“Drink up. Ah don’t trust a man who doesn’t enjoy his liquor.”
Spud swigged down the tumbler of bourbon in one gulp and ordered another. “In fact,” Josephus told him, “I call him a downright faggot. That’s how you can tell them, you know.”
They were sitting at the bar -- cool, dark, wood-paneled -- of an exclusive country club deep in the heart of Dixie. Or, to be more specific, Baton Rouge. And Josephus was none other than the father of one Katt Hall, legendary Southern beauty, the same Katt Hall who had married Spud in New Mexico, then brought him east.
“The one in the airport men’s room -- I had him pegged for a faggot the minute I saw those beady eyes. The squint, it always gives them away. Faggots won’t look you straight in the eye -- they squint. Go on, drink up.”
Spud would drink all right -- and drink, and drink. Josephus had forgotten that booze was Spud’s one and only vice. And right now, Spud was loaded to the gills.
“You wonder about the women who marry these faggots. What kind of women are these? And the funny thing is, they propagate. They have kids by these fruit loops. Whatever turns you on, eh?”
Spud’s eyes were heavily glazed over.
“But I can see you’re not that kind of a man -- welcome to the family.” Josephus slapped Spud on the back. “That girl you married, that daughter of mine, is a helluva broad. And if y’all don’t mind my saying so, she likes a good drilling. A woman deserves that from time to time, a good hard drilling that rocks the rafters and shakes the bedpost. I guess you drilled your way into her heart.”
“I guess I did.”
“Though, from what I hear, the Pennsylvania Dutch are raised like a bunch of pansies.”
Spud wasn’t sure what to say.
“Not to imply they’re all faggots, but carrying milk pails and fetching firewood, that’s fruitcake time to me. I guess you grew out of that. What’s the matter, you look a little wiped.”
“Yeah.” Spud was ready to fall off his stool.
Yes, he was wiped all right, but not as wiped as one Curtis Stephens, whose body had been discovered in the road not far from the posh country club where Spud and his father-in-law were now getting soused. Police flashlights were all over the place. The guy was dead all right. Someone had beaten him up pretty good, then put a slug in his head and dumped him in the road. As a sort of warning. A calling card in the form of a handwritten note had been left in the victim’s breast pocket -- “She’s mine, she’s mine, she’s all mine and no one else shall have her. She’s back and she’s mine.”
“The thing about faggots is, they’re everywhere. What we need is some sort of high-tech detection device that will sniff out faggots before they infest our way of life. Just between the two of us, that first one my daughter married, I had my doubts. I don’t like the idea of my daughter being married to a faggot, but it had crossed my mind. Just couldn’t prove it. He tried to come on big and hard and virile to me, overacted the part. That’s why I started to have my doubts. A man can drink his liquor and tell dirty jokes, but that’s no guarantee that after the lights go down in the bedroom, he won’t roll over and grab a copy of some gay stud magazine and queer himself with a flashlight.”
Spud was about ready to pass out, and the bartender noticed it. “You better get him outside.”
“Nonsense. He’s hardly had anything to drink. I hate a man who can’t hold his liquor.”
“He looks pretty stiff to me.”
Josephus nudged Spud, gave him a hard shot with his elbow. “Sit up straight, you milk pail faggot, if you want to be a son-in-law of mine.”
Spud tried to straighten up, managed to get his elbows on the bar top and steady himself.
“Now show me you’re no faggot and knock down that bourbon.”
“Uh -- ”
Outside on the road not far away, the cops were still shaking their heads in disbelief over a pretty ugly looking corpse.
“Bag him,” the chief said. “We’ve got ourselves a mauler. They’re the worst kind.” “The ‘she’ in the note, chief?”
“Blew into town today. The Big Katt’s back.”
“She’s back, and already we’ve got trouble. Tail her. We’ll have to dig out some old yearbooks. This kook is bound to be in there somewhere.”
“She was born to raise hell.”
The chief glanced at the lifeless and battered corpse being stuffed into the bag. “That I can see.”
“Something else -- she wasn’t alone.” This drew a puzzled look.
“She brought someone with her -- hubby No. 2.” “God.”
“Hard on the booze, but Pennsylvania Dutch. I do my homework.”
“Get up to the Great House. She’s got to know about this. They’ve both got to know. And keep her out of sight. As I recall, you dated her yourself at one time.”
“Blown opportunity?” “Trouble in blonde tresses.”
“You’re a poetic SOB. Now get a move on. No telling how many John Does in her past are still lurking out there.”
In the country club bar, Josephus had managed to keep Spud propped up and was continuing to wax philosophical.
“Yessir, queer nation is what I call it. What’s the matter with you, crapping out on
Spud had flopped backwards onto the barroom floor. Josephus gazed down at him in dismay. “Faggot,” he muttered.