Excerpt from The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Cold Six Thousand

by James Ellroy

The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy
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  • First Published:
    May 2001, 688 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2002, 688 pages

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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."

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."

Excerpted from The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy. Copyright 2001 by James Ellroy. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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