Young Henry is at his window, watching some wiseguys at the cabstand on the street below. They're all decked out in suits, smoking cigars.
Time stamp: East New York, Brooklyn. 1955.
Henry says that, for him, being a gangster was better than being president of the United States. We don't know about that, but it almost certainly requires less shaking of hands and kissing of babies.
Henry points out Tuddy Cicero, who runs the cabstand for his brother, Paulie. Paulie, Henry tells us, is the main man. The Boss. The Big Kahuna. The … well, you get it.
Cut to breakfast time in the Hill house. There's Mom, Dad, and Henry's brothers and sisters.
Henry explains that his parents were happy that he got a job at the cabstand across the street from their apartment. Well, they were at first. His Irish dad was stoked because he thinks all American kids are lazy. His Italian mom was jazzed to learn that the Ciceros are from the same part of Sicily that she is.
Henry loves his job at the cabstand. He knows everybody, and he can go everywhere—even if he can barely see over the steering wheel of the cars he's parking.
His parents sour on his job pretty quickly, though. It was supposed to be a part-time gig, but, as Henry explains, to him, it was full-time. He dug being a part of something.
Henry says his dad was perpetually pissed off—about seven people living in a tiny house, about his brother being in a wheelchair, about basically everything.
Dad gets a letter that says Henry hasn't been to school in months and beats him with his belt while Mom sobs and begs him to stop.
Freeze frame on Dad, mid-rage: Henry divulges that, mostly, his dad was mad that Henry worked at the cabstand because his dad knew what went down there.
Henry tells Tuddy he can't make any more deliveries and offers his beat-up mug as proof that his dad's going to kill him. Probably not literally.
Cut to the post office. Henry points out his mailman to a car full of wiseguys. They yank him the mailman off the street into La Bella Vista pizzeria, and rough him up while Henry and Paulie watch in the doorway.
Tuddy tells the mailman that all future letters from school should be delivered to the pizza parlor. Man, and we thought the only thing mail carriers had to fear were dogs.
Time for another freeze frame: This time, it's the terrified mailman having his head shoved in a pizza oven. Suffice it to say, the Hills stopped receiving mail.