The Bayou Katt Murders

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Chapter 19

“What should ah wear, baby?” The Big Katt and Spud were in their bedroom, and the afternoon sun was streaming in. “Ah really must look mah best. I am the bait, baby, and tonight’s fundraiser is the trap.”

“I don’t like it.”

“Don’t worry, honey, the Katt can take care of herself.”

“It’s too risky. Spud doesn’t like his sweetheart being put on display like some trophy in a case. That guy’s a lunatic.”

“Yet once he was so sweet.”

“Once, perhaps.”

“Until one day, all that power and money was just too much for him, and it went to his head. That was when I knew it was time to get out. He was acting crazy, honey, swinging from the chandelier crazy.” She gazed fondly at her bushy-mustached husband. “Unlike you, who are grounded and sweet, my Pennsylvania Dutch pudding. You are the cutest little thing ah ever laid eyes on. Said that the first day I met you, baby. Don’t go worrying about your Katt.”

“I worry, sweetheart. I do love my Katt.”

“Many a man has loved the Big Katt, but only one that we know of has gone so far as to kill for her. In its own sick, warped way, that’s what I’d called devotion.”

“I’m devoted, honey, and if you’d just let me up from that bed once in awhile, I’d be more able to show it.”

“You’re showing it, honey, and wearing a nice big hole in the mattress into the bargain, if I may say, and that’s what the Katt loves. Up and down, up and down, rocking like some ship on the waves of a hot and horny ocean. You know how much it means to Daddy, honey, keeping that four-poster busy.”

“Daddy -- or you, honey? I am beginning to believe you are both sex perverts. And nota bene -- I am no spring chicken.”

“You’re a rooster, honey. Every inch a cock.” And with that, the Big Katt cooed: “Ooooooh.”

And Spud replied, “Ahhhhhh.”

This was a kind of Morse Code between them. The bond they’d developed out of love and devotion. Or perhaps just plain silliness brought on by the delirium of the warm swamp air of a summer afternoon.

“Give the Big Katt a kiss, honey -- and make it stick.”

“Now baby -- ”

“For luck. Ah still need to find just the right outfit for tonight’s festivities -- dignified, yet saucy enough to bring out my finer qualities.” She winked at him. “Daddy, by the way, is out playing golf.”

“Honey, now you take it easy on your Spud.”

She was cozying up to him. “Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. Over there, honey -- the covers are turned back and that giant vacant bed is now beckoning to us.”

“Baby, you’re forgetting -- they couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

“Reassembly directions are included with the package, baby. I guarantee it. The Katt will put you back together again -- first, though, we’ve gotta take you apart and see what makes you tick. Daddy may be on the golf course, but just think of me as your own private putting green. Now, in order to reach the green, what’s it gonna be -- a driver or a wedge?”

“Please, baby.”

“Line up your shot, honey, the Katt is getting restless.” And she reached for him and took him in her loving arms, while elsewhere in Baton Rouge, at that very same moment, Big George Lesslie wiped the sweat from his brow, reached for the door handle, and ducked out the back door of the bowling alley to grab a smoke. There was an unmarked cop car watching him from a safe distance. They’d taken the shrink’s assessment very seriously and knew that to leave George Lesslie unat-tended even for a split second could spell disaster.

At a costume shop about fifty miles north of town, the stranger was eyeing an assortment of makeup appliances.

“Hmmm, putty. Greasepaint. You’ve got a really nice assortment of goodies here.”

“Anything you can imagine, mister, we stock it all. This is like Lon Chaney’s second home.”

The stranger rummaged and rummaged. “Let’s see -- that wig, this makeup kit, a couple of chunks of putty.” Then he had that thick billfold out again, and he was paying for the items. My, my, how cash rich was this stranger. “Where can I try this stuff?”

“Back there,” the sales guy waved. “Behind those curtains.”

In a dressing room in the back with full-length mirrors and a washbasin, the stranger undertook his transformation. He gazed at himself in the washbasin mirror -- the “before” version of himself, that is. What he saw was ugly and contorted. A kind of caricature of the handsome and successful man he had once become. Now he went to work -- laying on the putty, smearing on some greasepaint. By the time he was done, he had a new face.

“You could have fooled me,” the salesman said, as the stranger stopped at the front desk on the way out. “You’re an actor, probably a professional actor. I knew it.”

“Right,” the stranger said. Yeah, he was an actor all right, and if he could fool this guy, he could fool the cops, and everyone else for that matter, including that oaf George Lesslie. He’d get his, would Big George, just like the rest of them. He’d get mangled and good and dead.

The stranger tucked the shopping bag with his leftover purchases under his arm and headed out to the truck. There he sat behind the wheel for several minutes, admiring his new face in the rearview mirror. As he ran a comb briefly through his hair, he thought: You’re a brilliant, devious son of a bitch. They’ll never stop you, never. You’ll get what you want, and you’ll spirit the Big Katt out of town and live happily ever after.

Of course, the cops might have another thing to say about this. And then his thoughts turned to finding new digs. ROOMS, ROOMS, ROOMS, he thought. Rooms with a view. Rooms where he wouldn’t be spied on or watched, where he could plan his next move. He had a big night ahead of him, what with this fundraising rally looming large. And he still had George Lesslie to dispose of. He had to find a way, some way, to get to the big fella and finish him off. He started the truck and pulled out onto the main road. Yeah, he had to finish off George Lesslie, and this would be a neat trick. The stranger was resourceful, and if he could build a new face for himself, he could find a wrinkle in the police dragnet and slip through and get his hands on Big Bad George. Ah yes, good old Big Bad George.

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