“There was a man once—I don’t recall his name—frequented the billiard parlors downtown. He made a comfortable living wagering whether he could swallow certain objects, billiard balls being his specialty. He’d pick a ball then take it down his gullet to here, and regurgitate it back up. And one evening, I decided to challenge this man to a wager: ten thousand in cash for him to do the trick with the billiard ball of my choosing. Now, he knew I’d seen him do this a dozen times, so I can only surmise that he thought I was stupid. We laid down the cash, and I handed him the cue ball. He swallowed it down, it lodged in his throat, and he choked to death on the spot. What I knew and he didn’t was the cue ball was one sixteenth of an inch larger than the other balls—just too large to swallow. Do you know what the moral of this tale is, Mr. Yale?"
"Don’t eat a cue ball?"
"The moral of the story is that if I cause a stranger to choke to death for my own amusement, what do you think I’ll do to you if you don’t tell me who ordered you to kill Colosimo?”
For me, Michael Stuhlbarg's Rothstein has been far and away the most electric and chilling character on the screen. Completely terrifying and dangerous in a way that scares me far more than Capone's curb-stomping machismo. We've only seen him for a few minutes over a handful of scenes, but he's already one of my favorites.
Also, if you can be that scary in a bow-tie, congratulations, you're one scary motherf*er. (Nucky: A scary what-now?)