/ Language: English / Genre:det_crime / Series: Underworld USA

The cold six thousand

James Ellroy


James Ellroy

The cold six thousand

Part I

EXTRADITION

November 22-25, 1963

1

Wayne Tedrow Jr.

(Dallas, 11/22/63)

They sent him to Dallas to kill a nigger pimp named Wendell Durfee. He wasn't sure he could do it.

The Casino Operators Council flew him. They supplied first-class fare. They tapped their slush fund. They greased him. They fed him six cold.

Nobody _said_ it:

Kill that coon. Do it good. Take our hit fee.

The flight ran smooth. A stew served drinks. She saw his gun. She played up. She asked dumb questions.

He said he worked Vegas PD. He ran the intel squad. He built files and logged information.

She loved it. She swooned.

"Hon, what you doin' in Dallas?"

He told her.

A Negro shivved a twenty-one dealer. The dealer lost an eye. The Negro booked to Big D. She loved it. She brought him highballs. He omitted details.

The dealer provoked the attack. The council issued the contract-death for ADW Two.

The preflight pep talk. Lieutenant Buddy Fritsch:

"I don't have to tell you what we expect, son. And I don't have to add that your father expects it, too."

The stew played geisha girl. The stew fluffed her beehive.

"What's your name?"

"Wayne Tedrow."

She whooped. "You just _have_ to be Junior!"

He looked through her. He doodled. He yawned.

She fawned. She just loooooved his daddy. He flew with her oodles. She knew he was a Mormon wheel. She'd looove to know more.

Wayne laid out Wayne Senior.

He ran a kitchen-help union. He rigged low pay. He had coin. He had pull. He pushed right-wing tracts. He hobnobbed with fat cats. He knew J. Edgar Hoover.

The pilot hit the intercom. Dallas-on time.

The stew fluffed her hair. "I'll bet you're staying at the Adolphus."

Wayne cinched his seat belt. "What makes you say that?"

"Well, your daddy told me he always stays there."

"I'm staying there. Nobody consulted me, but that's where they've got me booked."

The stew hunkered down. Her skirt slid. Her garter belt gapped.

"Your daddy told me they've got a nice little restaurant right there in the hotel, and, well…"

The plane hit rough air. Wayne caught it low. He broke a sweat. He shut his eyes. He saw Wendell Durfee.

The stew touched him. Wayne opened his eyes.

He saw her hickeys. He saw her bad teeth. He smelled her shampoo.

"You were looking a little scared there, Wayne Junior."

"Junior" tore it.

"Leave me alone. I'm not what you want, and I don't cheat on my wife."

o o o

1:50 p.m.

They touched down. Wayne got off first. Wayne stamped blood back into his legs.

He walked to the terminal. Schoolgirls blocked the gate. One girl cried. One girl fucked with prayer beads.

He stepped around them. He followed baggage signs. People walked past him. They looked sucker-punched.

Red eyes. Boo-hoo. Women with Kleenex.

Wayne stopped at baggage claim. Kids whizzed by. They shot cap pistols. They laughed.

A man walked up-Joe Redneck-tall and fat. He wore a Stetson. He wore big boots. He wore a mother-of-pearl.45.

"If you're Sergeant Tedrow, I'm Officer Maynard D. Moore of the Dallas Police Department."

They shook hands. Moore chewed tobacco. Moore wore cheap cologne. A woman walked by-boo-hoo-hoo-one big red nose.

Wayne said, "What's wrong?"

Moore smiled. "Some kook shot the President."

o o o

Most shops closed early. State flags flew low. Some folks flew rebel flags upright.

Moore drove Wayne in. Moore had a plan: Run by the hotel/get you set in/find us that jigaboo.

John F. Kennedy-dead.

His wife's crush. His stepmom's fixation. JFK got Janice wet. Janice told Wayne Senior. Janice paid. Janice limped. Janice showed off the welts on her thighs.

Dead was dead. He couldn't grab it. He fumbled the rebounds.

Moore chewed Red Man. Moore shot juice out his window. Gunshots overlapped. Joyous shit in the boonies.

Moore said, "Some people ain't so sad."

Wayne shrugged. They passed a billboard-JFK and the UN.

"You sure ain't sayin' much. I got to say that so far, you ain't the most lively extradition partner I ever had."

A gun went off. Close. Wayne grabbed his holster.

"Whoo! You got a case of the yips, boy!"

Wayne futzed with his necktie. "I just want to get this over with."

Moore ran a red light. "In good time. I don't doubt that Mr. Durfee'll be sayin' hi to our fallen hero before too long."

Wayne rolled up his window. Wayne trapped in Moore's cologne.

Moore said, "I been to Lost Wages quite a few times. In fact, I owe a big marker at the Dunes this very moment."

Wayne shrugged. They passed a bus bench. A colored girl sobbed.

"I heard of your daddy, too. I heard he's quite the boy in Nevada."

A truck ran a red. The driver waved a beer and revolver.

"Lots of people know my father. They all tell me they know him, and it gets old pretty quick."

Moore smiled. "Hey, I think I detect a pulse there."

Motorcade confetti. A window sign: _Big D loves Jack Jackie_.

"I heard about you, too. I heard you got leanings your daddy don't much care for."

"For instance?"

"Let's try nigger lover. Let's try you chauffeur Sonny Liston around when he comes to Vegas, 'cause the PD's afraid he'll get himself in trouble with liquor and white women, and you _like_ him, but you _don't_ like the nice Italian folks who keep your little town clean."

The car hit a pothole. Wayne hit the dash.

Moore stared at Wayne. Wayne stared back. They held the stare. Moore ran a red. Wayne blinked first.

Moore winked. "We're gonna have big fun this weekend."

o o o

The lobby was swank. The carpets ran thick. Men snagged their boot heels.

People pointed outside-look look look-the motorcade passed the hotel. JFK drove by. JFK waved. JFK bought it close by.

People talked. Strangers braced strangers. The men wore western suits. The women dressed faux-Jackie.

Check-ins swamped the desk. Moore ad-libbed. Moore walked Wayne to the bar.

SRO-big barside numbers.

A TV sat on a table. A barman goosed the sound. Moore shoved up to a phone booth. Wayne scoped the TV out.

Folks jabbered. The men wore hats. Everyone wore boots and high heels. Wayne stood on his toes. Wayne popped over hat brims.

The picture jumped and settled in. Sound static and confusion. Cops. A thin punk. Words: "Oswald"/"weapon"/"Red sympath-"

A guy waved a rifle. Newsmen pressed in. A camera panned. There's the punk. He's showing fear and contusions.

The noise was bad. The smoke was thick. Wayne lost his legs.

A man raised a toast. "Oughta give Oswald a-"

Wayne stood down. A woman jostled him-wet cheeks and runny mascara.

Wayne walked to the phone booth. Moore had the door cracked.

He said, "Guy, listen now."

He said, "Wet-nursing some kid on some bullshit extradition-"

"Bullshit" tore it.

Wayne jabbed Moore. Moore swung around. His pant legs hiked up.

Fuck-knives in his boot tops. Brass knucks in one sock.

Wayne said, "Wendell Durfee, remember?"

Moore stood up. Moore got magnetized. Wayne tracked his eyes.

He caught the TV. He caught a caption. He caught a still shot: "Slain Officer J. D. Tippit."

Moore stared. Moore trembled. Moore shook.

Wayne said, "Wendell Durf-"

Moore shoved him. Moore ran outside.

o o o

The council booked him a _biggg_ suite. A bellboy supplied history. JFK loved the suite. JFK fucked women there. Ava Gardner blew him on the terrace.

Two sitting rooms. Two bedrooms. Three TVs. Slush funds. Six cold. Kill that nigger, boy.

Wayne toured the suite. History lives. JFK loved Dallas quail.

He turned the TVs on. He tuned in three channels. He caught the show three ways. He walked between sets. He nailed the story.

The punk was Lee Harvey Oswald. The punk shot JFK and Tippit. Tippit worked Dallas PD. DPD was tight-knit. Moore probably knew him.

Oswald was pro-Red. Oswald loved Fidel. Oswald worked at a schoolbook plant. Oswald clipped the Prez on his lunch break.

DPD had him. Their HQ teemed. Cops. Reporters. Camera hogs all.

Wayne flopped on a couch. Wayne shut his eyes. Wayne saw Wendell Durfee. Wayne opened his eyes. Wayne saw Lee Oswald.

He killed the sound. He pulled his wallet pix.

There's his mother-back in Peru, Indiana.

She left Wayne Senior. Late '47. Wayne Senior hit her. He broke bones sometimes.

She asked Wayne who he loved most. He said, "My dad." She slapped him. She cried. She apologized.

The slap tore it. He went with Wayne Senior.

He called his mother-May '54-he called en route to the Army. She said, "Don't fight in silly wars." She said, "Don't hate like Wayne Senior."

He cut her off. Binding/permanent/4-ever.

There's his stepmom.

Wayne Senior ditched Wayne's mom. Wayne Senior wooed Janice. Wayne Senior brought Wayne along. Wayne was thirteen. Wayne was horny. Wayne dug on Janice.

Janice Lukens Tedrow made rooms tilt. She played indolent wife. She played scratch golf. She played A-club tennis.

Wayne Senior feared her spark. She watched Wayne grow up. She torched reciprocal. She left her doors open. She invited looks. Wayne Senior knew it. Wayne Senior didn't care.

There's _his_ wife.

Lynette Sproul Tedrow. Perched in his lap. Grad night at Brigham Young.

He's shell-shocked. He got his chem degree-BYU/'59-summa cum laude. He craved action. He joined Vegas PD. Fuck summa cum laude.

He met Lynette in Little Rock. Fall '57. Central High desegregates. Rednecks. Colored kids. The Eighty-Second Airborne.

Some white boys prowl. Some white boys snatch a colored boy's sandwich. Lynette hands him hers. The white boys attack. Corporal Wayne Tedrow Jr. counters.

He beats them down. He spears one fuck. The fuck screams, "Mommy!"

Lynette hits on Wayne. She's seventeen. He's twenty-three. He's got some college.

They fucked on a golf course. Sprinklers doused them. He told Janice all.

She said, "You and Lynette peaked early. And you probably liked the fight as much as the sex."

Janice knew him. Janice had the home-court advantage.

Wayne looked out a window. TV crews roamed. News vans doubleparked. He walked through the suite. He turned off the TVs. Three Oswalds vanished.

He pulled his file. All carbons: LVPD/Dallas County Sheriff's.

Durfee, Wendell (NMI). Male Negro/DOB 6-6-27/Clark County, Nevada. 6'4"/155.

Pander beefs-3/44 up. "Well-known dice-game habitue." No busts outside Vegas and Dallas.

"Known to drive Cadillacs."

"Known to wear flamboyant attire."

"Known to have fathered 13 children out of wedlock."

"Known to pander Negro women, white women, male homosexuals Mexican transvestites."

Twenty-two pimp busts. Fourteen convictions. Nine child-support liens. Five bail jumps.

Cop notes: Wendell's smart/Wendell's dumb/Wendell cut that cat at Binion's.

The cat was mobbed up. The cat shanked Wendell first. The council set policy. The LVPD enforced it.

"Known Dallas County Associates":

Marvin Duquesne Settle/male Negro/Texas State custody.

Fenton "Duke" Price/male Negro/Texas State custody.

Alfonzo John Jefferson/male Negro/4219 Wilmington Road, Dallas 8, Tex. "Gambling partner of Wendell Durfee."

County Probation: (Stat. 92.04 Tex. St. Code) 9/14/60-9/14/65. Employed: Dr Pepper Bottling Plant. Note: "Subject to make fine payments for term of probation, i.e.: every 3rd Friday (Dr Pepper payday) County Prob. Off."

Donnell George Lundy/male Negro/Texas State custody.

Manuel "Bobo" Herrara/male Mexican/Texas State cust-

The phone rang. Wayne grabbed it.

"Yeah?"

"It's me, son. Your new best buddy."

Wayne grabbed his holster. "Where are you?"

"Right now I'm noplace worth bein'. But you meet me at eight o'clock."

"Where?"

"The Carousel Club. You be there, and we'll find us that burrhead."

Wayne hung up. Wayne got butterflies.

Wendell, I don't want to kill you.

2

Ward J. Littell

(Dallas, 11/22/63)

There's the limo. It's on the runway. It's late-model FBI black.

The plane taxied up. It passed Air Force One. Marines flanked the tailhatch. The pilot cut the engine, The plane fishtailed. The ramp popped and dropped.

Littell got out. His ears popped. His legs uncramped.

They worked fast. They rigged his flight plan. They flew him two-seat non-deluxe.

Mr. Hoover called him-D.C. to L.A.

He said, "The President was shot and killed. I want you to fly to Dallas and monitor the investigation."

The hit occurred at 12:30. It was 4:10 now. Mr. Hoover called at 12:40. Mr. Hoover got the news and called fast.

Littell ran. The limo driver popped the door. The backseat was stuffy. The windows were smoked. Love Field was all monochrome.

Stick figures. Baggage crews. Newsmen and charter planes.

The driver pulled out. Littell saw a box on the seat. He opened it. He emptied it out.

One special agent's shield. One FBI photo ID card. One Bureau-issue.38/holster.

_His_ old photo. _His_ old gun.

He gave them up in '60. Mr. Hoover forced him out. He had cover tools now-new and old-he had cosmetic reinstatement.

Mr. Hoover stashed said tools. _In Dallas_. Mr. Hoover predicted the hit.

He knew the locale. He sensed the time frame. He was passively complicit. He sensed Littell's involvement. He sensed Littell's need to quash talk.

Littell looked out his window. The tint made funhouse distortions. Clouds imploded. Buildings weaved. People blipped.

He brought a radio. He played it flying in. He got the basic stats:

One suspect caught-a kid-a sheep-dipped leftist. Guy Banister dipped him. The kid killed a cop. Two cops were set to kill him. Phase Two went bad. The second cop botched his assignment.

Littell holstered up. Littell studied his ID.

Cop/lawyer then. Mob lawyer now. Hoover foe to Hoover ally. A oneman law firm with three clients:

Howard Hughes/Jimmy Hoffa/Carlos Marcello.

He called Carlos. Ten a.m. L.A. time. Carlos was happy. Carlos beat Bobby K.'s deportation bill.

Bobby tried Carlos in New Orleans. Carlos _owned_ New Orleans. Carlos was jury-proof there.

Kennedy hubris:

The jury acquits Carlos. Bobby sulks. Jack dies one hour on.

The streets were dead. Windows zipped by. Ten thousand TVs glowed.

It was _his_ show.

He developed the plan. Pete Bondurant helped. Carlos okayed it and went with Guy Banister's crew. Guy embellished _his_ plan. Guy revised it. Guy botched it.

Pete was in Dallas. Pete just got married. Pete was at the Adolphus Hotel. Guy B. was here. Guy B. was somewhere close.

Littell counted windows. All tint-distorted. Smudges and blurs. His thoughts blew wide. His thoughts cohered:

Talk to Pete. Kill Oswald. Ensure a one-shooter consensus.

The limo hit downtown Dallas. Littell pinned on his shield.

There's Dealey Plaza. The PD building's close. Look for:

The book building/a Hertz sign/Greek columns.

There-

The columns. The sign. Mourners at Houston and Elm. A hot-dog vendor. Nuns sobbing.

Littell shut his eyes. The driver turned right. The driver pulled down a ramp. The driver stopped hard and fast. The back windows slid down.

Somebody coughed. Somebody said, "Mr. Littell?"

Littell opened his eyes. Littell saw a basement garage. There's a kiddy Fed standing there. He's all uptight.

"Sir, I'm Special Agent Burdick, and… well, the ASAC said you should come straight up and see the witnesses."

Littell grabbed his briefcase. The gun chafed his hip. He got out. He stretched. He cleaned his glasses.

Burdick stuck close. Burdick rode him tight. They walked to a freight lift. Burdick pushed 3.

"Sir, I have to say it's a madhouse. We've got people saying two shooters, three, four, they can't even agree where the shots-"

"Did you isolate them?"

"Well… no."

"Who's interviewing them?"

The boy stuttered. The boy gulped.

"Which _agencies_, son?"

"Well, we've got us, DPD, the Sheriff's, and I-"

The door opened. Noise boomed in. The squadroom was packed.

Littell looked around. Burdick got antsy. Littell ignored him.

The witnesses were antsy. The witnesses wore name tags. The witnesses perched on one bench.

Thirty-odd people: Talking. Fretting. Contaminating facts.

Back-wall cubicles. Cops and civilians-holed up in interview slots. Flustered cops and civilians in shock.

Forty desks. Forty phones. Forty cops talking loud. Odd badges on suitcoats. Wastebaskets dumped. Inter-agency chaos and-

"Sir, can we-"

Littell walked over. Littell checked the bench. The wits squirmed. The wits smoked. Full ashtrays jumped.

I saw this/I saw that/his head went pop! A talkathon-bad work-pure mass-witness slop.

Littell looked for standouts. Solid types/credible wits.

He stood back. He framed the bench. He saw a woman: Dark hair/handsome/thirty-five-plus.

She sat still. She stayed calm. She watched an exit door. She saw Littell. She looked away. She never blinked.

Burdick walked a phone up. Burdick mimed "_Him_." Littell grabbed the phone. The cord stretched taut.

Mr. Hoover said, "Be concise."

Littell cupped his free ear. The room noise half died.

"The preliminary stage of the investigation has been ineptly executed. That's all I'm certain of at this point."

"I'm not surprised and I'm not disappointed, and I'm thoroughly convinced that Oswald acted without assistance. Your job is to cull the names of potentially embarrassing witnesses who might contradict that thesis."

Littell said, "Yes, sir."

Burdick held up a clipboard. Note slips were clamped in. A witness log/clamped witness statements/driver's licenses attached.

The phone went dead. Burdick grabbed it. Littell grabbed the clipboard. It bulged. The clip wobbled.

He skimmed the slips.

Two-line statements. Confiscated DLs. Detainment insurance. Ambiguous data: 3/4/5/6 shots/1/2/3 directions.

The stockade fence. The book building. The triple underpass. Head-on shots. Missed shots. Shots from behind.

Littell checked DL pix.

Wit #6: Shots at Houston and Elm. Wit #9: Shots off the freeway. The calm woman: 2 shots/2 directions. Her stats: Arden Smith/West Mockingbird Lane.

The smoke was bad. Littell stepped back. The smoke made him sneeze. He bumped a desk. He dropped the log. He walked to the interview slots.

Burdick tailed him. The room noise doubled. Littell checked the slots.

Shoddy work-no tape machines/no stenos.

He checked slot #1. A thin cop braced a thin kid. The kid laughed. What a gas. My dad voted for Nixon.

Littell checked slot #2. A fat cop braced a fat man.

The cop said, "Mr. Bowers, I'm not disputing what you told me."

Mr. Bowers wore a railroad cap. Mr. Bowers squirmed.

"For the tenth time then, so I can go home. I was up in the tower behind that fence on the knoll. I saw two cars cruising around there about… shit… a half hour before the shooting, and two men standing right at the edge of the fence, and then just as I heard the shots, I saw a flash of light from that very spot."

The cop doodled. Mr. Bowers tapped a cigarette. Littell studied him. Littell got queasy.

He didn't know the shooter plan. He _did_ know credible wits. Bowers was intractably firm. Bowers was _good_.

Burdick tapped Littell. Littell swung around. Littell knocked him back.

"_What?_"

Burdick stepped back. "Well, I was just thinking that DPD pulled these three guys, bums or something, out of a railroad car behind the fence, about a half hour after the shooting. We've got them in the tank."

Littell went more queasy.

Littell said, "Show me."

Burdick walked point. They passed the slots. They passed a coffee-break room. Hallways crossed. They veered left. They hit a mesh-front pen.

An intercom popped: "Agent Burdick. Front desk, please."

Burdick said, "I should catch that."

Littell nodded. Burdick fidgeted. Burdick took off from a crouch. Littell grabbed the mesh. The light was bad. Littell squinted hard.

He saw two bums. He saw Chuck Rogers.

Chuck was Pete's man. Wet arts/CIA. Chuck was tight with Guy B.

Rogers saw Littell. The bums ignored him. Rogers smiled. Littell touched his shield. Rogers mimed a rifle shot.

He moved his lips. He went "Pow!"

Littell backtracked.

He walked down the hall. He turned right. He hit a bisecting hall. He made the turn. He saw a side door.

He pushed it open. He saw fire steps and rungs. Across the hall: A men's room and a door marked "Jailer."

The men's room door opened. Mr. Bowers walked out. He stretched. He zipped his fly. He settled his nuts.

He saw Littell. He squinted. He keyed on his shield.

"FBI, right?"

"That's right."

"Well, I'm glad I ran into you, 'cause there's something I forgot to tell the other guy."

Littell smiled. "I'll pass it along."

Bowers scratched his neck. "Okay, then. You tell him I saw some cops rousting these hoboes out of a hay car, and one of them looked like one of the guys I saw by the fence."

Littell pulled his notebook.

He scribbled. He smeared some ink. His hand shook. The book shook.

Bowers said, "I sure feel sorry for Jackie."

Littell smiled. Bowers smiled. Bowers tipped his cap. He jiggled some coins. He ambled. He walked away sloooooow.

Littell watched his back.

Bowers ambled. Bowers turned right. Bowers hit the main hall. Littell flexed his hands. Littell caught his breath.

He worked the Jailer door. He jiggled the knob. He forced it.

The door popped. Littell stepped in.

A twelve-by-twelve space-dead empty. A desk/a chair/a key rack.

Paperwork-tacked to a corkboard:

Vagrant sheets-"Doyle"/"Paolino"/"Abrahams"-no mug shots attached.

Call it: Rogers packed fake ID. Rogers booked in with it.

One key on the rack-cell-size/thick brass.

Littell grabbed the sheets. Littell pocketed them. Littell grabbed the key. He gulped. He walked out brazen. He walked to the pen.

He unlocked the door. Rogers primed the bums. He pumped them up. He went "Ssshh now" He gave a pep talk.

We got ourselves a savior-just do what I say.

The bums huddled. The bums stepped out. The bums hugged the wall.

Littell walked.

He hit the main hall. He faced the squadroom. He blocked the view. He signaled Rogers. He pointed. The fire door-go.

He heard footsteps. The bums squealed. The bums giggled loud. The fire door creaked. A bum yelled, "Hallelujah!" The fire door slammed.

Littell caught a breeze. His sweat froze. His pulse went haywire.

He walked to the squadroom. His legs fluttered and dipped. He grazed desks. He bumped walls. He bumped into cops.

The wit bench was smoked in. Twenty cigarettes plumed. Arden Smith was gone.

Littell looked around. Littell scanned desks. Littell saw the wit log.

He grabbed it. He checked statements and DLs. Arden Smith's package-gone.

He checked the slots. He checked the halls. He checked the main window.

There's Arden Smith. She's on the street. She's walking fast. She's walking _away_.

She crossed Houston. Cars swerved by her. She made Dealey Plaza.

Littell blinked.

He lost her. Jack's mourners shadowed her up.

3

Pete Bondurant

(Dallas, 11/22/63)

The bridal suite. The fuck pad supreme.

Gilt wallpaper. Cupids. Pink rugs and chairs. A fake-fur bedspread-baby-ass pink.

Pete watched Barb sleep.

Her legs slid. She kicked wide. She thrashed the sheets.

Barbara Jane Lindscott Jahelka Bondurant.

He got her back early. He sealed up the suite. He closed out the news. She'll wake up. She'll _get_ the news. She'll _know_.

I fucked Jack in '62. It was lackluster and brief. You bugged some rooms. You got his voice. You taped it. The shakedown failed. Your pals regrouped. You killed Jack instead.

Pete moved his chair. Pete got fresh views. Barb tossed. Her hair swirled.

She didn't love Jack. She serviced Jack. She cosigned extortion. She wouldn't cosign death.

6:10 p.m.

Jack should be dead. Guy's boy ditto. Chuck Rogers had a plane stashed. The crew should be out.

Barb twitched. Pete fought a headache. Pete popped aspirin and scotch.

He got _bad_ headaches-chronic-they started with the Jack squeeze. The squeeze failed. He stole some Mob heroin. A CIA man helped.

Kemper Cathcart Boyd.

They were _trиs_ tight. They were mobbed up. They shared spit with Sam G. They worked for Carlos M. They worked for Santo Trafficante. They all hated Commies. They all loved Cuba. They all hated the Beard.

Money and turf-dual agendas. Let's pluck the Beard. Let's repluck our casinos.

Santo and Sam played both ends. They sucked up to Castro. They bought "H" off Brother Raul. Carlos stayed pure. Carlos did not fuck _la Causa_.

Pete and Boyd stole the dope. Sam and Santo nailed them. Pete got the word. They did biz with Fidel.

Carlos stayed neutral. Biz was biz. Outfit laws overruled causes.

They _all_ hated Bobby. They _all_ hated Jack. Jack fucked them at Pigs. Jack raided Cuban exile camps. Jack nuzzled the Beard.

Bobby deported Carlos. Bobby fucked with the Outfit _trиs_ large. Carlos hated Jack and Bobby-_molto bravissimo_.

Ward Littell hated them. Ward smuggled Carlos back. Ward played factotum. Ward ran his deportation case.

Ward said, Let's clip Jack. Carlos liked it. Carlos talked to Santo and Sam.

They liked it.

Santo and Sam had plans. They said let's clip Pete and Boyd. We want our dope back. We want revenge.

Ward talked to Sam and Carlos. Ward pressed Pete's case. They quashed said clip plan.

The catch:

We let you live. You _owe_ us. Now whack Jack the K.

Guy Banister was working up a hit plan. His plan resembled Littell's. Hit plans were running epidemic. Jack pissed off mucho hotheads. The cocksucker was doomed.

Guy had pull. Guy knew Carlos. Guy knew Cuban exiles. Guy knew fat cats with coin. Guy dipped a geek in sheep shit. Guy preempted Ward's plan.

He pitched it to Carlos. Carlos okayed it. Carlos scotched Ward's plan. Shit went sideways. Personnel shifted. Some Pete and Ward guys joined Guy's crew.

Glitches glitched-last-minute-Pete and Boyd unglitched them.

Santo and Sam hated Boyd. They reissued their death decree. Kemper Boyd-_mort sans doute_.

Barb stirred. Pete held his breath. The aspirin hit. His headache fizzled.

Santo and Sam let _him_ live. Carlos liked him. He loved _la Causa_. The Boys had plans. He _might_ fit in.

He worked for Howard Hughes-'52 to '60. He pimped for him. He scored his dope. He did his strongarm work.

Ward Littell lawyered for Hughes. Hughes wanted to buy up Las Vegas. Hughes craved the Vegas Strip. Hughes craved _all_ the hotel-casinos.

Hughes had a buyout plan. Said plan would take years. The Boys had a plan too:

Let's sell Las Vegas. Let's bilk Howard Hughes. We'll keep our work crews. We'll skim Hughes blind. We'll _still_ own Las Vegas.

Carlos owned Ward. Ward's job to be: Broker the deal and tailor it _our_ way.

The Boys owned Pete. The Boys implied:

Go to Vegas. Work with Ward. Pre-pave the Hughes deal. You know muscle work. You know heroin. We might rescind our no-dope rule. We might let you push to the spooks.

We _might_ not kill you. We _might_ not kill your Twist queen.

Barb left her gowns out. Blue spangles and green. Two shows tonite. His wife and her ex-hubby's trio.

A sad room. Sad Barb. Let's send one up to Jack.

Hit news preceded the hit. Outfit guys talked. Outfit guys knew. Hesh Ryskind checked into the Adolphus. Hesh had cancer. Hesh came to gloat and die.

Hesh watched the motorcade. Hesh died at 1:00 p.m. Hesh kicked with Jack concurrent.

Pete touched the bed. Pink sheets met red hair-one loud color clash.

The doorbell chimed-the B-flat "Eyes of Texas." Barb slept through it. Pete walked over. Pete cracked the door.

Fuck-there's Guy Banister.

Guy popped sweat. Guy was sixty-plus. Guy had heart attacks.

Pete stepped outside. Pete shut the door. Guy waved a highball glass.

"Come on. I rented a room down the haIl."

Pete followed him over. The floor rugs sent sparks up. Guy unlocked his door and bolted them in.

He grabbed a jug-Old Crow bond-Pete snatched it quick.

"Tell me they're both dead, and this isn't about some fuck-up."

Guy twirled his glass. "King John the First is dead, but my boy killed a cop and got arrested."

The floor dipped. Pete dug his legs in.

"The cop who was supposed to kill him?"

Guy eyeballed the jug. Pete tossed it back.

"That's right, Tippit. My boy pulled a piece and popped him out in Oak Cliff."

"Does _your boy_ know your name?"

Guy uncorked the jug. "No, I worked him through a cutout."

Pete slapped the wall. Plaster chips flew. Guy spilled some booze.

"But your boy knows the cutout's name. The cutout knows _your_ name, and your boy'll name names sooner or later. Is that a fucking accurate assessment?"

Guy poured a drink. His hand shook. Pete straddled a chair. His headache retorqued. He lit a cigarette. _His_ hand shook.

"We have to kill him."

Guy blotted the spill. "Tippit had a backup man, but he wanted to go in alone. It was a two-man job, so we're paying the price now."

Pete squeezed the chairback. The slats shimmied. One slat sheared loose.

"Don't tell me what we should have done. Tell me how we get to your boy."

Guy sat on the bed. Guy stretched out comfy.

"I gave the job to Tippit's backup."

Pete said, "And?"

"And he's got access to the jail, and he's mean enough for the job, and he owes some casino markers, which means he's in hock to the Outfit."

Pete said, "There's more. You're trying to sell me a bill of goods."

"Well…"

"Well, shit, _what?_"

"Well, he's a tough nut, and he doesn't want to do it, and he's stuck on a liaison job with some Vegas cop."

Pete cracked his knuckles. "We'll convince him."

"I don't know. He's a tough nut."

Pete flipped his cigarette. It hit Guy clean. He yipped. He snuffed it out. He burned his pillow.

Pete coughed. "You're the first one Carlos will clip if your boy talks."

A TV kicked on-one room down. The walls leeched sound: "Nation mourns"/"valiant first lady."

Guy said, "I'm scared."

"That's your first fucking sensible comment."

"We got him, though. We made the world spin."

The old fuck _glowed_. Sweats and shitty grins.

"Tell me the rest of it."

"What about a toast to the fallen-"

"What about Rogers and the pro shooter?"

Guy coughed. "Okay, first things first. Mr. Hoover flew Littell in as soon as he heard, and I saw him over at DPD. The cops got Rogers on a sweep, but Littell let him out and misplaced the paperwork. He was carrying fake ID, so I think we're clear there."

Glitches/reglitches-

"The pro. Did he get out?"

"Heads up on that. He got down to McAllen and walked across the border. He left a message at my place in New Orleans, and I called him and got the all-clear."

"What about Rog-"

"He's at a motel in Fort Worth. Littell said the witnesses are confused and telling different stories, and Mr. Hoover's hell-bent to prove that it was all my boy. Littell said we've only got one guy to worry about."

Pete said, "Keep going. Don't make me work so hard."

"Okay, then. Littell said a railroad man put a half-ass ID on Rogers, so it's my considered opinion that we should clip him."

Pete shook his head. "It's too close to the hit. You want him to go back to work like nothing happened."

"Then you throw some fear into him."

"No. Let the backup do it. Have him pull a cop number."

That TV blared-"Nation grieves"/"sole killer."

Guy folded his arms. "There's one more thing."

"I'm listening."

"Okay, then. I talked to the pro. He thinks there's a chance that Jack Ruby put it together."

Ruby: Bagman/pimp/Littell's old snitch/strip-club entrepre-

"I had the crew at a safe house up in Oklahoma. Rogers called Ruby and arranged for some entertainment. The pro said he showed up with two girls and some flunky, and they saw the rifles out back and-wait now-don't get your tits in a twist-I told the backup to brace Ruby and see what he knows."

The room dipped. Crash dimensions. Pete rode out the drop.

Guy said, "We might have to clip them."

Pete said, "No."

Guy _re_glowed. Guy previewed Heart Attack 3.

"_No?_ The big man says _no?_ The big man says no, like he doesn't know the Boys are talking, and they're saying he's lost his taste for the Life?"

Pete stood up. Pete cracked his thumbs. Pete flexed his hands. Pete grabbed the chair slats. Pete pulled. Pete ripped the chair to sticks.

Guy pissed his britches. Guy fucking plotzed. The stain spread. His crotch seeped. He doused the sheets.

Pete walked out. The hall dipped. The walls balanced him. He walked back to his suite. He stopped ten feet short. He heard his TV.

He heard Barb sob. He heard Barb throw chairs at a wall.

4

(Dallas, 11/22/63)

A dog shit on the runway. A stripper dodged turds. Welcome to the Carousel Club.

Cops clapped. Cops whooped. Cops ruled the room. The club was closed to the public. The owner loved Jackie. The owner loved JFK.

Let's mourn. Let's ride out this tsuris. Let's show some respect.

You badged in. The owner loved cops. Your host-Jack Ruby.

Wayne walked in. Wayne dropped Maynard Moore's name. Ruby seated him. Dallas cops ran tall. Boot heels did it. Wayne was six-one. The cops dwarfed him.

A bandstand adjoined the runway. A sax and drum worked. Two strippers stripped. The blonde looked like Lynette. The brunette looked like Janice.

Moore was late. The club was loud. The combo played "Night Train." Wayne sipped 7-Up. The music fucked with him. The drum pops set up pix.

Pop-he caps Wendell Durfee. Pop-he plants a throwdown piece.

A stripper swayed by. She wore a pastie-patch. Her crotch stubble showed. A cop snapped her G-string. She swayed his way.

Ruby worked the room.

He dumped ashtrays. He tossed scraps. He lured his dog off the ramp. He poured drinks. He lit cigarettes. He laid out some grief.

A fuck killed his President. The fuck was a beatnik. His bookkeeper split. She blew the coop. She blew him off. She wouldn't blow his friends.

He owed the IRS. Arden said she'd help. Arden was skunk cooze. Arden lied and stole. Arden had a fake address. A beatnik shot his hero.

Maynard Moore walked in.

He whooped. He rebel-yelled. He sailed his hat. A stripper snagged it.

Moore walked up to Ruby. Ruby went oh shit. The dog jumped in. Moore grabbed him. Moore kissed him. Moore tweaked his tail.

Ruby yukked. Boychik-you slay me!

Moore dropped the dog. Moore manhandled Ruby. He shoved him. He flicked his mezuzah. He knocked off his hat.

Wayne watched. Moore _squeezed_ Ruby.

He jerked his necktie. He snapped his suspenders. He jabbed at his chest. Ruby squirmed. Ruby bumped a rubber machine.

Moore dressed him down. Ruby pulled a handkerchief. Ruby pat-dried his head.

Wayne walked over. Wayne caught Moore in tight.

"Pete's in town. People ain't gonna like what you might know, so you may be owin' some favors."

Wayne coughed. Moore turned around. Ruby squeezed his mezuzah chain.

Moore smiled. "Wayne, this is Jack. Jack's a Yankee, but we like him anyway."

o o o

Moore had pressing shit in Plano. Wayne said okay. Fuck it. Let's stall-let's postpone Wendell D.

Traffic was dead. A breeze stirred. Moore drove his off-duty sled. A Chevy 409-lake pipes and slicks-Stemmons Freeway faaaast.

Wayne gripped the dash-bar. Moore sipped Everclear. The fumes stung bad.

The radio howled. A preacher proselytized:

John F-for-Fruitcake Kennedy loved Pope Pinko. He sold his soul to the Jewnited Nations. God bless Lee H-for-Hero Oswald.

Wayne doused the volume. Moore laughed.

"You got a low capacity for the truth, unlike your daddy."

Wayne cracked his wind wing. "Are all the DPD guys like you, or did they waive the IQ test in your case?"

Moore winked. "DPD runs to the right side of the street. We got some Klan and we got some John Birch. It's like that pamphlet your daddy puts out. 'Do you score red or red, white, and blue?'"

Wayne felt rain. "His pamphlets make money. And you won't see him wearing a sheet in Pigshit, Texas."

"You certainly won't, to his everlasting discredit."

The rain came. The rain went. Wayne fugued on out. The fumes tickled. The car droned. He rehashed recent shit.

West Vegas: Assault One/eight counts. A white man beats up colored whores.

He picked them up. He took them home. He beat them and took snapshots-and LVPD didn't care.

_He_ cared. He told Wayne Senior. Wayne Senior pooh-poohed it.

Moore pulled off the freeway. Moore trawled side streets. He hit his brights. He scanned curb plates. He drove down a tract row.

He grazed curbs. He read mailbox names. He found _the_ box. He pulled over and stopped.

Wayne squinted. Wayne saw the name: "Bowers."

Wayne stretched. Moore stretched. Moore grabbed a sandwich bag.

"This won't take no more than two minutes."

Wayne yawned. Moore got out. Wayne got out and leaned on the car.

The house was drab. The lawn was brown. The house had peeled paint and chipped stucco.

Moore walked to the porch. Moore rang the bell. A man opened up. Moore badged him. Moore shoved him inside. Moore kicked the door shut.

Wayne stretched some kinks out. Wayne dug on the car.

He kicked the slicks. He touched the pipes. He popped the hood. He sniffed the fuel valves. He nailed the smell. He broke down the oxide components.

You're a cop now. You're a good one. You're a chemist still.

Somebody screamed. Wayne slammed the hood. It muffled scream #2.

Dogs barked. Curtains jerked. Neighbors scoped the Bowers pad.

Moore walked out.

He grinned. He weaved a tad. He wiped blood off his shirt.

o o o

They drove back to Big D. Moore chewed Red Man. He tuned in Wolfman Jack. He mimicked his howl. He lip-synced R B.

They hit Browntown. They found the guy's shack: Four walls-all plywood and glue.

Moore parked on the lawn. Moore grazed a boss Lincoln. The windows were down. The interior glowed.

Moore spat juice. Moore sprayed the seats good.

"You best believe they'll name a car after Kennedy. And every nigger in captivity'll rob and rape to get one."

Wayne walked up. Moore trailed back. The door stood open. Wayne looked in. Wayne saw a colored guy.

The guy crouched. The guy _worked_. The guy fucked with his TV set. He tapped the dials. He tweaked the cord. He raised static and snow.

Wayne knocked. Moore walked in. Moore scoped this shrine shelf:

A plug-in JFK. Bobby cutouts. A Martin Luther King doll.

The guy saw them. He stood up. He shivered. He double-clutched.

Wayne walked in. "Are you Mr. Jefferson?"

Moore sprayed juice. Moore doused a chair.

"He's the boy. Aka 'Jeff,' aka 'Jeffy,' you think I don't do my homework?" Jeff said, "That's me. Yessir."

Wayne smiled. "You're in no trouble. We're looking for a friend of-"

"How come you people got all these President names? Half the boys I take down got names more distinguished than mine."

"Yessir, that's true, but I don't know what answer to tell you, so-"

"I popped a boy named Roosevelt D. McKinley, and he didn't even know where his mama stole them names from, which is one sorry-ass state of affairs."

Jeff shrugged. Moore mimicked him. He went slack. He bugged his eyes. He pulled a beavertail sap.

The TV sparked. A picture blipped. There's Lee H. Oswald.

Moore spat on the screen. "There's the boy you should name your pickaninnies after. He killed my friend J. D. Tippit, who was one dickswingin' white man, and it offends me to be in the same room as you on the day he died."

Jeff shrugged. Jeff looked at Wayne. Moore twirled his sap. The TV popped off. Bum tubes crackled.

Jeff twitched. His knees shook. Wayne touched his shoulder. Moore mimicked him. Moore swished.

"You boys are _suuuch_ the pair. You'll be holdin' hands any damn second."

That tore-

Wayne shoved Moore. Moore tripped. Moore knocked a lamp down. Jeff shook nelly-style. Wayne shoved him in the kitchen.

They fit tight. The sink cramped them. Wayne toed the door shut.

"Wendell Durfee's running. He always runs to Dallas, so why don't you tell me what you know about that."

"Sir, I don't-"

"Don't call me 'sir,' just tell me what you know."

"Sir, I mean mister, I don't know where Wendell's at. If I'm lyin', I'm flyin'."

"You're shucking me. Stop it, or I'll hand you up to that cracker."

"Mister, I ain't woofin' you. I don't know where Wendell's at."

The walls shook. Shit cracked one room over. Wayne made the sounds:

Sap shots. Hard steel meets plywood and glue.

Jeff shook. Jeff gulped. Jeff picked a hangnail.

Wayne said, "Let's try this. You work at Dr Pepper. You got paid today."

"That's right. If I'm lyin', I'm-"

"And you made your probation payment."

"You ain't woofin' I did."

"Now, you've got some money left. It's burning a hole in your pocket. Wendell's your gambling buddy. There's some kind of payday crap game that you can point me to."

Jeff sucked his hangnail. Jeff gullllped.

"Then how come I ain't at that game right now?"

"Because you lent Wendell most of your money."

Glass broke. Wayne made the sound: One sap shot/one TV screen fucked.

"Wendell Durfee. Give him up, or I tell Tex that you've been porking little white kids."

Jeff lit a cigarette. Jeff choked on it. Jeff coughed smoke out.

"Liddy Baines, she used to go with Wendell. She knowed I owed him money, an' she came by an' said he was lookin' to get down to Mexico. I gave her all but five dollars of my check."

Wood cracked. The walls shook. The floor shook.

"Address?"

"Seventy-first and Dunkirk. The little white house two up from the corner."

"What about the game?"

"Eighty-third and Clifford. The alley by the warehouse."

Wayne opened the door. Jeff stood behind him. Jeff got in a runner's crouch. Moore saw Wayne. Moore bowed. Moore winked.

The TV was dead. The shelf shrine was dust. The walls were pulp and spit.

o o o

It got real.

Moore had a throwdown piece. Moore had a pump. A coroner owed him. He'd fudge the wound text.

Wayne went dry. Wayne got pinpricks. Wayne's nuts shriveled up.

They drove. They went Darktown-deep. They went by Liddy Baines' shack. Nobody was home-Liddy, where you at?

They hit a pay phone. Moore called Dispatch. Moore got Liddy Baines' stats: No wants/no warrants/no vehicle extant.

They drove to 83rd and Clifford. They passed junkyards and dumps. Liquor stores and blood banks. Mohammed's Mosque #12.

They passed the alley. They caught a tease: Streetlights/faces/a blanket spread out.

A fat man rolled. A plump man slapped his forehead. A thin man scooped cash.

Moore stopped at 82nd. Moore grabbed his pump. Wayne pulled his piece. Moore popped in earplugs.

"If he's there, we'll arrest him. Then we'll take him out to the sticks and cap him."

Wayne tried to talk. His throat closed. He squeaked. Moore winked. Moore yukked haw-haw.

They walked over. They cleaved to shadows. They crouched. The air dried up. The ground dropped. Wayne lost his feet.

They hit the alley. Wayne heard jive talk. Wayne saw Wendell Durfee.

His legs went. He stumbled. He toed a beer can. The dice men perked up.

Say _what?_

Who _that?_

Mama, that _you?_

Moore aimed. Moore fired. Moore caught three men low. He sprayed their legs. He diced their blanket. He chopped their money up.

Muzzle boom-twelve-gauge roar-high decibels in tight.

It knocked Wayne flat. Wayne went deaf. Wayne went powder blind. Moore shot a trashcan. The sucker _flew_.

Wayne rubbed his eyes. Wayne got partial sight. Dice men screamed. Dice men scattered. Wendell Durfee ran.

Moore aimed high. Moore sprayed a wall. Pellets bounced and whizzed. They caught Durfee's hat. They sliced the band. They blew the feather up.

Durfee ran. Wayne ran.

He aimed his piece up and out. Durfee backward-aimed his. They fired. Blips lit the alley. Shots cut the walls.

Wayne _saw_ it. Wayne _felt_ it. Wayne didn't _hear_ shit.

He fired. He missed. Durfee fired. Durfee missed. Barrel flames. Sound waves. No _real_ sound worth shit.

They ran. They stopped. They fired. They sprinted full-out.

Wayne popped six shots-one full cylinder. Durfee popped eight shots-one full-load clip.

The flares stopped. No light. No directional signs-

Wayne stumbled.

He slid. He fell. He hit gravel. He ate alley grit. He smelled cordite. He licked cigar butts and dirt.

He rolled over. He saw roof lights. He saw cherry lights twirl. Two prowl cars-_behind_ him-DPD Fords.

He caught some sounds. He stood up. He caught his breath. He walked back. His feet scraped. He heard it.

Moore stood there. Cops stood there. The dice men lay prone. They were cuffed/shackled/fucked.

Shredded pants. Pellet burns and gouges-cuts to white bone.

They thrashed. Wayne heard partial screams.

Moore walked over. Moore said something. Moore yelled.

Wayne caught "Bowers." His ears popped. He caught whole sounds.

Moore flashed his sandwich bag. Moore spread the flaps. Wayne saw blood and gristle. Wayne saw a man's thumb.

5

(Dallas, 11/23/63)

Window wreaths/flags/ledge displays. 8:00 a.m.-one day later-the Glenwood Apartments loves Jack.

Two floors. Twelve front windows. Flowers and JFK toys.

Littell leaned on his car. The facade expanded. He got the sun. He got Arden Smith's car. He got her U-Haul.

He borrowed a Bureau car. He ran Arden Smith. She came back clean. He got her vehicle stats. He nailed her Chevy.

She felt dirty. She saw the hit. She ran from the PD. That U-Haul said _RUNNER_.

She lived in 2-D. He'd checked the courtyard. Her windows faced in-no flags/no trinkets/no shrine.

He worked to midnight. He cleared an office space. Floor 3 was bedlam. Cops grilled Oswald. Camera crews roamed.

His bum ploy worked. Rogers walked. The bums escaped clean. He saw Guy B. He told him to brace Lee Bowers.

He read the wit statements. He read the DPD notes. They played ambiguous. Mr. Hoover would issue a mandate. Agents would secure it. Single-shooter evidence would cohere.

Lee Oswald was trouble. Guy said so. Guy called him "nuts."

Lee didn't shoot. The pro shooter did. Said pro shot from Lee's floor perch. Rogers shot from the fence.

Lee knew Guy's cutout. Cops and Feds worked him all night. He named no names. Guy said he knew why.

The kid craved attention. The kid was fucked-up. The kid craved the solo limelight.

Littell checked his watch-8:16 a.m.-sun and low clouds.

He counted flags. He counted wreaths. The Glenwood loved Jack. He knew why. He used to love Jack. He used to love Bobby.

He never met Jack. He met Bobby once.

He tried to join them. Kemper Boyd pushed his case. Bobby disdained his credentials. Boyd spread his loyalty. Boyd worked for Jack and Bobby. Boyd worked for the CIA.

Boyd got Littell a job. Ward, meet Carlos Marcello.

Carlos hated Jack and Bobby. Jack and Bobby spurned Littell. He built his own hate. He fine-tuned the aesthetic.

He hated Jack. He _knew_ Jack. Scrutiny undermined image. Jack was glib. Jack had pizzazz. Jack had no rectitude.

Bobby defined rectitude. Bobby _lived_ rectitude. Bobby punished bad men. He hated Bobby now. Bobby dismissed him. Bobby spurned his respect.

Mr. Hoover bugged Mob hangouts. Mr. Hoover picked up hints. He smelled the hit. He never told Jack. He never told Bobby.

Mr. Hoover knew Littell. Mr. Hoover dissected his hatred. Mr. Hoover urged him to hurt Bobby.

Littell had evidence. It indicted Joe Kennedy for long-term Mob collusion. He met Bobby-for one half hour-just five days back.

He stopped by his office. He played him a tape. The tape nailed Joe Kennedy. Bobby was smart. Bobby might link tape to hit. Bobby might gauge the tape as a threat.

Do not talk Mob Hit. Do not stain the name Kennedy. Do not stain sainted Jack. Feel complicitous. Feel guilty. Feel baaaad.

Your Mob Crusade killed your brother. We killed Jack to fuck you.

Littell watched a newscast. Late last night-Air Force One hits D.C. Bobby walks out. Bobby walks calm. Bobby consoles Jackie.

Littell killed Kemper Boyd. Carlos ordered it. Littell shot Boyd on Thursday. It hurt. He owed the Boys. It cancelled his debt.

He saw Bobby with Jackie. It hurt more than Boyd.

Arden Smith walked out.

She walked out fast. She lugged a satchel. She carried skirts and sheets. Littell walked over. Arden Smith looked up. Littell flashed his ID.

"Yes?"

"Dealey Plaza, remember? You witnessed the shooting."

She leaned on the U-Haul. She dropped the satchel. She weighed down the skirts.

"I watched you at the squadroom. You measured your chances and made your move, and I have to say I'm impressed. But you'll have to explain why you-"

"My information was redundant. Five or six people heard what I did, and I wanted to put the whole thing behind me."

Littell leaned on the car. "And now you're moving."

"Just temporarily."

"Are you leaving Dallas?"

"Yes, but that has nothing to do-"

"I'm sure it has nothing to do with what you saw in the motorcade, and all I'm interested in is why you stole your preliminary statement and driver's license from the witness log and left without permission."

She brushed her hair back. "Look, Mr.-"

"Littell."

"Mr. Littell, I tried to do my citizen's duty. I went to the police department and tried to leave an anonymous statement, but an officer detained me. Really, I'd had a shock, and I just wanted to go home and start packing.

Her voice worked. It was firm and southern. It was educated.

Littell smiled. "Can we go inside? I'm uncomfortable talking out here."

"All right, but you'll have to forgive my apartment."

Littell smiled. She smiled. She walked ahead. Kids ran by. They shot toy guns. A boy yelled, "Don't shoot me, Lee!"

The door was open. The front room was chaos. The front room was packed and dollied.

She shut the door. She squared off chairs. She grabbed a coffee cup. They sat down. She lit a cigarette. She balanced the cup.

Littell pulled his chair back. Smoke bothered him. He pulled his notebook. He tapped his pen.

"What did you think of John Kennedy?"

"That's an odd question."

"I'm just curious. You don't seem like someone who's easily charmed, and I can't picture you standing around to watch a man drive by in a car."

She crossed her legs. "Mr. Littell, you don't know me. I think your question says more about you and Mr. Kennedy than you might be willing to admit."

Littell smiled. "Where are you from?"

"Decatur, Georgia."

"Where are you moving to?"

"I thought I'd try Atlanta."

"Your age?"

"You know my age, because you checked me out before you came here."

Littell smiled. She smiled. She dropped ash in her cup.

"I thought FBI men worked in pairs."

"We're short-handed. We weren't planning on an assassination this weekend."

"Where's your gun? All the men in that office had revolvers."

He squeezed his pen. "You saw my identification."

"Yes, but you're taking too much guff from me. Something isn't quite right here."

The pen snapped. Ink dripped. Littell wiped his hands on his coat.

"You're a pro. I knew it yesterday, and you just pushed too hard and confirmed it. You're going to have to convince me-"

The phone rang. She stared at him. The phone rang three times. She got up. She walked to the bedroom. She shut the door.

Littell wiped his hands. Littell smeared his trousers and coat. He looked around. He broke down the room. He quadrant-scanned.

There-

A chest on a dolly. Four drawers all packed.

He got up. He checked the drawers. He brushed socks and underwear. He brushed a slick surface-card-size plastic-he pulled it out.

There-

A Mississippi driver's license-for Arden Elaine _Coates_.

A P.O. box address. Date of birth: 4/15/27. Her _Texas_ DL listed 4/15/26.

He put it back. He shut the drawers. He sat down fast. He crossed his legs. He doodled. He made mock notes.

Arden Smith walked out. Arden Smith smiled and _posed_.

Littell coughed. "Why did you watch the motorcade from Dealey Plaza?"

"I heard you had the best view there."

"That's not quite true."

"I'm just saying what I heard."

"Who told you?"

She blinked. "I wasn't told. I read it in the paper when they announced the route."

"When was that?"

"I don't know. A month ago, maybe."

Littell shook his head. "That isn't true. They announced the route ten days ago."

She shrugged. "I'm bad at dates."

"No, you're not. You're good at them, just like you're good at everything you try."

"You don't know that. You don't know _me_."

Littell stared at her. She popped goose bumps.

"You're scared, and you're running."

"_You're_ scared, and this isn't a real FBI roust."

_He_ popped goose bumps. "Where do you work?"

"I'm a freelance bookkeeper."

"That's not what I asked you."

"I structure deals to get businessmen out of trouble with the IRS."

"I asked, '_Where do you work?_'"

Her hands jumped. "I work at a place called the Carousel Club."

His hands jumped. The Carousel/Jack Ruby/Mob guy/bent cops.

He looked at her. She looked at him. Their brainwaves crossed.

6

(Dallas, 11/23/63)

Shit security. Fucked-up / negligent / weak.

Pete toured the PD. Guy scored him a pass. He didn't need it. Some geek sold dupes. Said geek sold weed and pussy pix.

The ground doors stood open. Geeks hobnobbed. Door guards posed for pix. Camera cords snaked up the sidewalk. News vans jammed up the street.

Reporters roamed. Let's bug the DA. Let's bug the cops. Lots of cops-Feds/DPD/Sheriff's-all motormouthed.

Oswald's pink. Oswald's Red. Oswald loves Fidel. He loves folk music. He loves dark trim. He loves Martin Lucifer Coon. We know it's him. We got his gun. He did it alone. I think he's queer. He can't piss with men in the room.

Pete roamed. Pete checked haIl routes. Pete sketched floor plans. He nursed a headache-a looong one-the fucker had legs.

Barb KNEW.

She said, "You killed him. You and Ward and those Outfit guys you work for."

He lied. He bombed. Barb looked through him.

She said, "Let's leave Dallas." He said, "No." She split to her gig.

He walked to the club. Biz was bad. Barb sang to three drag queens. She looked straight through him. He walked back alone.

He slept alone. Barb slept in the john.

Pete roamed. Pete passed Homicide. Pete stopped at room 317. Geeks cruised for looks. Geeks framed the door. A cop cracked it wide and obliged.

There's Oswald. He looks beat-on. He's cuffed to a chair.

The crowd closed in. The cop shut the door. Talk fired up:

I knew J.D. J.D. was _Klan_. J.D. was _not_. They got to move him soon. They sure will-to the County Jail.

Pete roamed. Pete dodged geeks with carts. Geeks sold poorboys. Geeks snarfed them. Geeks slurped ketchup.

Pete sketched hall routes. Pete took notes.

One bunco pen. One holding tank adjacent. Basement cells. A press room adjacent. Briefings/newsmen/camera crews.

Pete roamed. Pete saw Jack Ruby. Jack's hawking pens shaped like dicks.

He saw Pete. He seized up. He freaked. He dropped his dick pens. He bent loooow and scooped up.

His pants ripped. Dig those plaid BVDs.

o o o

Maynard Moore rubbed him wrong.

His bad breath. His bad teeth. His Klan repartee.

They met at a parking lot. They sat in Guy's car. They faced a nigger church and a blood bank. Moore brought a six-pack. Moore sucked one down. Moore tossed the can out.

Pete said, "Did you brace Ruby?"

Moore said, "Yeah, I did. And I think he knows."

Pete slid his seat back. Moore raised his knees.

"Whoa, now. You're crowdin' me."

Guy dumped his ashtray. "Let's have the details. You can't shut Jack up once he starts talking."

Moore cracked beer #2. "Well, everybody-the crew, I mean-is up at Jack Zangetty's motel in Altus, Oklahoma, where men are men and cows are scared."

Pete cracked his knuckles. "Cut the travelogue."

Moore belched. "Schlitz, breakfast of champions."

Guy said, "Maynard, goddamnit."

Moore giggled. "Okay, so Jack R. gets a call from his old friend Jack Z. It seems that the pilot guy and the French guy want some cooze, so Jack R. says he'll bring some up."

The pilot: Chuck Rogers. The French guy: the pro. Let's observe the no-names policy.

Pete said, "Keep going."

Moore said, "Okay, so Ruby goes up there with his buddy Hank Killiam and these girls Betty McDonald and Arden something. Betty agrees to put out, but Arden don't, which pisses off the French guy something fierce. He slaps her, she burns him with a hot plate, then hightails. Now, Ruby don't know where Arden lives, and he thinks she's got a string of aliases. And the worst part is that everybody saw the rifles and targets, and they might've seen a map of Dealey Plaza layin' around."

Guy smiled. Guy made the finger-throat sign. Pete shook his head. Pete flashed _waaaay_ back.

A bomb hits. Flames whoosh. A woman's hair ignites.

Moore belched. "Schlitz, Milwaukee's finest beer."

Pete said, "You're going to clip Oswald."

Moore gagged. Moore sprayed beer suds.

"Uuuh-_uuuuh_. Not this boy. That's a kamikaze mission that you ain't sendin' me on, not when I got an extradition job and a candy-ass partner who won't pull his weight."

Guy dipped his seat. Guy pushed Moore back.

"You and Tippit fucked up. You owe that marker, so you have to pay it off."

Moore cracked beer #3. "Uuuh-_uuuuh_. I'm not flushin' my life down the shitter 'cause I owe some eye-taiians a few dollars that they won't even miss."

Pete smiled. "It's all right, Maynard. You just find out when they're moving him. We'll do the rest."

Moore burped. "I'll do that. That's a job that won't interfere with the other affairs I got goin'."

Pete reached back. Pete popped the rear hatch. Moore climbed out. Moore stretched. Moore waved bye-bye.

Guy said, "Peckerwood trash."

Moore shagged his 409. Moore laid rubber large.

Pete said, "I'll kill him."

o o o

Betty McDonald lived in Oak Cliff-Shitsville, U.S.A.

Pete called DPD. Pete played cop. Pete got her rap sheet: Four prosty beefs/one hot-check caper/one dope bounce.

He tapped out on "Arden." He had no last name.

He went by the Moonbeam Lounge. Carlos owned points. Joe Campisi ran the on-site handbook.

Joe owned the DPD. Cops placed bets. Cops lost. Cops made Joe's collections. Joe shylocked large-vig plus 20%.

Pete schmoozed with Joe. Pete borrowed ten cold. Pete tagged it a margin risk. Nobody said clip them. Nobody said scare them off. Nobody said shit. Guy wasn't Outfit. Guy's wishes meant shit.

Joe supplied a calzone. Pete ate on the freeway. The cheese fucked up his teeth.

He got off. He toured Oak Cliff. He found the address: A shotgun shack/dingy/three small rooms tops.

He parked. He dropped five G's in the calzone box. He schlepped it on up. He knocked on the door. He waited. He checked for eyewits.

Nobody home-zero eyewits.

He got out his comb. He flexed the tines. He picked the lock clean. He walked in and closed the door slow.

The front room smelled-maryjane and cabbage-window light squared him away.

Front room/kitchen/bedroom. Three rooms in a row.

He walked to the kitchen. He opened the fridge. A cat rubbed his legs. He tossed him some fish. The cat scarfed it up. Pete scarfed some Cheez Whiz.

He toured the pad. The cat followed him. He paced the front room. He pulled the drapes. He pulled up a chair and sat by the door.

The cat hopped in his lap. The cat clawed the caizone box. The room was cold. The chair was soft. The walls torqued him back.

Memory Lane. L.A.-12/14/49.

He's a cop. He breaks County strikes. He works _goooood_ sidelines. He pulls shakedowns. He extorts queers. He raids the Swish Alps.

He's a card-game guard. He's a scrape procurer. He's Quebecois French. He fought the war. He got green-card Americanized.

Late '48-his brother Frank hits L.A.

Frank was a doctor. Frank had bad habits. Frank made bad friends. Frank whored. Frank gambled. Frank lost money.

Frank did scrapes. Frank scraped Rita Hayworth. Frank was Abortionist to the Stars. Frank played cards. Frank lost money. Frank dug Mickey Cohen's regular game.

Frank partied with scrape folks. Frank met Ruth Mildred Cressmeyer. Ruth did scrapes. Ruth loved her son Huey. Huey did heists.

Huey robbed Mickey's game. Huey's face mask slipped. The players ID'd him. Pete had the flu. Pete took the night off. Mickey told Pete to kill Huey.

Huey laid low. Pete found his pad: An ex-brothel in El Segundo.

Pete torched the pad. Pete stood in the backyard. Pete watched the house flames. Four shapes ran out. Pete shot them. Pete let them scream and burn.

It was dark. Their hair plumed. Smoke blitzed their faces. The papers played it up-FOUR DEAD IN BEACH TORCH-the papers lD'd the vics:

Ruth. Huey. Huey's girlfriend.

And:

One Canuck doctor-Franзois Bondurant.

Someone called their dad. Someone snitched Pete off. His dad called him. His dad begged: Say NO. Say it wasn't YOU.

Pete stammered. Pete tried. Pete failed. His parents grieved. His parents sucked tailpipe fumes. His parents decomped in their car.

The cat fell asleep. Pete stroked him. Time schizzed. He dug on the dark.

He dozed. He stirred. He heard something. The door opened. Light shot straight in.

Pete jumped up. The cat tumbled. The calzone box flew.

There's Betty Mac.

She's got blond hair. She's got curves. She's got harlequin shades.

She saw Pete. She yelled. Pete grabbed her. Pete kicked the door shut.

She scratched. She yelled. She clawed his neck. He covered her mouth. She drew her lips back. She bit him.

He stumbled. He kicked the calzone box. He tripped a wall switch. A light went on. The cash fell out.

Betty looked down. Betty saw the money. Pete let his hand go. Pete rubbed his bite wound.

"There, Jesus Christ. Just get out before someone hurts you."

She eased up. He eased up. She turned around. She saw his face.

Pete hit the wall switch. The room light died. They stood close. They caught their breath. They leaned on the door.

Pete said, "Arden?"

Betty coughed-a smoker's hack-Pete smelled her last reefer.

"I'm not going to hurt her. Come on, you know what we've got-"

She touched his lips. "Don't say it. Don't put a name-"

"Then tell me where-"

"Arden Burke. I think she's at the Glenwood Apartments."

Pete brushed by her. Her hair caught his face. Her perfume stuck to his clothes. He got outside. His hand throbbed. The sun killed his eyes.

o o o

Traffic was bad. Pete knew why.

Dealey Plaza was close. Let's take the kids. Let's dig on history and hot dogs.

He split Oak Cliff. He found Arden's building. It ran forty units plus. He parked outside. He checked access routes. The courtyard ruled B Es out.

He checked the mail slots-no Arden _Burke_ listed-Arden _Smith_ in 2-D.

Pete toured the courtyard. Pete scanned doorplates: 2-A/B/C-

Stop right-

He made the suit. He made the build. He made the thin hair. He stepped back. He crouched. He _looked_.

Right there-

Ward Littell and a tall woman. Talking close and closing out the world.

_DOCUMENT INSERT_: 11/23/63. Verbatim FBI telephone call transcript. Marked: "Recorded at the Director's Request" / "Classified Confidential 1-A: Director's Eyes Only." Speaking: Director Hoover, Ward J. Littell.

JEH: Mr. Littell?

WJL: Good afternoon, Sir. How are you?

JEH: Forgo the amenities and tell me about Dallas. The metapbysical dimensions of this alleged tragedy do not interest me. Get to the point.

WJL: I would call things encouraging, Sir. There has been a minimum of talk about a conspiracy, and a very strong consensus seems to have settled in, despite some ambiguous statements from the witnesses. I've spent a good deal of time at the PD, and I've been told that President Johnson has called both Chief Curry and the DA personally, and has expressed his wish that the consensus be confirmed.

JEH: Lyndon Johnson is a blunt and persuasive man, and he speaks a language those cowpokes understand. Now, continuing with the witnesses.

WJL: I would say that the contradictory ones could be intimidated, discredited and successfully debriefed.

JEH: You've read the witness logs, observed the interviews and have been through the inevitable glut of lunatic phone tips. Is that correct?

WJL: Yes, Sir. The phone tips were especially fanciful and vindictive. John Kennedy had engendered a good deal of resentment in Dallas.

JEH: Yes, and entirely justified. Continuing with the witnesses. Have you conducted any interviews yourself?

WJL: No, Sir.

JEH: You've turned up no witnesses with especially provocative stories?

WJL: No, Sir. What we have is an alternative consensus pertaining to the number of shots and their trajectories. It's a confusing text, Sir. I don't think it will stand up to the official version.

JEH: How would you rate the investigation to date?

WJL: As incompetent.

JEH: And how would you define it?

WJL: As chaotic.

JEH: How would you assess the efforts to protect Mr. Oswald?

WJL: As shoddy.

JEH: Does that disturb you?

WJL: No.

JEH: The Attorney General has requested periodic updates. What do you suggest that I tell him?

WJL: That a fatuous young psychopath killed his brother, and that he acted alone.

JEH: The Dark Prince is no cretin. He must suspect the factions that most insiders would.

WJL: Yes, Sir. And I'm sure he feels complicitous.

JEH: I hear an unseemly tug of compassion in your voice, Mr. Littell. I will not comment on your protractedly complex relationship with Robert F. Kennedy.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: I cannot help but think of your blowhard client, James Riddle Hoffa. The Prince is his bкte noire.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: I'm sure Mr. lloffa would like to know what the Prince really thinks of this gaudy homicide.

WJL: I would like to know myself, Sir.

JEH: I cannot help but think of your brutish client, Carlos Marcello. I suspect that he would enjoy access to Bobby's troubled thoughts.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: It would be nice to have a source close to the Prince.

WJL: I'll see what I can do.

JEH: Mr. lloffa gloats in an unseemly manner. He told the New York Times, quote, Bobby Kennedy is just another lawyer now, unquote. It's a felicitous sentiment, but I think there are those in the Italian aggregation who would appreciate more discretion on Mr. Hoffa's part.

WJL: I'll advise him to shut his mouth, Sir.

JEH: On a related topic. Did you know that the Bureau has a file on Jefferson Davis Tippit?

WJL: No, Sir.

JEH: The man belonged to the Ku Klux Klan, National States' Rights Party, National Renaissance Party and a dubious new splinter group called the Thunderbolt Legion. He was a close associate of a Dallas PD officer named Maynard Delbert Moore, a man of similar ideological beliefs and a reportedly puerile demeanor.

WJL: Did you get your information from a DPD source, Sir?

JEH: No. I have a correspondent in Nevada. He's a conservative pamphleteer and mail-order solicitor with very deep and diverse connections on the right flank.

WJL: A Mormon, Sir?

JEH: Yes. All the Nevadan fьhrer manques are Mormons, and this man is arguably the most gifted.

WJL: He sounds interesting, Sir.

JEH: You're leading me, Mr. Littell. I know full well that Howard Hughes wets his pants for Mormons and has two greedy eyes on Las Vegas. I'll always share a discreet amount of information with you, if you broach the request in a manner that does not insult my intelligence.

WJL: I'm sorry, Sir. You understood my design, and the man does sound interesting.

JEH: He's quite useful and diversified. For example, he runs a hate-tract press covertly. He's planted a number of his subscribers as informants in Klan groups that the Bureau has targeted for mail-fraud indictments. He helps eliminate his hate-mail competition in that manner.

WJL: And he knew the late Officer Tippit.

JEH: Knew or knew of. Judged or did not judge as ideologically unsound and outrй. I'm always amusingly surprised by who knows who in which overall contexts. For example, the Dallas SAC told me that a former Bureau man named Guy Williams Banister is in town this weekend. Another agent told me, independently, that he's seen your friend Pierre Bondurant. Imaginative people might point to this confluence and try to link men like that to your mutual chum Carlos Marcello and his hatred of the Royal Family, but I am not disposed to such flights of fancy.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: Your tone tells me that you wish to ask a favor. For Mr. Hughes, perhaps?

WJL: Yes, Sir. I'd like to see the main Bureau file on the Las Vegas hotel-casino owners, along with the files on the Nevada Gaming Commission, Gaming Control Board, and the Clark County Liquor Board.

JEH: The answer is yes. Quid pro quo?

WJL: Certainly, Sir.

JEH: I would like to forestall potential talk on Mr. Tippit. If the Dallas Office has a separate file on him, I would like it to disappear before my less trusted colleagues get an urge to take the information public.

WJL: I'll take care of it tonight, Sir.

JEH: Do you think the single-gunman consensus will hold?

WJL: I'll do everything I can to insure it.

JEH: Good day, Mr. Littell.

WJL: Good day, Sir.

7

(Dallas, 11/23/63)

Glut. Waste. Bullshit.

The hotel copped pleas. The hotel blamed Lee Oswald.

The joint bulged-capacity-plus-newsmen shared rooms. They hogged the phone lines. They sapped the hot water. They swamped the room-service crew.

The hotel copped pleas. The hotel blamed Lee Oswald.

Our guests mourn. Our guests weep. Our guests watch TV. They stay in. They call home. They hash out The Show.

Wayne paced his suite. Wayne nursed an earache-that muzzle boom stuck.

Room service called. They said we're sorry-we're running late. Maynard Moore _didn't_ call. Durfee escaped. Moore let it ride.

Moore didn't issue warrants. Moore didn't issue holds. Moore wrote up the crap-game snafu. One guy lost a kneecap. One guy lost two pints of blood. One guy lost a toe.

Mr. Bowers lost a thumb. Wayne nursed the picture-all-nite reruns.

He tossed all night. He watched TV. He made phone calls. He called the Border Patrol. He issued crossing holds. Four units grabbed look-alikes and called him.

Wendell Durfee had knife scars-too fucking bad-the look-alikes had none.

He called Lynette. He called Wayne Senior. Lynette mourned JFK. Lynette said trite shit. Wayne Senior cracked jokes.

Jack's last word was "pussy." Jack groped a nurse and a nun.

Janice came on. Janice extolled Jack's style. Janice mourned Jack's hair. Wayne laughed. Wayne Senior was bald. Janice Tedrow-touchй!

Room service called. They said we're sorry. We know your supper's late.

Wayne watched TV. Wayne goosed the sound. Wayne caught a press gig.

Newsmen lobbed questions. One cop went wild. Oswald was a "lethal loner!" Wayne saw Jack Ruby. He carried his dog. He passed out dick pens and French ticklers.

The cop calmed down. He said we'll move Oswald tomorrow-late morning looks good.

The phone rang. Wayne killed the sound.

He picked up. "Who's this?"

"It's Buddy Fritsch, and it took me all day to get a call in to you."

"Sorry, Lieutenant. Things are a bit crazy here."

"So I gathered. I also gathered that you had a run-in with Wendell Durfee, and you let him get away."

Wayne made fists. "Who told you?"

"The Border Patrol. They were checking on your fugitive warrant."

"Do you want to hear my version?"

"I don't want to hear excuses. I don't want to know why you're enjoying your luxury hotel suite when you should be out shaking the trees."

Wayne kicked a footrest. It hit the TV.

"Do you know how _big_ the border is? Do you know how many crossing posts there are?"

Fritsch coughed. "I know you're sitting on your keester waiting for callbacks that won't come if that nigger went to ground in Dallas, and for all I know you're living it up with that six thousand dollars the casino boys gave you, without doing the job that they paid you for."

Wayne kicked a rug. "I didn't ask for that money."

"No, you sure didn't. And you didn't refuse it, either, 'cause you're the type of boy who likes to have things both ways, so don't-"

"Lieutenant-"

"Don't interrupt me until you outrank me, and let me tell you this now. You can go either way in the Department. There's boys who say Wayne Junior's a white man, and there's boys who say he's a weak sister. Now, if you take care of this, you'll shut the mouths on those latter boys and make everyone _real_ proud of you."

His eyes teared up. "Lieutenant…"

"That's better. That's the Wayne Junior I like to hear."

Wayne wiped his eyes. "He's down at the border. All my instincts tell me that."

Fritsch laughed. "I think your instincts are telling you lots of things, so I'll tell you this. That file I gave you was Sheriff's, so you see if DPD has a file. That nigger's got to know some other niggers in Dallas, or my name isn't Byron B. Fritsch."

Wayne grabbed his holster. His blocked ear popped.

"I'll give it my best."

"_No_. You find him and kill him."

o o o

A door guard let him in. Some Shriners tagged along. The stairs were jammed. The halls were crammed. The lifts were sardine-packed.

People bumped. People chomped hot dogs. People spilled coffee and Cokes. The Shriners pushed through. They wore funny hats. They waved pens and autograph books.

Wayne followed them. They plowed camera guys. They pushed their way upstairs.

They made floor 3. They made the squadroom. It was _double_-packed.

Cops. Newsmen. Misdemeanants cuffed to chairs. Pinned-out ID: shields/stars/press cards.

Wayne pinned his badge on. The noise hurt. His blocked ear repopped. He looked around. He saw the squad bay. He saw cubicles and office doors.

Burglary/Bunco. Auto Theft/Forgery. Homicide/Arson/Theft.

He walked over. He tripped on a wino. A newsman laughed. The wino shook his cuff chain. The wino soliloquized.

Jackie needs the big _braciole_. Widows crave it. _Playboy_ magazine says so.

Wayne hit a side hall. Wayne read door plates. Wayne saw Maynard Moore. Moore missed him. Moore stood in a storeroom. Moore cranked a mimeo press.

Wayne ducked by. Wayne passed a break room. Wayne heard a TV blare. A cop watched a press-room feed-live from downstairs.

Wayne checked doorways. Jack Ruby brushed by-leeched to a _very_ big cat. He hung on him. He bugged him. He kvetched:

"Pete, Pete, _pleeease_."

Wayne veered by a fish tank. Fish howled within. A perv stuck his dick through the mesh. He stroked it. He wiggled it. He sang "Some Enchanted Evening."

Wayne doubled back. Wayne found the file room. A stand-up space with twelve drawers-two marked "KAs."

He shut the door. He popped the "A to L" drawer. He found a blue sheet:

Durfee, Wendell (NMI).

He skimmed it. He got repeat shit and one new KA:

Rochelle Marie Freelon-DOB 10/3/39. Two kids by Whipout Wendell. 8819 Harvey Street/Dallas.

Two file notes:

12/8/56: Rochelle harbors Wendell/the Sheriff wants him/he's got nine bench warrants due. 7/5/62: Rochelle violates her parole.

She leaves Texas. She drives to Vegas. She visits Wistful Wendell D. No vehicle stats/recent contact/two cubs by Wendell D.

Wayne copied the data. Wayne replaced the file. Wayne drawered loose sheets up. He walked out. He cruised hallways. He passed the break room.

The TV snagged him. He saw _something weird_. He stopped. He leaned in. He looked.

There's a fat man. He's facing a mike. One hand's in a splint. One hand-tight gauze-no _thumb_.

A band ID'd him: "Witness Lee Bowers."

Bowers talked. Bowers' voice broke.

"I was in the tower right before he was shot… and… well… I sure didn't see anything."

Bowers blipped off. A cartoon ad blipped on. Bucky Beaver yap-yapyapped. The fuck hawked Ipana toothpaste.

Wayne went cold-Popsicle chills-ice down his shorts.

A cop said, "You okay, hoss? You look a little green at the gills."

o o o

Wayne borrowed a DPD car. Wayne went out alone.

He got directions. Harvey Street was Darktown. Cops called it the Congo and Coonecticut.

Bowers and Moore-reprise that-do it very slooow.

Wayne tried-it was easy-it was shortbread cake.

Moore was crazy. Moore was bent. Moore drank jar brew. He might push uppers. He might book bets. Bowers might be bent too. They fell out. Moore got pissed. Moore cut hisself a thumb.

Wayne hit Darktown. Wayne found Harvey Street. It was the shits-shacks and hen coops-connected dirt yards.

8819: Dead still and dark.

He parked out front. He hit his brights. He nailed the one window: No window shades/no furniture/no drapes.

Wayne got out. Wayne grabbed a flashlight. Wayne circled the shack. He cut through the backyard. He bumped furniture.

Big piles-yard-sale dimensions. Sofas and chairs-all cheap stuff.

He strafed it. His light roused a hen. She fluffed full. She made claws. She squawked.

Wayne kicked a cushion. A light hit _him_. A man laughed.

"It's my property now. I got a receipt that says so."

Wayne covered his eyes. "Did Wendell Durfee sell it to you?"

"That's right. Him and Rochelle."

"Did he say where they were going?"

The man coughed. "Out of your redneck jurisdiction."

Wayne walked up. The man was fat and high yellow. He twirled his flashlight. The beam jumped.

Wayne said, "I'm not DPD."

The man tapped his badge. "You're that Vegas guy looking for Wendell."

Wayne smiled. Wayne unpinned his coat. Wayne repinned his belt. The man flipped a porch switch. The yard lit up. A pit bull materialized.

Brindle flecks and muscle. Jaw power for two.

Wayne said, "Nice dog."

The man said, "He liked Wendell, so I liked him too."

Wayne walked up. The pit licked his hand. Wayne scratched his ears.

The man said, "I don't always go by that rule, though."

The pit made a fuss. The pit reared and batted his paws.

"Because I'm a policeman?"

"Because Wendell told me how your town works."

"Wendell tried to shoot me, Mr…"

"It's Willis Beaudine, and Wendell tried to shoot you because you tried to shoot him. Now, tell me that Casino Council didn't give you some recreation money when they put that bounty on Wendell."

Wayne sat on a porch step. The pit nuzzled him.

Beaudine said, "Dogs can be fooled, just like anyone else."

"You're saying Wendell and Rochelle made a run for Mexico."

Beaudine smiled. "Them and their kids. You want my guess? They're decked out in sombreros and having a ball this very second."

Wayne shook his head. "It's bad for coloreds down there. The Mexicans hate them like some people in Vegas do."

Beaudine shook his head. "Like most or all, you mean. Like that dealer guy that Wendell cut. The same guy who won't let coloreds piss in his washroom, the same guy who beat up an old woman for selling _Watchtowers_ out of his parking lot."

Wayne looked around. The yard furniture trapped dirt. The yard furniture stunk.

Spilled food. Liquor. Dog fumes. Chipped wood and stuffing exposed.

Wayne stretched. His blocked ear popped. He got This Craaazy Idea.

"Can you place a long-distance call for me?"

Beaudine hiked his belt. "Sure… I guess I could."

"The Border Patrol station at Laredo. Make it person-to-person. Ask for the watch commander."

Beaudine hiked his belt. Wayne smiled. Beaudine _snapped_ his belt-hard.

Craaazy-

Beaudine walked inside. Beaudine hit some lights. Beaudine dialed a phone. Wayne nuzzled the pit. The pit kissed him. The pit swiped his tongue.

Beaudine pulled the phone out. The cord twanged. Wayne grabbed the receiver.

"Captain?"

"Yes. Who's this?"

"Sergeant Tedrow, Las Vegas PD."

"Oh, shit. I was hoping you'd call when we had some good news."

"Is there _bad_ news?"

"Yes. Your fugitive, a woman, and two children tried to cross at McAllen an hour ago, but were turned back. Your boy was intoxicated, and nobody made him in time. Lieutenant Fritsch sent us a teletype with his picture, but we didn't make the connection until-"

Wayne hung up. Beaudine grabbed the phone. Beaudine snapped his belt-_hard_.

"This better be good. That was a two-dollar call."

Wayne pulled out his wallet. Wayne forked up two bucks.

"If he tries to cross again, they'll get him. But if he comes back here, you tell him I'll walk him over myself."

Beaudine hiked his belt. "Why would you take that kind of risk for Wendell?"

"Your dog likes me. Leave it at that."

o o o

The Adolphus bar-all male at midnight. The big Jack postmortem.

Pro-Jack stools. Anti-Jack stools adjacent. Youth. Outer space. _Ich bin ein Berliner_.

Wayne sat between factions. Wayne heard hi-fi bulishit in stereo sound.

Cowboy trash-faux tall-big boots don't count. They called Jack "Jack." They took liberties-like they all fucked leprechauns in Hyannis.

Fuck them. _He_ slept in Jack's bed. _He_ thrashed on Jack's sheets.

Wayne got drunk. Wayne _never_ got drunk. Wayne drank small-batch bond.

Shot 1 burned. Shot 2 played a picture: Lee Bowers' thumb. Shot 3 gored his gonads. Dig _these_ pix: Janice in halters and shorts.

Jack had hound blood. Wayne Senior said so. Martin Luther King fucked white chicks.

Shot 4-more pix:

Durfee tries to cross. The border cops lose him. Wayne fucked up. Wayne gets called home. Buddy Fritsch recruits a new man. Said man kills Wendell D.

Wayne fucked up. Fritsch fucks him for it. Fritsch fucks him off LVPD. Wayne Senior says don't fuck my boy. The fucking ascends triumphant.

Shot 5:

The thumb/the alley chase/the crap-game snafu.

Jack put a man in orbit. Jack played chicken with Khrushchev. Jack put that shine in Ole Miss.

Maynard Moore walked in. He brought company. That Pete guy-the big guy with Jack Ruby.

Moore saw Wayne. Moore detoured up. Pete tagged along.

Moore said, "Let's go find us that spook. My pal Pete hates spooks, don't you, sahib?"

Pete smiled. Pete rolled his eyes. Pete goofed on dipshit Moore.

Wayne chewed ice cubes. "Fuck off. I'll find him myself."

Moore leaned on the bar. "Your daddy wouldn't like that. It'd let him know the apple falls _real_ far from the tree."

Wayne tossed his drink. Moore caught it-hard in the eyes. Bourbon burned him-hi-test sting-triple-digit proof.

The cocksucker rubbed his eyes. The cocksucker squealed.

8

(Dallas, 11/24/63)

Pete was late. Littell voyeurized.

His room was high up. The window framed a church. A midnight mass convened.

Littell watched. A poster marked the mass-Jack K. in black borders.

Kids defaced it. Littell watched them-late this afternoon. He went to dinner later. He saw the work up close.

Jack had fangs. Jack had devil horns. Jack said, "I'm a homo!"

Mourners filed in. A breeze dumped the poster. A woman picked it up. She saw Jack's picture. She cringed.

A car cruised by. An arm shot out. A stiff finger twirled. The woman sobbed. The woman crossed herself. The woman squeezed rosary beads.

The Statler was low-rent. The Bureau booked cheap rooms. The view compensated.

Pete was late. Pete was with the backup cop. The cop had details. The cop had a map printed up.

Littell watched the church. It diverted him. It subsumed Arden.

They talked for six hours. They skirted IT. He coded a message: I KNOW. I KNOW you KNOW. I don't care how you KNOW. I don't care what you DID.

She coded a message: _I won't probe your stake_. No one said, "Jack Ruby."

They talked. They omitted. They codified.

He said he was a lawyer. He was ex-FBI. He had an ex-wife and an exdaughter somewhere. She studied his facial scars. He told her flat-out: My best friend put them there.

_Le frиre Pete-un Frenchman san giant_.

She said she traveled. She said she held jobs. She said she bought and sold stocks and made money. She said she had an ex-husband. She did not state his name.

She impressed him. She knew it. He coded a response: You're a pro. You dissemble. I don't care.

She knew Jack Ruby. She used the word "roust." He skirted it. He offered advice. He told her to find a motel.

She said she would. He gave her _his_ hotel number. Please call me. Please do it soon.

He wanted to touch her. He didn't. She touched his arm once. He left her. He drove to the Bureau.

The office was empty-no agents about-Mr. Hoover made sure. He rifled drawers. He found the Tippit file.

Pete was late. Littell skimmed the file. It rambled and digressed.

Dallas PD was far right: Klan kliques and John Birch. Diverse splinter groups: The NSRP/the Minutemen/the Thunderbolt Legion.

Tippit was "klanned up." Tippit joined the Klarion Klan Koalition for the New Konfederacy. The DPD boss was Maynard D. Moore. Moore was an FBI snitch. Moore's handler was Wayne Tedrow Sr.

Tedrow Senior: "Pamphleteer"/"Fund Raiser"/"Entrepreneur"/"Extensive Las Vegas holdings."

Unique stats-familiar-Mr. Hoover's "Fьhrer manquй."

Littell skimmed up. Littell logged stats. Tedrow Senior ran eclectic.

He raised right-wing cash. He might know Guy B. Guy scrounged rightwing funds. Some fat cats greased the hit fund.

Littell skimmed down. Littell logged stats. Littell logged a possible connection.

Guy's backup cop-friend of J. D. Tippit-odds on Maynard D. Moore.

Odds on: Mr. Hoover knew it. Mr. Hoover guessed the connection.

Littell skimmed up. Tedrow Senior's CV expanded.

All-Mormon staff. Ties at Nellis AFB. Tight with the Gaming Control Board. One son: a Vegas policeman.

Senior withheld data from Junior. Junior worked the intel squad. Junior kept board files. Junior withheld data from Senior. Senior "assisted" Mr. Hoover. Senior "dispensed propaganda."

Per: Martin Luther King/the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Littell skimmed pages. Littell took notes. Howard Hughes loved Mormons. They had "germ-free" blood. Tedrow Senior was Mormon. Tedrow Senior had Mormon connections.

Littell rubbed his eyes. The doorbell rang. He got up and opened the door.

Pete walked in. Pete grabbed the desk chair. Pete sprawled out tall.

Littell shut the door. "How bad?"

Pete said, "Bad. The map looks good, but he won't pop Oswald. He's crazy, but I can't fault him for brains."

Littell rubbed his eyes. "Maynard Moore, right? That's his name."

Pete yawned. "Guy's slipping. He usually plays his names closer than that."

Littell shook his head. "Mr. Hoover made him. He had a file on Tippit. He assumed that Moore had to be somewhere close."

"That's your interpretation, right? Hoover didn't get that specific."

"He never does."

Pete cracked his knuckles. "How scared are you?"

"It comes and goes, and I wouldn't mind some good news."

Pete lit a cigarette. "Rogers made it down to Juarez. The pro got down, but the Border Patrol detained him and ran a passport check. Guy said he's a French national."

Littell said, "Guy's talking too much."

"He's scared. He knows Carlos is thinking, 'If I went with Pete and Ward's crew, none of this shit would have happened.'"

Littell cleaned his glasses. "Where is he?"

"He drove back to New Orleans. His nerves are shot, and he's popping digitalis like a fucking junkie. All this shit is on him, and he knows it."

Littell said, "And?"

Pete cracked a window. Cold air blew in.

"And what?"

"There's more. Guy wouldn't be going back unless he had an excuse to hand Carlos."

Pete flicked his cigarette out. "Jack Ruby knows. He brought one of his flunkies and some women up to the safe house. They saw the targets and guns. Guy's saying we should clip them. I think he'll tell Carlos that, so he can buy his way out of the shit."

Littell coughed. His pulse zoomed. He held his breath.

"We can't take out four people that close to the hit. It's too obvious."

Pete laughed. "Shit, Ward, say it. I've got no balls for clipping civilians, so why should you?"

Littell smiled. "Ruby aside."

Pete shrugged. "Jack's no skin off my ass either way."

"The women, then. That's what we're talking about."

Pete cracked his thumbs. "I'm not negotiating on that. I already warned one of them off, but I couldn't find the other one."

"Give me their names."

"Betty McDonald and Arden something."

Littell touched his tie. Littell scratched his neck. Littell made his hands quash his nerves.

He twitched. He swallowed. He gulped. The room was cold. He shut the window.

"Oswald."

"Yeah. If he goes, this all disappears."

"When are they moving him?"

"Eleven-thirty. If he hasn't named Guy's cutout by then, we can put the skids to all this."

Littell coughed. "I've arranged for a private interview. The ASAC said he hasn't talked, but I want to make sure."

Pete shook his head. "Bullshit. You want to get close to him. You want to run some kind of fucking absolution number on him, so you can do a number on yourself later."

_In nomine patris, et filii et spiritus sancti, Amen_.

"It's nice to have someone who knows you."

Pete laughed. "I wasn't doubting you. I just want to work this fucking thing out."

Littell said, "Moore. There's no way he-"

"_No_. He knows too much, drinks too much and talks too much. After Oswald goes, _he_ goes, and we draw the line at that."

Littell checked his watch. Shit-1:40 a.m.

"He's a policeman. He could get into the basement."

"_No_. He's too crazy. He's working an extradition gig with a Vegas cop, and he gets in the guy's face in the worst possible way. He's not what we want."

Littell rubbed his eyes. "What was the man's name? The cop, I mean."

"Wayne something. Why?"

"Tedrow?"

Pete said, "Yeah, and why do you care? He's got nothing to do with any of this, and the fucking clock is ticking."

Littell checked his watch. Carlos bought it for him. A gold Rolex/pure ostentat-

"Ward, are you in a fucking trance?"

Littell said, "Jack Ruby."

Pete rocked his chair back. The legs squeaked.

Littell said, "He's insane. He's afraid of us. He's afraid of the Outfit. He's got seven brothers and sisters that we can threaten."

Pete smiled. "The cops know he's crazy. He carries a gun. He's been all over the building all weekend, and he's been saying somebody should shoot that Commie. Ten dozen fucking newsmen have heard him."

Littell said, "He's got tax troubles."

"Who told you that?"

"I don't want to say."

A breeze kicked up. The windowpanes creaked.

Pete said, "And?"

"And what?"

"There's more. I want to know why you'll risk it, with a fucking psycho who knows both our names."

_Cherchez la femme, Pierre_.

"It's a message. It tells everyone who went to that safe house to run."

9

(Dallas, 11/24/63)

Barb walked in. She wore his raincoat. The sleeves drooped. The shoulders sagged. The hem brushed her feet.

Pete blocked the bathroom. Barb said, "Shit."

Pete checked her ring hand. Pete saw her wedding ring.

She held it up. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm just getting used to it."

Pete carried his ring. It came too small-fucking pygmy-size.

"I'll get used to it when I get mine fitted."

Barb shook her head. "Used to _it_. What _you_ did."

Pete snared his ring. Pete tried to squeeze his finger in. Pete jabbed at the hole.

"Say something nice, all right? Tell me how the late show went."

Barb dumped his coat. "It went fine. The Twist is dead, but Dallas doesn't know it."

Pete stretched. His shirt gapped. Barb saw his piece.

"You're going out."

"I won't be that long. I'm just wondering where you'll be when I get back."

"I'm wondering who else knows. I know, so there has to be others."

His headache revived. His headache paved new ground.

"Everyone who knows has a stake. It's what you call an open secret."

Barb said, "I'm scared."

"Don't think about it. I know how these things work."

"You don't know that. There's never been anything _like_ this."

Pete said, "It'll be all right."

Barb said, "Bullshit."

o o o

Ward was late. Pete watched the Carousel Club.

He stood two doors down. Jack Ruby shooed cops and whores out. They paired off. They piled in cars. The whores jiggled keys.

Jack closed up the club. Jack cleaned his ears with a pencil. Jack kicked a turd in the street.

Jack went back inside. Jack talked to his dogs. Jack talked very loud.

It was cold. It was windy. Motorcade debris swirled: Matchbooks/confetti/Jack Jackie signs.

Ward was late. Ward might be with "Arden."

He left Ward's room. He heard the phone ring. Ward made him run. He saw Ward and Arden. They didn't see him. He told Ward the safe-house tale.

He said, "Arden." Ward schizzed. He called Ward on Ruby. Ward played it oblique.

Fuck it-for now.

Jack's dogs yapped. Jack baby-talked Yiddish. The noise carried outside. A Fed sled pulled up. Ward got out. His coat pockets bulged.

He walked up. He unloaded his pockets-rogue-cop show-and-tell.

Brass knucks/a sash cord/a pachuco switchblade.

"I went by the property room at the PD. Nobody saw me."

"You thought it through."

Ward restuffed his pockets. "_If_ he doesn't agree."

Pete lit a cigarette. "We'll cut him up and make it look like a heist."

A dog yipped. Ward flinched. Pete blew on his cigarette. The tip flared red.

They walked up. Ward knocked on the door. Pete put on a drawl: "Jack! Hey, Jack, I think I left my wallet!"

The dogs barked. The door opened. There's Jack. He saw them. He said, "Oh." His mouth dropped and held.

Pete flicked his butt in. Jack gagged on it. Jack coughed it out wet.

Pete shut the door. Ward grabbed Jack. Pete shoved him. Pete frisked him. Pete pulled a piece off his belt.

Ward hit him. Jack fell down. Jack curled up and sucked air.

The dogs ran. The dogs crouched by the runway. Ward grabbed the gun. Ward dumped five shells.

He knelt down. Jack saw the gun. Jack saw the one shell. Ward shut the drum. Ward spun it. Ward aimed at Jack's head.

He pulled the trigger. The hammer clicked. Jack sobbed and sucked air. Ward twirled the gun. Ward pulled the trigger. Ward dry-shot Jack's head.

Pete said, "You're going to clip Oswald."

Jack sobbed. Jack covered his ears. Jack shook his head. Pete grabbed his belt. Pete dragged him. Jack kicked out at tables and chairs.

Ward walked over. Pete dumped Jack by the runway. The dogs yapped and growled.

Pete walked to the bar. Pete grabbed a fifth of Schenley's. Pete grabbed some dog treats.

He dumped the treats. The dogs tore in. Ward scoped the jug. Ward was a lush. Ward was on the wagon. Booze turned him to mush.

They pulled chairs up. Jack sobbed. Jack wiped his schnoz. The dogs snarfed the treats. The dogs waddled and wheezed. The dogs crapped out cold by the runway.

Jack sat up. Jack hugged his knees. Jack braced his back on the slats. Pete grabbed a stray glass. Pete dumped ice dregs and poured Schenley's.

Jack studied his shoes. Jack squeezed his Jew star on a chain.

Pete said, "_L'chaim_."

Jack looked up. Pete waved the glass. Jack shook his head. Ward twirled the gun. Ward cocked the hammer.

Jack grabbed the glass. His hand shook. Pete clamped it down. Jack imbibed. Jack coughed and gasped. Jack held it down.

Ward said, "You've been saying someone should do it all weekend."

Pete said, "You'll do eighteen months tops. You'll get your own fucking motorcade when you get out."

Ward said, "You'll own this town."

Pete said, "He clipped that Tippit guy. Every cop in Dallas will love you."

Ward said, "Your money worries are over as of this moment."

Pete said, "Think about it. A tax-free pension for life."

Jack said, "No." Jack shook his head.

Ward waved the gun. Ward spun the drum. Ward aimed at Jack's head. He pulled the trigger _two times_. He got two dry clicks.

Jack sobbed. Jack prayed-heavy-duty hebe shit.

Pete poured him a refill-three fingers of Schenley's-Jack shook his head. Pete grabbed his neck. Pete cleared his pipes. Pete force-fed him hard.

Jack kept it down. Jack coughed and gasped.

Pete said, "We'll fix up the club and let your sister Eva run it."

Ward said, "Or we'll kill all your brothers and sisters."

Pete said, "She'll make a mint. This place will be a national monument."

Ward said, "Or we'll torch it to the ground."

Pete said, "Are you getting the picture?"

Ward said, "Do you understand your options?"

Pete said, "If you say no, you die. If you say yes, you'll have the world by the balls. If you blow the job, it's '_Shalom_, Jack,' you tried, but we don't appreciate failure, and it's too bad we have to take out your whole fucking family, too."

Jack said, "No."

Pete said, "We'll find a nice home for your dogs. They'll be glad to see you when you get out."

Ward said, "Or we'll kill you."

Pete said, "Your tax troubles will disappear."

Ward said, "Or everyone you love will die."

Jack said, "No." Pete cracked his knuckles. Ward pulled a belt sap-a hose chunk packed with double-aught buck.

Jack stood up. Pete pushed him down. Jack reached for the jug. Pete poured it out. Pete saved a chaser.

Jack said, "No. _No no no no no_."

Ward sapped him-one rib shot-whap.

Jack balled up. Jack kissed his Jew star. Jack bit his tongue.

Ward grabbed his belt. Ward dragged him. Ward kicked him into his office. Ward kicked the door shut.

Pete laughed. Jack lost a shoe and a tie clip. Ward lost his glasses.

Pete heard thump sounds. Jack screamed. The dogs woke up. Pete popped aspirin and Schenley's. The dogs yapped. The noise got all mixed up.

Pete shut his eyes. Pete rolled his neck. Pete worked his headache-_fuck_.

He smelled smoke. He opened his eyes. Smoke blew out a wall vent. Ash sifted through.

_Arden_.

Ward got Jack alone. Pete knew why. Do what we want/do what _I_ want/don't talk about HER. He torched Jack's files. He torched HER name. He torched Arden WHO?

Jack screamed. The dogs yapped. Smoke blew out the vent. Smoke seeped and pooled.

The door popped open. Smoke whooshed out. Wet ashes flew. Sink sounds. Screams. Loose shot pellets hurled.

Ward walked out. His sap leaked buckshot. The shaft dripped blood. He stumbled. He rubbed his eyes. He stepped on his glasses.

He said, "He'll do it."

10

(Dallas, 11/24/63)

_Hangover_.

The room light hurt. The TV noise hurt. Alka-Seltzer helped. Wayne dosed up and replayed the fight.

He swung. He hit Moore. Moore swung bourbon-blind. Pete got between them. Pete fucking laughed.

Wayne watched TV Room service was late-SOP for the hotel.

A cop faced a mike. He said we're moving him. Clear a path now.

Willis Beaudine didn't call. Buddy Fritsch did. Buddy had an update. Buddy talked to the border cops.

Wendell Durfee: Still at large.

Wayne dropped _his_ plan: I've got a car/I'll drive to McAllen/I'll liaise with the border cops there.

Fritsch said, "Take Moore with you. If you cap that nigger, you'd better have a Texas cop in your pocket."

Wayne argued. Wayne almost said it: My plan is a shuck. Fritsch said, "Take him out. Earn your fucking keep."

Fritsch won. Wayne lost. He stalled. He watched TV. He never called Moore up.

Wayne sipped Alka-Seltzer. Wayne saw cops with Stetsons. The TV picture jumped.

He slapped the box. He tapped the dials. The picture cohered.

Oswald stepped out. Oswald wore handcuffs. Two cops flanked him. They walked through the basement. They faced some reporters. They cleared a path fast.

A man jumped out. Dark suit/fedora. Right arm outstretched. He stepped up. He aimed a gun. He shot near point-blank.

Wayne blinked. Wayne saw it-oh fuck.

Oswald doubled up. Oswald went "Oooh."

The cops blinked. They saw it-oh fuck.

Commotion. Dogpile. The gunman's down. He's prone. He's disarmed. He's pinned flat.

Rerun that. I think I-

The hat. The bulk. The profile. The dark eyes. The fat.

Wayne grabbed the TV. Wayne shook the sides. Wayne focused in tight.

Jerky shots/camera jumps/a low zoom.

The bulk grew. The profile blossomed. Someone yelled, "Jack!"

_No_. Asshole Jack Ruby-the dive club/the dogshit/the-

Someone yelled, "Jack!" A man snared his hat. Cops wrestled him. Cops cuffed him. Cops stood him up. Cops went through his pants.

The picture jumped. Wayne slapped the antenna. The picture went flat.

Reruns:

Moore muscles Jack. Jack prowls the PD. Jack knows Pete. Moore knows Pete gooood. Bowers. The thumb. The Kennedy hit-

The picture jumped. The tubes buzzed. The fucking phone rang.

The picture settled. A newsman yelled, "Local nightclub"-

Wayne stood up. Wayne tripped. Wayne grabbed the phone. Wayne snagged the receiver.

"Yeah, this is Tedrow,"

"It's Willis Beaudine. Remember, you met me-"

"Yeah, I remember."

"Well, that's good, because Wendell's going for that offer you made. He don't know why you're doing it, but I told him my dog liked you."

The sound died. Jack moved his lips. Cops gave him the big two-cop flank.

Beaudine said, "Man, are you _there?_"

"I'm here."

"Good. Then you be at rest stop number 10, eighty miles south on I-35. Make it three o'clock. Oh, and Wendell wants to know if you've got money."

The cops dwarfed Jack-big men-boots up to six-four.

"Hey, man. Are you _there?_"

"Tell him I've got six thousand dollars."

"Hey, you have to like that!"

Wayne hung up. The TV jumped. Oswald rode a white sheet on a cot.

11

(Dallas, 11/24/63)

He saw it live.

He'd tuned in Channel 4. He squinted to see. He broke his glasses at Jack's club.

He sat in his room. He watched the show. It capped his interview-one hour back.

He sat with Lee Oswald. They talked.

Littell drove I-35. Freeway signs blurred. He hit the slow lane and crawled.

Arden called last night. Oswald died at Parkland. Ruby was under arrest.

Oswald bit his nails. Littell uncuffed him. Oswald rubbed his wrists.

I'm a Marxist. I'm a patsy. I won't elaborate. I'm pro-Fidel. I indict the U.S. I scorn her Cuban misdeeds. I scorn the exiles. I scorn the CIA. National Fruit is evil. The Bay of Pigs was insane.

Littell agreed. Oswald warmed up. Oswald craved perspective. Oswald craved friends.

Littell faltered then. Oswald craved friends. Guy's cutout knew it. Littell shut down. Oswald caught his tone. Oswald threw it back.

Some sound facts. Some nut talk mixed in. You don't love me-so I'll kill you with The Truth.

Littell walked out then. Littell recuffed Oswald. Littell squeezed his hands.

Freeway signs blurred. Signposts popped. Exit posts slithered. Littell saw "Grandview." Littell pulled right. Littell cut down a ramp.

He saw the Chevron sign. He saw the HoJo's.

There-

The shape between them-motel rooms-one long row.

He crossed an access lane. He parked by the HoJo's. He walked by the rooms. He squinted. He saw the "14."

There-the door's ajar. That's Arden on the bed.

Littell walked in. Littell shut the door. Littell bumped a TV set. The juice was off. The box was warm. He smelled cigarettes.

Arden said, "Sit here."

Littell sat down. The bedsprings sagged. Arden moved her legs.

"You look different without your glasses."

"I broke them."

She had her hair up. She wore a green sweater-dress.

Littell turned a lamp on. Arden blinked. Littell bent the lamp down. It shaded the glare.

"What did you do with your things?"

"I rented a storage garage."

"In your own name?"

"You're being disingenuous. You know I'm better than that."

Littell coughed. "You've been watching television."

"Along with the whole country."

"You know some things they don't."

"We've got our version, they've got theirs. Is that what you're saying?"

"_You're_ being disingenuous now."

Arden hugged a pillow. "How did they convince him? How do you make someone do something so crazy on live television?"

"He was crazy to start with. And sometimes the stakes are so high that they play in your favor."

Arden shook her head. "I don't want to get more specific."

Littell shook his head. "We don't have to discuss it."

Arden smiled. "I'm wondering why you're going to so much trouble to help me."

"You know why."

"I may ask you to say it."

"I will. If we go forward on this."

"'_This?_' Are we going to define _any_ of our terms at all?"

Littell coughed-full ashtrays/stale smoke.

"Confirm something for me. You've been in trouble, you've run before, you know how to do it."

Arden nodded. "It's something I'm good at."

"That's good, because I can get you a completely new identity."

Arden crossed her legs. "Is there a disclosure clause in all '_this_'?"

Littell nodded. "We can hold back some secrets."

"That's important. I don't like to lie unless I have to."

"I'm going to Washington for a few days. Then I'll be setting up a base in Las Vegas. You can meet me there."

Arden grabbed her cigarettes. The pack was empty-she tossed it.

"We both know who's behind this. And _I_ know they all pass through Vegas."

"I do work for them. It's one reason why you'll be safe with me."

"I'd feel safer in L.A."

Littell smiled. "Mr. Hughes lives there. I'll need to get a house or apartment."

"I'll meet you, then. I'll trust you that far."

Littell checked his watch-1:24 p.m.-Littell grabbed the phone by the bed.

Arden nodded. He pulled the phone to the bathroom. The cord almost snapped. He shut the door. He dialed the Adolphus. The switchboard patched him through.

Pete picked up. "Yes?"

"It's me."

"Yeah, and you're the white man of the week. I wasn't a hundred percent sure that he'd do it."

"What about Moore?"

"He _goes_. I'll tail him and get him alone."

Littell hung up. Littell walked back. Littell dropped the phone on a chair.

He sat on the bed. Arden slid close.

Arden said, "_Say_ it."

He squinted. Her freckles jumped. Her smile blurred.

"I've got nothing but the wrong things, and I want to take something good out of this."

"That's not enough."

Littell said, "I want you." Arden touched his leg.

12

(Dallas, 11/24/63)

Reruns:

The thumb. Pete and Moore. Killer Jack and Killer Lee.

Wayne drove I-35. The reruns hit. A soundtrack sputtered:

He calls Moore. He says, "Meet me. I've got a lead on Durfee." He lies. He drops details. Static fries the line and blows the connection.

Moore gets the last word. Moore says, "… have us big fun."

The freeway was flat. Flat blacktop/flat empty. Flat sand adjacent. Sand flats and scrub. Jackrabbit bones. Sand grit in circulation.

The soundtrack distorted. He'd fucked up the call. The Jack and Lee Show fucked with him.

A rabbit jumped. It hit the road. It cleared his wheels clean. A wind kicked up. It tossed scrub balls and waxed paper.

There's the sign: Rest Stop #10.

Wayne pulled in. Wayne scoped the parking lot slooooow.

Gravel paving. No cars. Tire tracks on sand adjacent. Flat sand. Drift sand. Scrub balls hip-high.

Goooood cover spots.

A men's room. A ladies' room. Two stucco huts and a crawl space between. The huts fronted sand drifts. Said drifts ran way inland. The wind stirred loose sand.

Wayne parked. Beaudine said 3:00. He told Moore to meet him at 4:00. The current time-2:49.

He pulled his piece. He popped the glove box. He pulled out the money-six cold.

He got out. He walked through the men's room. He checked the stalls gun-first. The wind kicked cellophane through.

He walked out. He hit the ladies' room. Empty stalls/dirty sinks/bugs pooled in Lysol.

He walked out. He hugged the walls. He moved around back. Shitfire-there's Wendell Durfee.

He's got pimp threads. He's got a hair net. He's got a jigaboo conk. He's got a piece-it's a quiff automatic.

Durfee stood by the wall. Durfee ducked sand. It messed up his conk good.

He saw Wayne. He said, "Well, now."

Wayne drew down on him. Durfee raised his hands. Wayne walked up slow. Sand filled his shoes.

Durfee said, "Why you doin' this for me?"

Wayne grabbed his piece. Wayne popped the clip. Wayne tucked it down his pants barrel first.

The wind tore a scrub pile. Durfee's sled got exposed. It's a '51 Merc. It's sand-scraped. It's sunk to the hubs.

Wayne said, "Don't talk to me. I don't want to know you."

Durfee said, "I might need me a tow truck."

Wayne heard gravel crunch-back in the lot. Durfee futzed with his hair net. Durfee heard shit.

"Willis said you had money."

Gravel crunch-_tire_ crunch-Durfee missed the sounds dead.

"I'll get it. You wait here."

"Shit. I ain't goin' nowhere without it. You fuckin' Santa Claus, you know that?"

Wayne holstered his piece. Wayne circled back to the lot. Wayne saw Moore's 409.

It's upside his car. It's idling hard. It's throbbing on hi-end shocks. There's Moore. He's at the wheel. He's chomping Red Man.

Wayne stopped. His dick fluttered. Piss leaked out.

He saw something.

A speck-up the freeway-some kind of mirage or a car.

He anchored his legs. He walked up jerky. He leaned on Moore's car.

Moore rolled down his window. "Hey, boy. What's new and noteworthy?"

Wayne leaned in close. Wayne braced on the roof.

"He isn't here. That guy gave me a bad lead."

Moore spat tobacco juice. Moore hit Wayne's shoes.

"Why'd you tell me four o'clock, when you're here before three?"

Wayne shrugged. How should I know? I'm bored with you.

Moore pulled a knife. Moore picked his teeth. Moore sheared pork chop fat. He sprayed juice haphazard. He doused Wayne's shirt.

"He's out back. I reconnoitered a half hour ago. Now, you get your ass back there and kill him."

Wayne saw reruns-in slooooow motion.

"You know Jack Ruby."

Moore picked his teeth. Moore tapped the blade on the dash.

"So what? Everyone knows Jack."

Wayne leaned in the window. "What about Bowers? He saw Kennedy get-"

Moore swung the knife. Moore snagged Wayne's shirt. Moore grabbed Wayne's necktie. They hit heads. Moore swung the knife. His hand hit the door ledge.

Wayne pulled his head back. Wayne pulled his piece. Wayne shot Moore in the head.

Recoil-

It knocked him back. He hit _his_ car. He braced and aimed tight. He shot Moore in the head/Moore in the neck/Moore with no face and no chin.

He ripped the seats. He tore up the dash. He blew the windows out. It was loud. It echoed loud. It outblew wind gusts.

Wayne froze. The 409 bounced-reverb off hi-end shocks.

Durfee ran out. Durfee lost his legs. Durfee slid and fell flat. Wayne froze. There's that speck up I-35-it's a car oh luck.

The car drove up. The car pulled in. The car stopped by Moore's sled. Sand blew. Scrub balls bounced. Gravel scattered.

The speck-car idled. Pete got out. Pete put his hands up.

Wayne aimed at him. Wayne pulled the trigger. The pin clicked-you're empty-you're fucked.

Durfee watched. Durfee tried to run. Durfee stood up and fell flat. Pete walked up to Wayne. Wayne dropped his gun and pulled Durfee's gun. Wayne popped in the clip.

His hand slipped. The gun fell. Pete picked it up.

He said, "Kill him."

Wayne looked at Durfee. Pete said, "Kill him."

Wayne looked at Durfee. Durfee looked at Wayne. Wayne looked at Pete. Pete gave him the gun. Wayne dropped the safety.

Durfee stood up. His legs went. He fell on his ass.

Pete leaned on Moore's car. Pete reached inside. Pete flipped off the key. Wayne leaned in his car. Wayne grabbed the six thousand. Wayne coughed up gravel grit.

Pete said, "Kill him."

Wayne walked up to Durfee. Durfee sobbed. Durfee watched Wayne's hands. He saw a gun. He saw a cash bag. He saw two hands full.

Wayne dropped the bag. Durfee grabbed it. Durfee stood up. Durfee got legs and ran.

Wayne leaned on his knees. Wayne puked his lunch up. Wayne tasted hamburger and sand.

Durfee ran.

He tripped through sand drifts. He got his Merc. He gunned it. He bumped drifts. He plowed them. He made the lot. He made I-35 south.

Pete walked over. Wayne wiped his face. Wayne smeared Maynard Moore's blood.

Pete said, "You picked a good place for it. You picked a good weekend, too."

Wayne leaned on his knees. Wayne dropped the gun. Pete grabbed it up.

"There's an oil dump two miles down. You can ditch the car there."

Wayne straightened up. Pete steadied him. Pete said, "Maybe I'll see you in Vegas."

13

(Dallas, 11/25/63)

Jack's wake blared-epidemic boo-hoo-it cut through the bridal suite walls.

Barb said, "I'm getting the picture. The fix is in."

Pete packed his suitcase. "Some people got Christmas early. They know how things work, and they know what's best for the country."

Barb folded her gowns. "There's a catch. For us, I mean."

Pete tuned her out. He'd just talked to Guy. Guy just talked to Carlos. Carlos loved the Ruby Show. Carlos wanted to clip Maynard Moore.

Guy told Pete that. Pete ad-libbed. Pete said Moore vanished-kapoof!

Guy spritzed on Moore's Vegas gig. Guy ragged Wayne Junior. Junior knew shit-small fucking world-Wayne Senior greased the hit fund.

Barb said, "The _catch_. Don't tell me there isn't one. And don't tell me those tickets to Vegas aren't part of it."

Pete stashed his piece. "Are you saying that two tickets was being optimistic?"

"No. You know I'll never leave you."

Pete smiled. "There's some fuck-ups I wouldn't have made, if I'd known you better."

Barb smiled. "The catch? _Vegas?_ And don't make eyes at me when we have to run for a plane."

Pete shut his suitcase. "The Outfit has plans for Mr. Hughes. Ward's putting some things together."

"It's about staying useful, then."

"Yeah. Stay useful, stay healthy. If I can get them to bend a certain rule, I'd call it a lock."

Barb said, "What rule?"

"Come on, you know what I do."

Barb shook her head. "You're versatile. You run shakedowns and you sell guns and dope. You killed the President of the United States once, but I'd have to call that a one-time opportunity."

Pete laughed. Pete made his sides hurt. Pete leaked some wiiiiild tears. Barb tossed a towel up. Pete wiped his eyes and de-teared.

"You can't move heroin there. It's a set policy, but it's probably the best way I can make the Boys some real money. They might go for it, if I only sell to the spooks in West Vegas. Mr. Hughes hates jigs. He thinks they should all be doped up, like he is. The Boys might decide to humor him."

Barb got This Look. Pete knew the gestalt. _I_ fucked JFK. _You_ killed him. _My_ craaazy life.

She said, "Useful."

"Yeah, that's it."

Barb grabbed her Twist gowns. Barb dropped them out the window. Pete looked out. A kid looked up. The blue gown hit a ledge.

Barb waved. The kid waved back.

"The Twist is dead, but I'll bet you could get me some lounge gigs."

"We'll be useful."

"I'm still scared."

Pete said, "That's the catch."

Part II

EXTORTION

December 1963-October 1964

_DOCUMENT INSERT_: 12/1/63. Internally circulated FBI intelligence report. Marked: "Classified Confidential 2-A: Restricted Agent Access" / "Pertinent Facts Observations on Major Las Vegas Hotel-Casino Ownerships Related Topics." Note: Officially logged at Southern Nevada Office, 2/8/63.

The major Las Vegas hotel-casinos are situated in two locales: The downtown (Fremont Street/"Glitter Gulch") area and "The Strip" (Las Vegas Blvd, the city's main north-south artery). The downtown establishments are older, less gaudy cater to local residents less affluent tourists who come to gamble, enjoy lowquality entertainment engage the services of prostitutes. Junket groups (Elks, Kiwanis, Rotary, Shriners, VFW, CYO) are frequent downtown hotel-casino visitors. The downtown establishments are largely owned by "Pioneer" consortiums (e.g., native Nevadans general non-organized crime groups). Some of the owners have been forced to sell small (5%-8%) interests to organized-crime groups in exchange for continued "Preferential Treatment" (e.g., on-site "protection," a "service" to insure the absence of labor trouble untoward on-site incidents). Organized-crime associates frequently serve as casino "Pit Bosses" thus as enforcers and on-site informants for their organized-crime patrons.

The downtown area is jurisdictionally covered by the Las Vegas Police Department (LVPD). The LVPD's jurisdiction adjoins that of the Clark County Sheriff's Department (CCSD). Both agencies work within the other's jurisdiction by mutual consent. The Sheriff's Dept patrols the "Strip" area south of the Sahara Hotel. Like the LVPD, it provides investigatory services for its specific jurisdiction, with an operational mandate inside LVPD, or "City" jurisdiction. The LVPD is similarly allowed to conduct investigations inside Sheriff's Dept, or "County" jurisdiction. It should be noted that both agencies are widely influenced and corrupted by factions of organized crime. This corruption is of the type most identified with "Company Towns" (e.g., casino revenue forms the financial base of Las Vegas thus influences the political base law-enforcement policy). Numerous officers within both agencies benefit from organizedcrime bestowed "Gratuities" (free hotel stays, free casino gambling chips, the services of prostitutes, "police discounts" at various businesses owned by organized-crime associates) outright bribery. The LVPD and Sheriff's Dept enforce organized-crime policies with the implicit consent of the Clark County political hierarchy by extension the consent of the Nevada State Legislature. (E.g., Negroes are strongly discouraged from entering certain "Strip" hotel-casinos and on-site casino personnel are allowed to see to their expulsion. E.g., crimes against organized-crime-connected casino employees are frequently avenged by LVPD officers, acting on orders from the Casino Operators Council, an organized-crime front group. E.g.' LVPD officers and Sheriff's deputies are often used to track down casino card cheats, "discourage" them run them out of town.)

The best-known hotel-casinos are situated on the "Strip." Many of them have been infiltrated by organized crime, with percentage "Points" divvied up among the overlords of organized-crime cartels. (E.g., the Chicago Crime Cartel controls the Stardust HotelCasino boss _Sam "Mo," "Momo," "Mooney" Giancana_ has an 8% personal interest. Chicago hoodlum John Rosselli (the Chicago Cartel's Las Vegas overseer) has a 3% interest Chicago Mob enforcer _Dominic Michael Montalvo_ aka "Butch Montrose" has a 1% interest.) (See Addendum File #B-2 for complete list of crimecartel ownerships percentage-point estimates.)

Smaller percentage points are traded between organized crime factions as part of an ongoing effort to insure that all factions have a stake in the expanding Las Vegas casino economy. The profit base is thus shared faction-to-faction rivalry is averted. Thus, organized crime presents a unified face in Las Vegas. The man responsible for developing maintaining this policy is _Morris Barney "Moe" Dalitz_ (b. 1899), a former Cleveland mobster organized crime's "Goodwill Ambassador" Las Vegas "Fix-It Man." _Dalitz_ owns points in the Desert Inn Hotel Casino and is rumored to have points in several others. _Dalitz_ is known as "Mr. Las Vegas," because of his numerous philanthropic endeavors his convincing non-gangster image. _Dalitz_ founded the Casino Operators Council, dictates their enforcement policies is largely responsible for the "Clean Town" policy that organized-crime factions believe will help promote tourism thus increase hotelcasino revenue.

This "Policy" is informally enforced has the implicit approval of the Las Vegas political machine the LVPD Sheriff's Dept. One goal is to enforce ad hoc segregation in the "Strip" hotelcasinos (e.g., admit Negro celebrities or perceived "High Class" Negroes refuse admittance to all others) to isolate Negro housing in the slum area of West Las Vegas. (Restrictive real-estate covenants are widely observed by Las Vegas-based realtors.) A key "Policy" dictate is the "No Narcotics" rule. This rule applies specifically to heroin. The selling of heroin is forbidden is punishable by death. The rule is enforced to limit the number of narcotics addicts, specifically those who might support their addiction by means of robbery, burglary, "flim-flam" or other criminal activities that would sully the reputation of Las Vegas thus discourage tourism. Numerous heroin pushers have been the victims of unsolved homicides numerous others have disappeared are presumed to have been killed per the aforementioned policy (see Addendum File #B-3 for partial list). The last homicide occurred on 4/12/60 there appears to be no heroin traffic in Las Vegas as of this date. It is fair to conclude that the aforementioned deaths have served as a deterrent.

_Dalitz_ is a close associate of Teamster President _James Riddle Hoffa_ (b. 1914) has secured large loans from the Teamsters' Central States Pension Fund that have covered the cost of hotelcasino improvements. The Fund (estimated assets 1.6 billion dollars) is a "Watering Hole" that organized-crime factions borrow from routinely. Dubious organized-crime-connected "Businessmen" also borrow from the Fund at usurious interest rates that often result in the forfeiture of their businesses. It is rumored that a second set of Pension Fund financial books exists (one that is hidden from government subpoena thus official audit). These books allegedly list a more accurate accounting of Pension Fund assets detail the illegal quasi-legal loans repayment schedules.

Many of the "Strip" hotel-casinos routinely hide a large portion of their assets. (See the attached IRS-filed table-by-table profit accountings for all craps, roulette, blackjack, poker, loball, keno, fan-tan 8e baccarat tables, broken down by hotel.) These reported accountings are generally considered to be only 70-80% accurate. (It is very difficult to detect sustained underestimation of taxable income in large cash-base businesses.) Underestimated table profits are estimated to amount to untaxed revenue of over $105,000,000 per year ('62 fiscal estimate). This practice is called the "Skim."

Cash receipts are taken directly from casino counting rooms and dispersed to couriers who messenger the money to prearranged spots. Large-denomination bills are substituted for slotmachine coins daily accountings are fraudulently tallied inside the counting rooms proper. Casino "Skim" is virtually impossible to detect. Most hotel-casino employees subsist on low wages untaxed cash gratuities would never report irregularities. This endemic corruption extends to the labor unions who supply the major hotel-casinos with workers.

The Dealers and Croupiers Local #117 is a Chicago Crime Cartel front. Its members are paid a low hourly wage are given play chips (presumably stolen) merchandise as bonuses. All chapters of this union are rigidly segregated. The Lounge Entertainers Local #41 is a Detroit Crime Cartel front. Its members are well-paid, but pay weekly kickbacks to crew stewards. This union is nominally integrated. Negro lounge entertainers are "discouraged" from patronizing the hotel-casinos they work in from fraternizing with white patrons. The four building building-supply locals who service the "Strip" hotels are Cleveland Crime Cartel fronts work exclusively with organized-crime-connected contracting firms. The all-female Chambermaids Local #16 is a Florida Crime Cartel front. Many of its members have been suborned into prostitution. The work crews for the above mentioned locals are run by "Ramrods" who report to the Casino Operators Council.

The Kitchen Workers Union (Las Vegas-based only. There are no other chapters) is not organized-crime-connected is allowed to operate as a sop to the Las Vegas "Pioneer" contingent the largely Mormon Nevada political machine. The union is run by _Wayne Tedrow Sr_. (b. 1905), a conservative pamphleteer, realestate investor the owner of a bottom-rung or "Grind Joint" casino, the "Land o' Gold." The crew chiefs are all Mormons the workers (mostly illegal Mexican aliens) are paid substandard wages are given "bonuses" of dented cans of food play chips for the Land o' Gold. The workers live in slum hotels in a Mexican enclave on the West-North Las Vegas border. (Note: _Tedrow Sr_. is rumored to have hidden points in 14 North Las Vegas "Grind Joints" 6 liquor store/slot machine arcades near Nellis Air Force Base. If true, these ownerships would constitute infractions of the Nevada Gaming Commission charter.)

The Nevada Gaming Commission oversees regulates the granting of casino licenses and the hiring of casino personnel. The Commission is a "rubber-stamp" panel that does the bidding of the Gaming Control Board and the Clark County Liquor Control Board. The same five men (the Clark County Sheriff District Attorney 3 appointed "Civilian" members) serve on both boards. Thus, the power to approve liquor and casino license applicants for the entire state rests solely in Las Vegas. None of the 5 board members are overtly organized-crime-connected it is difficult to assess the level of collusion the boards engage in, because a majority of the applications they review cloak hidden organized-crime backing that is difficult to detect. There are no dossiers available on members of the above organizations. The LVPD Intelligence Unit keeps detailed files on the Gaming Control Liquor Board men, but has consistently refused to grant the FBI U.S. Attorney's Office access to them. (As previously stated, the LVPD is strongly organized-crime-influenced.) The LVPD Intelligence Unit operates city countywide is the sole such unit in Clark County. It is a 2-man operation. The commanding officer is Lieutenant Byron B. Fritsch (the adjutant of the LVPD Detective Bureau strongly connected to the Casino Operators Council) the only assigned officer is Sergeant Wayne Tedrow Jr. (Sgt. Tedrow is the son of the aforementioned Wayne Tedrow Sr. He is considered incorruptible by Las Vegas Police standards.)

Concluding note: Addendum Files #B-1, 2, 3, 4, 5 require duplicate authorization: Southern Nevada SAC Deputy Director Tolson.

_DOCUMENT INSERT_: 12/2/63. Verbatim FBI telephone call transcript. Marked: "Recorded at the Director's Request"/"Classifled Confidential 1-A: Director's Eyes Only." Speaking: Director Hoover, Ward J. Littell.

JEH: Good morning, Mr. Littell.

WJL: Good morning, Sir. And thank you for the carbons.

JEH: Las Vegas is a hellhole. it is unfit for sane habitation, which may explain its allure to Howard Hughes.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: Let's talk about Dallas.

WJL: The consensus feels secure, Sir. And the Oswald killing seems to be a popular denouement.

JEH: Mr. Ruby has gotten four thousand fan letters. He is quite popular with Jews.

WJL: I'll concede him a certain panache, Sir.

JEH: Will you concede his ability to keep his mouth shut?

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: I agree with you on the consensus. And I want you to include your thoughts in a detailed report on the events of that hallowed weekend. I will attribute the report to Dallas agents and submit it directly to President Johnson.

WJL: I'll begin work immediately, Sir.

JEH: The President will announce a commission to investigate King Jack's death. I will hand-pick the field agents. Your report will provide the President with a snappy preview of their findings.

WJL: Has he formed an opinion, Sir?

JEH: He suspects Mr. Castro or unruly Cuban exiles. In his view, the killing stemmed from King Jack's reckless blunders in the Caribbean.

WJL: It's an informed perspective, Sir.

JEH: I'll concede the point and concede that Lyndon Johnson is no dummy. He has a conveniently dead assassin and a citizenry avenged on national television. What more could he ask for?

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: And he's appropriately fed up with the Cuban boondoggle. He's going to drop it as a national-security issue and concentrate on the situation in Vietnam.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: Your tone did not escape me, Mr. Littell. I know that you disapprove of American colonialism and consider our God-given mandate to contain global communism as ill-conceived.

WJL: That's true, Sir.

JEH: The attendant irony has not escaped me. A closet leftist as front man for Howard Hughes and his colonialist designs.

WJL: Strange bedfellows, Sir.

JEH: And how would you describe his designs?

WJL: He wants to circumvent anti-trust laws and purchase all the hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. He won't spend a dime until he settles his stock-divestment suit with TWA and accrues at least 500 million dollars. I think the suit will resolve in three or four years.

JEH: And your job is to pre-colonize Las Vegas?

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: I would like a blunt assessment of Mr. Hughes' mental state.

WJL: Mr. Hughes injects codeine in his arms, legs and penis. He eats only pizza pies and ice cream. He receives frequent transfusions of "germ-free" Mormon blood. His employees routinely refer to him as "the Count," "Count Dracula" and "Drac."

JEH: A vivid assessment.

WJL: He's lucid half the time, Sir. And he's single-mindedly fixed on Las Vegas.

JEH: Bobby's anti-Mob crusade may have repercussions there.

WJL: Do you think he'll remain in the cabinet?

JEH: No. He hates Lyndon Johnson, and Lyndon Johnson more than reciprocates. I think he'll resign his appointment. And his successor may have Las Vegas plans that I will be powerless to curtail.

WJL: Specifically, Sir?

JEH: Bobby had been considering skim operations.

WJL: Mr. Marcello and the others have plans for Mr. Hughes' holdings.

JEH: How could they not? They have a drug-addicted vampire to victimize, and you to help them suck his blood.

WJL: They know that you bear them no rancor, Sir. They'll understand that some of Bobby's plans will be implemented by his successor.

JEH: Yes. And if the Count buys into Las Vegas and cleans up its image, those plans might be abandoned.

WJL: Yes, Sir. The thought had occurred to me.

JEH: I would like to know what the Dark Prince thinks about his brother's death.

WJL: So would I.

JEH: Of course you would. Robert F. Kennedy is both your savior and your bкte noire, and I'm hardly the one to indict you as a voyeur.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: Would a bug-and-tap approach work?

WJL: No, Sir. But I'll talk to my other clients and see what they suggest.

JEH: I need someone with a "fallen liberal" image. I may ask a favor of you.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: Good day, Mr. Littell.

WJL: Good day, Sir.

14

(Las Vegas, 12/4/63)

They worked him. Two pros: Buddy Fritsch and Captain Bob Gilstrap.

They used the chief's office. They hemmed Wayne in. They deployed the chief's couch.

He'd stalled the meeting. He'd filed a report and filled lies in. He downplayed Moore's vanishing act.

He drove Moore's car to the dump. He stripped the plates. He pulled out Moore's teeth. He dug out his bullets. He stuffed shotgun shells in his mouth. He gas-soaked a rag. He lit it.

Moore's head blew. He fucked up would-be forensics. He dumped the car in a sludge pit. It sunk fast.

The pit steamed. He knew chemistry. Caustics ate flesh and sheet metal.

He mock-chased Wendell D. He called Buddy Fritsch and lied. He said I can't find him. I can't find Maynard Moore.

He leaned on Willis Beaudine. He told him to split Dallas. Beaudine grabbed his dog and skedaddled. He drove by DPD. He pulled some file sheets. He obscured Wendell Durfee's KAs. He buttonholed cops-you seen Maynard Moore?

Fritsch de-Wendellized him. Fritsch pulled the plug. Fritsch called him back home.

They worked him. They hemmed him in. They cracked JFK jokes. JFK groped a nurse and a nun. JFK's last word was "pussy."

Fritsch said, "We read your report."

Gilstrap said, "You must have had some time. I mean, the Kennedy deal and you trading shots with that spook."

Wayne shrugged. Wayne played it frosty. Fritsch lit a cigarette. Gilstrap bummed one.

Fritsch coughed. "You didn't care much for Officer Moore."

Wayne shrugged. "He was dirty. I didn't respect him as a policeman."

Gilstrap lit up. "Dirty, how?"

"He was drunk half the time. He pressed people too hard."

Fritsch said, "By your standards?"

"By the standards of good police work."

Gilstrap smiled. "Those boys do things their own way."

Fritsch smiled. "You can tell a Texan."

Gilstrap said, "But not much."

Fritsch laughed. Gilstrap slapped his knees.

Wayne said, "What _about_ Moore? Did he show up?"

Fritsch shook his head. "That question is unworthy of a smart boy like you."

Gilstrap blew smoke rings. "Try this one on. Moore didn't like you, so he went after Durfee himself. Durfee killed him and stole his car."

Fritsch said, "You got a six-foot-four nigger in an easily identifiable hot rod and a tristate APB out. Tell me it's anything else and you're stupid. And tell me the first cop who spots him won't kill him, just so he can brag about it."

Wayne shrugged. "That's what DPD thinks?"

Fritsch smiled. "Them and us. And we're the only two who count."

Wayne shook his head. "You find the half-dozen Dallas cops who aren't in the Klan and ask them what they think of Moore. They'll tell you how dirty he was, how many people he pissed off, and how many suspects you've got."

Gilstrap picked a hangnail. "That's your pride talking, son. You're blaming yourself because Durfee got away and killed a brother officer."

Fritsch stubbed his cigarette. "DPD's working it hard. They wanted to send one of their IA men up to talk to you, but we said no."

Gilstrap said, "They're talking negligence, son. You scuffled with Moore at the Adoiphus, so he went out solo and got himself killed."

Wayne kicked a footrest. An ashtray flew.

"He's trash. If he's dead, he deserved it. You can tell those redneck cops I said that."

Fritsch grabbed the ashtray. "Whoa, now."

Gilstrap scooped up butts. "Nobody's blaming you. You proved yourself to my satisfaction."

Fritsch said, "You showed some poor judgment, _and_ you showed Some stones. You did your reputation in this man's police department a whole lot of good."

Gilstrap smiled. "Tell your daddy the story. Running fire with one baaaad mother humper."

Fritsch winked. "I feel lucky."

Gilstrap said, "I won't tell."

Fritsch grabbed the chief's desk bandit. Gilstrap pulled the handle. Gears spun. Three cherries clicked. Dimes blew out the chute.

Gilstrap caught them. "There's my lunch money."

Fritsch winked. "You mean there's rank. Captains get to steal from lieutenants."

Gilstrap nudged Wayne. "You'll be a captain one day."

Fritsch said, "Could you have done it? Killed him, I mean."

Wayne smiled. "Durfee or Moore?"

Gilstrap whooped. "Wayne Junior's a fireball today."

Fritsch laughed. "Some folks don't think so, but I say he's his daddy's son after all."

Gilstrap stood up. "Tell true, boy. What did you spend that cold six on?"

Wayne grinned. Wayne said, "Liquor and call girls."

Fritsch stood up. "He's got Wayne Senior's blood in his veins."

Gilstrap winked. "We won't tell Lynette."

Wayne stood up. His legs hurt. He had fucking tension cramps. Gilstrap walked out. Gilstrap whistled and jiggled his dimes.

Fritsch said, "Gil likes you."

"He likes my father."

"Don't sell yourself short."

"Did my father tell you to send me to Dallas?"

"No, but he sure liked the idea."

o o o

He worked them back-bait-and-switch-diversion. His heartbeat hit 200. His blood pressure soared. "Lone assassin"-shit. I SAW Dallas.

Wayne drove home. Wayne dawdled. Fremont was packed. Rubes waved bingo sheets. Rubes hopped casinos.

Wayne was brain-fucked. Wayne was brain-fucked off Dallas.

Pete says, "Kill him." He can't. He runs PD checks. He gets Pete's name. He queries three intel squads: L.A./New York/Miami.

Pete Bondurant: Ex-cop/ex-CIA/ex-Howard Hughes goon. Current mobbed-up enforcer.

He runs hotel registrations. 11/25: Pete and Frau Pete hit the Stardust. Their suite is comped. Pete's mobbed up. Chi-Mob connections implied.

Car traffic was bad. Foot traffic ditto. Rubes lugged highballs and beers.

_Tail Pete. Do it discreet. Hire a patrolman. Pay him in Land o'Gold chips_.

Wayne circled back. Wayne recruised Fremont. Wayne dodged Lynette and his dinner.

Lynette was running trite. Lynette ran trite lines verbatim. Jack was young. Jack was brave. Jack _realllly_ loved Jackie.

Jack and Jackie lost their baby. Circa '62. Lynette fell for them then. He didn't want kids. Lynette did. She got pregnant in '61.

It froze him up. It shut him down. He froze her out. He told her to get an abortion. She said no. He addressed the Latter-day Saints. He prayed for a dead baby.

Lynette caught the gist. Lynette ran to her folks. Lynette mailed off chatty letters. She came home bone skinny. She said she miscarried. He went along with the lie.

Daddy Sproul called him. Daddy waxed revisionist. Daddy dropped details. He said Lynette got scraped in Little Rock. He said she hemorrhaged and almost died.

The marriage survived. Trite shit would tear it for real.

o o o

Lynette set up TV trays. LBJ crashed their dinner. He announced some Warren probe.

Wayne killed the sound. LBJ moved his lips. Lynette toyed with her food.

"I thought you'd want to follow it more."

"I had too much stuff going on. And it's not like I had a stake in the man."

"Wayne, you were _there_. It's the kind of thing people tell their grand…"

"I told you, I didn't see anything. And we're not in the grandchild business."

Lynette balled her napkin. "You've been nothing but sullen since you got back, and don't tell me it's just Wendell Durfee."

"I'm sorry. That crack was ugly."

Lynette wiped her lips. "You know I gave up on that front."

"Tell me what it is, then."

Lynette turned the TV off. "It's the new sullen you, with that patronizing attitude that all the cops have. You know, 'I've seen things that my schoolteacher wife just wouldn't understand.'"

Wayne jabbed his roast beef. Wayne twanged the fork.

Lynette said, "Don't play with your food."

Wayne sipped Kool-Aid. "You're so goddamn smart in your way."

Lynette smiled. "Don't curse at my table."

"You mean your TV tray."

Lynette grabbed the fork. Lynette mock-stabbed him. Blood juice dripped and pooled.

Wayne flinched. Wayne hit the tray. His glass tipped and doused his food.

Lynette said, "Shit."

Wayne walked to the kitchen. Wayne dumped his tray in the sink. He turned around. He saw Lynette by the stove.

She said, "What happened in Dallas?"

o o o

Wayne Senior lived south-Paradise Valley with land and views.

He had fifty acres. He grazed steers. He butchered them for bar-b-que meat. The house was tri-level-redwood and stone-wide decks with wide views.

The carport covered an acre. A runway adjoined it. Wayne Senior flew biplanes. Wayne Senior flew flags: The U.S./the Nevada/the Don't-Treadon-Me.

Wayne parked. Wayne killed his lights. Wayne skimmed the radio. He caught the McGuire Sisters-three-part harmony.

Janice had a dressing room. It faced the carport. She got bored. She changed clothes. She left her lights on to draw looks.

Wayne settled in. The Sisters crooned. "Sugartime" merged with "Sincerely." Janice walked through the light. Janice wore tennis shorts and a bra.

She posed. She dropped her shorts. She picked up capris. Her panties stretched and slid low.

She put the capris on. She unpinned her hair and combed it back. Her gray streak showed-silver in black-the pink capris clashed.

She pirouetted. Her breasts swayed. The Sisters supplied a soundtrack. The lights dimmed. Wayne blinked. It all went too fast.

He calmed down. He turned the car off. He walked through the house. He went straight back. Wayne Senior always perched outside. The northdeck view magnetized.

It was cold. Leaves strafed the deck. Wayne Senior wore a fat sweater. Wayne leaned on the rail. Wayne killed his view.

"You never get bored with it."

"I appreciate a good vista. I'm like my son that way."

"You never called and asked about Dallas."

"Buddy and Gil briefed me. They were thorough, but I'd still like to hear your version."

Wayne smiled. "In time."

Wayne Senior sipped bourbon. "The crap-game ruckus tickled me. You chasing that colored boy."

"I was brave and stupid. I'm not sure you would have approved."

Wayne Senior twirled his walking stick. "And I'm not sure you want my approval."

Wayne turned around. The Strip beamed. Neon signs pulsed.

"My son rubbed shoulders with history. I wouldn't mind a few details."

Cars left Vegas-the losers' exodus-southbound headlights.

"In time."

"Mr. Hoover saw the autopsy pictures. He said Kennedy had a small pecker."

Wayne heard gunshots north-northeast. Broke gambler blows town. Broke gambler pulls gun. Broke gambler unwinds.

"LBJ told Mr. Hoover a good one. He said, 'Jack was a strange bedfellow long before he entered politics.'"

Wayne turned around. "Don't gloat. It's fucking undignified."

Wayne Senior smiled. "You've got a foul mouth for a Mormon."

"The Mormon Church is a crock of shit, and you know it."

"Then why'd you ask the Saints to kill your baby?"

Wayne grabbed the rail. "I forgot that I told you that."

"You tell me everything-'in time.'"

Wayne dropped his hands. His wedding band slid. He missed meals. He dropped weight. He fretted up Dallas.

"When's your Christmas party?"

Wayne Senior twirled his stick. "Don't divert conversation so abruptly. You tell people what you're afraid of."

"Don't press on Lynette. I know where you're going."

"Then I'll go there. It's a kid marriage that you're bored with, and you know it."

"Like you and my mother?"

"That's right."

"I've heard it before. You're here and you've got what you've got. You're not a cluck selling real estate in Peru, Indiana."

"That's right. Because I knew when to fold my hand with your mother."

Wayne coughed. "You're saying I'll meet my Janice and walk like you did."

Wayne Senior laughed. "Shitfire. Your Janice and my Janice are one and the same."

Wayne blushed. Wayne's ears fucking singed.

"Shitfire. Just when I think I've lost sway with my boy, I light him up like a Christmas tree."

A shotgun blew somewhere. It roused some coyote yells.

Wayne Senior said, "Someone lost money."

Wayne smiled. "He probably lost his stake at one of your joints."

"_One of?_ You know I only own one casino."

"The last I heard, you had points in fourteen. And the last time I checked, that was illegal."

Wayne Senior twirled his stick. "There's a trick to lying. Hold to the same line, regardless of who you're with."

"I'll remember that."

"You will. But you'll remember who told you right about the same time."

A flying bug bit Wayne. Wayne swatted it.

"I don't see your point."

"You'll remember that your father told you, and speak some godawful truth out of pure cussedness."

Wayne smiled. Wayne Senior winked. He twirled his stick. He dipped it. He ran his stick repertoire.

"Are you still the only policeman who cares about those beat-up colored whores?"

"That's right."

"Why is that?"

"Pure cussedness."

"That and your spell in Little Rock."

Wayne laughed. "You should have been there. I broke every states' rights law on the books."

Wayne Senior laughed. "Mr. Hoover's going after Martin Luther King. He's got to find himself a 'fallen liberal' first."

"Tell him I'm booked up."

"He told me Vietnam's heating up. I said, 'My son was in the EightySecond Airborne. But don't hold your breath for him to re-enlist-he'd rather fight rednecks than Reds.'"

Wayne looked around. Wayne saw a chip bucket. Wayne grabbed some Land o' Gold reds.

"Did you tell Buddy to send me to Dallas?"

"No. But I've always thought a cold money run would do you some good."

Wayne said, "It was enlightening."

"What did you do with the money?"

"Got myself in trouble."

"Was it worth it?"

"I learned a few things."

"Care to tell me?"

Wayne tossed a chip. Wayne Senior pulled his hip piece. He shot the chip. He nailed it. Plastic shards flew.

Wayne walked inside. Wayne detoured by the dressing room. Janice shot him a view.

Bare legs. A dance step. Streaked-hair allure.

15

(Las Vegas, 12/6/63)

Dallas tweaked him. He should have killed Junior. Junior should have killed the spook.

Vegas sparkled-fuck death-should-haves meant shit. Nice breeze/nice sun/nice casinos.

Pete cruised the Strip. Pete logged distractions:

The Tropicana course. Cocktail carts abundant. Drive-ins. Carhops on skates. Uplift abundant.

Pete made two circuits. Shit popped out:

Some nuns hit the Sands. They spot Frank Sinatra. They swoon and piss Frank off. They shvitz up his Sy Devore suit.

Grief by the Dunes:

Two cops grab two spics. The spics bleed very large. The scene vibes busboy brouhaha. Juan fucked Ramon's sister. Ramon had first dibs. Shivs by the low-roller buffet.

Nice mountains. Neon signs. Jap-tourist shutterbugs.

Pete made three circuits. The Strip show wore thin. Pete re-tweaked Dallas.

BE USEFUL: Sacred fucking text. The Hughes deal would take years. Ward said so. Carlos agreed. Carlos said Pete _should_ push dope in Vegas-but-the other Boys have to agree.

Ward was _trиs_ smart. The Arden move was _trиs_ dumb. Ward tripped on his dick-at a _trиs_ bad time.

Ward was in D.C. and New Orleans. Jimmy H. wanted him. Carlos beckoned. Carlos wants to snip loose ends. Carlos wants Ward's take. Carlos trusts Ward-but Ward always ridicules slaughter.

Arden saw the hit team. Arden knew Betty Mac. Arden knew Hank Killiam. A _trиs_ safe bet: Carlos wants to clip them. A _trйs_ safe bet: Ward calls it rash.

A bug was spreading. Call it the Mercy Flu. Call it the Me-No-Kill Blues.

He should have killed Junior. Junior should have killed the shine.

He watched Junior work. He climbed an adjacent hill. He got a covert view. Junior diced Maynard Moore. Junior cut through his brain pan. Junior pulled slugs. His knife slipped. He ate bone chips. He hacked them out and rocked steady.

He checked Junior out. Three intel squads: L.A./New York/Miami. His guys said Junior checked _him_ out.

His contacts hated Junior. They said Wayne Senior was a stud. They said Wayne Junior was a geek.

Junior passed him the mercy bug. Junior let the nigger live. Junior misread his options. The nigger vibed stupe. The nigger vibed homing pigeon. The nigger might home back here.

Pete cruised. Pete checked lounge marquees. Pete got the gestalt.

Name acts. No-name acts. Dick Contino/Art Dottie Todd/the Girlzapoppin' Revue. Hank Henry/the Vagabonds/Freddy Bell the Bellboys. The Persian Room/the Sky Room/the Top 0' the Strip.

Jack "Jive" Schafer/Gregg Blando/Jody the Misfits. The Dome of the Sea/the Sultan's Lounge/the Rumpus Room.

Call it: Toilets and carpet joints. Some high-end rooms. Call it for keeps:

Find Barb a spot. Find her some nonunion backup. Scotty the Scabs or the Happy Horseshitters-a fixed rate and a cut.

Pete parked in the Sands lot. Pete hit some casinos-the Bird/the Riv/the DI. He caught a lull. Shit stood out boldfaced.

He played blackjack. He observed:

A pit boss bops on a card cheat. The fuck wears a card-sleeve prosthesis. The fuck shoots cards out his cuffs.

He saw Johnny Rosselli. They schmoozed. They talked up the Hughes deal. Johnny praised Ward Littell-dig the threat implied.

Ward's crucial to our plans. You're muscle-you're not.

Johnny said _ciao_. Two call girls hovered. It vibed three-way.

Pete walked. Pete hit the Sands/the Dunes/the Flamingo. Pete dug the iow lights and thick rugs.

Sparks shot off his feet. His socks bipped and buzzed.

He hit bars. He drank club soda. He honed his cave vision. He watched barmen work. Call girls ducked him. He was 6'5"/230. He vibed strongarm cop.

What's _this_:

A barman pours pills-six in a shot glass-a waitress picks up.

He braced the barman. He flashed a toy badge. He growled very gruff. The barman laughed. His son wore a badge like that. His son ate Cocoa Puffs.

The man oozed style. Pete bought him a drink. The man spritzed on Vegas and dope.

Horse/weed/cocaine-verboten. The fuzz enforced the trifecta. The Mob enforced the No-"H" Law.

They tortured pushers. They killed them. Local hypes copped in L.A. Local hypes rode the Heroin Highway.

Pills were cool: Red devils/yellow jackets/high hoppers. Ditto liquid meth sans spike. Drink it-don't shoot it-fear the spike-phobic fuzz.

The fuzz sanctioned pills. Two Narco units-Sheriff's/LVPD. Pills got pipelined in: T.J. to L.A./L.A. to Vegas. Local quacks consigned pills. They fed barmen and cabbies. They fed pill fiends Vegaswide.

The West LV coons craved white horse. Said coons itched to ride. The No Horse Rule de-horsed them and kept them de-satisfied.

Pete walked. Pete hit the Persian Room. Pete watched Dick Contino rehearse. He knew Dick. Dick played squeeze-box gigs for Sam G. Dick owed the Chicago Cartel. The Boys attached his check. The Boys bought his food. The Boys paid his rent and bought his kids' threads.

Dick pitched a tale of woe-woe is me-lots of woe and no tail. Pete slid him two C's. Dick spritzed the Vegas lounge scene.

The Detroit Boys ran the local. The steward took bribes. He usurped the prime snatch. He suborned them to hook. They worked the Lake Mead cruise boats. Lounge kids kept rough hours. They ate breakfast exclusive. The lounge scene ran on Dexedrine and pancakes.

Pete walked. Pete caught Louis Prima in rehearsal. An old geek chewed his ear off.

Pops booked no-name acts. Pops father-henned the girls if they blew him. Pops told them who to avoid:

Shvartze pimps. "Talent scouts." Cockamamie "producers." Skin-mag men and schmucks with no address.

Pete thanked him. Pops bragged. Pops relived his salad days as a pimp. I ran trim-the best in the west-I scored for the late JFK.

o o o

Pete broke three C-notes. Pete glommed sixty five-spots.

He grabbed a scratch pad. He wrote down his phone number sixty fucking times. He hit a liquor store. He bought sixty short dogs. He grabbed his sap and drove to West Vegas.

He cruised in slow. He wore the sap. He held his automatic. He saw:

Dirt streets. Dirt yards. Dirt lots. Shack chateaus abundant.

Tar-paper pads with cinder-block siding. _Beaucoup_ churches/one mosque. _ALLAH IS LORD!_ signs. Allah signs revised to _JESUS!_

Lots of street activity. Jigs cooking bar-b-que in fifty-gallon drums.

The Wild Goose Bar/the Colony Club/the Sugar Hill Lounge. Streets named for Presidents and letters. Shit cars ubiquitous-ad hoc housing:

Two-tenant Chevys. Bachelor Lincolns. Bring-the-whole-family Fords.

Pete cruised slooooow. Uppity coons flipped him off. They scowled. They chucked beer cans. They dinged his fender skirts.

He stopped at a rib drum. A halfbreed served short ends. A chow line pressed in. They scoped Pete. They snickered. They sneered.

Pete smiled. Pete bowed. Pete bought them lunch.

He tipped the breed fifty. He passed out short dogs and fives. He passed out his phone-number slips.

A silence ensued. Said silence built. Said silence lapsed slooooow.

Say what, big man? Say what, daddy-o?

Pete talked:

Who sells shit? Who's seen Wendell Durfee? Who's hot to buck the NoHorse Law? Shouts overlapped-little gems-some nuggets in rebop jive.

These busboys sell red devils. They works at the Dunes. Dig on fucking Monarch Cab. Them guys push whites and RDs. Monarch got soul. Monarch work West LV. Monarch go where other cabs won't.

Dig on Curtis and Leroy-they gots plans-they wants to push horse. They baaaaaaaaad. They say fuck the rules. They say fuck them wop motherfuckers.

Shouts overlapped-more rebop/more jive. Pete yelled. Pete displayed charisma. Pete restored calm.

He told the breed to call the Wild Goose. He told the spooks to call HIM.

_IF_ you see Wendell Durfee. _IF_ Curtis and Leroy move horse.

He pledged a fat reward. He got an ovation: YOU THE FUCKIN' MAN!

He drove to the Wild Goose. Some spooks jogged along. They capered and waved their short dogs.

The Goose was packed. Pete replayed his act. The coons loved it. Pete cut through jive rebop.

He got no dish on Curtis and Leroy. He got rumors on Wendell D. Wicked Wendell-worse than his rep-a rape-o/a shitbird/a heel. A homing pigeon-Vegas born-and-bred-a Vegas moth to the flame.

Shouts overlapped. Spooks ad-libbed. A spook defamed Wayne Tedrow Senior.

Slumlord Senior stiffed him. Slumlord Senior fucked him. Slumlord Senior raised his rent. The noise got bad. Pete got a headache. Pete dosed it with pork rinds and scotch.

The Senior talk tweaked him-a gem within jive. Junior worked the intel squad. Junior had the gaming board files.

The spook gained steam. The spook digressed off Senior. The spook sparked other spooks. They aired the Spook Agenda _wiiiiide_.

Jim Crow. Civil rights. Real-estate sanctions. Praise for Martin Luther King.

The vibe went bad. The spooks vibed lynch mob. Pete caught bum looks:

WE THE MAN! YOU the ofay exploiter!

Pete walked out. Pete moved fast. Pete caught some elbows.

He hit the sidewalk. A kid buffed his car. He tipped him. He pulled out. A Chevy pulled out on cue.

Pete caught the move. Pete checked his rearview. Pete made the driver:

Young/white/cop haircut. Some kind of kid fuzz.

Pete zigzagged. Pete blew a stop sign. The Chevy stuck tail-close. They hit LV proper. Pete stopped at a light. Pete set the emergency brake.

The Chevy idled. Pete walked back. Pete twirled his belt sap. The kid cop played cool. The kid cop twirled a play chip.

Pete reached in. Pete grabbed it. The kid cop guuuulped.

A red chip-$20-scrip for the Land o' Gold. Shit-Wayne Senior's joint.

Pete laughed. Pete said, "Tell Sergeant Tedrow to call me."

16

(Washington, D.C., 12/9/63)

ID work-old forms and smeared ink.

Littell worked. His kitchen table creaked. He knew paper and smudge art. The FBI taught him.

He smudged a birth-certificate form. He baked it on a hot plate. He sliced pen tubes and rolled smears.

The _old_ Arden Smith/Coates-now the _new_ Jane Fentress.

The apartment was hot. It helped dry forms. Littell rolled ink on a sealstamp. He stole it from Dallas PD.

Arden was southern. Arden talked southern. Alabama had a lax driver's-license policy. Applicants sent fees in. Birth certificates ditto. Written test forms went out.

They completed them. They mailed them in. They sent in a snapshot. They got their DL return mail.

Littell flew to Alabama-eight days back. Littell researched births and deaths. Jane Fentress was born in Birmingham. Her DOB was 9/4/26. Her DOD was 8/1/29.

He drove to Bessemer. He rented an apartment. He put "Jane Fentress" on the mailbox. Bessemer to Birmingham-twenty-two miles.

Littell switched pens. Littell spread fresh paper. Littell inked vertical lines.

Arden was a bookkeeper. Arden claimed credentials. Arden went to school in DeKalb, Mississippi. Let's upgrade her-Tulane, '49-let's give her an accounting degree.

He was due in New Orleans. He could visit Tulane. He could skim old catalogs. He could learn the academic terrain. He could forge a transcript. He could solicit Mr. Hoover. Local agents knew Tulane. A man could plant the goods.

Littell lined six sheets-standard college forms. He worked fast. He blotted. He smudged. He smeared.

Arden was safe. He stashed her in Balboa-due south of L.A.

A hotel hideaway-paid for by Hughes Tool. Tool Co. ignored his expenses-per Mr. Hughes' edict.

He swapped notes with Mr. Hughes. They spoke on the phone. They never officially met. He snuck into Drac's lair-one time only-the assassination a.m.

There's Drac:

He's sucking IV blood. He's shooting dope in his dick. He's tall. He's thin. His nails curl back.

Mormons guarded him. Mormons cleaned his spikes. Mormons fed him blood. Mormons swabbed his injection tracks.

Drac stayed in his room. Drac _owned_ his room. The hotel endured him-call it squatter's rights-Beverly Hills-style.

Littell spread photos out. Arden-three ways. One passport-DL shot/two keepsakes.

They made love in Balboa. A window blew open. Some kids heard them. The kids laughed. Their dog carried on.

Arden had sharp hips. He was bone-thin. They bumped and scraped and blundered into a fit.

Arden touched up her gray hair. Arden's pulse ran quick. She'd had scarlet fever as a kid. She'd had one abortion.

She was running. He caught her. Her run predated the hit.

Littell studied the photos. Littell studied _her_.

She had one brown eye. She had one hazel eye. Her left breast was smaller than her right. He bought her a cashmere sweater. It stretched snug on one side.

o o o

Jimmy Hoffa said, "I'm going _down?_ After the fucking coup we just pulled?"

Littell went ssshhh. Hoffa shut up. Littell tossed the room. He checked the lamps. He checked the rugs. He checked under the desk.

"Ward, you worry too much. I got a fucking guard outside my office twenty-four hours a day."

Littell checked the window. Window mounts _worked_. Suction cups could be rigged to glass.

"Ward, Jesus fucking-"

No mounts/no glass plates/no cups.

Hoffa stretched out. Hoffa yawned. Hoffa dipped his chair and dropped his feet on his desk.

Littell sat on the edge. "You'll probably be convicted. The appeal process will buy you at least-"

"That cunt-lapping homo Bobby F-for-Faggot-"

"-but jury tampering is not an offense that falls under Federal sentencing guidelines, which means a discretionary decree, which-"

"-means Bobby F-for-Fuckface Kennedy wins and James R-for-Ridiculous Hoffa goes to the fucking shithouse for five or six fucking years."

Littell smiled. "That's my summary, yes."

Hoffa picked his nose. "There's more. 'That's my summary' is no kind of summary that's worth a fucking shit."

Littell crossed his legs. "You'll stay out on appeals for two or three years. I'm developing a long-range strategy to legitimize Pension Fund money and divert and launder it through foreign sources, which should kick into high gear around the time you get out. I'm meeting the Boys in Vegas next month to discuss it. I can't emphasize how important this may prove to be."

Hoffa picked his teeth. "And in the fucking meantime?"

"In the meantime, we have to worry about those other grand juries that Bobby's impaneled."

Hoffa blew his nose. "That cunt-lapping cocksucker. After what we did to fuck-"

"We need to know what Bobby thinks about the hit. Mr. Hoover wants to know, too."

Hoffa cleaned his ears. Hoffa shined on Littell. He gouged. He went in deep. He jabbed a pen. He prospected for wax.

He said, "Carlos has a lawyer at Justice."

o o o

New Orleans was hot. The air hung wet and ripe.

Carlos owned a motel-twelve rooms and one office. Carlos made people wait.

Littell waited. The office smelled-chicory and bug spray. Carlos left a bottle out-Hennessy X.O-Carlos doubted his will to abstain.

He got off the plane. He drove to Tulane. He went through catalogs. He compiled a list of GI Bill classes.

He called Mr. Hoover. He asked his favor. Mr. Hoover agreed. Yes, I'll do it-I'll plant your paper.

The air cooler died. Littell dumped his jacket. Littell undid his tie. Carlos walked in. Carlos slapped the wall unit. Cold air blew high.

"_Come va_, Ward?"

Littell kissed his ring. "_Bene, padrone_."

Carlos sat on the desk. "You love that shit, and you're not even Italian."

"_Stavo perdiven tare un prete, Signor Marcello. Aurei potuto il tuo con fessore_."

Carlos cracked the bottle. "Say the last part in English. Your Italian's better than mine."

Littell smiled. "I could have been your confessor."

Carlos poured two fingers. "You'd be out of a job. I never do anything to piss God off."

Littell smiled. Carlos offered the bottle. Littell shook his head.

Carlos lit a cigar. "So?"

Littell coughed. "We're fine. The commission's a whitewash, and I wrote the narrative brief that they'll work off. It played the way I expected."

"Despite some fuck-ups."

"Guy Banister's. Not Pete's or mine."

Carlos shrugged. "Guy's a capable guy, on the whole."

"I wouldn't say that."

"Of course you wouldn't. You wanted your crew to go in."

Littell coughed. "I don't want to argue the point."

"The fuck you don't. You're a lawyer."

The wall unit died. Carlos slapped it. Cold air blew wide.

Littell said, "The meeting is set for the fourth."

Carlos laughed. "Moe Dalitz is calling it 'the Summit.'"

"That's appropriate. Especially if we still have your vote for Pete's business."

"Pete's _potential_ business? Yeah, sure."

"You don't sound too optimistic."

Carlos flicked ash. "Narcotics is a tough sell. Nobody wants to put Vegas in the shitter."

"Vegas _is_ the shitter."

"No, Mr. I-Was-Almost-a-Priest, it's your fucking salvation. It's your debt to pay off, and without that debt you'd be in the shitter with your friend Kemper Boyd."

Littell coughed. The smoke was bad. The wall unit swirled it.

Carlos said, "So?"

"So, I have a plan for the Pension Fund books. It's long-range, and it derives from your plans for Mr. Hughes."

"You mean _our_ plans."

Littell coughed. "Yes, ours."

Carlos shrugged-I'm bored for now-Carlos held up a file.

"Jimmy said you need a guy next to Bobby."

Littell grabbed the file. Littell skimmed the top page-one Shreveport PD rap sheet/one note.

8/12/54: Doug Eversall drives home. Doug Eversall hits three kids. He's drunk. The kids die. Doug's DA pal buries it.

For _his_ pal: Carlos Marcello.

Doug Eversall is a lawyer. Doug Eversall works at Justice. Bobby likes Doug. Bobby hates drunks and loves kids. Bobby doesn't know Doug's a kid-killer.

Carlos said, "You'll like Doug. He's on the wagon, like you."

Littell grabbed his briefcase and stood up. Carlos said, "Not yet."

The smoke was bad. It punched up the booze fumes. Littell almost drooled.

"We got some loose ends, Ward. Ruby bothers me, and I think we should send him a message."

Littell coughed. Here it com-

"Guy said you know the story. You know, all that grief at Jack Zangetty's motel."

Chills now-steam off dry ice.

"I know the story, yes. I know what Guy wants you to do, and I'm against it. It's unnecessary, it's too conspicuous, it's too close to Ruby's arrest."

Carlos shook his head. "They go. Tell Pete to take care of it."

Dizzy-weightless now.

"This is all on Banister. _He_ let them go to the safe house. _He_ screwed up on Tippit and Oswald. _He's_ the drunk who'll be bragging to every rightwing shithead on God's green earth."

Carlos shook his head. Carlos waved four fingers.

"Zangetty, Hank Killiam, that Arden cunt, and Betty McDonald. Tell Pete I don't expect a big delay."

17

(Las Vegas, 12/13/63)

The Dallas paper ran it-page 6 news-NO LEADS ON MISSING POLICEMAN.

Wayne sat in Sills' Tip-Top. Wayne hogged a window booth. He held his gun-locked cocked-the paper covered it.

The paper loved Maynard Moore. Moore got more ink than Jack Ruby. FAN MAIL FOR ASSASSIN'S SLAYER. CHIEF LAUDS MISSING OFFICER. NEGRO SOUGHT IN BAFFLING DISAPPEARANCE.

Wayne counted down. He had eighteen days in now. The Warren probe/the "Lone Gunman"/no news as good news.

He still worried Dallas. He still skipped meals. He still pissed every six seconds.

Pete walked in. Pete showed up punctual. He saw Wayne. He sat down. He smiled.

He checked Wayne's lap. He peeked and goofed. He saw the paper.

He said, "Aww, come on."

Wayne reholstered. Wayne fumbled his gun. Wayne banged the table. A waitress saw it. Wayne blushed red. Pete cracked his knuckles.

"I watched you clean up. You did a good job, but I wish you'd thought the nigger through."

Wayne felt piss pressure. Wayne clenched up downstairs.

"You're comped at the Stardust. That means the Chicago guys brought you in."

"Keep going."

"You think I owe you for that weekend."

Pete cracked his thumbs. "I want to see your gaming board files."

Wayne said, "No."

Pete grabbed a fork. Pete twirled it. Pete squeezed it and bent it in two. The waitress saw it. The waitress freaked.

She went oooh. She dropped a tray. She made a mess.

"I could go around you. Buddy Fritsch is supposed to be nice."

Wayne looked out the window. Wayne saw a two-car crash.

Pete said, "Fucking tailgaters. I always wrote up guys like-"

"I've got the files stashed, and there's no carbons. It's an old fail-safe policy. If you go to Buddy, I'll have my father intercede. Buddy's afraid of him."

Pete cracked his knuckles. "That's all I get for Dallas?"

"Nothing happened in Dallas. Don't you watch the news?"

Pete walked out. Wayne felt piss pressure. Wayne ran to the can.

18

(Las Vegas, 12/13/63)

One more headache/one more headache drink/one more lounge.

The Moon Room at the Stardust-low lights and moon maids in tights.

Pete sipped scotch. A moon maid fed him peanuts. Ward left him a message. A desk clerk relayed it. Wait for a Bible code-I'll Western Union it in.

Wayne Junior said no. Nos hurt. Nos fucked with him.

A moon maid dipped by-a faux redhead-dark roots and dark tan. Fuck faux redheads. Real redheads burned.

He got Barb a gig-three days ago-Sam G. pulled strings. Dig it: Barb the Bail Bondsmen.

Permanent work-4 shows/6 nites-the Sultan's Lounge at the Sahara. Barb was rehearsing. She said the Twist was out. She said the go-go beat was in.

Nigger music. The Swim/the Fish/the Watusi. White stiffs take note.

He shitcanned Barb's ex. He shitcanned his combo. Dick Contino came through. Dick scored Barb a trio-sax/trumpet/drums-three longterm lounge denizens.

Fags. Beefcake types. USDA-certified swish.

Pete cowed them. Pete warned them. Sam G. spread the word: Barb B. was verboten. Approach once and suffer. Approach twice and die.

Barb dug Vegas. Hotel suites and nightlife. No Presidential motorcades.

West LV looked good. West LV looked contained and vice-ready.

Vice zones worked. He hit Pearl in '42. The SPs shut down some roads and cordoned the clap. White horse would work. The niggers craved it. They'd geez up. They'd stay home. They'd soil their own rug.

A moon maid slid by-a faux blonde-dark roots and Miss Clairol. She fed him some peanuts. She dropped off Ward's note.

Pete killed his drink. Pete went up to the suite. Pete got out the Gideon book. The code spanned the whole text-chapter and verse-Exodus to First John.

He worked off a scratch pad-numbers to letters-letters to words.

There:

"CM's orders. Elim. 4 from motel/safe house. Call tomorrow night, 10:30 EST. Pay phone in Silver Spring, Md.: BL4-9883"

19

(Silver Spring, 12/14/63)

Perfect:

The off ramp / the road / the train station / the tracks / the platform / the phone.

A freeway adjacent. Off-ramp access. Parking-lot view. Late commuters passing through-milk runs from D.C.

Littell sat in his car. Littell watched the ramp-hold for a powder-blue Ford. Carlos described Eversall. He's a tall guy. He's got one high shoe.

9:26 p.m.

The express blew by. Cars parked and split. The local should stop at 10:00.

Littell studied his script. It stressed Eversall's time in New Orleans. It stressed Lee Oswald's time there. It stressed the '63 racket hearings. It stressed Bobby's star role.

Mob panic ensues. Two months pass. JFK dies. Eversall links the dots. Eversall sees collusion.

Littell checked his watch-9:30 sharp-hold for the man with the high shoe.

A blue Ford pulled in. Littell flashed his lights. Littell strafed the windshield and grille. The Ford braked and stopped. A tall man got out. Said man swayed on a high shoe.

Littell hit his brights. Eversall blinked and tripped. He caught himself. His bad leg buckled. His briefcase balanced him.

Littell killed his brights. Littell popped the passenger door. Eversall limped up-briefcase as ballast-Eversall fell on the seat.

Littell shut the door. Littell hit the roof light. It haloed Eversall.

Littell frisked him.

He grabbed his crotch. He pulled his shirt up. He pulled down his socks. He opened his briefcase. He went through his files. He dropped the script in.

Eversall smelled-sweat and bay rum. His breath reeked of peanuts and gin.

Littell said, "Did Carlos explain?"

Eversall shook his head. His neck muscles bobbed.

"Answer me. I want to hear your voice."

Eversall squirmed. His high shoe hit the dash.

"I never talk to Carlos. I get calls from this Caj un-type guy."

He said it slow. He blinked in time. He blinked and ducked from the light. Littell grabbed his tie. Littell jerked it. Littell pulled him back in the light.

"You're going to wear a wire and talk to Bobby. I want to know what he thinks about the assassination."

Eversall blinked. Eversall st-st-stuttered.

Littell jerked his tie. "I read a piece in the _Post_. Bobby's throwing a Christmas party, and he's inviting some people from Justice."

Eversall blinked. Eversall st-st-stuttered. He tried to talk. He popped _p_'s and _l_'s. He tried to say "Please."

"I've prepared a script. You tell Bobby that you don't like the proximity to the hearings, and you offer to help. If Bobby gets angry, you be that much more persistent."

Eversall blinked. Eversall st-st-stuttered. He tried to talk. He popped _p_'s and _l_'s. He bounced _b_'s for "Bobby."

Littell smelled his piss. Littell saw the stain. Littell rolled the windows down.

o o o

He had spare time. The pay phone was close. He cracked all the windows and aired the car out.

Trains rolled in. Women fetched their husbands. A hailstorm hit. It chipped his windshield. He tuned in the radio news.

Mr. Hoover addressed the Boy Scouts. Jack Ruby sulked in his cell. Trouble in Saigon. Bobby Kennedy bereft.

Bobby loved hard. Bobby mourned hard. _He_ used to.

Late '58:

He worked the Chicago Office. Bobby worked the McClellan Committee. Kemper Boyd worked _for_ Bobby. Kemper Boyd worked _against_ him. Mr. Hoover deployed Kemper wide.

Mr. Hoover hated Bobby. Bobby chased the Mob. Mr. Hoover said the Mob did not exist. Bobby humbled Mr. Hoover. Bobby disproved his lie.

Mr. Hoover liked Kemper Boyd. Boyd liked his friend Ward. Boyd got Ward a choice Bureau job:

The Top Hoodlum Program-Mr. Hoover's late retraction-Mr. Hoover's late nod to the Mob. Call it a half-measure. Call it a publicity shuck.

He worked the THR He fucked up. Mr. Hoover kicked him back to the Red Squad. Boyd stepped up then. Boyd stepped up for Bobby. Boyd offered friend Ward a _real_ job.

Covert work-unpaid.

He took the job. He culled anti-Mob data. He leaked it to Boyd. Boyd leaked it to Bobby.

He never met Bobby. Bobby called him the Phantom. Bobby logged a persistent rumor. Bobby passed it on to Kemper Boyd.

The Teamsters kept a _private_ set of pension-fund books. The "real" books hid one billion dollars.

_He_ chased the "real" books. He traced them to a man named Jules Schiffrin. He stole the "real" books-late in '60.

Schiffrin discovered the theft. Schiffrin had a heart attack. Schiffrin died that night. Littell hid the books. Said books were coded. Littell decoded one entry fast.

The code rebuked a royal clan. The code proved that Joe Kennedy was mobbed-up tight.

Joe fed the fund. Joe gorged it. Joe invested 49 million dollars. It was laundered. It was lent. It suborned politicians. It financed labor rackets.

The base sum stayed in the fund. The money notched compound interest. The money greeeeeeew.

Joe let it ride. The Teamsters held his assets. Littell did not tell Bobby. Littell did not assault his dad.

He kept the books. He ignored his Red Squad work. He befriended a name leftist. Mr. Hoover found out. Mr. Hoover fired him.

Jack Kennedy was elected. Jack made Bobby his AG. Bobby got Boyd work at Justice.

Boyd interceded. Boyd braced Bobby-employ the Phantom, please.

Mr. Hoover interceded. Mr. Hoover braced Bobby-don't employ Ward J. Littell. He's a drunk. He's a sob sister. He's a Communist.

Bobby kowtowed. Bobby cut the Phantom off. The Phantom kept the "real" books. The Phantom quit booze. The Phantom lawyered freelance. The Phantom cracked the fund-book code.

He tracked a billion dollars. He tracked intakes and transfers. He studied and extrapolated and _knew_:

The funds could be diverted. The funds could be deployed legally.

He hoarded the knowledge. He hid the books. He inked up a duplicate set. He hated Bobby now. He hated Jack K. by extension.

Boyd was fixed on Cuba. Carlos M. ditto. Carlos financed exile groups. The Boys wanted to oust Fidel Castro. The Boys wanted to reclaim their Cuban hotels.

Boyd worked for Bobby. Boyd worked for the CIA. Bobby hated Carlos. Bobby deported Carlos. The Phantom knew deportation law.

Boyd set him up with Carlos. The Phantom became a Mob lawyer. It felt morally and hatefully correct.

Carlos set him up with Jimmy Hoffa. Mr. Hoover reappeared.

Mr. Hoover made nice. Mr. Hoover praised his comeback. Mr. Hoover set him up with Mr. Hughes. Mr. Hoover shared his Bobby-Jack hate.

He worked for Carlos and Jimmy. He planned the Hughes-Vegas deal. Bobby attacked the Mob. Jack dropped the Cuban cause. Jack curtailed the hothead exiles.

Pete and Boyd stole some dope. Things went blooey. The Boys got very mad.

He braced Carlos. He said let's kill Jack. He said let's nullify Bobby. Carlos said yes. Carlos vouched the plan. Carlos brought Pete and Boyd in.

Carlos fucked them. Carlos opted for Guy B. Carlos sent Guy to Dallas.

A late bill came due. Late fees accrued. He had the "real" books. He had the data. He had them unsuspected and clean.

He was wrong. Carlos _knew_ he had them. Carlos saw him ascend. Carlos called in the bill due.

Carlos said _you're_ going to sell Hughes Las Vegas-and _we're_ going to fuck him. _You_ know the books. _You_ cracked the code. _You_ have money plans. _That_ money. Plus the _Hughes_ money. Equals _our_ money-juiced by _your_ long-range strategy.

He returned the books. He kept the dupes. His theft was near-open goods. Carlos knew. Carlos told Sam G. Sam told Johnny Rosselli.

Santo knew. Moe Dalitz knew. No one told Jimmy. Jimmy was crazy. Jimmy was shortsighted. Jimmy would kill him.

Littell skimmed newscasts. Littell got crossband blips: LBJ/Kool Menthol/Dr. King and Bobby.

He met Bobby-three days pre-Dallas-he mis-ID'd himself. He said I'm just a lawyer. He said I have a tape. Bobby gave him ten minutes of time.

He played his tape. A hood indicted Joe Kennedy.

For: Pension Fund fraud/collusion/long-term racketeering.

Bobby called his father's bank. The manager confirmed details. Bobby brushed tears back. Bobby raged and grieved. It felt all good then. It felt all hateful now.

The news signed off. A deejay signed on. Mr. Tunes-comin' at ya.

The phone rang.

Littell ran. Littell slid on hailstones. Littell grabbed the receiver.

Pete said, "Junior won't play. The fucking kid stalemated me."

"I'll talk to Sam. We'll make a different app-"

"I'll clip Zangetty and Killiam. That's it. I won't clip the women."

The booth was hot. The windows fogged. The storm produced steam.

"I agree. We'll have to finesse Carlos."

Pete laughed. "Don't shit me. You know it's more than that."

"What are you saying?"

Pete said, "I know about Arden."

_DOCUMENT INSERT_: 12/19/63. Verbatim telephone call transcript. Marked: "Recorded at Mr. Hughes' request. Copies to: Permanent File/Fiscal '63 File/Security File." Speaking: Howard R. Hughes, Ward J. Littell.

HH: Is that you, Ward?

WJL: It's me.

HH: I had a premonition last night. Do you want to hear about it?

WJL: Certainly.

HH: I know that tone. Mollify the boss so he'll get back to business.

(WJL laughs.)

HH: Here's my premonition. You're going to tell me that it will take years to divest my TWA stock, so I should mind my p's and q's and put the whole thing out of mind.

WJL: Your premonition was accurate.

HH: That's all you have to say? You're letting me off that easy?

WJL: I could describe the legal processes involved in divesting half a billion dollars' worth of stock and tell you how much you've impeded the progress by dodging various subpoenas.

HH: You're feeling your oats today. I'm not up to sparring with you.

WJL: I'm not sparring, Mr. Hughes. I'm observing.

HH: And your latest estimate is?

WJL: We're two years away from a judgment. The appeals process will extend for at least nine to fourteen months. You should discuss the details with your other attorneys and move things along by pre-submitting your depositions.

HH: You're my favorite attorney.

WJL: Thank you.

HH: Only Mormons and FBI men have clean blood.

WJL: I'm not much of an expert on blood, Sir.

HH: I am. You know the law, and I know aerodynamics, blood and germs.

WJL: We're expert in our separate fields, Sir.

HH: I know business strategy as well. I have the assets to purchase Las Vegas now, but I prefer to wait and make the purchase with my stock windfall.

WJL: That's a prudent strategy Sir. But I should point out a few things.

HH: Point, then. I'm listening.

WJL: One, you are not going to purchase the city of Las Vegas or Clark County, Nevada. Two, you are going to attempt to purchase numerous hotel-casinos, the acquisition of which violates numerous state and federal antitrust statutes. Three, you cannot make those purchases now. You would need to deplete the cash flow necessary to operate Hughes Tool to do it, and you have yet to ingratiate yourself with the Nevada State Legislature and the right people in Clark County. Four, that is my job-and it will take time. Five, I want to wait and follow some other hotel-chain developments through the court process and collate the antitrust rulings and precedents.

HH: Jesus, that was some speech. You're a long-winded guy.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

HH: You didn't mention your Mafia pals.

WJL: Sir?

HH: I talked to Mr. Hoover. He said you've got those guys in your pocket. What's that guy's name in New Orleans?

WJL: Carlos Marcello?

HH: Marcello, right. Mr. Hoover said he eats out of your hand. He said, "When the time's right, Littell will jew those dagos down and get you your hotels at rock-bottom prices."

WJL: I'll certainly try.

HH: You'll do better than that.

WJL: I'll try, Sir.

HH: We've got to devise a germ policy.

WJL: Sir?

HH: At my hotels. No germs, no Negroes. Negroes are wellknown germ conduits. They'll infect my slot machines.

WJL: I'll look into it, Sir.

HH: My solution is mass sedation. I've been reading chemistry books. Certain narcotic substances possess germ-killing characteristics. We could sedate the Negroes, lower their white-blood count and keep them out of my hotels.

WJL: Mass sedation would require certain sanctions that we might not get.

HH: You're not convinced. I can tell by your voice.

WJL: I'll give it some thought.

HH: Think about this. Lee Oswald was a germ conduit and a deadly-disease transmitter. He didn't need a rifle. He could have breathed on Kennedy and killed him.

WJL: It's an interesting theory, Sir.

HH: Only Mormons and FBI men have clean blood.

WJL: You've got quite a few Mormons in Nevada. There's a man named Wayne Tedrow Senior that I may approach on your behalf.

HH: I've got some good Mormons here. They set me up with Fred Otash.

WJL: I've heard of him.

HH: He's the "Private Eye to the Stars." He's been running a string of Howard Hughes look-alikes all over L.A., like Pete Bondurant used to. Those subpoena servers follow them around like robots.

WJL: Again, Sir. Dodging subpoenas only prolongs the whole process.

HH: Ward, you're a goddamn killjoy.

(WJL laughs.)

HH: Freddy's Lebanese. Those people have high white-cell counts. I like him, but he's no Pete.

WJL: Pete's working with me in Las Vegas.

HH: Good. Frenchmen have low white-cell counts. I read it in the _National Geographic_.

WJL: He'll be pleased to hear it.

HH: Good. Tell him I said hello, and tell him to procure me some medicine. He'll know what I mean. Tell him my Mormons have been bringing me inferior goods.

WJL: I'll tell him.

HH: Let me make one thing clear before I hang up.

WJL: Sir?

HH: I want to buy Las Vegas.

WJL: You've made yourself clear.

HH: The desert air kills germs.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

20

(Las Vegas, 12/23/63)

The Party-a Vegas perennial-Wayne Senior's Christmas bash.

A fag redid the ranch house. He added ice sculptures and snow-flocked walls. He hired elves and nymphs.

The elves were wetbacks. They slung hors d'oeuvres. They wore mock-rag coats. The nymphs whored at the Dunes. They served cleavage and drinks.

The fag brought a bandstand. The fag added a dance floor. The fag hired a bumfuck quartet.

Barb the Bail Bondsmen-a singer and three swish ex-cons.

Wayne circulated. The combo bugged him. He popped the trumpet for flim-flam. He popped the sax for stat rape.

The singer compensated-red hair and wild legs.

Lynette circulated. The crowd meshed. Cops and Vegas trash. Mormons and Nellis brass.

Wayne Senior circulated. Janice danced solo. A crowd watched her. Janice shimmied. Janice swayed. Janice dipped loooow.

Wayne Senior walked up. Wayne Senior twirled his walking stick. A Nellis one-star grabbed it.

He cued the combo. Barb tapped a beat. The combo vamped. Barb palmed maracas.

The one-star knelt. The one-star dropped the stick looooow.

Barb ad-libbed. "Vegas limbo mighty good, lady go down like she should."

Janice spread her legs. Janice rolled her hips. Janice popped looooow. The crowd clapped. The crowd stomped. Barb milked the beat.

Janice went looooow. Janice popped sequins and spangles. Janice popped seams. Her high heels snapped. She kicked off her shoes. She went under and up.

The crowd clapped. Janice bowed looooow. She ripped her dress. Her red panties showed.

Wayne Senior passed her a Salem. The lights went low. The combo vamped "Moonglow." A baby spot blinked. It focused on Janice. It swooped and caught Wayne Senior low.

They linked up. Janice held her cigarette. Smoke blew through the light.

Circle dance.

Wayne Senior smiled. Wayne Senior loved it. Janice mugged and mocked this corny shit.

They swayed. Janice dropped sequins. The spotlight jumped. Wayne saw Lynette. Lynette saw Wayne. Lynette saw Wayne ogle Janice.

He dodged her eyes. He walked outside. He paced the front deck. He smelled marijuana-pot alert below.

Janice toked up for parties. Janice shared with the help. You had zorched valets. You had a hundred cars-now check the runway:

One airplane valet-parked-one guest's Piper Deuce.

Wayne paced. Wayne walked the deck. Wayne fretted Dallas up.

Jack Ruby observed Hanukkah. The paper ran x-clusive pix. Two pages in: HOPE FADES FOR MISSING POLICEMAN.

Wayne watched the party. A glass door killed the noise. Check the wino elves-they're digging on Barb.

Wayne watched her.

Barb moves her lips. Barb bumps her hips. Barb hits the mike stand. Barb scans the room. Barb sees a face and melts.

Wayne hugged the glass. Wayne got an angle. Wayne tracked her eyes.

To Mr. Meltman-Pete Bondurant.

Barb melts. Fucking snowdrifts in August. Big Pete reciprocates.

Wayne cracked the door. Wayne caught the vocal: "I Only Have Eyes for You."

Wayne shut the door, His stomach dropped. He leaned on the glass. He caught a chill and saved his dinner.

Barb blew a kiss. Pete blew one back. Pete stretched and bumped his head on the ceiling.

Pete grinned. Pete went ooops! A man joined him-sunburned and thin-some shitkicker runt.

Wayne grabbed a chair. Wayne kicked up his feet. Wayne rocked off the rail. A match flared below him. Reefer smoke plumed its way up.

It smelled good. It sent him back. He toked once himself. Jump School at Fort Bragg. Let's jump stoned and watch clouds change colors.

The door slid open. Noise spilled out. Wayne smelled Janice-cigarettes and Chanel No. 5.

She walked up. She leaned on him. She pressed his shoulders and back.

Wayne said, "Come on, work."

Janice worked him. Janice dug in. Janice unknotted kinks.

"Something smells sweet down there."

"It smells like a felony roust, if I was inclined."

"Be nice, now. It's Christmas."

"You mean, 'It's Vegas, and the law's for sale.'"

Janice dug in. "I wouldn't be that blunt with a policeman."

Wayne leaned back. "Who's the one-star?"

"That's Brigadier General Clark D. Kinman. He has a powerful crush on yours truly."

"I noticed."

"You notice everything. And I noticed you ogle that singer."

"Did you notice her husband? The big guy?"

Janice worked his spine. "I noticed the airplane he came in, and the ankle holster he's wearing."

Wayne twitched. Janice tickled his neck.

"Did I touch a nerve there?"

Wayne coughed. "Who's the skinny guy?"

Janice laughed. "That's Mr. Chuck Rogers. He described himself as a pilot, a petroleum geologist, and a professional anti-Communist."

"You should introduce him to my father."

"I think they're fast friends already. They were discussing the Cuban cause or some such nonsense."

Wayne rolled his neck. "Who hired that combo?"

"Your father. Buddy Fritsch recommended them."

Wayne turned around. Wayne saw Lynette. Lynette saw him. She tapped the door glass. She flashed her watch. Wayne flashed ten fingers.

Janice said, "Spoilsport." Janice made claws. Janice goofed on draggy Lynette.

Wayne turned on the rail light. Janice walked downstairs. Sequins dropped behind her. The light made them glint.

The valets giggled. _Hola, seсora. Gracias por la reefer_.

Wayne fucked with the light.

He swiveled it. He dipped it. He strafed the airplane. He caught a window. He saw shotguns and vests.

The hatch popped open. Pete B. jumped out. Wayne flashed him. Pete waved and winked.

Wayne fretted it. Wayne walked inside and rejoined the party. Midnite hit. Drunks waved mistletoe.

The eggnog was out. Ditto the prewar cognac. Ditto the pre-Castro cigars.

The elves were sloshed. The nymphs were bombed. The Mormons were blotto. The ice sculptures leaked. The manger scene dripped. Baby Jesus was slush. Said Savior played ashtray. His cradle held butts.

Wayne circulated. The Bondsmen packed up. Barb lugged mike stands and drums. Wayne watched her. Lynette watched him.

Wayne Senior held court. Four Mormon elders and chairs tucked in tight. Chuck Rogers sat in. Chuck balanced two bottles. Chuck sucked gin and blueberry schnapps.

Wayne Senior dropped names-Mr. Hoover said this/Dick Nixon said that. The elders laughed. Chuck shared his jugs. Wayne Senior passed him a key.

Chuck palmed it. Chuck stood up. The elders laughed. The elders shared frat-boy looks.

They stood up. They walked down the side hall. Chuck bird-dogged them. They rendezvoused. They all braced the gun-room door.

Chuck unlocked it. The elders piled in. The elders chortled and yukked. Chuck stepped in. The elders snatched his booze. Chuck shut the door fast.

Wayne watched. Wayne grabbed a stray drink. Wayne guzzled it. Vodka and fruit pulp-lipstick on the glass.

The pulp killed the burn. The lipstick tasted sweet. The rush hit him low.

He walked to the gun room. He heard yuks inside. He jerked the door. He popped it.

Movie time.

Chuck ran the projector. Film hit a pull screen. Tight on: Martin Luther King.

He's fat. He's nude. He's ecstatic. He's fucking a white woman hard.

They fucked. They fucked sans sound. They fucked missionary-style. Static hiss and film flecks. Sprocket holes and numbers-FBI code.

Covert work/surveillance film/some lens distortion.

King wore socks. The woman wore nylons. The elders yukked. The projector clicked. Film cut through a slide.

The mattress sagged-plump Reverend King-the woman more so. An ashtray bounced on the bed-butts scattered and flew.

Chuck grabbed a flashlight. Chuck centered the beam. Chuck palmed a 4-.by-6 tract.

King thrashed-the camera panned-Trojan rubbers on a nightstand.

Chuck yelled-pipe down now-Chuck read from the tract. "Big Bertha said, 'Maul me, Marty! We shall overcoooooome!'"

Wayne ran up. Chuck saw him. Chuck gawked-what the-

Wayne kicked the projector. The spools flew and rolled. The film hit three walls and went dead. The elders backed up. The elders tripped and banged heads. The elders knocked the screen down.

Wayne grabbed the tract. Chuck backed off. Wayne shoved him and ran out. He cut down the side hall. He grazed the bandstand. He sideswiped some nymphs and elves.

He made the front deck. He grabbed the rail light. He honed it and flashed on the tract.

There-Wayne Senior's print style. The paper stock/the margins/the type.

Text and cartoons. Martin Luther Coon and the plump woman. Fat Jews with fangs.

Martin Luther Coon-priapic.

His dick's a branding iron. It's red hot. The head's a hammer-and-scythe.

Wayne spat on the picture. Wayne ripped it crossways. Wayne shredded it up.

21

(New Mexico, 12/24/63)

Gusts kicked in. The plane dipped resultant.

The sky was black. The air was wet. Ice hit the props. Altus, Oklahoma-due east.

Chuck flew low. Chuck flew radar-proof. Chuck flew minus landing log. No airstrip. No runway. We're heading for Jack's _rural_ lodge.

The cockpit was cramped. The cockpit was cold. Pete goosed the heat. He called ahead. He played tourist. He heard that Jack Z. had three guests.

Quail hunters. Praise Jesus-all men.

Chuck knew the lodge. Chuck spent time there. Chuck knew the floor plan. Jack slept in the office. Jack parked his guests close. There'd be three rooms with through doors.

Pete checked the cargo hold:

Flashlights/shotguns/magnums. Kerosene/gunnysacks. Friction tape/rubber gloves/rope. A Polaroid camera/four straitjackets/four honey jars.

It was overkill. Carlos loved wet work. Carlos thought plans up. Carlos popped his rocks secondhand.

Chuck read a hate tract. The dashboard threw light. Pete saw cartoons and FBI text. Hate and smut-a coon named Bayard Rustin-a queer cluster-fuck.

Pete laughed. Chuck said, "Why'd we go to that party? I'm not complaining, now. I met a few kindred souls."

The plane dipped. Pete bumped his head.

"I was letting someone know that I won't go away."

"You want to tell me who and why?"

Pete shook his head. The plane jumped. Pete's knees hit the dash.

Chuck said, "Mr. Tedrow's some kind of American. That's more than I can say for his son."

"Junior's a piece of work. Don't underestimate him."

Chuck popped Dramamine. "Mr. Tedrow knows all the right people. Guy B. said he put some cash into a certain operation."

Pete rubbed his neck. "There _was_ no operation. Don't you read the fucking _New York Times?_"

Chuck laughed. "You mean I was dreaming then?"

"Treat it that way. You'll live longer."

"Then I must've dreamed up all those people that Carlos wants to clip."

Pete rubbed his eyes. Fuck-Headache #3,000.

"Then I'll be dreaming when we take out Jack Z., and I'll _really_ be dreaming when we find old Hank and those cunts Arden and Bet-"

Pete grabbed his neck. "Nothing happened in Dallas, and nothing's happening now."

o o o

3:42 a.m.

They touched down. The ground was glass. Chuck cut the flaps and braked. They spun. They brodied on ice. They did figure eights and stalled in tall grass.

They put their vests on. They grabbed flashlights/shotguns/magnums. They screwed on silencers.

They hiked southeast. Pete paced it out:.32 miles. Low hills. Caves set in sheet rock. Cloud cover and a high moon.

There-the lodge-down on paved land.

Twelve rooms. A horseshoe court. Dirt-road access. No lights. No sounds. Two jeeps upside the office.

They walked up. Chuck stood point. Pete flashed the door. He saw a spring lock. He saw a loose knob. He saw a workable gap.

He pulled his knife. He wedged it in. He snapped the bolt. He walked in. The door creaked. He kept his beam low.

Three steps to the counter-hold for a ledger on a chain.

He walked up blind. Chuck's floor plan worked. He bumped the counter. Eyes left-a side door wide open. Room #1-dark.

His eyes adjusted. He squinted. He caught gray tones in black. He looked through room 1. He squinted. He saw the room #2 door ajar.

Ears left-snores in room 1. Ears front-snores behind the counter.

Pete smelled paper. Pete touched the countertop. Pete brushed the ledger. He flashed the top page. He saw three guests logged in-housed in rooms 1/2/3.

Pete leaned on the counter. Pete pulled his piece. Pete flashed his light and aimed at the snores. There's Jack Zangetty-face-up on a cot-eyes shut and mouth wide for flies.

Pete aimed off the beam. Pete squeezed a shot. Jack's head snapped. Jack's teeth exploded.

The silencer worked-sounds like a cough and a sneeze. One more now-safekeeping.

Pete aimed off the beam. Pete squeezed a shot. Pete nailed Jack's wig. Blood and synthetic hair/a cough and a sneeze.

Impact-the wig flew. Impact-Jack rolled off the cot.

Jack hit a bottle. The bottle fell. The bottle bumped and rolled.

_Loud_ bumps. _Loud_ noise. _Loud_ rolls.

Pete killed his light. Pete ducked low. Knee cartilage crunched. Eyes left/ears left/catch the doorway.

There now-a man laughs/a bed squeaks.

"Jack, is that a fresh jug you got?"

Light hues in the doorway-the geek's got white pajamas.

Pete flashed his light. Pete tracked up a white swath. Pete hit the man's eyes. He aimed off the beam. He squeezed a shot. He caught the 10-ring.

Blood and white blotting/a cough and a sneeze.

The man flew. The man hit the door. The man ripped the door loose. Eyes left-there's light-the #2 doorway. Ears left-there's boot thunks and zipper snags.

Pete proned out. Pete aimed. Now-watch the door.

A man opened it. Said man paused. Said man walked through room 1. Said man crouched and aimed a 30.06.

Pete aimed his piece. The man got close. A shotgun went off. Glass shattered-from the _out_side-pellets trashed a _side_ window.

Chuck popping rounds. Chuck's special load-poison buckshot.

The man froze. Glass spritzed him. He covered his eyes. He ran blind. He bumped chairs. He coughed glass.

Pete fired. Pete missed. Chuck vaulted the window. He ran up fast. He nudged the man-BOO!-he shot the man in the back.

The man flew. Pete caught shell wads and BBs. Chuck ran south. Chuck blew out door #3.

Pete ran back. Chuck hit the lights. Light hit a man under the bed. He sobbed. His legs stuck out. He wore paisley PJs.

Chuck aimed low. Chuck blew his feet off. The man screamed. Pete shut his eyes.

o o o

The wind died. The day sparkled. The cleanup dragged.

They stole the jeeps. They drove the stiffs to the plane. They found a cave and drove the jeeps in. They lucked with some bats. They hit their horns. They evicted them. The bats bumped their windshields. They ran their wipers. They bumped the cocks uckers back.

They dumped kerosene. They torched the jeeps. The fire burned and died. The cave contained the fumes.

They walked to the plane. They wrapped the stiffs in straitjackets. They gunnysacked them. They pried their jaws out. They poured honey in. It lured hungry crabs.

Pete snapped four Polaroids-one per victim-Carlos wanted proof.

They flew low. They hit North Texas. They saw small lakes forever. They dumped three stiffs. Two splashed and sunk. One cracked hard ice.

Chuck skimmed tracts. Chuck flew low. Chuck steered with his knees.

He had a master's degree. He read comic books. He blew JFK's brains out. He lived with his parents. He stuck to his room. He built model planes and sniffed glue.

Chuck skimmed tracts. His lips moved. Pete caught the gist: The KKK klarifies a kontroversy. White men have the biggest dicks!

Pete laughed. Chuck dipped over Lake Lugert. Pete tossed Jack Z. in the drink.

22

(Las Vegas, 1/4/64)

The Summit. The penthouse at the Dunes-one big table.

Decanters. Siphons. Candy and fruit. No cigars-Moe Dalitz was allergic.

Littell swept for bugs first. The Boys watched TV. Morning cartoons-Yogi Bear and Webster Webfoot.

The Boys took sides. Sam and Moe liked Yogi. Johnny R. liked the duck. Carlos liked Yogi's dumb pal.

Santo T. snoozed-fuck this kiddie shit.

No bugs-let's proceed.

Littell chaired the meet. The Boys dressed down-golf shirts and Bermuda shorts.

Carlos sipped brandy. "Here's the opening pitch. Hughes is non compos mental, and he thinks he's got Ward in his pocket. We sell him the hotels and make him keep our inside people. They step up the skim. He don't suspect anything, 'cause we show him some low profit figures before he buys."

Littell shook his head. "His negotiators will audit every tax return filed for every hotel, going back ten years. If you refuse to submit them, they'll try to subpoena them or bribe the right people for copies. And you can't submit doctored returns with low figures, because it will bring down your initial asking prices."

Sam said, "So?"

Littell sipped club soda. "We need the highest possible set purchase prices, with the buyout money dispersed over eighteen months. Our long-term goal is to establish the appearance of legitimately invested money, diverted into legitimate businesses and laundered within them. My plan is-"

Carlos cut in. "The plan-get to it, and lay it out in words we can understand."

Littell smiled. "We have the buyout and skim money. We purchase legitimate businesses with it. The businesses belong to recipients of pensionfund loans. They are the most specifically profitable and cosmetically noncriminal businesses that originated with loans from the 'real' books. Thus, the origin of the money is obscured. Thus, the recipients are prone to extortion and will not protest the forced buyouts. The recipients will continue to run their businesses. Our people will oversee the operations and divert the profits. We funnel the money into foreign hotel-casinos. By 'foreign' I mean Latin-American. By Latin-American I mean countries under military or strongly rightist rule. The casino profits will leave said countries untaxed. They will go into Swiss bank accounts and accrue interest. The ultimate cash withdrawals will be absolutely untraceable."

Carlos smiled. Santo clapped. Johnny said, "It's like Cuba."

Moe said, "It's ten Cubas."

Sam said, "Why stop there?"

Littell grabbed an apple. "For now, it's all long-range and theoretical. We're waiting for Mr. Hughes to dump his TWA stock and secure his seed money."

Santo said, "We're talking about years."

Sam said, "We're talking about patience."

Johnny said, "It's a virtue. I read that somewhere."

Moe said, "We watch the climate south of the border. We find ourselves a dozen Batistas."

Sam said, "Show me a spic you can't bribe."

Santo said, "All they want is a white uniform with gold epaulets."

Sam said, "They're like niggers that way."

Johnny said, "They don't tolerate Commies. You got to give them that."

Carlos grabbed some grapes. "I've got the books stashed. You have to figure that Jimmy'll fall for that jury-tampering thing."

Littell nodded. "That and his other indictments."

Sam winked. "You stole the books, Ward. Now tell us you didn't copy them over."

Johnny laughed. Moe laughed. Santo roared.

Littell smiled. "We should think about the inside people. Mr. Hughes will want to hire Mormons."

Sam cracked his knuckles. "I don't like Mormons. They hate Italians."

Carlos sipped X.O. "Do you blame them?"

Santo said, "Nevada's a Mormon state. It's like New York for the Italians."

Moe said, "You mean the Jews."

Johnny laughed. "It's a serious issue. Hughes will want to pick his own people."

Sam coughed. "We can't back down on that. We've got to keep our people inside."

Littell pared his apple. "We should find our own Mormons. I'll be talking to a man soon. He runs the Kitchen Union."

Moe said, "Wayne Tedrow Senior."

Sam said, "He hates Italians."

Moe said, "He's not wild about Jews."

Santo peeled a cigar. "To me this is bullshit. I want made guys inside."

Johnny said, "I agree."

Moe grabbed the cigar. "Are you trying to kill me?"

Carlos peeled a Mars Bar. "Let's table this for now, all right? We're talking about years down the road."

Littell said, "I agree. Mr. Hughes won't have his money for some time."

Sam peeled a banana. "It's your show, Ward. I know you got more to say."

Littell said, "Four things, actually. Two major, two minor."

Moe rolled his eyes. "So, tell us. Jesus, you have to coax this guy."

Littell smiled. "One, Jimmy knows what Jimmy knows, and Jimmy's volatile. I'm going to do my best to keep him out of jail until we've started to implement our plans for the books."

Carlos smiled. "If Jimmy knew you stole the books, he'd implement you."

Littell rubbed his eyes. "I returned them. Let's leave it at that."

Sam said, "We forgive you."

Johnny said, "You're alive, aren't you?"

Littell coughed. "Bobby Kennedy will probably resign. The new AG might have plans for Vegas, and Mr. Hoover might not be able to curtail them. I'll try to do some favors for him, learn what I can and pass it along."

Sam said, "That cocksucker Bobby."

Moe said, "The bad fucking seed."

Santo said, "That cocksucker used us. He put his faggot brother in the White House at our expense. He fucked us like the pharaohs fucked Jesus."

Johnny said, "The Romans, Santo. The pharaohs fucked Joan of Arc."

Santo said, "Fuck Bobby _and_ Joan. They're both faggots."

Moe rolled his eyes. Fuck this goyishe shit.

Littell said, "Mr. Hughes hates Negroes. He wants to keep them out of his hotels, at whatever the cost. I've explained the gentlemen's agreement we've got here, but he wants more."

Santo shrugged. "Everyone hates the shines."

Sam shrugged. "Especially the civil-rights types."

Moe shrugged. "Shvartzes are shvartzes. I don't want Martin Luther King on our doorstep any more than Hughes does, but they'll get their goddamn civil rights sooner or later."

Johnny said, "It's the Reds. They agitate them and get them worked up. You can't reason with an agitated person."

Santo peeled a cigar. "They know they're not wanted. We keep the lowend spooks out and let a few uptown ones in. If King Farouk of the Congo wants to drop a hundred G's at the Sands, I say let him."

Johnny grabbed a peach. "King Farouk's a Mexican."

Santo said, "Good. If he blows all his money, we'll get him a job in the kitchen."

Sam said, "I play golf with Billy Eckstine. He's a wonderful guy."

Johnny said, "He's got white blood."

Moe said, "I play golf with Sammy Davis on a regular basis."

Carlos yawned. Carlos coughed. Carlos cued Littell.

Littell coughed. "Mr. Hughes thinks the local Negroes should be 'sedated.' It's a preposterous idea, but we may be able to turn it to our advantage."

Moe rolled his eyes. "You're the best, Ward. Nobody disputes that. But you tend to beat around the bush."

Littell crossed his legs. "Carlos has tentatively agreed that we should waive our no-narcotics rule and let Pete Bondurant sell to the Negroes here. You all know the precedent. Pete trafficked for Santo's organization in Miami from '60 to '62."

Santo shook his head. "We were funding the exiles then. That was strictly an anti-Castro thing."

Johnny shook his head. "On a one-time-only basis."

Carlos said, "I like the idea. It's a moneymaker, and Pete's a hell of a resource."

Littell said, "Let's keep him busy. We can establish a new cash source and mollify Mr. Hughes at the same time. He doesn't need to know the details. I'll call it a 'Sedation Project.' He'll like the way it sounds and be satisfied. He's like a child in some ways."

Carlos said, "It's a moneymaker. I foresee some big profits."

Sam shook his head. "I foresee ten thousand junkies turning Vegas into a shithole."

Moe shook his head. "I _live_ here. I do not want to see a big fucking influx of junkie burglars, junkie heist guys, and junkie rape-os."

Santo shook his head. "Vegas is the Queen City of the West. You don't soil a place like that on purpose."

Johnny shook his head. "You've got a bunch of hopped-up niggers looking for their next fix. You're watching _The Lawrence Welk Show_ and some big spook kicks the door in and steals your TV set."

Sam shook his head. "And rapes your wife while he's at it."

Santo shook his head. "You'll send tourism into the shitter."

Moe snatched Santo's cigar. "Carlos, you're outruled on this. You don't shit on your own carpet."

Carlos shrugged. Carlos turned his palms up.

Moe smiled. "You're batting five hundred, Ward. That's a hell of an average in this room. And your long-range plan is a home run."

Sam smiled. "Out of the ballpark."

Santo smiled. "Out of the fucking galaxy."

Johnny smiled. "It's Cuba all over again. With no bearded Commie faggot to fuck things up."

Littell smiled. Littell twitched. Littell almost bit his tongue.

"I want to make sure we get a unanimous license vote from the Gaming Control Board and Liquor Board. Pete tried to get a look at the LVPD Intel file and got nowhere."

Santo snatched his cigar back. "We've never been able to buy off the boards. They grant their fucking licenses by whim."

Moe said, "It's the pioneer thing. You know, prejudice. We own this town, but they lump us in with the shvartzes."

Johnny said, "The files are the place to start. We've got to find the weak links and exploit them."

Sam said, "The cops guard that information. Pete B. couldn't shake it loose, so what does that tell you?"

Littell stretched. "Sam, will you have one of your people make an approach? Butch Montrose, maybe?"

Sam smiled. "For you, Ward, the moon."

Littell smiled. "I want to plant support in the state legislature. Mr. Hughes is prepared to make a series of charitable contributions and publicize them throughout Nevada, so do any of you have fav-"

Johnny cut in. "Saint Vincent de Paul."

Sam said, "The K of C."

Santo said, "Saint Francis Hospital. They cut my brother's prostrate out there."

Moe said, "The United Jewish Appeal-and fuck all you dagos."

o o o

Dracula supplied lodging-a suite at the DI. Four rooms/golf-course access/open-end lease.

His third place.

He had a place in D.C. He had a place in L.A.-two high-rise apartments. Three homes now. All ready-furnished. All depersonalized.

Littell moved in. Littell dodged golf balls. Littell tore the phones up. Littell bugswept them.

The phones were safe. He rebuilt them. He relaxed and unpacked.

Arden was in L.A. She moved toward him piecemeal. Dallas to Balboa/Balboa to L.A. Vegas scared her. The Boys partied there. She knew the Boys. She wouldn't say how.

She was his "Jane" now. She loved her new name. She loved her revised history.

He finished her transcript. She learned the details. An agent planted the goods. She told him Jane stories-straight off the cuff-she dropped details and recalled them days later.

He memorized them. He caught her subtext:

You made me. Live with your work. Don't challenge my tales. _You'll know me. I'll say who I was_.

Pete knew about Arden. Pete learned in Dallas. He trusted Pete. Pete trusted him. The Boys owned them both.

Carlos told Pete to kill Arden. Pete said, "Okay." Pete won't kill women. That's pure un-okay.

Pete killed Jack Zangetty. Pete flew to New Orleans. Pete briefed Carlos on it. Carlos loved the Polaroids. Carlos said, "Three more."

Pete drove to Dallas. Pete checked around. Pete called Carlos. Pete reported back:

Jack Ruby's nuts. He scratches. He moans. He talks to spirit husks. Hank Killiam split Dallas. Hank booked to Florida. Betty Mac split to parts unknown.

_Arden?_ She vanished-that's all I've got. Carlos said, "Okay-for now."

The Summit succeeded. His plan wowed the Boys. They vetoed the dope plan. Pete logged a No. Pete braced Wayne Junior. Wayne Junior said No. Pete logged two Nos straight.

Doug Eversall called him-on Christmas Eve. Doug said, "I couldn't tape Bobby."

He said, "Keep your tape rig-and brace him again."

Merry Christmas. Don't fall off your high shoe. Don't drop your microphone.

He called Mr. Hoover. He said he had a Bobby source. He said he hotwired him.

He didn't say:

_I need to hear Bobby's voice_.

23

(Las Vegas, 1/6/64)

The heat ducts blew. The squadroom froze. Fucking igloo time.

Guys split en masse. Wayne worked solo. Wayne cleaned up his desk.

He sifted desk junk. He stacked the Dallas dailies first. He had some Ruby shit. He had bopkes on Moore and Durfee.

Sonny Liston sent a postcard. It rehashed their "good times." Sonny foresaw a Clay fight KO.

He cleaned up one file-the West LV whore jobs/reports and snapshots. Colored whores/bad bruises/smeared lipstick and contusions.

He held the file. He read it. He looked for leads. Nothing popped out. The assigned cop hated Negroes. The assigned cop hated whores. The assigned cop drew dicks in their mouths.

Wayne stacked papers. Wayne cleared his desk. Wayne locked the file up. Wayne typed reports.

The squadroom froze. The ducts blew-brrr-fucking-brrr.

Wayne yawned. Wayne craved sleep. Lynette bugged him incessant. Lynette had one refrain: "What happened in Dallas?"

He dodged her. He split home early. He worked late. He logged lounge time. He nursed beers. He caught Barb B. He nursed this big crush.

He sat near the stage. Pete sat close by. They never talked. They both eyed the redhead.

Call it leverage. Call it a buffer zone-let's stay in touch.

Lynette rode him. Lynette said don't hide from me. Lynette said don't hide with Wayne Senior.

He hid there pre-Dallas. He crushed on Janice pre-Barb. Dallas changed things. He reworked his crush time now.

He watched Barb. He played chicken with Pete concurrent. Janice played supporting crush.

He dodged Wayne Senior now. Christmas tore it. The film and the hate tracts-Wayne Senior's print style.

The oldies were one thing. "Veto Tito!"/"Castrate Castro!"/"Ban the U.N.!" It was fear shit. It was Red Tides. It was no hate overt.

He saw Little Rock. Wayne Senior didn't. The Klan torched a car. The gas cap blew. It put a colored boy's eye out. Some punks raped a colored girl. They wore rubbers. They shoved them in her mouth.

Wayne yawned. Wayne pulled carbons. The fine print blurred.

Buddy Fritsch walked up. "You bored with your work?"

Wayne stretched. "Do you care if blackjack dealers have misdemeanor convictions?"

"No, but the Nevada Gaming Commission does."

Wayne yawned. "If you've got something more interesting, I'll bite."

Fritsch straddled a chair. "I want some fresh leads on the Control Board and Liquor Board men. Everyone but the Sheriff and DA. Submit a report to me before you update your file."

Wayne said, "Why now? I update my files in the summer."

Fritsch pulled a match. His hand jumped. He missed the book. He broke the matchhead.

"Because I told you to. That's all the justifying you get."

"What kind of leads?"

"Anything derogatory. Come on, you've been there. You hold surveillance and see who gets naughty."

Wayne rocked his chair. "I'll finish my work and get on it."

"You'll get on it now."

"Why 'now'?"

Fritsch pulled a match. His hand jumped. He missed the book wide.

"Because you blew your extradition job. Because a cop went off without you and got himself killed. Because you fucked up relations between us and Dallas PD, and because I am determined to get some value out of you before you make more rank and move out of my unit."

"Value" tore it-fuck him sideways.

Wayne pulled his chair up. Wayne leaned in close. Wayne bumped Fritsch's knees hard.

"Do you think I'd kill a man for six thousand dollars and a few pats on the back? For the record, I didn't want to kill him, I couldn't have killed him, I wouldn't have killed him, and that's the best value you'll ever get out of me."

Fritsch blinked. His hands jumped. He popped big spitballs.

o o o

It played wrong. Logic 101-E follows D.

Pete wants the files. Pete knows the fail-safe procedure. One cop holds the files. Said cop probes alleged misconduct. Said cop informs the Gaming Commission.

The procedure restricts data. The procedure hinders corrupt cops. The procedure curtails corrupt PDs.

Honest cops rigged the plan-one cop/one file set. Intel cops found protйgйs. Intel cops passed the job on. The last intel cop died on duty. Wayne Senior pulled strings. Wayne Senior got Wayne the job.

E follows D. Pete's mobbed up. Buddy Fritsch ditto. Buddy knows the files hold _old_ data. The last misconduct charge was filed in 1960.

Pete wants _new_ dirt. Pete wants _hot_ dirt. Pete squeezed Buddy Fritsch. Buddy's pissed at Wayne. Buddy worships Wayne Senior. Buddy knows Wayne _will_ do the job.

Wayne kept his files in a bank vault. Per procedure: a safe at the main B of A.

He drove over. A clerk cracked the vault. Wayne cracked the files out. He knew the names already. He skimmed the stats and got refreshed. He wrote down addresses.

Duane Joseph Hinton. Age 46. Building contractor/Mormon. No Mob ties. Drunk/wife beater. 7/59-one accusation logged.

Hinton bribes state legislators. A snitch so states. Hinton buys them whores. Hinton gives them fight tickets. They slip him bid sheets. Thus Hinton underbids. Thus Hinton gets state building jobs.

Said tip-unverified. Case closed-9/59.

Webb Templeton Spurgeon. Age 54. Retired lawyer/Mormon. No Mob ties/no accusations logged.

Eldon Lowell Peavy. Age 46. Owner: the Monarch Cab Company/the Golden Cavern Hotel-Casino.

The Cavern drew low rollers. Monarch Cab was low-end. Cabs drove drunks to grind joints. Cabs perched at the jail. Cabs drove prostitutes. Monarch serviced West LV. Monarch drove Negroes. Monarch got cash up front.

Eldon Peavy was a fag. Eldon Peavy hired ex-cons. Eldon Peavy owned a Reno fruit bar.

Tips logged: 8/60, 9/60, 4/61, 6/61, 10/61, 1/62, 3/62, 8/62. Snitch tips-thus far unverified:

Peavy's drivers pack guns. Peavy's drivers push pills. Peavy runs male prostitutes. Peavy sells choice chicken. Peavy scouts the main-room shows. Peavy recruits dancers to fuck and suck.

They're cute. They're queer. They whore for kicks and amphetamines. They spread for male movie stars.

The last tip: logged 8/62.

Wayne worked Patrol then. Wayne made sergeant. Wayne moved to Intel: 10/8/62. The prior cop logged the tips. Said cop was bribeproof/mean/lazy.

He crashed a market heist. He took five slugs and fed nine back. He died. He killed two wetbacks en route.

Three board men. Nine tips-unverified. Wayne checked the adjunct forms-they looked kosher.

Peavy registered his ex-cons. Peavy's tax sheets looked clean. Ditto Hinton and Spurgeon.

Wayne locked the files up. The clerk locked the vault. Wayne got some coffee. Wayne killed some time.

He dawdled. He killed more time. He drove to the station. He pulled into the lot. Buddy Fritsch pulled out. It was way weird and un-Fritschlike.

It was 5:10. Fritsch always booked at 6:00 p.m. Fritsch booked like clockwork.

His wife divorced him-late last year. Said wife split with her dyke lover. Fritsch sulked and mooned. Fritsch grooved a cuckold routine.

He splits work at 6:00. He hits the Elks Lodge. He drinks his dinner and plays bridge.

Wayne drove past the station. Fritsch drove down 1st Street. Wayne watched him go. Fritsch turned east. The Elks Lodge was due _west_.

Wayne U-turned. Wayne laid two cars back. Fritsch hugged the curb lane. Fritsch stopped at Binion's Casino.

A man walked up. Fritsch cracked his window. The man passed an envelope. Wayne jumped lanes. Wayne nailed a view. Wayne nailed an ID:

Butch Montrose. Sam G.'s boy. One piece of shit.

24

(Las Vegas, 1/6/64)

Barb did the Wah-Watusi. She sang. She shimmied. She shook.

The Bondsmen played loud. Barb missed high notes. She sang for shit. She knew it. She eschewed all airs pertaining to.

The lounge was full. Barb drew men. Call them sad sacks all. Lonely geeks and retirees-plus Wayne Tedrow Junior.

Pete watched.

Barb raised her arms. Barb threw sweat. Barb showed red stubble. It jazzed him. He loved her taste there.

Barb did the Swim. The stage light burned her freckles. Pete watched Barb. Wayne Junior watched Pete. It fucked with his nerves.

His nerves were shot. The Summit came and went. The Boys said no. Ward stated his case. Carlos concurred-let's push Big "H."

They lost the referendum-down by four votes.

He saw Carlos in New Orleans. Carlos saw the Zangetty pix. Carlos said "_Bravissimo_." They schmoozed. They schmoozed Cuba. They launched laments. The CIA shitcanned the Cuban cause. The rank file Outfit ditto.

Pete still cared. Carlos too. The old crew found _new_ work.

John Stanton was in Vietnam. The CIA was there large. Vietnam was Cuba with gooks. Laurent Guйry and Flash Elorde freelanced-right-wing muscle on call. They gigged out of Mexico City. Laurent clipped Reds in Paraguay. Flash clipped Reds in the DR.

Pete and Carlos schmoozed Tiger Kab. Good times in Miami-dope and exile recruitment. Tiger-striped cabs/black-and-gold seats/heroin and _la Causa_.

They schmoozed the hit. Carlos brought it up. Carlos schmoozed new details. Pete keyed on the pro shooter. Chuck said he was French. Carlos had _new_ details.

Laurent brought him in. Laurent went Francophile. The pro had frog credentials. He was an ex-Indochine hand. He was an ex-Algerian killer.

He tried to kill Charles de Gaulle. He failed. He hated de Gaulle. He waxed homicidal. Let's kill JFK-JFK french-kissed Charlie in Paris.

Carlos waxed mad-Jack Z.'s body washed up-the Dallas paper ran news. Jack's missing guests got bopkes. Jack was dirty. Jack ran a "hideout." Jack's death vibed "gangland job."

The wash-up felt like a fuck-up. The wash-up felt like a No. Junior said "No files." The Boys said "No dope."

Carlos said, "March." You know what I want-kill the safe-house crew.

Pete drove to Dallas. Pete fake-searched for Arden. Pete searched for Betty Mac. He tapped out. That was good. He warned Betty. Betty got smart and ran.

He got a lead on Hank Killiam. Hank was now in Florida. Hank read the Dallas paper. The Jack Z. bit scared him.

Pete called Carlos. Pete reported the lead. Pete kissed some wop ass. They schmoozed. Carlos ragged on Guy B.

Guy drank too much. Guy talked too much. Guy loved his blowhard pal Hank Hudspeth. _They_ boozed too much. _They_ talked too much. _They_ bragged to excess.

Pete said, "I'll clip them." Carlos said, "No." Carlos changed the subject. Hey, Pete-where's that hump Maynard Moore?

Pete said a coon killed him. The DPD was pissed. The Klan kontingent issued a kontract.

Carlos laughed. Carlos howled. Carlos oozed delight.

The hit _awed_ him.

They did it. They got away clean. The safe-house geeks meant shit. Carlos knew it. The hit was a kick. Let's schmooze it and relive it. Let's kill some geeks for conversation.

Pete sipped a Coke. He quit booze last week. Carlos ragged Guy. Carlos despised drunks.

Barb twirled the mike cord. Barb blew a note. Barb threw perspiration off.

Pete watched Barb. Wayne Junior watched him.

o o o

Barb gigged late. Pete went home alone.

He called room service. He stood on the terrace and dug on the Strip. He felt cold air swirl.

The phone rang. He grabbed it.

"Yeah?"

"That Pete? You know, the big guy passin' out his number on the west side?"

"Yeah, this is Pete."

"Well, that's good, 'cause I'm calling 'bout that reward."

Pete said, "I'm listening."

"You should be, 'cause Wendell Durfee's in town, and I heard he bought a gun off a craps dealer. And I also heard that Curtis and Leroy just brought in some hair-o-wine."

_DOCUMENT INSERT_: 1/7/64. Covert tape-recording transcript. Recorded at Hickory Hill, Virginia. Speaking: Doug Eversall, Robert F. Kennedy.

(Background noise/overlapping voices)

RFK (conversation in progress): Well, if you think it's essen-

DE: If you wouldn't mind, I'd (background noise/overlapping voices) (Incidental noise. Door slam footsteps)

RFK (conversation in progress): Have been in here. They shed all over the rugs.

DE (coughs): I've got two Airedales.

RFK: They're good dogs. They get along well with children. (Pause: 2.6 seconds) Doug, what is it? You look the way people are telling me I look.

DE: Well.

RFK: Well, what? We're here to set trial dates, remember?

DE (coughs): Well, it's about the President.

RFK: Johnson or my brother?

DE: Your brother. (Pause: 3.2 seconds) It's, well, I don't like the thing with Ruby. (Pause: 1.8 seconds) I don't want to sound out of line, but it bothers me.

RFK: You're saying? (Pause: 2.1 seconds) I know what you're saying. He's got Mob connections. Some reporters have been digging up stories.

DE (coughs): That's the main thing, yes. (Pause: DE coughs) And, well, you know, Oswald allegedly spent some time in New-

RFK: Orleans last summer, and you used to work for the State's Attorney down there.

DE: Well, that's about-

RFK: No, but thanks. (Pause: 4.0 seconds) And you're right about Ruby. He walked in there, he shot him, and he looked relieved as hell that he did it.

DE (coughs): And he's dirty.

RFK (laughs): Cough away from me. I can't afford to lose any more work days.

DE: I'm sorry I brought all this up. You don't need to be reminded.

RFK: Jesus Christ, quit apologizing every two seconds. The sooner people start treating me normally, the better off I'll be.

DE: Sir, I-

RFK: That's a good example. You didn't start calling me "Sir" until my brother died.

DE (coughs): Ijust want to help. (Pause: 2.7 seconds) It's the time-line that bothers me. The hearings, Valachi's testimony, Ruby. (Pause: 1.4 seconds) I used to prosecute homicides with multiple defendants. I learned to trust time-

RFK: I know what you're saying. (Pause: RFK coughs) Factors converge. The hearings. The raids I ordered. You know, the exile camps. The Mob was supporting the exiles, so they both had motives. (Pause: 11.2 seconds) That's what bothers me. If that's what happened, they killed Jack to get at me. (Pause: 4.8 seconds) If that… shit… they should have killed.

DE (coughs): Bob, I'm sorry.

RFK: Quit apologizing and coughing. I'm susceptible to colds right now.

(DE laughs.)

RFK: You're right about the time-line. It's the order of things that bothers me. (Pause: 1.9 seconds) There's another thing, too.

DE: Sir? I mean-

RFK: One of Hoffa's lawyers approached me a few days before Dallas. It was very strange.

DE: What was his name?

RFK: Littell. (Pause: 1.3 seconds) I made some inquiries. He works for Carlos Marcello. (Pause: 2.3 seconds). Don't say it. Marcello is based in New Orleans.

DE: I'd be willing to contact my sources, and-

RFK: No. It's best for the country this way. No trial, no bullshit.

DE: Well, there's the Commission.

RFK: You're being naive. Hoover and Johnson know what's best for the country, and they spell it "Whitewash." (Pause: 2.6 seconds) They don't care. There's the people who care and the people who don't. They're all part of the same consensus.

DE: I care.

RFK: I know you do. Just don't labor the point. This conversation is starting to embarrass me.

DE: I'm sor-

RFK: Jesus, don't start that again.

(DE laughs.)

RFK: Will you stay on in Justice? If I resign, I mean.

DE: It depends on the new man. (Pause: 2.2 seconds) Are you going to?

RFK: Maybe. I'm just licking my wounds right now. (Pause: 1.6 seconds) Johnson might put me on the ticket. I'd take it if he asked, and some people want me to run for Ken Keating's senate seat in New York.

DE: I'll vote for you. I've got a summer place in Rhinebeck.

(RFK laughs.)

DE: Ijust wish there were something I could do.

RFK: Well, you made me feel better.

DE: I'm glad.

RFK: And you're right. Something about the time-line feels suspicious.

DE: Yes, that's-

RFK: We can't bring my brother back, but I'll tell you this, though. When the-(footsteps obscure conversation)-right I'll jump on it, and devil take the hindmost.

(Door slam footsteps. Tape terminates here.)

25

(Los Angeles, 1/9/64)

He bought Jane a wallet. Saks engraved it.

Soft kid. A lowercase "j.f."

Jane fanned the sleeves. "You were right. I showed them my Alabama license, and they gave me a new one right there."

Littell smiled. Jane smiled and posed. She leaned on the window. She jutted a hip out. She blocked off the view.

Littell pulled his chair up. "We'll get you a Social Security card. You'll have all the ID you need."

Jane smiled. "What about a master's degree? You got me the B.A. already."

Littell crossed his legs. "You could go to UCLA and earn one."

"How about this? I could divide my studies between L.A., D.C., and Vegas, just to keep up with my peripatetic lover."

Littell smiled. "Was that a jibe?"

"Just an observation."

"You're getting restless. You're overqualified for a life of leisure."

Jane pirouetted. Jane dipped low and stood on her toes. She was good. She was lithe. She'd studied somewhere.

Littell said, "Some people from the safe house have disappeared. That's good news more than bad."

Jane shrugged. Jane scissored low. Her skirt brushed the floor.

"Where did you learn that?"

Jane said, "Tulane. I audited a dance class, but you won't see it on my transcript."

Littell sat on the floor. Jane scissored up to him.

"I want to find a job. I was a good bookkeeper, even before you improved my credentials."

Littell stroked her feet. Jane wiggled her toes.

"You could find me something at Hughes Aircraft."

Littell shook his head. "Mr. Hughes is very disturbed. I'm working against him on some levels, and I want to keep you out of that side of my life."

Jane grabbed her cigarettes. "Any other ideas?"

"I could get you work with the Teamsters."

Jane shook her head. "No. That's not me."

"Why?"

She lit a cigarette. Her hand shook.

"It's just not. I'll find a job, don't worry."

Littell traced her stocking runs. "You'll do better than that. You'll excel and upstage everyone you work with."

Jane smiled. Littell pinched out her cigarette. He kissed her. He touched her hair. He saw a new gray.

Jane pulled his tie off. "Tell me about the last woman you were with."

Littell cleaned his glasses. "Her name was Helen Agee. She was a friend of my daughter's. I got in trouble with the Bureau and Helen was the first casualty."

"She left you?"

"She ran, yes."

"What kind of trouble were you in?"

"I underestimated Mr. Hoover."

"That's all you'll tell me?"

"Yes."

"What happened to Helen?"

"She's a legal-aid lawyer. The last I heard, my daughter was, too."

Jane kissed him. "We have to be who we decided to be in Dallas."

Littell said, "Yes."

o o o

Jane fell asleep. Littell feigned sleep. Littell got up slow.

He walked to his office. He set up his tape rig. He poured some coffee.

He nailed Doug Eversall. He called him yesterday. He threatened him. He crossed the line.

He said don't call Carlos. Don't tell him what Bobby said. Don't rat out Bobby.

He warned him. He said I'm working freelance. Don't fuck me or I'll retaliate. You're a drunk driver/killer. I'll expose you for that. I won't let Carlos hurt Bobby.

Bobby suspected the Boys. That meant Bobby KNEW. Bobby didn't say it flat out. Bobby didn't need to. Bobby sidestepped the pain.

_Mea culpa_. Cause-and-effect. _My_ Mob crusade killed my brother.

Littell spooled the tape-tape copy #2.

He'd doctored a dupe. He pouched it to Mr. Hoover. He retained the small talk. He layered in static. He x'd out Bobby's Mob talk.

Littell hit Play. Bobby talked. His grief showed. His kindness showed through.

Kind Bobby-a chat with his clubfooted friend.

Bobby talked. Bobby paused. Bobby said the name "Littell."

Littell listened. Littell timed the pauses. Bobby faltered. Bobby _KNEW_. Bobby never said it.

Littell listened. Littell _lived_ the pauses. The old fear came. It told him this:

_You believe in him again_.

_DOCUMENT INSERT_: 1/10/64. Verbatim FBI telephone call transcript. Marked: "Recorded at the Director's Request"/"Classified Con.fidential 1-A: Director's Eyes Only." Speaking: Director Hoover, Ward J. Littell.

JEH: Good morning, Mr. Littell.

WJL: Good morning, Sir.

JEH: Let's get to the tape. The sound quality was very poor.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: The text was unenlightening. If I wish to discuss Airedale dogs with the Dark Prince, I can dial his direct line at will.

WJL: My plant fidgeted, Sir. He moved and caused distortion.

JEH: Will you try again?

WJL: That's impossible, Sir. My plant was lucky to get one audience.

JEH: Your plant's voice was familiar. He sounded like a handicapped lawyer the Dark Prince employs.

WJL: You have a fine memory for voices, Sir.

JEH: Yes. And I have a few plants of my own.

WJL: Myself among them.

JEH: I wouldn't call you a "plant," Mr. Littell. You're too gifted and diversified.

WJL: Thank you, Sir.

JEH: Do you recall our conversation of December 2nd? I said I needed a man with a "fallen liberal" image, and hinted that it might be you.

WJL: Yes, Sir. I recall the conversation.

JEH: I'm miffed at Martin Luther King and his egregiously unChristian Southern Christian Leadership Conference. I want to further penetrate the group, and you're the perfect "fallen liberal" to help me accomplish my goal.

WJL: In what way, Sir?

JEH: I already have a plant within the SCLC. He has established his ability to procure dossiers on policemen, organized-crime figures and other notables that left-wing Negroes might consider adversaries. My plan is to provide him with a dossier on you. The dossier will portray you as an ousted Bureau man with leftist tendencies, ones which you have frankly yet to outgrow.

WJL: You've piqued my interest, Sir.

JEH: Your assignment would be to appear sympathetic to the civil-rights cause, which I know will be no great stretch. You will donate numerous allotments of marked Mob money to the SCLC, in $10,000 increments, over a sustained period of time. My goal is to compromise the SCLC and render them more tractable. Your goal is to convince the SCLC that you have embezzled the money from organized-crime sources, in an effort to assuage your guilt over working for mobsters in the first place. This will also be no great stretch. I'm sure that you can tap the ambivalent aspects of your nature and front a convincing performance. I'm equally sure that you can justify the continued expense to your mobster colleagues, as a proactive means to avoid civil-rights trouble in Las Vegas, which will please them and Mr. Hughes.

WJL: It's a bold plan, Sir.

JEH: It is that.

WJL: I'd appreciate some more details.

JEH: My plant is an ex-Chicago policeman. He possesses chameleon qualities similar to yours. He's ingratiated himself with the SCLC very nicely.

WJL: His name, Sir?

JEH: Lyle Holly. His brother was with the Bureau.

WJL: Dwight Holly. He transferred out, I think.

JEH: That is correct. He's with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in Nevada now. I think he finds the assignment enervating. A brisk dope trade would be more to his liking.

WJL: And Lyle is-

JEH: Lyle is more impetuous. He drinks more than he should and comes off as a hail-fellow-well-met. The Negroes adore him. He's convinced them that he's the world's most incongruously liberal ex-cop, when in fact that prize goes to you.

WJL: You flatter me, Sir.

JEH: I do anything but.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: Holly will portray you as a Chicago law-enforcement acquaintance and present the SCLC with documents pertaining to your Bureau expulsion. He will point you to a Negro named Bayard Rustin. Mr. Rustin is a close colleague of Mr. King. He is both a Communist and a homosexual, which marks him as a rara avis by all sane standards. I'll send you a summary on him, and I'll have Lyle Holly call you.

WJL: I'll wait for his call, Sir.

JEH: Do you have other questions?

WJL: On this topic, no. But I would like your permission to contact Wayne Tedrow Senior, on Mr. Hughes' behalf.

JEH: You have it.

WJL: Thank you, Sir.

JEH: Good day, Mr. Littell.

WJL: Good day, Sir.

_DOCUMENT INSERT_: 1/11/64. "Subversive Persons" summary report. Marked: "Chronology/Known Facts/Observations/Known Associates/Memberships in Subversive Organizations." Subject: RUSTIN, BAYARD TAYLOR (male Negro/DOB: 3/17/12, West Chester, Pa.). Compiled: 2/8/62.

_SUBJECT RUSTIN_ must be viewed as a cunning subversive with a significant history of Communist-inspired alliances as a pronounced security threat, due to his alliances with perceived "Mainstream" Negro demagogues, such as _MARTIN LUTHER KING_ _A. PHILIP RANDOLPH_. _SUBJECT RUSTIN'S_ radical Quaker background his parents' association with the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) point out the extent of his early radical indoctrination. (See Addendum File #4 189 on _RUSTIN, JANIFER RUSTIN, JULIA DAVIS_.)

_SUBJECT RUSTIN_ attended Wilberforce College (a Negro institution) 1932-33. He refused to join the ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) and led (abetted by numerous Communist sympathizers) a strike to protest the allegedly poor quality of food served to students. _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ transferred to Cheyney State Teachers College (Pennsylvania) early in 1934. It is believed that he communicated with numerous notable Negro subversives while at the institution. _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ was expelled in 1936. It is widely assumed that a homosexual incident resulted in his expulsion.

_SUBJECT RUSTIN_ moved to New York City circa 1938-39. He became a member of the so-called Negro "Intelligentsia," studied the philosophy of _MOHANDAS "MAHATMA" GANDHI_ described himself as a "Committed Trotskyite." _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ (a gifted musician) fraternized with numerous white Negro subversives, including _PAUL ROBESON_, who have since been identified as members of 114 certified Communist-front organizations. (See "Known Associates," Addendum File #4190.)

_SUBJECT RUSTIN_ became a member of the Young Communist League (YCL) at New York City College (NYCC) was a frequent visitor at a Communist cell on 146th Street. He fraternized with Communist folk singers led a YCL-inspired campaign to protest segregation in the U.S. Armed Forces. In 1941 _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ became acquainted with Negro labor agitator _A. PllILIP RANDOLPH_ (b. 1889) (see Randolph Files #1408, 1409, 1410). _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ helped to organize the aborted 1941 Negro March on Washington joined the socialist-pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) the War Resisters League (WRL). During this time he became a skilled orator and disseminator of SocialistCommunist propaganda.

_SUBJECT RUSTIN_ registered as a conscientious objector with his (Harlem, N.Y.) draft board was ordered to appear for a physical examination on 11/13/43. _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ sent a letter of refusal (see Addendum Carbon #19) was apprehended on 1/12/44. He was tried convicted of violating the Selective Serv. Act (see Addendum File #4191 for trial transcript) sent'd to 3 yrs in the Federal Penitentiary at Ashland, Ky. _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ led several attempts to desegregate the prison dining hail was transferred to Lewisburg Penitentiary (Pa). _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ was paroled (6/46) became a traveling speaker for the FOR. In 1946 '47 he participated in numerous Communist-inspired attempts (the "Journey of Reconciliation") to desegregate interstate bus lines. In 11/47 _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ joined the "Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service Training" counseled Negro youths to avoid military service (see Addendum File #4192 for list of members cross-referenced Communist front-group memberships).

_SUBJECT RUSTIN_ traveled extensively in India (1948-'49), returned to the U.S. served a 22-day jail sentence for his subversive activities in the "Journey of Reconciliation." He spent substantial time (thruout 1950, '51, '52) in Africa studied insurgent Negro nationalist movements there. On 1/21/53, _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ was arrested on a morals charge in Pasadena, California (see Addendum File #4 193 for arrest rpt. trial transcript). _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ 2 white youths were engaged in a homosexual tryst in a parked car. _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ pled guilty served 60 days in the Los Angeles County Jail. _SUBJECT RUSTIN'S_ homosexuality is well known is considered to be an embarrassment to the alleged "Mainstream" Negro "Leaders" who utilize his skills as an organizer orator.

The 1/21/53 incident resulted in _SUBJECT RUSTIN'S_ expulsion from the FOR. _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ moved to New York City and cultivated friendships in the heavily bohemian leftist-influenced Greenwich Village district. He rejoined the WRL again traveled to Africa studied Negro nationalist movements. _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ returned to the U.S. met _STANLEY LEVISON_, a Communistindoctrinated advisor to _MARTIN LUTHER KING_. (See Files #5961, 5962, 5963, 5965, 5966.) _LEVISON_ introduced _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ to _KING_. _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ advised _KING_ per the staging of the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56. (See Central Index for individual files on boycott participants.) _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ then became a trusted advisor to _KING_ is credited with influencing KING'S Pacifist/Socialist/Communist program of planned disruption social disorder. _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ drew up a document for the formation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) 8e _KING_ adopted it at a (1/10-11 / 57) church conference in Atlanta. (See Addendum File #4194 Electronic Surveillance File #0809.) _KING_ was elected leader of the SOLO on 2/14/57 has remained in power to this (2/8/62) date.

_SUBJECT RUSTIN_ joined the American Forum (classified as a Communist front group in 1947) planned the SOLO/NAACP "Pilgrimage of Prayer" March on Washington (5/17/57). 30,000 people attended, including numerous Negro celebrities (see Surveillance Films #0704, 0705, 0706, 0708). _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ organized the "Youth March for Integrated Schools" in 10/58. Per this march: associate _A. PHILIP RANDOLPH_ publicly attacked _DIRECTOR HOOVER_ for his comment that the march was a "Communist-inspired promotion." _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ staged a 2nd youth march in 4/59. (See Surveillance Films #0709, 0710, 0711.)

_SUBJECT RUSTIN_ rejected (early 1960) an offer to work full time for the SOLO. He has remained to this date (2/8/62) a vociferous critic of democratic institutions has continued to support _MARTIN LUTHER KING_ and his socialist designs, serving as an advisor organizer of SOLO activities. _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ is considered the leader of the SOLO braintrust the mastermind behind _KING'S_ rise to prominence as a demagogue and fomenter of social unrest, He has strategized deployed white Negro demonstrators in the "Sit-In" "Freedom Ride" demonstrations of 196O-'61 has retained documented friendships with a total of 94 members of certified Communist fronts (see Known Associate Index #2). In conclusion, _SUBJECT RUSTIN_ must be classified as a Top Priority Internal Security Risk should be subjected to periodic surveillance possible mail trash cover operations. (Note: Addendum files, films tapes require Level 2 Clearance Deputy Director Tolson's authorization.)

26

(Las Vegas, 1/12/64)

Tails:

Sitting tails. Moving tails. Three boring tailees. Tail work-five full days in.

Webb Spurgeon lived behind the Tropicana. Webb Spurgeon's pad brushed the golf course. Webb Spurgeon lived bland. Webb Spurgeon stayed home. Webb Spurgeon chauffeured his son.

Wayne watched his front door. Wayne fought the sitting-tail blues.

He yawned. He scratched his ass. He pissed in a milk can. The car smelled. His aim strayed. He sprayed the dash sometimes.

Spurgeon was a yawn. Duane Hinton was a snore. Eldon Peavy was a faggy snooze. The job was shit. Buddy Fritsch wanted dirt. Pete suborned him in. Fritsch met with Butch Montrose-it vibed payoff.

The job was shit. He worked it anyway. He mixed-and-matched. He juggled his tailees.

Hinton stayed home. Hinton drove to his work sites. Peavy logged time at Monarch Cab. The job was shit. Wayne worked it hard. Wayne cranked twenty hours a day.

Lynette bugged him. Lynette torqued him hard. Lynette found his Dallas paper stash. He lied. He said don't bug me. He said it's Moore and Durfee-I'm just tracking the case.

She tripped him up. She nailed his lies. She made him run. He worked his shit tail job. He gauged potential results.

Hide would-be dirt. Fuck Fritsch and Pete-file a fake report. Play ball. File the goods. Hide out at the Sultan's Lounge. Hide from your wife. Hide from Wayne Senior and his fuck film.

Wayne yawned. Wayne stretched. Wayne scratched his balls. Webb Spurgeon walked out. Webb Spurgeon locked his front door. Webb Spurgeon shagged his Olds 88.

Log it: 2:21 p.m.

Spurgeon drove south. Wayne tailed him. Spurgeon hit I-95. Wayne hit the fast lane. They both drove 50-plus.

Spurgeon signaled. His blinker blinked. He pulled off the freeway. He hit Henderson ramp #1. He drove surface streets. Wayne tailed him semitight.

They hit the Mormon Temple. Wayne logged the time: 2:59 p.m.

Spurgeon walked in. Wayne parked catty-corner. Time sitting-tail dragged.

Thirteen minutes. Fourteen/fifteen.

Spurgeon walked out. Wayne logged it: 3:14 p.m.

They backtracked. They hit 95 North. They jumped on two car lengths apart. Wayne hovered back. Wayne slacked his leash. Wayne tailed longdistance.

They drove back to Vegas. They stopped at Jordan High. Weird-Webb Junior went to LeConte.

Spurgeon parked. Wayne parked two slots back. Kids walked by. Spurgeon covered his face.

4:13 p.m.:

A girl walks up. Said girl looks around. Said girl gets in daddy-o's car.

Spurgeon pulled out. Wayne snapped the leash. Wayne tailed him halftight. The girl bobbed her head down. The car swerved and weaved. The girl bobbed her head up.

She wiped her lips. She fixed her face. She teased her hair up.

They hit 95 South. They cut toward Hoover Dam. They drove through the shitkicker sticks. Traffic thinned. Wayne slacked out the leash.

Spurgeon turned left. Spurgeon hauled up a dirt road. Wayne parked by some scrub pines. Wayne grabbed his binoculars.

He tracked up. He framed shots. He caught a split-rail cabin. The car sliced into the frame. The girl got out. She was sixteen tops. She ran long on hairspray and zits.

Spurgeon got out. The girl jumped on him. They walked inside. Wayne logged the time: 5:09 p.m. Wayne logged stat rape and contributing-two Class B felonies.

Wayne watched the cabin. Wayne watched his watch. He set up his Leica. He fixed the tripod. He slapped on the zoom doohickey.

They fucked for 51 minutes. Wayne shot their exit drape. They kissed long and wet. He got their tongues in tight.

o o o

Wayne parked by Monarch Cab. Wayne logged in at 6:43.

The hut sagged. The roof drooped. Cinder blocks creaked. The lot was dusty. The fleet was old-three-tone Packards exclusive.

Wayne watched the window. Eldon Peavy ran cabs. Eldon Peavy worked a two-way box. Eldon Peavy dealt solitaire.

Drivers bopped through. Wayne made three felons-fruit rollers all. One guy beat Murder One. Said guy shivved a he-she at a drag queen ball. Said guy proved self-defense.

Cabs rolled out. The pistons knocked. The mufflers coughed. The pipes shot fumes. The Monarch logo _gleamed_:

A little man with a big crown. Red dice for teeth.

Wayne yawned. Wayne stretched. Wayne scratched his balls. He was up in North LV. The Bondsmen gigged tonite. Barb wore her blue gown most gigs.

A cab pulled out. Wayne tailed it. Rolling tails revived him. Night tails were cake. Cab tails double so-their roof lights stood out plain.

Wayne sidled close. The cab hauled out Owens. They passed the Paiute graveyard. They hit West LV.

Traffic was brisk. A car cut the cab off. Wayne swerved and hopped lanes. It was windy. It was cold. Tumbleweeds blew stray.

They passed Owens and "H." The bars rocked. The liquor stores rolled. Bottle hounds and out-the-door biz.

There-the cab's braking-upside the Cozy Nook.

The cab stopped. The cab idled. The driver tapped the horn. Wayne idled back. Wayne saw four Negroes walk out.

They saw the cab. They ran up. They flashed money. The driver dispensed packets. The Negroes paid cash. The Negroes unwrapped benny rolls.

They raised flasks. They popped pills. They did dance steps. They shucked and rehit the Nook.

The cab pulled out. Wayne tailed it. The cab hit Lake Mead and "D." There-the cab's braking-upside the Wild Goose.

A curb line stood ready-six Negroes-all with that hophead look. The cab stopped. The driver sold bennies. The Negroes shucked and rehit the Goose.

The cab pulled out. Wayne tailed it. The cab hit the Gerson Park Flats. A man got in. The cab pulled out. Wayne tailed it near-close.

There-the cab's braking-upside Jackson and "E." The driver parked. The driver got out. The driver swished into Skip's Lounge.

The driver wore rouge. The driver wore eye shadow. The driver vibed femme fatale. The driver stayed inside. Wayne clocked his visit: 6.4 minutes flat.

The driver swished out. The driver swished and swung sacks. Said driver lugged _coin_ sacks. Said driver fumbled them. Said driver tossed them in the trunk.

Call it: Backroom slots-illegal-Monarch Cab-run.

The cab pulled out. The cab hung a U-ey. Wayne tailed it close-close. There-the cab's braking-upside the Evergreen Project.

The passenger got out. The cab turned north. The headlights strafed parked cars.

There-one parked Cadillac/one white face ducked low. Fuck-it's Pete Bondurant-hunkered down low.

Wayne caught a teaser shot-that and splitsville-poof and adieu.

Wayne tailed the cab. The image stuck-Pete at the wheel. Darktown Pete-say what?-what we gots here?

The cab hauled back to Monarch. Wayne tailed it un-close. Wayne parked in his standard tail spot.

He yawned. He stretched. He pissed in his can. Time dragged. Time crawled. Time meandered.

Wayne watched the window.

Eldon Peavy shagged calls. Eldon Peavy popped pills. Eldon Peavy dealt solitaire.

Drivers clocked in. Drivers lounged. Drivers clocked out. They played cards. They rolled dice. They primped.

Time slogged. Wayne yawned. Wayne stretched. Wayne picked his nose.

A limo pulled up. Whitewalls and fender skirts/mock-leather top. Wayne clocked it: 2:03 a.m.

Peavy walked out. Peavy jumped in the limo. The limo booked south. Wayne tailed it. They hit the Strip. They stopped at the Dunes.

The limo idled doorway-close. Wayne idled three cars back. Three fags walked up. Dig their muscles and teased hair. They vibe chorus-line gash.

They scoped out the limo. They swooned and hopped in. The limo pulled out.

Wayne tailed it. They hit McCarran Field. The limo parked by the gate fence. Wayne parked four cars back.

Peavy got out. Peavy walked. Wayne had a view.

Peavy strolls. Peavy hits the main gate. A flight lands. Tourists get off.

Wayne watched. Wayne yawned. Wayne stretched. Peavy walked back. Two men walked with him. Two men walked close.

Wayne rubbed his eyes. Wayne did a double take. Fuck-it's Rock Hudson and Sal Mineo.

Peavy grins. Peavy snaps a popper. Rock and Sal snort. They grin. They giggle exultant. They get in the limo. Peavy assists them. Peavy grabs their ass cheeks and hoists.

The limo pulled out. Wayne tailed it. Wayne got tailpipe-close. A window furled down. He saw smoke. He smelled maryjane.

They hit North LV. They hit the Golden Cavern Hotel. The cuties pile out. Rock and Sal weave.

Lynette torched for Big Rock-she'd fucking shit.

o o o

Duane Hinton lived off Sahara. Wayne late-logged in: 3:07 a.m.-the late-_late_ show.

He parked. He dumped his milk can. He yawned. He stretched. He scratched.

Hinton's pad was new-all prefab-one window glowed. TV test patterns-flags and geometric bands-KLXO.

Wayne watched the window. Time sluiced. Time slithered. Time slid. The pattern popped off. A room light popped on. Hinton walked outside.

Wayne clocked it: 3:41 a.m.

Hinton wore work clothes. Odds on a store run-the Food King ran all night. Hinton shagged his van. Hinton backed out. Hinton turned north.

Late tails ate shit. Wayne hated them-no traffic/no cover.

Wayne stalled. Wayne clocked off two minutes. Wayne ran up lead and leash time. 1:58, 1:59-Go-

He hit the key. He drove north. He made up time. He caught Hinton.

They passed the Food King. Wayne hovered back. Hinton cut west-Fremont to Owens.

They hit traffic. Wayne moved in close. They hit West Vegas. They hit more traffic-pimp cars and jalopies-Negro nite owls on the stroll.

Hinton stopped. There-he's braking-upside Owens and "H."

Upside Woody's Club. Famous for all-nite grease. Renowned for fried everything food.

Hinton parked. Hinton walked in. Wayne parked catty-corner. A bum walked up.

He bowed. He Watusi'd. He groomed the windshield. Wayne hit his wipers. The bum mooned him. Wino spectators cheered.

Wayne rolled down his window. P-U-the air stunk. He smelled puke. He smelled chicken grease. He rolled his window up.

Hinton walked out. Hinton held the door. Hinton squired a whore. She was dark. She was fat. She looked bombed.

They walked to the van. They got in. They drove around the corner. Wayne doused his lights. Wayne tailed them. Wayne hovered close up.

They stopped. They parked. They walked through a vacant lot. Weeds and sagebrush. Tumbleballs. A trailer on blocks.

Wayne hovered and pulled curbside. Wayne parked ten yards back. The whore unlocked the trailer. Hinton stepped in. Hinton fumbled some object.

Maybe a jug. Maybe a camera. Maybe some sex gear.

The whore stepped in. The whore shut the door. A light blipped on and blipped off.

Wayne ran his clock. Two minutes crawled. Hold for some semblance of fuck.

There-2.6 in:

The trailer rocks. The blocks sway. Both parties are fat. The trailer's thin tin.

The shakes stopped. Wayne clocked the fuck: 4.8 minutes.

The light went on. Blips blipped out a window. Blue blips-as in flashbulbs.

Wayne yawned. Wayne stretched. Wayne scratched his balls. Wayne dumped his piss cup. The trailer rocked-a minute tops-the light went off.

Hinton walked out. Hinton stumbled. Hinton fumbled some object. He cut through the lot. He got his van. He laid some good tread.

Wayne hit his lo-beams. Wayne tailed him. Wayne rubbed his eyes and yawned. The road dipped-dots hit the windshield-say what?/say what?

The car swayed. He swerved. He blew a red light. He hit his brakes. He popped the clutch and stalled the car out.

The van hit a rise. The van vamoosed. Duane Hinton-out of sight.

Wayne hit the key. Wayne punched the gas. Wayne swamped his engine too fast. He clocked two minutes. He hit the key. He kicked the gas slooooooooow.

The engine caught. He yawned and got traction. The whole world sleepytime bluuuured.

o o o

Dawn came up. Wayne got in bed dressed. Lynette stirred. Wayne played possum.

She touched him. She felt his clothes. She pulled off his gun.

"Are you having fun? Hiding out from your wife, I mean."

He yawned. He stretched. He banged the headboard.

He said, "Rock Hudson's queer."

Lynette said, "What happened in Dallas?"

o o o

He slept. He got two hours tops. He woke up woozy. Lynette was gone. Nothing happened in Dallas.

He fixed toast. He drank coffee. He went back out. He parked behind Hinton's house. He scoped the backyard.

The alley was packed-construction work next door. His shit car fit right in.

He scoped the driveway. Right there per aiways-Hinton's van and Deb Hinton's Impala. Clock the tail in: 9:14 a.m.

Wayne watched the house. Wayne yawned and scratched. Wayne pissed out his a.m. coffee. The workers hung drywall-six men with power tools-saws buzzed and jackhammers bit.

10:24:

Deb Hinton walks out. Deb Hinton splits. Deb's Impala knocks and pings.

12:08:

The workers break. They hit their cars. They grab bunch pails and sacks.

2:19:

Duane Hinton walks out.

He walks through the backyard. He bugs some clothes. He wore said clothes last night. He walks to the fence. He feeds the incinerator. He bights a match.

GOD FUCK JESUS CHRIST.

o o o

Wayne drove to Owens and "H." Wayne parked by Woody's Club.

He popped his trunk. He grabbed a pry bar. He circled the block-the street was dead-no wits out and about.

He walked through the lot. He knocked on the trailer. He booked around-still no wits out.

He leaned on the pry bar. He snapped the bock. He walked in. He smelled blood. He slammed the door shut.

He tapped the walls. He tripped a switch. He got overhead bight.

She was dead. On the floor/stage-one rigor/maggots on call. Contusions/head wounds/shattered cheeks.

Hinton gagged her. Hinton wedged a handball in her mouth.

Ear blood. Socket blood. One eyeball gone. Buckshot on the floor. Buckshot in her blood.

Hinton wore sap gloves. The palm fabric broke. The buckshot flew.

Wayne caught his breath. Wayne tracked blood trails. Wayne read spbash marks.

He slid on a rug. He stepped on the eyeball.

o o o

Eight assaults. One beating snuff.

He _heard_ it. He thought it was fuck #2. It was Murder One. It vibed Mansbaughter Two. Hinton was white. Hinton had publ. Hinton killed a _colored_ whore.

Wayne drove back. Wayne thought it all through. The gist cohered.

The assault vics pressed charges. They said the assault man took pix. _He_ saw flashbulbs pop. _He_ knew the MO. He was fried to exhaustion. The gist flew by him.

_He_ fucked up. _He_ owed the whore. The cost meant shit.

Wayne parked in the alley. Wayne watched the house. Workmen yelled. Saws buzzed. Jackhammers bit.

Wayne pissed. Wayne missed his can. Wayne sprayed the seat.

Time whizzed. He watched the house. He watched the driveway. Time cranked. Dusk hit. The workmen split.

They grabbed their cars. They cut tracks. They blew horn-honk farewells. Wayne waited. Time labored and lulled.

6:19 p.m.:

The Hintons walk out. They schlep golf bags. Odds on night golf. The range down Sahara.

They take off. They take Deb's Impala. Duane's van stays put.

Wayne clocked down two minutes. Wayne got some nerve up. Wayne got out and stretched.

He walked up. He braced the fence. He vaulted it. He came down hard. He scraped his hands and brushed them off.

He ran to the porch. The door looked weak. The latch wiggled. He shook the door. He forced some slack. He snapped the latch off.

He opened the door. He hit a laundry room. Washer/dryer/clothesline. Window bight from inside-and one connecting door.

Wayne stepped inside. Wayne shut the door. Loose floor planks popped up. Wayne stubbed his feet.

He braced the inside door. He jiggled the knob. Bingo-unlocked.

He hit the kitchen. He checked his watch. _Give it twenty minutes tops_.

6:23:

The kitchen drawers-nothing hot-flatware and Green Stamps.

6:27:

The living room-nothing hot-blond wood to excess.

6:31:

The den-nothing hot-skeet guns and bookshelves.

6:34:

Hinton's office-go slow here-it's a logical spot.

File shelves/ledgers/a pegged key ring. No wall safe/one wall pic-Hinton and Lawrence Webk.

6:39:

The bedroom-nothing hot-more blond wood excess. No wall safe/no floor safe/no loose panel strips.

6:46:

The basement-go slow here-it's a logical spot.

Power tools/a workbench/_Playboy_ magazines. A closet-locked up. That key ring-remember-keys on a peg.

Wayne ran upstairs. Wayne grabbed the ring. Wayne ran downstairs. Wayne jabbed keys at the lock.

6:52:

Key #9 works. The door pops. The closet unlocks.

He saw one box. That's it, no more. Let's inventory it.

Handcuffs. Handballs. Friction tape. Sap gloves. A Polaroid camera. Six rolls of film. Fourteen snapshots:

Negro whores gagged and stomped-eight certified victims plus six.

Plus:

_Unused_ film. One roll. Twelve exposures. Twelve potential shots.

Wayne emptied the box. Wayne cleared floor space. Wayne spread the shit out. Shoot it fast. Put it back. _Display it like you found it_.

He loaded the camera. He shot twelve exposures. They developed and popped out.

Instant prints-Polaroid color.

He grouped Hinton's pix-four separate shots-he got in tight. He got the handball gags. He got the contusions. He got the smashed teeth and the blood.

27

(Las Vegas, 1/14/64)

Nigger Heaven: Four spooks/four capsules/one spike.

They usurped the carport. They flanked an old Merc. They laid out red devils. They dumped out the goo.

They spritzed it. They cooked it. They fed the spike. They tied up. They geezed. They dipped. They nodded. They swayed.

All riiiiiiiiiiiight.

Pete watched. Pete yawned. Pete scratched his ass. Stakeout night #6-the dawn shift-hijinx at five fucking a.m.

He parked at Truman and "J." He lounged low. He dug on the view.

That coon called and tipped him. He said Wendell be back. He said Wendell gots a gun. He said Curtis and Leroy-they baaad. They be pushin' white horse.

Check the carport. Check the Evergreen Project. Dope fiends meet there. Dice fiends too. Wendell the dice fiend soo-preem. Look for Curtis and Leroy-two fat boys-they gots big conk hairdos.

Pete popped aspirin. His headache dipped south. Six nights. Shit surveillance. Headaches and coon food. Grime on his car.

The plan:

Clip Curtis and Leroy. Appease the Boys and play civic booster. Clip Wendell Durfee. Indebt Wayne Junior thus.

You owe me, Wayne. Let's see your files.

Six nights. No luck. Six nights slumming. Six nights lounging low.

Pete watched the carport. Pete yawned. Pete stretched. Pete grew Matterhorn-size hemorrhoids.

The dope fiends swaaayed.

They fumbled Kools. They lit matches. They burned their hands. They lit filter tips.

Pete yawned. Pete dozed. Pete chained cigarettes. Whoa, what's-

Two shines cut over "J." Fat boys with big conks-big spray-can hair.

Wait-two _more_ shines-full-scale shine alert.

They cut over Truman and "K." They met the conk guys. They launched some jive.

One guy schlepped a blanket. One guy schlepped dice. The dice guy schmoozed the conk guys. He called them "Leroy" and "Cur-ti."

The duos teamed up. The duos cruised the carport. The dope guys went oh shit. The conk guys evicted them. The dope guys weaved south. The conk guys threw down the blanket.

Leroy brought breakfast-T-Bird and Tokay. Cur-ti rolled. Green dice twirled. Cur-ti crapped out. Leroy rolled snake eyes.

Pete watched. The jigs whooped. The jigs shucked. The jigs stepped high.

A prowl car drove by. The cops scoped the game. The jigs paid them never-no-mind. Said prowl car split. Said cops yawned-fuck these dumb shines.

Leroy crapped out. Cur-ti exulted. The dice guys drank wine.

A new jig crossed "J." Pete made him quicksville-Wendell (NMI) Durfee.

Check his pimp threads. Check his hair net. Check that gun bulge by his balls.

Durfee joined the game. The jive multiplied. Durfee rolled. Durfee did the Wah-Watusi. Durfee slurped wine.

That prowl car reprised. That prowl car dipped by. The cops looked revitalized. Said car hovered. Said car idled. The radio squawked.

The spooks froze. The spooks went nonchalant. The cops rerevitalized. The spooks went telepathic-we sees de ofay oppressor-the spooks up and ran.

They split up. They hauled. They dispersed cluster-style. They jammed down "J" and "K."

The cops froze. The blanket guys hauled. They dumped their jugs. They moved east. They _hauled_.

The cops unfroze. The cops punched the gas. The cops laid tread and pursued. Durfee ran west. Long legs and low weight. Fat Cur-ti and Leroy pursued.

Pete punched the gas. Pete punched too hard. The pedal slipped. The engine kicked and died.

Pete got out. Pete ran. Durfee ran. Durfee outran his fat pals. The conksters waddled and huffed.

They cut down an alley-trash heaps on gravel-shacks on both sides. Durfee slid. Durfee stumbled. Durfee ripped his pants. Durfee's gun fell out.

Pete slid. Pete stumbled. Pete's belt snapped. Pete's gun fell out.

He gained ground. He stopped. He grabbed Durfee's gun. He lost ground. He gravel-slid.

A siren nudged his ass-loud and full-tilt.

Durfee hopped a fence. The conksters swung over. The prowl car swerved. It fishtailed. It brodied up. It blocked Pete off.

He dropped the gun. He raised his hands. He smiled subservient. The cops got out. The cops pulled saps. The cops raised Ithaca pumps.

o o o

They booked him-407 PC.-Clark County Sheriff's.

They dumped him in a sweat room. They cuffed him to a chair. Two dicks worked on him-phone books and verbal shit.

We traced that gun. It's hot. You're a heist man. I found the gun-fuck you.

Bullshit. Why you down here? Tell us your biz.

I crave chitlins. I crave pork rinds. I crave dark trim. Bullshit. Tell us your-

I'm a civil-rights worker. We shall over-

They swung their phone books-fat ones-L.A. directories. You're a heist man. You rob crap games. You tried to rob those coons.

You're wrong-I crave collard greens.

They whopped his ribs. They whopped his knees. They aired it out good. They torqued his cuffs two ratchets up. They let him stew.

His wrists went numb. His arms went numb. He held a class-A piss.

He ran options:

Don't call Littell. Don't call the Boys. Don't look _trиs_ dumb. Don't call Barb-don't scare her.

His back went numb. His chest went numb. He pissed in his pants. He dug in. He dredged some juice. He snapped the cuff chain. He moved his arms and rewired his blood.

The dicks walked back in. They saw the snapped chain. One geek whistled and clapped.

Pete said, "Call Wayne Tedrow. He's on LVPD."

o o o

Wayne Junior showed up. The dicks left them alone. Wayne Junior took off his cuffs.

"They said you tried to take down a dice game."

Pete rubbed his wrists. "Do you believe that?"

Wayne Junior frowned-diva with a grievance. Wayne Junior tucked his head up his ass.

Pete stood up. Some blood rewired. His eardrums popped.

"Have they got a seventy-two-hour detention law here?"

"Yeah, release or arraign."

"I'll ride it out, then. I've been there before."

"What do you _want?_ You want a favor? You want me to quit coming to your wife's shows?"

Pete jiggled his arms. Some numbness went.

"Durfee's here. He's hanging out with two guys named Curtis and Leroy. I saw them around those shacks on Truman and 'J.'"

Wayne Junior flushed-blood to his brows-blood-circuit overload.

Pete said, "Kill him. I think he came here to kill you."

28

(Washington, D.C., 1/14/64)

White House pickets:

Civil Rights and Ban the Bomb. Young kids on the Left.

They marched. They chanted. Their shouts overlapped. It was cold. They wore overcoats. They wore Cossack hats.

Bayard Rustin was late. Littell waited. Littell sat in Lafayette Park.

Relief pickets chatted. Shop talk swirled. LBJ and Castro. The Goldwater threat.

The groups shared coffee. Lefty girls brought snacks. Littell looked around-no Bayard Rustin yet.

He knew Rustin's face. Mr. Hoover supplied pix. He met the SCLC plant. They talked last night.

Lyle Holly-ex-Chicago PD.

Lyle worked the Red Squad. Lyle studied the Left. Lyle talked Left and _thought_ Right. They shared similar credentials. They shared the same disjuncture. Lyle cracked racial jokes. Lyle said he loved Dr. King.

He knew Lyle's brother. They worked the St. Louis Office-'48 to '50.

Dwight H. was Far Right. Dwight worked kovert Klan jobs. Dwight fit _right_ in. The Hollys were Hoosiers. The Hollys had Klan ties. Daddy Holly was a Grand Dragon.

They were post-Klan now. They got law degrees and became cops.

Dwight was _post_-FBI. Dwight was _still_ Fed. Dwight joined the Narcotics Bureau. Dwight was restbess. Dwight jumped jobs. Dwight craved a bold new cop gig: Chief Investigator/U.S. Attorney's Office/Southern Nevada District.

Dwight was hard. Lyle was soft. Lyle oozed Littell-like empathy.

Lyle built the story:

Ward Littell-ex-FBI. He was dismissed. He was disgraced. He was maimed by Mr. Hoover. He's a Mob lawyer now. He's closeted Left. He's close to Mob money.

It was a sound text. Littell conceded it. Lyle laughed. Lyle said Mr. Hoover helped.

The deal was set. He had the money-Carlos and Sam donated it.

He told them straight-it's Mr. Hoover's gig-it's non-Outfit/anti-SCLC.

Carlos and Sam loved it. Lyle talked to Bayard Rustin. Lyle gushed:

Ward Littell-my old pal. Ward's kindred. Ward's got cash. Ward's proSCLC.

The ban-the-bomb crew walked. A YAF crew appeared. New signs: Bop the Beard and Krucify Khrushchev.

Bayard Rustin walked up.

A tall man-dressed and groomed-more gaunt than his mug shots.

He sat down. He crossed his legs. He cleared bench space.

Littell said, "How did you recognize me?"

Rustin smiled. "You were the only one not involved in the democratic process."

"Lawyers don't wave placards."

Rustin cracked his briefcase. "No, but some make donations."

Littell cracked his briefcase. "There'll be more. But I'll deny it if it ever comes to that."

Rustin took the money. "Deniabibity. I can appreciate it."

"You have to consider the source. The men I work for are not friends of the civil-rights movement."

"They should be. Italians have been persecuted on occasion."

"They don't see it that way."

"Perhaps that's why they're so successful in their chosen field."

"The persecuted learn to persecute. I understand the logic, but I don't accept it as wisdom."

"And you don't ascribe ruthlessness to all people of that blood?"

"No more than I ascribe stupidity to your people."

Rustin slapped his knees. "Lyle said you were quick."

"He's quick himself."

"He said you go back."

"We met at a Free-the-Rosenbergs rally. It must have been '52."

"Which side were you on?"

Littell laughed. "We were shooting surveillance film from the same building."

Rustin laughed. "I sat that one out. I was never a real Communist, despite Mr. Hoover's protestations."

Littell said, "You are by his logic. You know what that designation codifies, and how it allows him to encapsulate everything that he fears."

Rustin smiled. "Do you hate him?"

"No."

"After what he put you through?"

"I find it hard to hate people who are that true to themselves."

"Have you studied passive resistance?"

"No, but I've witnessed the futility of the alternative."

Rustin laughed. "That's an extraordinary statement for a Mafia lawyer to make."

A wind stirred. Littell shivered.

"I know something about you, Mr. Rustin. You're a gifted and compromised man. I may not have your gifts, but I suspect that I run neck-and-neck in the compromise department."

Rustin bowed. "I apologize. I try not to second-guess people's motives, but I just failed with you."

Littell shook his head. "It doesn't matter. We want the same things."

"Yes, and we both contribute in our own ways."

Littell buttoned his coat. "I admire Dr. King."

"As much as any Catholic can admire a man named Martin Luther?"

Littell laughed. "I admire Martin Luther. I made that compromise when I was more of a man of faith."

"You'll be hearing some bad things about our Martin. Mr. Hoover has been sending out missives. Martin Luther King is the devil with horns. He seduces women and employs Communists."

Littell put his gloves on. "Mr. Hoover has numerous pen pals."

"Yes. In Congress, the clergy, and the newspaper field."

"He believes, Mr. Rustin. That's how he makes them believe."

Rustin stood up. "Why now? Why did you decide to undertake such a risk at this time?"

Littell stood up. "I've been visiting Las Vegas, and I don't like the way things are run there."

Rustin smiled. "Tell those Mormons to loosen the chains."

They shook hands. Rustin walked off. Rustin whistled Chopin.

The park glowed. Mr. Hoover bestows all gifts.

29

(Las Vegas, 1/15/64)

Picture loop:

The dead whore/the eyeball/Wendell Durfee with fangs.

Pictures and flash dreams. No sleep and rolling blackouts. Two fender-benders at the wheel.

The pictures looped on. Thirty-six hours' worth. Bad rain offset them.

Wayne muscled a Monarch Cab man. Wayne stole some bennies. Wayne called Lynette's school and left a message:

Don't go home-stay with a friend-I'll call back and explain.

He ate bennies. He guzzled coffee. It juiced him. It drained him. It torqued his picture loop.

He staked out Truman and "J." He ran file checks. He glommed mug shots. He got dirt on Leroy Williams and Curtis Swasey.

Pimps. Dice fools. Twelve arrests/two convictions. Vagrants with no known address.

He stayed up-half a day/a night/a full day. He watched the carport. He watched the clubs-the Nook/Woody's/the Goose.

He watched crap games. He scoped bar-b-que lines. He saw wisps. He saw Wendell Durfee. He blinked and vaporized him.

He sat in his car. He watched the abbey. It paid off two hours back.

Curtis exits a shack. The rear door flanks the abbey. Curtis dumps shit in a trash can. Curtis runs straight back.

He waited. He sat in his car. He watched the alley. Dig this one hour back:

Leroy exits the shack. Leroy dumps shit in a trash can. Leroy runs straight back.

Wayne ran up then. Wayne dumped the can. Wayne saw a plastic sheet. White dust was stuck to it-white powder dregs.

He tasted it. It was Big "H."

He circled the shack. Crimped foil covered the windows. He pulled a piece up. He saw Curtis and Leroy.

That was 5:15 p.m. It was 6:19 now.

Wayne watched the shack. Wayne saw wisps and bight. Light cut through rips in the foil.

The rain was bad. Fucking monsoon dimensions. Pictures looped on:

Dallas. Pete and Durfee. Pete says, "Kill him"-this sound loop two days strong.

You should have killed him _then_. He's a homing pigeon. You should have _known_.

KILL HIM. KILL HIM. KILL HIM. KILL HIM. KILL HIM.

The car sat on mud. The roof beaked. Rain seeped in. He owed Pete. Pete's caib saved him. Pete's cabb diverted him.

Fuck Buddy Fritsch-fuck his file job-Hinton pays for the whore.

He detoured once-ten hours back. He drove by the trailer. Said trailer reeked. The whore sat and decomped.

Pictures: The blood peel/the maggots/pellets caked in blood.

Wayne watched the shack. The rain blitzed his view. Time decomped. Time redacted.

The back door opens. A man exits. He walks. He walks _this_ way. He gets _close_.

Wayne watched. Wayne popped the passenger door. There-it's Leroy Williams.

He's got no hat. He's got no umbrella. He's got sodden duds.

Leroy wabked by. Wayne kicked the door out. It hit Leroy flush. Leroy yelped. Leroy hit the mud. Wayne jumped on out.

Leroy stood up. Wayne pulled his piece and butt-punched him. Leroy fell and grazed the car.

Wayne kicked him in the balls. Leroy yelped. Leroy thrashed. Leroy fell down. He said mothersomething. He pulbed a shiv. Wayne slammed the door on his hand.

He mashed his fingers. He pinned them. Leroy screamed and dropped the knife. Wayne popped the wind wing. Wayne reached in and popped the glove box.

He dug around. He grabbed his duct tape. He publed up a piece. Leroy screamed. The rain ate the noise. Wayne eased off the door.

Leroy flexed his hand. Bones sheared and stuck out. Leroy screamed boud.

Wayne grabbed his conk. Wayne tape-muzzled him. Leroy squirmed. Leroy yelped. Leroy flailed his fucked hand.

Wayne taped him-three circuits-Number 2 duct. He kicked him prone. He cuffed his wrists. He threw him in the backseat.

He got in the front seat. He hit the gas. He swerved through mud and alley trash. The rain got worse. His wipers blew. He drove by feel.

He notched a mile. He saw a sign. He flashed-the auto dump-it's close-it's two clicks downwind.

He drove fifty yards. He cranked a hard right. He braked. He pulled in. He wracked the axle on the pavement.

He hit his brights. He lit the place large: Rain/epidemic rust/a hundred dead cars.

He set the brake. He pulled Leroy up. He ripped up the tape. He ripped off skin and half his mustache.

Leroy yelped. Leroy coughed. Leroy burped bile and blood.

Wayne hit the roof light. "Wendell Durfee. Where is he?"

Leroy blinked. Leroy coughed. Wayne smelled the shit in his pants.

"Where's Wendell Durf-"

"Wendell say he got somethin' to do. He say he be back to get his stuff and leave town. Cur-ti, he say Wendell got bidness."

"What business?"

Leroy shook his head. "I don't know. Wendell's bidness is Wendell's bidness, which am' my bidness."

Wayne leaned close. Wayne grabbed his hair. Wayne smashed his face on the door. Leroy screamed. Leroy expelled teeth. Wayne crawled over the seat.

He pinned Leroy down. He taped him full-body. He grabbed his cuff chain. He popped the door. He pulled him out. He dragged him to a Buick. He pulled his piece and shot six holes in the trunk.

He dumped Leroy in. He piled on spare tires. He slammed the trunk lid.

He was soaked. His shoes squished. His feet were somewhere else. He saw wisps. He knew they weren't real.

o o o

The rain let up. Wayne drove back. Wayne parked in the same alley spot. He got out. He circled the shack. He unpeeled a foil strip.

There's Cur-ti. He's with another guy. The guy's got Cur-ti's face. The guy's Cur-ti's brother.

Cur-ti sat on the floor. Cur-ti jived. Cur-ti crimped bindles. Cur-ti cut dope.

His brother tied off. His brother geezed. His brother untied on Cloud 9. His brother lit a Kool filter-tip.

He burned his fingers. He smiled. Cur-ti giggled. Cur-ti cut dope.

He twirled his knife. He mimed a gutting stroke. He said, "Sheeit. Like a dressed hog, man."

He twirled his knife. He mimed a shaving stroke. He said, "Wendell likes it trimmed. Cuttin' on bitches always been his MO."

He said, "His and hers, man. He lost his gun, so he gets to get in close."

Wayne HEARD it. It clicked in synaptic. Wayne SAW it-instant picture loops.

He ran. He slid. He stumbled. He fell in the mud. He got up and stumble-ran. He got in the car. He stabbed with his key. He missed the keyhobe.

He got it in. He turned it. He stripped gears. The wheels spun and kicked the car free.

Lightning hit. Thunder hit. He outran the rain.

He slid through intersections. He ran yellows and reds. He banged railroad tracks. He grazed curbs. He scraped parked cars.

He got home. He brodied on the front lawn. He stumbled out and ran up. The house was dark. The door lock was cracked. His key jammed in the hole.

He kicked the door in. He looked down the hall. He saw the bedroom light. He walked up and looked in.

She was naked.

The sheets were red. She drained red. She soaked through the white.

He spread her. He cinched her. He used Wayne's neckties. He gutted her and shaved her. He trimmed off her patch.

Wayne pulled his gun. Wayne cocked it. Wayne put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

The hammer clicked empty. He shot his full six at the dump.

o o o

The storm passed through. It dumped power lines. Stoplights were down. People drove crazy.

Wayne drove deliberate. Wayne drove very slow.

He parked by the shack. He grabbed his shotgun. He walked up and kicked the door in.

Cur-ti was packing dope. Cur-ti's brother was watching TV. They saw Wayne. They nodded. They grinned smack-back.

Wayne tried to talk. Wayne's tongue misfired. Cur-ti talked. Cur-ti talked hair-o-wine slow.

"Hey, man. Wendell's gone. You won't see us harboring-"

Wayne raised his shotgun. Wayne swung the butt.

He clipped Cur-ti. He knocked him down. He stepped on his chest. He grabbed six bindles. He stuffed them in his mouth.

Cur-ti gagged. Cur-ti bit plastic. Cur-ti bit at Wayne's hand. Cur-ti ate plastic and dope.

Wayne stepped on his face. The bindles snapped. His teeth snapped. His jaw snapped loose.

Cur-ti thrashed. Cur-ti's legs stiffed. Blood blew out his nose. Cur-ti spasmed and bit at Wayne's shoe.

Wayne goosed the TV. Morey Amsterdam hollered. Dick Van Dyke screamed.

The brother cried. The brother begged. The brother talked in tongues. The brother tongue-talked smacked-out on the floor.

His lips moved. His mouth moved. His lids fluttered. His eyes rolled back.

Wayne hit him.

He broke his teeth. He broke his nose. He broke the gun butt. His lips moved. His mouth moved. His eyeballs clicked up. His eyes showed pure white.

Wayne picked the TV up. Wayne dropped it on his head. The tubes burst and exploded. They burned his face up.

o o o

The power lines were rerigged. The streetlights worked fine. Wayne drove to the dump.

He pulled in. He aimed his brights. He strafed the Buick. He got out and opened the trunk.

He untaped Leroy. He said, "Where's Durfee?" Leroy said, "I don't know."

Wayne shot him-five rounds in the face-point-blank triple-aught buck.

He blew his head off. He blew up the trunk. He blew out the undercarriage. He blew the spare tires up.

He walked to his car. Smoke fizzed out the hood. He'd run it dry. The crankcase was shot.

He tossed the shotgun.

He walked home.

He sat by Lynette.

30

(Las Vegas, 1/15/64)

Littell sipped coffee. Wayne Senior sipped scotch.

They stood at his bar-teak and mahogany-game heads mounted above.

Wayne Senior smiled. "I'm surprised you landed in that storm."

"It was touch and go. We had a few rough moments."

"The pilot knew his business, then. He had a planeful of gamblers, who were anxious to get here and lose their money."

Littell said, "I forgot to thank you. It's late, and you saw me on very short notice."

"Mr. Hoover's name opens doors. I won't be coy about it. When Mr. Hoover says 'Jump,' I say 'How high?'"

Littell laughed. "I say the same thing."

Wayne Senior laughed. "You flew in from D.C.?"

"Yes."

"Did you see Mr. Hoover?"

"No. I saw the man he told me to see."

"Can you discuss it?"

"No."

Wayne Senior twirbed a walking stick. "Mr. Hoover knows everyone. The people he knows comprise quite a loop."

"The Loop." The Dallas Office file. Maynard Moore-FBI snitch. His handler-Wayne Tedrow Senior.

Littell coughed. "Do you know Guy Banister?"

"Yes, I know Guy. How do you know him?"

"He ran the Chicago Office. I worked there from '51 to '60."

"Have you seen him more recently?"

"No."

"Oh? I thought you might have crossed paths in Texas."

Guy bragged. Guy talked too much. Guy was indiscreet.

"No, I haven't seen Guy since Chicago. We don't have much in common."

Wayne Senior arched one eyebrow-the pose meant oh-you-kid.

Littell leaned on the bar. "Your son works LVPD Intel. He's someone I'd like to know."

"I've shaped my son in more ways than he'd care to admit. He's not altogether ungrateful."

"I've heard he's a fine officer. A phrase comes to mind. 'Incorruptible by Las Vegas Police standards.'"

Wayne Senior lit a cigarette. "Mr. Hoover lets you read his files."

"On occasion."

"He permits me that pleasure, as well."

"'Pleasure' is a good way to describe it."

Wayne Senior sipped scotch. "I arranged for my son to be sent to Dallas. You never know when you might rub shoulders with history."

Littell sipped coffee. "I'll bet you didn't tell him. A phrase comes to mind. 'Withholds sensitive data from his son.'"

"My son is uncommonly generous to unfortunate people. I've heard you used to be."

Littell coughed. "I have a major client. He wants to move his base to Las Vegas, and he's very partial to Mormons."

Wayne Senior doused his cigarette. Scotch sucked up the ash.

"I know many capable Mormons who would love to work for Mr. Hughes."

"Your son has some files that would help us."

"I won't ask him. I have a pioneer's disdain for Italians, and I'm fully aware that you have other clients beside Mr. Hughes."

Scotch and wet tobacco. Old barroom smells.

Littell moved the tumbler. "What are you saying?"

"That we all trust our own kind. That the Italians will never let Mormons run Mr. Hughes' hotels."

"We're getting ahead of ourselves. He has to purchase the properties first."

"Oh, he will. Because he wants to buy, and your other clients want to sell. I could mention the term 'conflict of interest,' but I won't."

Littell smiled. Littell raised the tumbler-touchй.

"Mr. Hoover briefed you well."

"Yes. In both our best interests."

"And his own."

Wayne Senior smiled. "I discussed you with Lyle Holly as well."

"I didn't know you knew him."

"I've known his brother for years."

"I know Dwight. We worked the St. Louis Office together."

Wayne Senior nodded. "He told me. He said you were always ideologically suspect, and your current employment as a Mafia lawyer confirms it."

Littell raised the tumbler. "Touchй, but I wouldn't call my employers ideological on any level."

Wayne Senior raised the tumbler. "Touchй back at you."

Littell coughed. "Let's see if I can put this together. Dwight's with the Narcotics Bureau here. He used to work mail-fraud assignments for Mr. Hoover. The two of you worked together then."

"That's correct. We go back thirty-some years. His daddy was a daddy to me."

"The Grand Dragon? And a nice Mormon boy like you?"

Wayne Senior grabbed a cocktail glass. Wayne Senior built a Rob Roy.

"The Indiana Klan was never as rowdy as those boys down south. That's _too_ rowdy, even for boys like Dwight and me. That's why we worked those mail-fraud assignments."

Littell said, "That's not true. Dwight did it because Mr. Hoover told him to. You did it to play G-man."

Wayne Senior stirred his drink. Littell smelbed bitters and Noilly Prat. He salivated. He moved his chair back. Wayne Senior winked.

Shadows creased the bar. A woman crossed the rear deck. Proud features/black hair/gray streak.

Wayne Senior said, "I want to show you a film."

Littell stood up. Littell stretched. Wayne Senior grabbed his drink. They walked down a side hall. The scotch and bitters swirled. Littell wiped his lips.

They stopped at a storage room. Wayne Senior hit the lights. Littell saw a projector and wall screen.

Wayne Senior spooled film. Wayne Senior set the slide. Wayne Senior fed film in. Littell killed the lights. Wayne Senior hit the on switch. Words and numbers hit the screen.

Surveillance code-white-on-black. A date-8/28/63. A location-Washington, D.C.

The words dissolved. Raw footage hit. Speckled black white film. A bedroom/Martin Luther King/a white woman.

Littell watched.

His legs dipped. He weaved hard. He grabbed at a chair. The skin tones contrasted-black-on-white-stretch marks and plaid sheets.

Littell watched the film. Wayne Senior smiled. Wayne Senior watched him.

All gifts. Mr. Hoover. A gift that he would regret.

31

(Las Vegas, 1/15/64)

The cops kicked him loose.

They called around. They got his rep. They got _trиs_ hip. He's mobbed up/he knows the Boys/the Boys dig on him.

Pete walked. Pete paged Barb at work. Pete said I'll be home soon.

He did forty-one hours. He ate jute balls and rice. His head hurt. His wrists hurt. He smelled like Chihuahua shit.

He cabbed to his car. He cabbed Monarch-the Browntown Express. The driver lisped. The driver wore rouge. The driver said he sold guns.

The driver dropped Pete at the carport. Pete's car was trashed/ totaled/torched.

No windshield. No hubcaps. No tires. No wheels. The Cadillac Hotel-one wino booked in.

He snored. Bugs bombed him. He cradled Sterno and T-Bird. The car got a paint job-kustom nigger script:

Allah Rules/Death to Ofays/We Love Malcolm X.

Pete laughed. Pete fucking roared. He kicked the grille. He kicked the door panels. He tossed the wino his keys.

A rain hit-light and cold. Pete heard a ruckus close in. He placed it-way close-the shacks off "J" Street.

He walked over. He caught the grief.

Six prowl cars-LVPD and Sheriff's. Two Fed sleds snout-to-snout. Big voodoo upside a jig shack.

Arc lights/crime-scene rope/one ambulance. A cop-jig confluence-large.

Cops inside the crime-scene rope. Jigs outside. Jigs armed with Tokay and fried chicken.

Pete pushed up close. A cop rigged two gurneys. A cop pushed them in the shack. A cop jumped the rope. A cop briefed him. Pete eavesdropped in tight.

A kid called it in. Said kid lives next door. Said kid heard a commotion. A honky do it. Honky got a shotgun. Honky get in his car and ex-cape. Said kid enters the shack then. Said kid sees two stiffs-Curtis and Otis Swasey.

The jigs pressed up. The jigs stretched the crime-scene rope. The jigs Wah-Watusi'd. A cop placed sawhorses. A cop stretched the rope. A cop eased the jigs back.

Jigs eyeballed Pete. Jigs jostled him. White Man-bad juju. White Man-go home. White Man-he kill our kin.

Odds on: Wayne Junior. Odds on: Wendell Durfee-dead and dumped _somewhere_.

The jigs huddled. The jigs mumbled. The jigs pygmy-ized. A jig lobbed a bottle. A jig lobbed a drumstick. A jig lobbed french fries.

Four cops pulled batons. Two cops rolled out the gurneys.

There Curtis-he blue-honky beat his face. There Otis-he crisp-honky torch his face baaaaaad juju.

Pete backed off. Pete caught some elbows. Pete caught some lobbed chicken wings. Pete caught some yam pies.

He walked across "J." He mingled by a cop clique. He leaned on a prowl car. A cop sat in front. Said cop worked a hand mike. Said cop talked loud.

We got another one-shotgun DOA-a coon named Leroy Williams.

Wooooooo! Blew his burrhead cleeean off! The dump guys found him inside this Buick. We got the shotgun.

Call _Leroy_ Stiff #3. Wendell-where _you_ at?

Pete mingled. The cops ignored him. Cops blocked traffic. Cops stood point. Cops cordoned off "J."

The rain fucking tripled. The clouds let fly. Pete grabbed a stray chicken box. Pete dumped out gizzards. Pete put it on and kept his head dry.

The jigs dispersed. The jigs booked willy-nilly. The jigs ran hellbent.

A Fed car pulled up. A big guy got out. Said guy vibed El Jefe-gray suit and gray Fed hat.

Jefe flashed a badge. Jefe got service. The point guard saluted. A baby Fed bowed. Jefe bootjacked his umbrella.

Pete circled the rope. Pete got in close. Said fuzz ignored him. Fuck you-you're a geek-you've got a chicken-box hat.

Pete stood around. His hat leaked. Chicken grease oiled his hair. The baby Fed brown-nosed the boss Fed-yessir, Mr. Holly.

Mr. Holly was _pissed_. It's _my_ case. The vics pushed narcotics. It's _my_ crime scene-let's toss the shack.

Mr. Holly stayed dry. The sub-fuzz stayed wet. A sergeant walked up. Said sergeant wore squishy blues.

He talked loud. He pissed off Mr. Holly. He said it's _our_ case. _We're_ sealing her up. _We'll_ bring in Homicide.

Mr. Holly fumed. Mr. Holly fugued out. He kicked a sawhorse. He yelped. He fucked his foot up.

A prowl car pulled up. A cop got out. He gestured wild. He talked wild. Pete heard "car at the dump." Pete heard "Tedrow."

Mr. Holly yelled. The sergeant yelled. A cop raised a bullhorn. Lock her up-let's roll code 3-the Tonopah Dump.

The fuzz dispersed.

They grabbed their cars. They peeled up "J." They fishtailed in mud. They plowed through gravel yards.

One cop stayed behind. Said cop locked the shack.

He stood by the front door. He stood in the monsoon. He smoked cigarettes. The rain doused them. He got two puffs per. He gave up. He ran to his car. He rolled the windows up.

Pete ran. The rain covered him. He kicked up mud. He ran back to the alley. He circled the shack.

No cars. No back-door guard-good. Said door was locked. The windows were tinfoil-patched.

Pete reached up. Pete tore at a foil patch. Pete de-patched a window.

He climbed up. He vaulted in. He saw chalk lines and bloodstains. He saw a burned-up TV-set.

Floor debris-chalk-circled: Bindle scraps/tube glass/fried nigger hair.

Pete tossed the shack. Pete worked _rapidamente_. He grid-scoped. He saw one dresser/one toilet/no shelves.

Two mattresses. Bare walls and floors. No stash-holes inset. A window air-cooler-Frost King brand-matted screens and rusty ducts.

No cord. No plug. No intake valve. Call it dope camouflage.

Pete popped the top. Pete reached in. Pete praised Allah Himself.

White horse-all plastic-wrapped-three bonaroo bricks.

32

(Las Vegas, 1/17/64)

Five cops grilled him.

Wayne sat. They stood. They filled the sweat room.

Buddy Fritsch and Bob Gilstrap. A Sheriff's man. A Fed named Dwight Holly. A Dallas cop named Arthur V. Brown.

The heat went off. Their breath steamed. It fogged the mirror-wall. He sat. They stood. His lawyer stood under a speaker. His lawyer stood outside.

They popped him at home-2:00 a.m.-he was still there with Lynette. Fritsch called Wayne Senior. Wayne Senior came to the jail.

Wayne blew him off. Wayne blew off his lawyer. Dwight Holly knew Wayne Senior. Dwight Holly stressed the friendship thus:

You're not your dad. You killed three men. You fucked my investigation up.

They'd braced him twice. He told the truth. He wised up and called Pete.

Pete knew the scoop. Pete knew a lawyer. His name: Ward Littell.

Wayne met with Littell. Littell quizzed him: Did they tape you? Did they transcribe?

Wayne said no. Littell advised him. Littell said he'd watch the next go. Littell said he'd veto tape and transcription.

The veto worked. The room was cherry-no tape rig/no steno.

Wayne coughed. His breath fogged out.

Fritsch said, "You got a cold? You were sure out in the rain that night."

Holly said, "He was out killing three unarmed men."

Fritsch said, "Come on. He admitted it."

The Sheriff's man coughed. "_I've_ got a fucking cold. He wasn't the only one out in the rain."

Gilstrap smiled. "We've cleared up one part of your story. We know you didn't kill Lynette."

Wayne coughed. "Tell me how you know."

"Son, you don't want to know."

Holly said, "Tell him. I want to see how he reacts."

Fritsch said, "The coroner found abrasions and semen. The guy was a secretor. AB-negative blood, which is real rare. We checked Durfee's jail records. That's his blood type."

Holly smiled. "Look, he didn't even blink."

Brown said, "He's a cold one."

The Sheriff's man said, "He wasn't even crying when we found him. He was just staring at the body."

Gilstrap said, "Come on. He was in shock."

Fritsch said, "We're satisfied that Durfee killed her."

The Sheriff's man lit a cigar. "And we're satisfied that Curtis and Otis clued you in to his plan."

Holly straddled a chair. "Someone hipped you to Leroy Williams and the Swasey brothers."

Wayne coughed. "I told you. I have an informant."

"Whose name you refuse to reveal."

"Yes."

"And your intent was to find and apprehend Wendell Durfee."

"Yes."

Brown said, "You wanted to apprehend him, to make up for not doing it in Big D."

"Yes."

"Then, son, here's what bothers me. How did Durfee know that you were the officer sent down to Dallas to extradite him?"

Wayne coughed. "I told you before. I rousted him a few times when I worked Patrol. He knew my face and my name, and he saw me when we exchanged shots in Dallas."

Fritsch said, "I'll buy that."

Gilstrap said, "I will, too."

Brown said, "I won't. I think something happened between you and Durfee. Maybe in Dallas, maybe up here before they sent you down. I don't see him coming all the way up here, presumably to kill you and get his incidental jollies on your wife, unless he had a personal motive."

Tex was good. Tex was better than the Sheriff's man. Pete chased the dice men. The cops chased him. They popped Pete. They filed paper. The Sheriff's man knew shit-all about it.

Brown said, "Your business up here is your business. I wouldn't care about any of this, except for the proximity of a missing Dallas officer named Maynard D. Moore, who you reportedly did not get along with."

Wayne shrugged. "Moore was dirty. If you knew him, you know that's true. I didn't like him, but I only had to work with him for a few days."

"You said 'knew.' You think he's dead, then?"

"That's right. Durfee or one of his asshole Klan buddies killed him."

Gilstrap said, "We've got two APBs out on Durfee. He won't get far."

Brown hovered. "You're saying Officer Moore was in the Ku Klux Klan?"

"That's right."

"I don't like the sound of that accusation. You're defaming the memory of a brother officer."

The Sheriff's man laughed. "This is hilarious. He kills three Negroes and gets on his high horse about the KKK."

Brown coughed. "DPD has been anti-Klan from the get-go."

"Bullshit. You all get your sheets cleaned at the same laundry."

"Boy, you are wearing me thin."

"Don't call me 'boy,' you redneck faggot."

Brown kicked a chair. Fritsch picked it up.

Gilstrap said, "Come on. This line of talk is getting us nowhere."

Holly rocked his chair. "Leroy Williams and the Swasey brothers were moving heroin."

Wayne said, "I know that."

"How?"

"I saw Curtis robbing bindles."

"I've had them under spot surveillance. They were pushing in Henderson and Boulder City, and they were making plans to push in West Vegas."

Wayne coughed. "They wouldn't have lasted two days. The Outfit would have clipped them."

Fritsch rolled his eyes. "He goes from the Klan to the Mob."

Gilstrap rolled his eyes. "You've got the Mob in Vegas like you've got the Klan in Dallas."

Wayne rolled _his_ eyes. "Hey, Buddy, who bought you your speedboat? Hey, Bob, who got you that second mortgage?"

Fritsch kicked the wall. Gilstrap kicked a chair. Brown picked it up.

Holly said, "You're not making any friends here."

Wayne said, "I'm not trying to."

Fritsch said, "You've got the sympathy vote."

Gilstrap said, "You've got the chain of events."

The Sheriff's man coughed. "You're trying to apprehend a fugitive copkiller. You learn that your wife may be jeopardized, so you rush home and find her dead. Your actions from that point on are entirely understandable."

Brown hitched up his pants. "It's your prior relationship with Durfee that I don't understand."

Holly said, "I concur."

Fritsch said, "Look at it our way. We're trying to give the DA a package. We don't want to see an LVPD man go down for three murders."

Gilstrap said, "Let's talk turkey. It's not like you killed three white men."

Brown cracked his knuckles. "Did you kill Maynard Moore?"

"Fuck you."

"Did Wendell Durfee take part in the killing? Is that what all this derives from?"

"Fuck you."

"Did Wendell Durfee witness the killing?"

"Fuck you."

Holly pulled his chair up. Holly bumped Wayne's chair.

"Let's discuss the condition of the shack."

Wayne shrugged. "I only saw the bindles I shoved in Curtis Swasey's mouth. I did not see any other narcotics or narcotics paraphernalia."

Holly smiled. "You anticipated the intent of my question very nicely."

Wayne coughed. "You're a narcotics agent. You want to know if I stole the large quantity of heroin that you think the victims had. You don't care about the murders or my wife."

Holly shook his head. "That's not entirely true. You know I'm friends with your father. I'm sure he cared for Lyn-"

"My father despised Lynette. He doesn't care for anyone. He only respects hard-ons like you. I'm sure he's full of warmth for your days in Indiana and your good times with Mr. Hoover."

Holly leaned in. "Don't turn me into an enemy. You're getting there already."

Wayne stood up. "Fuck you and fuck my father. If I wanted his help, I'd be out now."

Holly stood up. "I think I've got what I need."

Gilstrap shook his head. "You're playing kamikaze, son. And you're bombing your own goddamn friends."

Fritsch shook his head. "You can cross me off that list. We do our best to keep Vegas clean, while you go out and kill three niggers, which is going to bring out every civil-rights chimpanzee in captivity."

Wayne laughed. "_Vegas? Clean?_"

The cops walked out. Wayne took his pulse. It ran 180-plus.

33

(Las Vegas, 1/17/64)

The room was cold. A heat coil blew. It chilled down the jail.

Littell read his notes.

Wayne Junior was good. He diverted Sergeant Brown. He deflected his attack. Pete briefed Littell beforehand. Pete dropped a bomb: Wayne Junior knows about Dallas.

Pete liked Wayne Junior. Pete mourned Lynette. Pete took the blame. Pete stopped there. Pete implied a Dallas snafu.

Littell checked his notes. The smart call: Wayne Junior killed Maynard Moore. The details played schizzy. Wendell Durfee played in somehow.

Wayne Junior had the board files. Littell needed them. Littell might need Wayne Senior. Wayne Senior called him. Wayne Senior made nice. He said I want to help my son. He said I want _him_ to ask.

He informed Wayne Junior. Wayne Junior said no. He told Wayne Senior that. It angered him. That was good. He might need Wayne Senior. The "no" knocked him flat.

Wayne Junior was good. Wayne Junior pissed off Dwight Holly. Littell called Lyle Holly. They talked last night. They discussed the Bayard Rustin meet. Lyle said Dwight was mad. The killings fucked with him. Wayne Junior deep-sixed his surveillance.

He chatted Lyle up. He said, "I'm Junior's lawyer." Lyle laughed. Lyle said, "Dwight never liked you."

Littell checked his notes. The room was cold. His breath fogged and steamed. Bob Gilstrap walked in. Dwight Holly followed him. They sat down and kicked back.

Holly stretched. His coat gapped. He wore a blued.45.

"You've aged, Ward. Those scars put some years on you."

"They're hard-earned, Dwight."

"Some men learn the hard way. I hope you have."

Littell smiled. "Let's discuss Wayne Tedrow Junior."

Holly scratched his neck. "He's a punk. He's got all of his daddy's arrogance and none of his charm."

Gibstrap lit a cigarette. "They broke the mold on Senior and him. I've never been able to figure either one of them."

Holly laced his hands. "Something happened with him and Durfee. Where or when, I don't know."

Gilstrap nodded. "That likelihood is what scares me."

A vent thumped. The heat kicked on. Holly hack-coughed.

"The kid mouths off to me and passes his bug on."

Gilstrap said, "You'll survive."

Holly said, "Let's cut the shit. I'm the only one who doesn't want to bury this."

"It's not your agency he hung out to dry."

"Shit, he hung _me_ out."

The room warmed up. Holly took his coat off.

"Say something, Ward. You look like the cat who ate the canary."

Littell popped his briefcase. Littell showed the Vegas _Sun_. There's a headline. It runs 40 points. There's a subhead 16:

"POLICEMAN HELD IN TRIPLE SLAYING-CIVIL-RIGHTS PROTESTS FEARED."

"NAACP: 'KILLINGS SPRINGBOARD TO EXPLICATE RACISM IN LAS VEGAS."

Gilstrap said, "Shit."

Holly laughed. "Big words and colored bullshit. Give them a dictionary and they think they run the world."

Littell tapped the paper. "I don't see your name, Dwight. Is that a blessing or a curse?"

Holly stood up. "I see where this is going, and if it _does_ go there, I'll go to the U.S. Attorney. Civil-rights abridgement and obstruction of justice. I'll look bad, you'll look worse, the kid will do time."

A vent thumped. The heat kicked off. Holly walked out.

Gilstrap said, "The cocksucker means it."

"I don't think so. He goes back too far with Wayne Senior."

"Dwight don't go back, Dwight goes forward. Wayne Senior could squawk and go to Mr. Hoover, who'd most likely pooh-pooh it because, according to my sources, he's got a real soft spot for Dwight."

Littell flipped the paper over. Littell squared the fold. There's the hard news and AP pix: Police dogs/angry Negroes/tear gas.

Gilstrap sighed. "Okay, I'll play."

"Does the DA want to file?"

"Nobody wants that. We're just afraid that we're too far exposed already."

"And?"

"And there's two schools of thought. Bury it and ride out all the Commie bullshit, or file and take our lumps."

Littell drummed the table. "Your department could get hurt very badly."

Gilstrap blew smoke rings. "Mr. Littell, you're leading me. You're playing me and holding back your face cards."

Littell tapped the paper. "Tell me Dallas doesn't scare you. Tell me Junior didn't fuck up there and give Durfee a motive to kill him. Tell me this won't come out in court. Tell me you're convinced that Junior didn't kill Maynard Moore. Tell me you didn't put a bounty on Durfee and pay Junior six thousand dollars to kill him. Tell me you want all this exposed and tell me Junior won't expose it just to flush his life down the toilet."

Gilstrap squeezed his ashtray. "Tell me Dallas PD will just go away."

"Tell me Junior wasn't smart enough to hide the body. Tell me the first cop who spots Durfee won't kill him and eliminate DPD's one potential witness."

Gilstrap sbapped the table. "Tell me how we _do_ this."

Littell tapped the paper. "I've read the accounts. There's no specified sequence of events. All you have is four killings in one evening."

"That's right."

"The evidence can be reworked to support self-defense. There may be a chance to divert demonstrations."

Gilstrap sighed. "I don't want to owe Wayne Senior."

Littell said, "You won't."

Gilstrap stuck his hand out.

o o o

He brewed a plan. He called Pete and told him. Pete said okay. Pete asked one favor.

I want to see Lynette. It's _my_ fault. I fucked up in Dallas.

Buddy Fritsch had morgue shots. Littell looked at them. Durfee raped her. Durfee gutted her. Durfee shaved her.

He saw the pix. He studied them. He scared himself. He put Jane's face on Lynette's body.

He sent Pete a morgue pass. Pete said he'd talked to Wayne Junior. Wayne Junior pledged him his files.

Littell called east. Littell pulled strings. Littell buzzed Lyle Holly. He said the snuffs might hurt Dwight-so hear my plan now.

Call Bayard Rustin. Offer this advice: Do not protest the killings-call Ward Littell instead.

Rustin called him. Littell lied. Littell offered a rationale. A Negro man killed a white woman. Three more killings derived. The cop killed in selfdefense. It's all certified.

Rustin _got_ it-don't build hate-don't martyr an angry white cop. Vegas wasn't Birmingham. Negro junkies weren't four girls in church.

Rustin was savvy. Rustin was gracious. Littell pledged more money. Littell praised Dr. King.

He met Rustin once. He charmed and entrapped him. He _used_ him forthwith.

I _believe_. I have horrible debts. I'll try to help more than I hurt.

34

(Las Vegas, 1/19/64)

He saw Lynette.

He saw the flaps. He saw the sheared ribs. He saw where the knife snapped bone. Wayne Junior didn't blame him. Wayne Junior blamed himself.

Pete stood by the freeway. Pete ate gas fumes. Pete had a replacement sled-a boss new Lin_coon_.

A prowl car pulled up. A cop got out. He fed Pete three guns. Three calibers:.38/.45/.357 mag.

Throwdown guns. Taped and initialed: L.W/O.S./C.S.

The cop knew the plan. They had two crime scenes. They had viable blood-good Red Cross stock.

The cop split. Pete drove to Henderson. Pete hit a gun shop. Pete bought ammo.

He loaded the guns. He rigged silencers. He drove back to Vegas.

Wayne Junior was out. He saw him yesterday. The DA dumped his case. They met. They talked. They hit Wayne's bank vault. Wayne dumped his board files and briefed him.

Spurgeon dug jailbait. Peavy was larcenous. Hinton whacked a nigger whore. Three board members-swing votes plus-good news for Count Drac.

Spurgeon vibed easy. Hinton vibed tough sell. Peavy vibed grief. Monarch Cab as Tiger Kab-hold that good thought.

Wayne looked frazzled. His eyes roamed. He strafed jigaboos. They ate lunch and talked.

Neutral shit-Clay versus Liston. Pete liked Liston in two. Wayne said three tops. A shine cleared their table. Wayne fucking seized up.

Pete drove to the car dump. The cop met him there. The dump was closed. The sun was up. A breeze wafted through.

They schmoozed. They jumped the crime-scene rope. Wayne's car was gone. The Buick was cut into scrap.

The cop taped a body-white tape on cement. Pete aimed the.45.

He popped six shots. He nailed a tree. He grabbed the slugs. He gauged trajectories. He dropped the slugs. He chalked them. The cop took pix.

Pete spritzed the body tape. Pete watched the blood dry. The cop took pix.

They drove to the shack. They jumped the crime-scene rope. The cop taped two bodies. The cop spritzed the tape.

Pete shot the.38. Pete popped four rounds. Pete hit the walls and dug the slugs out. The cop bagged them. The cop lab-logged them. The cop took pix.

They drove to the County Morgue. The cop greased the attendant geek. Said geek had three fish. Said fish reposed on three trays.

Leroy had no head. Leroy wore a dashiki. The cop pulled a sap. The cop broke Leroy's right hand. The cop flexed the fingers free.

Pete rolled the fingertips. Pete smudged the magnum. Pete laid two butt spreads.

Curtis was stiff. Otis was stiff. They wore Dodger T-shirts and morgue sheets.

Pete squeezed their hands. Pete broke their fingers. Pete flexed the tips. The cop rolled prints-barrel spreads-the cop rolled the.45 and.38.

The stiffs stunk of morgue rouge and sawdust. Pete coughed and sneezed.

o o o

Ward set it up. We'll meet at Wilt's Diner-it's out near Davis Dam.

They showed early. They grabbed a booth. They cleared table space and sipped coffee. Ward propped the bag up. Tabletop center-trиs hard to miss.

Dwight Holly showed. Punctual-2:OO p.m. straight.

He parked his car. He looked through the window glass. He saw them and walked straight in.

Pete made room. Holly sat beside him. Holly eyeballed the bag.

"What's that?"

Pete said, "Christmas."

Holly made the jack-off sign. Holly spread out.

He stretched. He made elbow room. He hard-nudged Pete.

He coughed. "I caught the fucking Tedrow kid's bug."

Ward smiled. "Thanks for coming out."

Holly tugged his cuff links. "Who's the big guy? The Wild Man of Borneo?"

Pete laughed. Pete slapped his knees.

Ward sipped coffee. "Have you spoken to the U.S. Attor-"

"He called me. He said Mr. Hoover told him not to file on the kid. I think Wayne Senior interceded, and I hope you didn't run me out here to gloat."

Ward tapped the bag. "Congratulations."

"For _what?_ The investigation your client fucked up?"

"You must have talked to the U.S. Attorney _yesterday_."

Holly tugged his law-school ring. "You're stringing me, Ward. You're reminding me why I never liked you."

Ward stirred his coffee. "You're the new Chief Investigator for the Southern Nevada Office. Mr. Hoover told me this morning."

Holly tugged his ring. It fell off. It hit the floor. It traveled.

Ward smiled. "We want to make friends in Nevada."

Pete smiled. "You took down Leroy Williams and the Swasey brothers. They were out on bail when Wayne killed them."

Ward tapped the bag. "The reports have been predated. You'll be reading about it."

Pete tapped the bag. "It's a white Christmas."

Holly grabbed the bag. Holly grabbed a steak knife. Holly stabbed one brick. Holly dipped one finger.

He licked it. He tasted it. He got the Big "H" bite.

"You convinced me. But I'm not done with the kid, and I don't care who he's got on his side."

_DOCUMENT INSERT_: 1/23/64. Las Vegas _Sun_ article.

NARCOTICS LINK TO NEGRO KILLINGS REVEALED

At a joint news conference, spokesmen for the Las Vegas Police Department and the Southern Nevada District of the U.S. Attorney's Office announced that Leroy Williams and Otis and Curtis Swasey, the three Negro men killed on the night of January 15th, had been recently arrested by agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and were out on bail at the time of their deaths.

"The three men had been the focus of a long-term investigation," Agent Dwight C. Holly said. "They had been selling large quantities of heroin in nearby cities and were preparing to sell it in Las Vegas. They were apprehended in the early morning hours of January 9th, and three kilos (6 1/2 pounds) of heroin were seized at their residence in West Las Vegas. Williams and the Swasey brothers made bail on the afternoon of January 13th and returned to their residence."

Captain Robert Gilstrap of the LVPD went on to clarify events on the night of January 15th. "Newspaper reporters and local television commentators have assumed that the three men killed that night were killed by LVPD Sergeant Wayne Tedrow Jr. as revenge for the murder of his wife, Lynette, who was raped and killed, presumably by a male Negro named Wendell Durfee," he said. "This is not the case. Durfee was a known associate of Williams and the Swasey brothers, and the brothers paid him to kill Mrs. Tedrow. What has not been revealed until now is that Mrs. Tedrow's death postdated the deaths of Williams and the Swasey brothers and that Sergeant Tedrow, as part of a combined LVPD-Narootics Bureau operation, had Williams and the Swasey brothers under constant surveillance in an effort to insure that they did not abscond on their bail."

"Sergeant Tedrow heard a ruckus inside their residence, late on the evening of January 15th," Agent Holly said. "He investigated and was fired upon by the Swasey brothers. No shots were heard, because both men fired silencer-fitted pistols. Sergeant Tedrow managed to disable both men and killed them with makeshift weapons he found on the premises. Leroy Williams entered the residence at that time. Sergeant Tedrow chased him to an automobile dump on Tonopah Highway and exchanged gunfire with him. Williams died in the process."

Agent Holly and Captain Gilstrap displayed photographic evidence compiled at both death scenes. Mr. Randall J. Merrins of the U.S. Attorney's Office went on to say that it had been assumed that Sergeant Tedrow was being kept in custody while possible homicide charges against him were being discussed and prepared.

"This is not the case," Merrins said. "Sergeant Tedrow was held for his own safety. We were afraid of reprisals from other unknown members of the Williams-Swasey dope gang."

Sergeant Tedrow, 29, could not be reached for comment. Mrs. Tedrow's presumed slayer, Wendell Durfee, was identified by fingerprints and other physical evidence found in the Tedrow home. Durfee is now the subject of a nationwide all-points bulletin and is also wanted by Texas authorities for the November 1963 disappearance of Dallas Police Officer Maynard D. Moore.

Agent Holly's long pursuit of the Swasey brothers and Leroy Williams was praised by Assistant U.S. Attorney Merrins, who announced that Holly, 47, will soon take the position of Chief Investigator for that agency's Southern Nevada Office. Captain Gilstrap announced that Sergeant Tedrow has been awarded the LVPD's highest accolade, its "Medal of Valor," for "conspicuous gallantry and bravery in his surveillance and subsequent deadly confrontation with three armed and dangerous narcotics pushers."

Mrs. Tedrow is survived by one sister and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert D. Sproul, of Little Rock, Arkansas. Her body will be shipped to Little Rock for interment.

_DOCUMENT INSERT_: 1/26/64. Las Vegas _Sun_ article.

GRAND JURY CLEARS POLICEMAN

The standing Clark County Grand Jury today announced that no criminal indictments will be filed against Las Vegas Policeman Wayne Tedrow Jr. for the deaths of three Negro dope pushers.

The Grand Jury heard six hours of testimony from members of the Las Vegas Police Department, Clark County Sheriff's Department and U.S. Bureau of Narcotics. Members were in unanimous agreement that Sergeant Tedrow's actions were warranted and justifiable. Grand Jury foreman D. W. Kaltenborn said, "We believe that Sergeant Tedrow acted with great resolve and under all the due guidelines of the laws of the State of Nevada."

A Las Vegas Police Department spokesman attending the grand jury proceedings said that Sergeant Tedrow had resigned from the LVPD that morning. Sergeant Tedrow could not be reached for comment.

_DOCUMENT INSERT_: 1/27/64. Las Vegas _Sun_ article.

NO PROTESTS, NEGRO LEADERS SAY

At a hastily arranged press conference in Washington, D.C., a spokesman for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced that that organization and several other civil-rights groups will not protest the January 15th killings of three Negro men by a white policeman in Las Vegas.

Lawton J. Spofford told assembled reporters, "Our decision is not based upon the recent decree from the Clark County Grand Jury, which exonerated Sergeant Wayne Tedrow Jr. for the deaths of Leroy Williams and Curtis and Otis Swasey. That body is a 'rubber-stamp' implement of the Clark County political establishment and as such has no sway with us. Our decision is based on information we have received from a friendly anonymous source, who told us that Sergeant Tedrow, under great personal duress, acted in a somewhat heedless but recognizably non-malicious manner that did not include racist designs."

The NAACP, along with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), had previously announced their intention to stage protests in Las Vegas, in order to "shed light on a horribly segregated city, where Negro citizens live in deplorable circumstances." The killings, Spofford said, "were to have been our point of redress and overall explication."

Other Negro leaders present at the press conference said that they did not rule out the possibility of future civil-rights protests in Las Vegas. "Where there's smoke, there's fire," spokesman Welton D. Holland of CORE said. "We do not expect Las Vegas to change its ways without some notable confrontations."

_DOCUMENT INSERT_: 2/6/64. Verbatim FBI telephone call transcript. Marked: "Recorded at the Director's Request"/"Classifled Confidential 1-A: Director's Eyes Only." Speaking: Director Hoover, Ward J. Littell.

JEH: Good morning, Mr. Littell.

WJL: Good morning, Sir.

JEH: You've been meeting some charming new people and rediscovering old friends. That might be a good place to start.

WJL: "Charming" might describe Mr. Rustin, Sir. "Old friend" would never describe Dwight Holly.

JEH: I could have predicted that response. And I doubt that Lyle Holly will become your lifelong chum.

WJL: We share a wonderful friend in you, Sir.

JEH: You're feeling frisky this morning.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: Did Mr. Rustin bemoan my efforts against Mr. King and the SCLC?

WJL: He did, Sir.

JEH: And you were properly deplored?

WJL: Cosmetically, Sir, yes.

JEH: I'm sure you were entirely convincing.

WJL: I established a rapport with Mr. Rustin, Sir.

JEH: I'm sure you will sustain it.

WJL: I hope so, Sir.

JEH: Have you spoken to him again?

WJL: Lyle Holly facilitated a second conversation. I utilized Mr. Rustin to forestall some trouble in Las Vegas. It pertained to a client of mine.

JEH: I know elements of the story. We'll discuss it momentarily.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: Do you still consider it impossible to re-tape the Dark Prince?

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: I would enjoy some glimpses of his private pain.

WJL: I would, too.

JEH: I doubt that. You're a voyeur, not a sadist, and I suspect that you'll never reconcile your old crush on Bobby.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: Lyndon Johnson finds him difficult to reconcile. Many of his advisors think he should include him on the fall ticket, but he hates the Dark Lad too much to succumb.

WJL: I understand how he feels, Sir.

JEH: Yes, and you disapprove, in your uniquely nondisapproving way.

WJL: I'm not that complex, Sir. Or that compromised in my emotions.

JEH: You delight me, Mr. Littell. I will nominate your last statement for Best Falsehood of 1964.

WJL: I'm honored, Sir.

JEH: Bobby may run for Kenneth Keating's Senate seat in New York.

WJL: If he runs, he'll win.

JEH: Yes. He'll form a coalition of the deluded and morally handicapped and emerge victorious.

WJL: Is he maintaining his work at Justice?

JEH: Not vigorously. He still appears to be shell-shocked. Mr. Katzenbach and Mr. Clark are doing most of his work. I think he'll resign, in a timely fashion.

WJL: Is he monitoring the agents for the Warren Commission?

JEH: I haven't discussed the investigation with him. Of course, he receives summaries of all my field agents' reports.

WJL: Edited summaries, Sir?

JEH: You are frisky today. Impertinent might describe it better.

WJL: I apologize, Sir.

JEH: Don't. I'm enjoying the conversation.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: Edited summaries, yes. With all contradictory elements deleted to conform to the thesis we first discussed in Dallas.

WJL: I'm happy to hear that.

JEH: Your clients should be, as well.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: We can't send your plant in again. You're certain?

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: I mourn the missed opportunity. I would like to hear a private assessment of King Jack's death.

WJL: I suspect we'll never know, Sir.

JEH: Lyndon Johnson continues to share his thoughts with me, in his inimitably colorful manner. He has said, quote, It all came out of that pathetic little shithole, Cuba. Maybe it's that cocksucker with the beard or those fucking lowlife exiles, unquote.

WJL: A lively and astute analysis.

JEH: Mr. Johnson has developed a distaste for all things Cuban. The exile cause has succumbed to factionalism and has scattered to the wind, which pleases him no end.

WJL: I share his delight, Sir. I know many people who were seduced by the cause.

JEH: Yes. Gangsters and a French-Canadian chap with homicidal tendencies.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: Cuba appeals to hotheads and the morally impaired. It's the cuisine and the sex. Plantains and women who have intercourse with donkeys.

WJL: I have no fondness for the place, Sir.

JEH: Mr. Johnson has developed a fondness for Vietnam. You should inform Mr. Hughes. Some military contracts may be coming his way.

WJL: He'll be delighted to hear that.

JEH: You should inform him that I'll keep you abreast of the Justice Department's plans in Las Vegas.

WJL: I'm delighted to hear that.

JEH: On a need-to-know basis, Mr. Littell. As is the case with all our transactions.

WJL: I understand, Sir. And I neglected to thank you for your help in the Tedrow matter. Dwight Holly was determined to do the boy some harm.

JEH: You deserve an accolade. You bypassed Wayne Senior very effectively.

WJL: Thank you, Sir.

JEH: I understand that he has asked you to lunch.

WJL: Yes, Sir. We haven't scheduled yet.

JEH: He thinks you're weak. I told him that you are a bold and occasionally reckless man who has learned the value of restraint.

WJL: Thank you, Sir.

JEH: Dwight feels quite ambivalent. He got the job he wanted, but he's developed quite a dislike for Wayne Junior. My sources in the U.S. Attorney's Office tell me that he is determined to bypass Senior and do Junior some harm in the long run.

WJL: Despite his friendship with Senior?

JEH: Or because of it. You never know with Dwight. He's quite the provocateur and the rogue, so I indulge him.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: The same way I indulge you.

WJL: I caught the implication, Sir.

JEH: You dislike Dwight and Wayne Senior, so I'll give you added cause. Their fathers belonged to the same Klan Kiavern in Indiana. That said, I should add that it was probably more genteel than the Klan groups currently marauding down south.

WJL: I'm sure they never lynched any Negroes.

JEH: Yes, although I'm certain they would have enjoyed it.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: Most people have entertained the notion. You must credit their restraint.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: You might discuss the Indiana Klan with Bayard Rustin. I want you to make another donation.

WJL: I'll bring it up, Sir. I'm sure he'll acknowledge it as a genteel institution.

JEH: You are assuredly frisky today.

WJL: I hope I haven't offended you, Sir.

JEH: Anything but. And I hope I haven't offended you with Junior.

WJL: Sir?

JEH: I had to throw Dwight Holly a bone. He wanted Junior expelled from the LVPD, so I arranged it.

WJL: I assumed that you had, Sir. The newspapers were kind, though. They said he resigned.

JEH: Did you befriend Junior to get at his files? For Mr. Hughes' sake?

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: I'm sure that Senior will enjoy Junior's expulsion. They have an odd relationship.

WJL: Yes, Sir.

JEH: Good day, Mr. Littell. I've enjoyed this conversation.

WJL: Good day, Sir.

35

(Las Vegas, 2/7/64)

The Lincoln gleamed. New paint/new chrome/new leather.

The car jazzed him. The car distracted him. He kept seeing Lynette. Flaps and sheared ribs. Durfee's knife severed bone.

Pete cruised. Pete tried gadgets. The lighter worked. The heater worked. The seats reclined.

Vegas looked good. Cool air hits mountains and sunshine. Secure-the-Vote Day-one down so far.

He muscled Webb Spurgeon. He explained stat-rape statutes. He detailed consent laws. Spurgeon gulped. Spurgeon kowtowed. Spurgeon pledged votes.

All good so far. One down-two to go.

Pete drove by Monarch Cab. Pete got electrified. Dollar signs boogied and bipped.

Cabs peeled in. Cabs peeled out. Cabs refueled. Drivers ate pills. Drivers drank lunch. Drivers palmed waistband gats.

Monarch Cab. _Maybe_: Tiger Kab redux.

A cash base. A racket hub. Bent personnel. Monarch as Tiger-hold that heady thought.

Pete cruised. Pete meandered. Pete hit West LV. Pete checked out that vacant lot.

There's the trailer. The paint's gone. The shell's cracked. The siding's all scorched.

A kid walked up. Pete jollied him. The kid sermonized.

The trailer smell bad. That be wrong. Somethin' dead be inside. This dude torch it. The stink go. He burn the stink out. No cops come. No firemen. Somethin' dead _still_ be in there.

The kid buzzed off. Pete scoped the trailer. A breeze kicked up. The trailer creaked. Paint chips cracked and blew.

Pete cruised. Pete meandered. Pete drove south. Pete hit Duane Hinton's house.

He parked. He walked up. He knocked on the door. He pulled out Wayne's snapshot.

There's a fat whore bound and gagged. She's sucking a handball.

Hinton opened the door. Pete flashed the photo eye-level.

Hinton plotzed. Pete grabbed his hair. Pete raised one knee. Pete broke his nose up.

Hinton went down. Bones cracked. Cartilage blew.

Pete decreed:

Vote our way. Do not touch whores. Do not hurt whores. Do not kill whores-OR I'LL KILL YOU.

Hinton tried to talk. Hinton gagged. Hinton bit through his tongue.

36

(Little Rock, 2/8/64)

Devoted wife. Schoolteacher. Loving daughter.

The preacher ran on. The casket sat ready. Lakeside Cemetery: cheap burials and segregated plots.

The Sprouls wore black. Janice wore black. Wayne Senior wore blue. The Sprouls stood alone. Wayne stood alone. Daddy Sproul watched him.

Soldier boy. Yankee. She was seventeen. You wooed her. She killed your baby. You made her do it.

Loving spirit. Sacred child. Blessed in Christ's name.

The service was short. The casket was cheap. The plot was low-rent. The Tedrows shipped the body home. The Tedrows lost control.

Lynette despised religion. Lynette loved movie stars and John Kennedy.

A chauffeur stood around. A Negro man. Tall like Wendell Durfee.

The preacher braced Wayne pre-service. The preacher counseled him.

I feel your loss. I know your grief. I _understand_.

Wayne said it: "I'm going to kill Wendell Durfee."

God's will. The ides of fate. Snatched in her prime.

The plots adjoined Central High. He met Lynette there. Soldiers and rednecks. Negro kids scared.

The chauffeur stood around. The chauffeur filed his nails. The chauffeur wore a hair net. He had Durfee hair. He had Durfee skin. He had Durfee's lank frame.

Wayne watched him. Wayne retouched his hair. Wayne retouched his skin. Wayne made him Wendell D.

The preacher prayed. The Sprouls wept. The Tedrows stood calm. The chauffeur buffed his nails.

Wayne watched him.

He burned his face. He smashed his teeth. He fed him Big "H."

37

(Las Vegas, 2/9/64)

The DI count room.

_Money_-coin bins and hampers stuffed. A swivel spy-camera hooked up.

Your host-Moe Dalitz.

The count men were out. The camera was off. Money sat waist-high. Littell sneezed-the fumes were bad-sting off cash dye and tin.

Moe said, "It's not that complicated. The count guys are in cahoots with the camera guys. The camera goes on the fritz, accidental on purpose, so the count guys can get the skim out and retally it. You don't need a college education."

Mesh hampers-laundry-size. Forty hampers/forty grand per.

Moe dipped in. Moe snagged ten grand-C-notes all.

"Here, for your civil-rights deal. What's their fucking motto, 'We Shall Overcome'?"

Littell grabbed the cash. Littell packed his briefcase.

"The skim interests me."

"You are not alone in that. Certain Federal agencies have been known to be curious."

"Are you looking for couriers?"

Moe said, "No. We use civilians, exclusive. Squarejohns who owe casino markers. They run the skim and pay off their debts at 7 1/2% of the transport."

Littell shot his cuffs. "I was thinking of Mr. Hughes' Mormons, or other trustworthy ones, at a 15% rate."

Moe shook his head. "I don't like to fuck with success, but I'll hear you out anyway."

Littell sneezed. Moe supplied a Kleenex. Littell wiped his nose.

"You're going to sell Mr. Hughes some hotels. He'll want his Mormons or _some_ Mormons to run them. You'll want your men, you'll compromise, you'll want to escalate your skim operations."

Moe twirled a dime. "Don't be a cock tease. You've got this tendency to string things out."

Littell hugged his briefcase. "I want to enlist some Mormons, over time, and have them ready by the date you sell Mr. Hughes the hotels. You'd have a pool of potential inside men with skim experience."

"That's not enough inducement to pay 15%."

"At face value, no."

Moe rolled his eyes. "So, lay it out. Jesus Christ, don't make me coax you."

"All right. Mr. Hughes' people travel on Hughes Aircraft charter flights. I could hire some Mormons to work for Mr. Hughes now, and you could ship the skim bulk and avoid airport security risks."

Moe flipped the dime. Moe caught it heads-up.

"At face value, I like it. I'll talk to the other guys."

"I'd like to get started soon."

"Take a breather. Don't wear yourself out."

"I'm sure that's a good tip, but I'd-"

"Here's a better one. Bet Clay over Liston. You'll make a fucking mint."

"Is the fight fixed?"

"No, but Sonny's got some very bad habits."

o o o

Littell flew to L.A.

He flew solo. He booked a Hughes plane. The Hughes fleet moored in Burbank. Cessna Twins-six seats each-ample skim space.

The flight ran smooth. No clouds and desert sparkling up.

Moe took the bait. Moe missed the dodge. Moe thought the dodge was pro-Drac. Wrong-the dodge was pro-civil rights.

Call it:

Bagmen. Potential "casino consultants." _Hughes_ men. All charter-flight cleared.

He could skim off the skim. He could feed Bayard Rustin. He could blunt Mr. Hoover's damage. Wayne Senior ran Mormon thugs. Wayne Senior knew bagmen types. _He_ could coopt them.

The long-term goal: damage abatement.

Mr. Hoover filmed Dr. King. Mr. Hoover tried to entrap him. Mr. Hoover dirt-fed his "correspondents": congressmen/reporters/clergymen.

Mr. Hoover schooled them. Mr. Hoover taught them restraint. Let's collude and leak covert data. Let's leak it smart. Don't leak strict bug-and-tap data. Don't jeopardize bug-and-tap mounts.

Mr. Hoover held dirt. Mr. Hoover leaked dirt. Mr. Hoover caused pain. Mr. Hoover hated Dr. King. Mr. Hoover exposed his one weakness:

Sadism. _Sustained_. Inflicted over TIME.

TIME worked two ways. There was TIME to inflict harm. There was TIME to countermand the effects.

The skim plan might work. The skim plan sparked a question: Hughes money-a potential tithe source?

The plane banked. Littell pared an apple. Littell sipped coffee.

Pete had Wayne's files. Pete squeezed Spurgeon and Hinton. Spurgeon fed Pete some dirt. Key legislators and their pet charities-dirt per their philanthropy.

Pete said he bypassed Eldon Peavy. Peavy was cop-sanctioned. Peavy might balk at threats. Pete was disingenuous. Pete's threats _worked_. Pete craved Monarch Cab. Pete was gauging a takeover shot.

The plane dipped low. Burbank showed sunshine and smog.

He'd lunched with Wayne Senior. Wayne Senior praised him-you saved my son.

Junior declined Senior's help. Junior rebuffed his connections. Junior nixed good job offers. Junior nixed work in chemistry. Junior sought his own work. Junior found low-end employment.

The Wild Deuce Casino-night bouncer-6:00 to 2:00 a.m. The Deuce was rough. The Deuce welcomed Negroes. Junior welcomed pain.

Wayne Senior bought Littell's lunch. Wayne Senior made nice. Wayne Senior said ugly things.

Wayne Senior derided the civil-rights movement. Wayne Senior brought up the King film.

Littell smiled. Littell made nice. Littell thought _I will make you all pay_.

o o o

Jane said, "I got a job."

The terrace was cold. The view compensated. Littell leaned on the rail.

"Where?"

"Hertz rent-a-car. I'm doing the books for the West L.A. branches."

"Did your Tulane degree help?"

Jane smiled. "It got me the extra thousand a year I asked for."

She used hard vowels. She eschewed slurs. She dropped her southern drawl. She'd reworked her voice and diction-he just noticed it.

She said, "It feels good to rejoin the work force."

Hard _g_'s. Regionless. Pure consonants.

Littell smiled. Littell popped his briefcase. Littell pulled out six sheets.

He landed. He drove to Hughes Tool. He stopped at the bookkeeping pool and stole forms.

Invoices. Bill sheets. All standard paper.

He got in. He got out. He shaped his upcoming lie.

"Would you look at these when you get a chance? I need your advice on a few things."

Jane scanned the sheets. "They're all boilerplate. Cost-outs, overruns, that kind of thing."

Hard _b_'s and _p_'s. Lazy _o_'s deleted.

"I want to discuss embezzling techniques and how to use these forms. There's going to be a buildup in Vietnam, and Mr. Hughes will probably be awarded some contracts. He's afraid of embezzlements, and he asked me to study up."

Jane smiled. "Did you tell him your girlfriend's an embezzler?"

"No. Just that she keeps a good secret."

"God, the way that we live."

Short _a_'s and _e_'s. Crisp inflections.

Jane laughed. "Have you noticed? I gave up my accent."

o o o

Jane read in bed. Jane dozed off early. Littell played his tapes.

He got crazy. Two times of late. He ran two crazy risks.

He passed through D.C. He wired Doug Eversall. He squeezed him. He cajoled him. He paid him five G's.

Eversall taped Bobby. Two more times total-two crazy risks. Eversall balked then. Eversall cut Littell off.

That's it. Shove your threats. I refuse to hurt Bobby. You're sick. You're fucked up. Bobby's your sickness.

Littell retreated:

That's it. No more. I promise you. I'll lie to Carlos. I'll say we failed.

Eversall walked then. Eversall tripped. His high shoe buckled and slid. Littell helped him up. Eversall slapped him. Eversall spat in his face.

Littell played the 1/29 tape. Low static/spool hum.

Bobby planned trials. Eversall took notes. Bobby yawned and digressed. His potential Senate run. The VP spot. That "cornpone son-of-a-bitch Lyndon Johnson."

Bobby had a cold. Bobby waxed profane. LBJ was a "dipshit." Dick Nixon was a "numbnuts" with a "kick-me sign." Mr. Hoover was a "psycho fruitcake."

Littell pressed Rewind. The tape reversed. Littell played the 2/5 tape.

Here's Bobby-reverent now.

He toasted Jack. He quoted Housman: "To an Athlete Dying Young." Eversall sniffled. Bobby laughed-"Don't go soft on me."

A new man spoke. Static fizzed his words. Littell heard his garbled "Hoover and King."

Bobby said, "Hoover's scared. He knows King's got balls like J.C."

38

(Las Vegas, 2/10/64)

Monarch rocked.

The noon rush / mucho calls / ten cabs out. The hut rocked-Eldon Peavy had guests.

Sonny Liston. Four bad-boy jigs. Conrad the Congoites or Marvin the Mau-Maus.

Pete watched.

He dipped his seat. He ran the heat. He did arithmetic. Peavy had twenty cabs. Peavy ran three shifts. Add airport runs and deadheads.

The hut rocked. A driver hawked fur coats. The Mau-Maus mauled them. Sonny fanned a roll. Peavy peeled bills off.

The Congoites capered. They fondled fur. They manhandled mink. They chewed up chinchilla.

Sonny looked bad. The Clay fight boded. Sonny had the odds. Sam G. demurred. Sam liked Clay. Sam said Sonny had habits.

It was cold. Brrr-Vegas winters. Pete shivered and goosed the heat.

Texas was cold. Florida ditto. He just got back from his trip. He didn't find Hank K. He didn't find Wendell Durfee. He traveled alone. He schemed a trifecta.

Plan A: Find and clip Hank. Plan B: Detain Durfee. Plan C: Bring Wayne in to kill him.

No tickee/no washee. No find/go seek.

He got back. He called Ward. He pitched him: I want to buy Monarch Cab. Ward nixed it. Ward said don't bid. Ward said don't extort ownership.

We _need_ Peavy. We need his _votes_. Don't scotch his gaming-board status. Sage fucking advice-Ward Littell-style.

Pete skimmed the radio. Pete watched the hut. Peavy quaffed gin. The Mau-Maus quaffed scotch-and-milk. Sonny dumped capsules. Sonny made lines. Sonny sniffed powder up.

Peavy walked out. Sonny strolled with him. The Congoites conga'd. They slurped milk. They grew white goatees. Spooks called scotch-and-milk "pablum."

A stretch pulled up. The crew piled in. The stretch pulled out. Pete tailed it slow.

The stretch hooked west. The stretch stopped quick. There-the Honey Bunny Casino.

Peavy got out. Peavy walked in. Pete idled back. Pete scoped the window.

Peavy hit the chip cage. Peavy bought play chips. The cage man filled a sack. Peavy walked out. Peavy jumped in the stretch. The stretch pulled out fast.

Pete tailed it. It cut west. It stopped mucho quick. There-Sugar Bear Liquor.

Five whores ran out-darkies all-prom gowns and heels.

They piled in the stretch. They huffed hard. The windows fogged up. The stretch wiggled and bounced.

Said whores _worked_.

The axle scraped. The shocks creaked. The undercarriage shimmied. Two hubcaps popped off and rolled.

Pete laughed. Pete fucking roared.

The whores piled out. The whores giggled and wiped their lips. The whores waved sawbucks.

Pete flashed on the dead whore. Pete smelled the torched trailer.

The stretch pulled out. Pete tailed it. They cut west. They hit West Vegas. They went in _waay_ deep. There-Monroe High School.

The back gate was down. The bleachers were packed. A banner read: Welcome Champ!

Full house:

Colored kids-two hundred strong-this big schoolday treat.

The stretch parked on the football field. Pete idled by the gate. Pete kicked his seat back.

Sonny got out.

He weaved. He waved the chip sack. He faced the kids and swayed blotto. The kids cheered.