The Bayou Katt Murders

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Chapter 10

The Big Katt sat primly at the dinner table with mother and Daddy and Spud, who was now sober, albeit, after a long and passionate love session with his beloved wife, still exhausted and somewhat worse for the wear.

“Cherry cordial?” Daddy said.

“No, thank you.” Spud knew that even one sip would send him on another bender.

“Come, come, after a meal like that? Only makes sense.” And, of course, Daddy had to pour little cordial cups for them and they drank a toast.

“To my little girl and her new husband, to long life.”

Just how long, Spud wondered, if he continued being plied with booze that would kill him, or being savagely made love to by the most passionate woman that God had ever created.

“Why don’t we sit by the fire?” “What fire?” Katt asked.

“Well, metaphorically speaking. Shall we retire to the sitting room?”

“I thought Spud and I might take the air, Daddy, if that’s all right with you.”

“Oh baby, you little devil.” “Just for a walk.”

“I know you, baby, Daddy knows the Katt and he knows she sometimes likes a little extra dessert.”

“Oh now Daddy.”

“You run along. If you should stumble in the woods out there and find yourself in each other’s arms, well, that would make Daddy very happy. Scoot, lovebirds.”

Daddy was pushing hard for the idea of offspring, a little too hard. But to get out from under the oppressive phony nice-ties of the dinner table and the affectations of the antebellum South was a welcome relief.

As Katt and Spud emerged onto the porch, they were being observed by a patrol car across the road.

“This is DVR 33 to Central, do you copy?” “Yeah. What’s up?”

“The Katt and her mouse have emerged from the house. I’m keeping a close eye on them. Whoops, they just went around back. I’m on it.”

Except for the crickets, the night was dark and quiet, and Katt and Spud held hands and walked along the drive and found a seat at a little bench at the back of the house. They gazed up at the stars.

“They paint the heavens,” she said. And for at least this one quiet and solitary moment, there was bliss. “Are you happy?” she asked him.

“Oh honey, how could I not be -- with the belle of the South, here in your beautiful kingdom. Ferocious appetite or not -- you are the Big Katt, honey. And many a hunter and sportsman has gone after you in the jungle, but few were lucky enough to land your love.”

“What a beautiful figure of speech.” Okay, it was a lousy mixed metaphor, but she kissed him, did the large Katt. Gently. Her eyes glowed, and she kissed him. “’Course, I did raise hell once or twice in my day. A girl’s gotta have a little fun, baby. I didn’t hurt you this afternoon, did I?”

“Oh baby.”

“Maul? Mutilate?” Come to think of it. . .

“What ah did, ah did for love,” she said, smiling that slick Cheshire smile. Sometimes passion overtook love in the Big Katt’s lexicon of life, but then as she herself had said, sometimes girls just want to have fun. “Oh look,” she said, “I left a nice fat hickey right there. It’s red and glorious. Well, pinch my nose.”

“My playful Katt. That’s why I love you.”

“You don’t think, well, perhaps just a touch of that coyote lust has reentered me?”

“Nah.”

“No high desert medicine men and shamans here, baby. Though there is a mojo man lives back of the swamps up there. I really want you to meet him. It’s part of the culture of the place.”

“Of course.”

“Tomorrow we’ll begin looking for our own house. We can’t stay with mother and Daddy forever.”

She gazed longingly into Spud’s eyes, as elsewhere, Arthur Smakes chanced to gaze into his rearview mirror, and was not exactly lovestruck by what he saw. A truck seemed to be gain-ing on him fast.

The stranger smiled behind the wheel of that truck, ready to make his move and force Smakes off the road.

But Smakes knew this game, and instead of accelerating, he slowed his car and pulled over to the shoulder. Probably some lush, possibly even a businessman from the lecture, who was getting a little out of control. The stranger pulled off the road as well.

“Hey,” Smakes said, happily, when he recognized the face. “Autograph hound?”

“Sure.”

“Just a minute.” He slid his hand inside his jacket pocket, brought out a small pad. “Who should I address it to?”

“The funeral parlor,” the stranger said. He had a gun pointed at Smakes, a snub-nosed Smith & Wesson .38, which was ready to snap and bark.

“Look, I don’t -- ”

“I’ll keep it short. You once dated the Big Katt. You were one of her suitors. The Big Katt is mine, get the picture? All mine.”

“That was just a high school thing.”

“No one lays a hand on the Big Katt -- not you or Hazelton, only me, got it? You married?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll send your wife a sympathy card.”

Speaking of sympathy, the Big Katt herself was now wrapped in Spud’s arms, sympathetic and gentle, the way a well-fed Katt should be.

“Funny,” she said. “Some psycho nut killing all my old boyfriends over little ole me.”

“Yeah.”

“But then, the Katt always knew how to stir the pot. Poor bastard. Horace Hazelton, I mean. Cop told me on the sly -- the fiend cut his head clean off.”

“What?”

“Decapitated poor Horace. And only this afternoon, I vis-ited the poor fellow and his pathetically aged mother. Life’s a bitch, eh?”

Yes, life was a bitch all right, as elsewhere in the woods a certain Arthur Smakes had been lashed to a tree with rope from the stranger’s truck. Bound, gagged, and tied to a tree. And the stranger had taken precautions to move both vehicles far enough from the road to avoid detection.

Smakes was trembling and terrified as the stranger produced a crowbar and smiled.

“All mine, got it?” And with that, he went to work with the heavy slab of metal, and the reader shall be spared the gory details. While Katt Hall kissed her beloved in the moonlight, Arthur Smakes was taking it very hard head to foot at the hands of a maniacal stranger. And he took something else before this night was over, something more painful still. A slug from a pistol right between the eyes.

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