Libra

Read Libra for Free Online

Book: Read Libra for Free Online
Authors: Don DeLillo
tools and ancient weighing machines, where Win often came to walk the two aisles like a tourist in waist-high ruins, expanded and sad. He had to remind himself it was only hardware. He bought a paint scraper and when they got back to Larry’s rented car, parked off the square, they saw a figure in the front seat, passenger side, a broad-shouldered man in a loud sport shirt. This was T. J. Mackey, a cowboy type to Win’s mind but probably the most adept of the men in Leader 4, a veteran field officer who’d trained exiles in assault weapons and supervised early phases of the landings.
    Parmenter got behind the wheel, humming something that amused him. Win sat in the middle of the rear seat, giving directions. With Mackey here, the day took on purpose. T-Jay did not bring news of hirings and firings, the births of babies. He was one of the men the Cubans would follow without question. He was also the only man who’d refused to sign a letter of reprimand when the secret meetings in Coral Gables were monitored by the Office of Security. If a monumental canvas existed of the five grouped conspirators, a painting that showed them with knit brows and twisted torsos, darkly scheming men being confronted by crewcut security agents in khaki suits with natural shoulders, it might be titled “Light Entering the Cave of the Ungodly.” Parmenter and two others signed letters of reprimand that were placed in their personnel files. Win signed a letter and also agreed to a technical interview, or polygraph exam. He signed a quit claim, stating that he was taking the test voluntarily. He signed a secrecy agreement, stating that he would talk to no one about the test. When he failed the polygraph, security men sealed his office, a small room with a blue door on the fourth floor of the Agency’s new headquarters at Langley. In the office they found telephone notes and documents that seemed to indicate, amid the usual ambiguities, that Win Everett was putting people of his own into Zenith Technical Enterprises, the burgeoning Miami firm that provided cover for the CIA’s new wave of operations against Cuba. It was a little too much. First he heads a group that ignores orders to disband. Then he runs a private operation inside the Agency’s own vast and layered industry of anti-Castro activities. When Win took a second polygraph he sat at the desk apparatus sobbing, after three questions, the electrodes planted in his palm, the cuff around his bicep, the rubber tube traversing his chest. It was such an effort not to lie.
    They drove south out of Denton into deep-green country. There were pastures abandoned to mesquite and juniper, places of sudden starkness, a burning glare, a single squat tree, burled and grim. The sky towered unbearably here.
    Mackey sat with his right arm out the window, hanging down along the door. He showed no interest in the scenic details of the ride. They passed a Baptist church set on cinder blocks. He responded to remarks with a faint tilt of the head, a raised jaw, to show agreement or amusement.
    Parmenter said, “There must be people in these old graveyards who came out on wagon trains. Circuit riders, Indian fighters. It’s pretty country, Win. What the hell. Why not settle in, raise your little girl, sign up for the concert and drama series. The school’s bound to have one. No, I mean it.”
    Eyes in the rearview mirror.
    The psychiatrists were not unkind. But they’d made him aware of illness and disease. They carried disease with them. They were ill themselves. There were areas of their faces they’d neglected to shave carefully. He didn’t have the heart to tell them. They were nice men but incomplete, or too complete. He saw the microscopic hairs so clearly. Motivational fatigue. The Agency was tolerant of such problems. The Agency understood. The truth was he hadn’t placed agents in Zenith Technical Enterprises. His old team was already there, working with new case officers, prepared to run sea

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