The Bayou Katt Murders

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Chapter 22

“Thank God, you’re home.” Spud was on his feet as Katt entered the living room of the Great House.

“Christ, we’ve got a riot on our hands.” The cops who accompanied her were not altogether happy. “Things got, shall we say, very quickly out of control.”

“Oh baby, baby, baby,” Katt cooed, moving to her beloved Spudster and taking him in her arms. “You should have seen them, oh honey, you really should have -- my adoring public. Oh baby, they went crazy for your Katt, they went completely out of their mind niggling crazy, and who could blame them?”

“Who could blame them?” Spud said fondly, looking the Katt in the eyes, and feeling the love.

“I don’t blame them, I blame us,” one cop said to the other. “Stupid idea.”

But the Big Katt was oblivious, clinging happily to theez man, theez man.

“They’ll tear the town apart, and we still have a maniac on our hands. He almost killed Big George tonight.”

This got Katt’s attention. “What?”

“Came right to the door as a pizza deliveryman. Only this guy had changed. He’s adopted new features, a disguise. Your ex is one tricky son of a bitch.”

“Don’t I know it, babies, don’t I know. I was married to that conniving skunk, and he was devious as the day is long. Sneaking women behind my back every which way, and he was clever about it. I tripped more than once over a set of pumps and a bra strap on my way to divorce court. But I got the last laugh, babies -- he paid and he paid through the nose. Now look who’s laughing.”

“The question remains, how are we gonna nail this SOB?” That selfsame SOB was now steering his pickup truck through the Baton Rouge night. He needed to find another place to hide and he was growing leery of the idea of another boardinghouse. He would get far away from town and take his chances with a motel. It would take time for the cops to APB his new disguise anyway, time he could spend changing his features yet again. A good forty-five minutes out of town he pulled into the parking lot of the Butler Motel.

The room he rented was the usual cheaply furnished dive, with bedspreads that probably hadn’t been changed in fifteen years, and gimcrack furniture. But that didn’t matter. He set down his suitcase, climbed into bed and sat upright, doping out his next move. If he couldn’t get directly to George Lesslie, perhaps he could get Lesslie to come to him. Yes, the cops wouldn’t be expecting something like this -- a letter, perhaps, an invitation. The cops wouldn’t be expecting something to slip in right under their radar -- via the United States Postal Service.

In the desk drawer he found some stationery. It had the Butler Motel letterhead (“Dear Grandma, the whole family is having a wonderful time in Baton Rouge, but we haven’t been bitten by any poisonous snakes yet”), which would give him away in a heartbeat. But he could easily enough find some blank paper in town. What he needed was to flesh out a letter, something that appealed to Big George’s ego, that would lure him out into the open. But what? Bowling league? High school reunion? No, he needed something that would appeal to Big George’s ego. And then he hit on it, taking the low road -- sex, pure sex. That would entice Big George. A come hither letter from an old flame.

“Dear George -- You may or may not remember me, but I had a mad crush on you in high school and now my marriage has broken up and I have thought and thought about you, and I would really like to see you again. I am unsure of your marital status, but if you still love me and want me -- all of me -- I am completely naked as I write this, a fully mature and sensuous woman with long, gorgeous, golden brown hair that spills gently over ripe breasts, which are soft and full and yearning for you. If you want to take me in your arms and make love wildly to me -- trust me, I’m drop dead beautiful and you won’t be sorry -- then meet me behind the Bayou Bar & Grill on Thursday at six o’clock. And don’t tell a soul. I love you and I know you are still in love with me, and even if you don’t remember me, remember that I am soft and beautiful beyond imagining, and aching for you to touch me, to make love to me, as I have ached for years to touch you and hold you. Your passionate admirer -- Sarah Brady.” And he would perfume the letter, albeit lightly, to make it even more irresistible. And now that he thought of it, rather than risk using the mails, he would find a way to hand deliver it to Big Bad George. That way he would be sure to avoid arousing the suspicions of the police. He might even go one step further and hire someone to impersonate Sarah Brady, to meet Big George in the alley and lure him to a motel, there to make short work of him.

Yes, the stranger had a plan, and this time he knew it would work. He admired his own single-mindedness of purpose. He gloated over it and smiled. And then he opened his suitcase and removed his makeup articles and went into the bathroom. The face he saw in the mirror was unfamiliar, and a face equally unfamiliar would emerge yet again before long. But that could wait for the morning.

“Honey,” the Big Katt said. The police had gone, mother and Daddy had gone, and there was only Katt and Spud and the four poster. And Spud knew what was coming next.

“You’re probably exhausted,” he said.

“Not quite, baby.” The Katt had that look in her eyes.

“Oh honey?” The voice came from the bedroom door, and Daddy was standing there in his night robe. “Big barbecue tomorrow, and we think you should be there. The Prescotts are celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary. The cops said it’s okay.”

“Oh Daddy, I love a barbecue.” She turned to Spud. “Don’t you, honey?”

Spud shrugged.

“Heck,” the Big Katt said, “you’ve gotta have some fun.” Yes, everyone needed some fun now and then. Big George Lesslie needed some fun, as he tucked his less-than-enthusiastic wife into bed. “I wish he’d gotten her,” she said. “I wish someone would get rid of that Katt woman.”

“Oh baby.”

The chief of police needed some fun, as he fed his dog a bone in the kitchen, then wearily made his way up the stairs to bed, frustrated he couldn’t bring the man stalking Katt Hall to justice.

George Owens, Daddy’s friend at the club, needed some fun. And he’d had plenty of it necking with Katt Hall earlier in the week. Now he turned over in bed and saw an old woman sleeping next to him, and wondered how much fun that really was.

Even Horace Hazelton needed some fun, only he was dead, and it has yet to be determined if dead people can really have fun.

And, of course, the stranger needed some fun, and he was seated in the dimly lit bar attached to the motel, and there was a not unattractive woman at the end of the bar who seemed pretty drunk. Perhaps she needed some fun, and five hundred bucks didn’t sound bad in that regard.

“Looking for some fun?” The stranger made his voice seem casual, benign.

Her dark eyes barely flickered.

“Five hundred bucks. Simple errand.”

“If you want a prostitute, talk to the desk clerk.”

“You’ve got it wrong. I just need you to impersonate someone for me. Hook this guy, bring him back here with you. I’ll take it from there.”

She threw another dubious look his way. “I’ll double it -- a thousand bucks.”

She sipped her drink, stared straight ahead. After a bit, she turned to him and nodded.

Yes, even bar flies needed some fun. And the stranger chuckled, and the neon lights of the motel outside flickered, and quiet once again filled the Baton Rouge night. The woman at the bar continued with her drink as the stranger disappeared, but he had given her explicit instructions for the time of her assignation in the alley with George Lesslie, and he had gotten her phone number just in case.

Big George himself was dreaming just about now, thinking that yes, he needed to have fun, to really have fun. And how he would have loved to be cuddling next to the Big Katt right now, to feel her warmth and have her pawing him. Life was so simple and uncomplicated when you really thought about it. Everyone simply wanted to have fun.

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