An infrequently updated dumping ground for one culture junkie's thoughts on film and whatever else

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Catch.

Barb said, “The catch. Don’t tell me there isn’t one. And don’t tell me these 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.”

— James Ellroy, The Cold Six Thousand, pp. 68-69

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