with it again. Enjoy your brief time in the sun, Sad Puppies; enjoy it while it lasts . . .

. . . and remember Joey Zasa.

Full Disclaimer

I have no dog in the Hugos fight.

Until a few weeks ago, I didn’t even know what the Hugos were; I would have asked if they were something akin to these two:

I’m not even sure I like that many SF/F authors. I can probably count them on one hand:

Jules Verne
Ray Bradbury
Michael Crichton
Terry Pratchett
Neil Gaiman

I also like Doctor Who, and I follow John Scalzi’s blog – for whom the Sad Puppies harbor a special venomous hatred – but I’ve never read any of his books and don’t rightly recall why I started following him. I like his blog, though; I’ll have to check out his books someday.

Why do you hate him so, Sad Puppies? Why?

I owe credit to one Scott Richardson, whose reply on Karey English’s post inspired me.

I feel like Michael Corleone at this point (“Each time I get out, they pull me back in again!”). I ducked out of fandom a long time ago because of this kind of thing. I got pulled back because there were anomalies in the Hugo ballot and my brain gets attracted to those like a pig to truffles.

A special thanks is due the Godfather wiki, whose biography of Joey Zasa was quite useful in my summation.

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