Back in the fall, I was surprised how funny Ellroy was in print and in person. Had I read "Gravy Train" at the time, the humor would not have surprised me.
The story, published in Armchair Detective in 1990, is over the top, a full-out spoof of '40s and '50s hard-boiled P.I. stories. It's full of lines like "My trigger finger itched to dispense .45 caliber justice" and "I ran up and bashed his face in with the butt of my roscoe." There are also blackmail, a shady lawyer, and an inheritance scam.
Oh, yeah: There's hot girl-girl sex (it's relevant to the plot), an allusion to Ellroy's own reputed sordid past, and the protagonist falls in love with a dog. And, unlike most stories by the authors whose chains Ellroy yanks here, this one has a happy ending.
"Basko attacked; the schmucks ran for their car; one of them whipped out a cylindrical object and held it out to the hot pursuing hound. A streetlamp illuminated the offering: a bucket of Kentuck Colonel ribs.© Peter Rozovsky 2009
"Basko hit the bucket and started snouting: I yelled "`No!' ... "