“All this over some whore?”
If the mafia gave out a Mr. Congeniality Award, Ralph Cifaretto would never be in contention for it. Mr. Obnoxious, however, would be his in a walk. Sarcastic, belligerent and misogynistic – even by wise guy standards – Ralph was easily Tony’s least favorite business associate. Despite being a very smart man (albeit one who dropped out of school in the eleventh grade), Ralph was prone to making grossly inappropriate comments at the worst possible moment. When a young associate was in a coma, Ralph commented to the guy’s brother, “Look at the bright side – he wasn’t that smart to begin with.”
One night, Ralph’s lesser qualities coalesced in a particularly gruesome way, with consequences for the entire Soprano crew. In the parking lot of the Bada Bing, a coked-up Ralph beat to death a young dancer who was pregnant with his baby. When confronted by Tony, Ralph made the mistake of being flip about it: “She tripped…is it my fault she’s a klutz?” Tony responded by punching Ralph in the face, something that a made man never does to another made man. The situation was eventually resolved, however: after being made to grovel awhile, Ralph was installed as the captain of the late Gigi Cestone’s crew. Ralph was pleased; the captaincy was something he had wanted for a long time. Tony warned him, “be careful what you wish for,” but hey, what does he know?
Plenty, it turns out. Ralph hadn’t been captain for long when he was faced with his first major crisis. Jackie Aprile, Jr. robbed a card game, killing the dealer and shooting Furio in the leg. Once a made man had been shot, Jackie’s fate was sealed; but Tony told Ralph that, as captain of the crew that had been hit, the final decision was his. For once, Ralph – who was dating Jackie’s mother, Rosalie, and had developed a relationship with Jackie as well – didn’t have anything funny to say. He ordered the hit on Jackie, and then took Rosalie to his funeral.
For a brief time, Ralph and Tony actually got along with each other, sort of. Ralph purchased a racehorse named Pie-O-My and Tony, always fond of animals, took a shine to the filly. But when Ralph was in sudden need of a large sum of cash – his 12-year old son had been gravely injured in an archery accident – the highly insured racehorse died in a suspicious stable fire. Tony, furious, confronted Ralph and accused him of ordering Pie-O-My’s death. The confrontation quickly turned into a violent fight that ended with Ralph lying dead on his kitchen floor. Tony then enlisted Christopher’s aid in dismembering and burying the body. Ralph Cifaretto is now in his final resting place, and Tony’s official theory of the crime is that it was New York that put him there.
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