“Turn, hands up, and spread ’em.” The stranger did as he was told, and felt a hand pat him down. “Now, up the stairs.”
They climbed the stairs. “Inside.” They entered the tart’s apartment. The man with the gun looked around, as if expecting someone to appear at any minute. Someone who was dead, of course, quite dead, but he didn’t know that yet. He made a sweep of the room, then waved to the stranger -- “sit.” As the stranger sat on the couch, the man with the gun moved cautiously to the bathroom door and kicked it in. He could see the feet protruding, he knew instantly that whoever was inside was dead.
He crossed back to the stranger, holding the gun in his left hand as he worked the cell phone with his right. “I’d like to report a murder.” And he gave the address. “This is Jerry Sloane, private investigator. Police chief knows me. And I’ve got the man you’ve been looking for, the nut who’s been killing Katt Hall’s boyfriends. I’ll be down there with him in half an hour.” Then he dialed another number. “Josephus? Jerry. I nailed him. Meet me downtown at the station in half an hour.” He hung up. “Okay fella, get up.”
“Look, I’ve got money.”
“I’d prefer to make this nice and easy. I haven’t had dinner yet. Up.”
“I can give you a lot of money.”
“Keep in front of me.”
They went down to the street. It was deserted.
“I need to do this,” the detective said. “Turn,” he said. The stranger turned away from him. “Put your hands behind you.” He was flashing a pair of handcuffs. As the stranger put his hands behind him, he swept low in a sudden pivot and the gun discharged and he knocked it out of the detective’s hand, and what happened after that you’d probably prefer not to know.
Meanwhile, up at the Great House, there was a stir of excitement. “Oh Daddy, Daddy this is such wonderful news.”
“Wonderful it is, darling. We’re going to have a big celebration.”
“But Spud, Daddy, what are we going to do about Spud?”
“We’ll get him, baby. Important thing is, they’ve got this guy.”
“Can we have a barbecue, Daddy, a great big barbecue and invite everyone who is simply anyone in this town?”
“That we can most certainly do.”
“Oh Daddy, you’re such a generous man, you’ve always been such a generous man. And Spud and mama and I, we do love you so.” Daddy was blushing. “I’m going to get all dolled up. I am going to wear tight, seductive clothing, and I am once again going to serve notice, for those who have been asleep, that the Big Katt is back in town. Ahm gonna cut loose and have some real fun and raise holy hell, Daddy, and you’re going to love me for it. Isn’t that why you brought me into the world?”
“Well -- ”
“I have a confession to make, Daddy. I had a great big crush on George Lesslie. I know to look at him, you’d think otherwise. But your little Katt sometimes takes a peculiar liking to a man, and she can’t help herself. You do understand, don’t you, Daddy?”
“Yes, honey, though I believe it would not hurt for the two of us to sit down one of these days, now that you are a fully mature woman. I was hoping the Katt would yield little kittens, and I still believe that man of yours can make it possible.”
Yes, there was an atmosphere of excitement now in the Great House, what with the stranger finally being brought to ground. Not quite so excited, however, was Spud, who still sat bound, hands and feet, in the mojo man’s shack. The place was getting creepier and creepier as night encroached, with shadows dancing on the walls, where those hideous bottles of roots and lizards hung, and the smells of the Mojo man’s unseemly trophies seemed to mingle with the rank smell of the bayous, which did not make for a pleasant combination this night. The decor was like some bizarre scene out of the pages of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and make no mistake, the emphasis was on “not.”
Elsewhere at this hour, Big George Lesslie had returned to his humble abode, and was now in the process of placating an irate wife.
“Where were you?”
“Stopped for gas.”
“Like hell. You were out with some chippie.”
“Sally, honey -- ”
“Chipping away at the chippies -- that’s my boy George.”
“I was helping the police. Call them, they’ll tell you.”
“Helping them what?”
“Catch that maniac. There’s good news. Just as I was leaving the station, they got the word. The guy’s been caught.”
“Swear to God. Some detective nailed him. It’s over.”
“Is it true?”
“It’s over. No more looking over my shoulder. It’s over, and we can go back to being us.”
“Us -- meaning?”
“Oh baby.” He took Sally in his arms and kissed her.
“You’re a louse, and I’ll say it and I still think it.”
“Honey.” And they kissed again.
“Anyway, I cooked you a meal. I’m going to warm it up.”
“I’m going out in the back for a few minutes to hit some golf balls.”
The big lug slipped out the back door into the early evening, and got his golf clubs from the shed. He didn’t notice a figure in the trees, a figure who deftly moved from place to place, hiding himself. Who was carrying a heavy metal wrench and a gun. A figure whose fiendishness would stop at nothing.
Big George brought out a bucket of golf balls and a driver. Although there were other homes on the street, there was plenty of room to drive balls directly into the woods behind him.
He teed up a ball, took a deep breath. He stretched his arms, and positioned himself. He brought the driver into position, then held still and drew it back, and with one swipe cracked the little ball and sent it sizzling into the woods. Nice shot. He smiled. Yeah, he could still hit a golf ball, even in fading light.
He leaned the club up against the railing of the back porch, rubbed his hands together in satisfaction. And the last thing he remembered was a tremendous crunch as an object came out of nowhere and crashed down mercilessly on his head.
Yes, Big George Lesslie would be late for dinner that night. He would be supping with the angels, presumably, dreaming of the tart’s short skirt and the delicacy of her panties, of the Big Katt and how much he wanted to hold her svelte softness and run his hands through her hair, and of his dear wife Sally, who had been too good to him by half.
The food was getting cold, and Sally was growing frustrated, and she headed down the back steps and out into the yard. It was then she saw the blood, and the large, lifeless body, and on closer inspection, what little was left of his crushed skull, with the brains squishing out of the casing in a bloody ooze. She wanted to scream, and she tried to scream, but finally all she could do was shake her head. Then she fainted to the ground.