The Eldorado roared up the drive and back into the garage where Josephus kept it housed.
“Oh Daddy, you don’t know what liberation I felt, but at the same time what nostalgia, tearing up and down these country roads. I visited the club, then I tried to locate an old and dear girlfriend, and you’ll never guess who I did manage to locate.”
“Who would that be, honey?”
“None other than Horace Hazelton.”
“As ah recall, he failed at everything except long distance running.”
“You know how much a man’s naked legs turn me on, Daddy. But honestly, everyone had him wrong and I knew it. He was hotter than a Louisiana firecracker fest when he got his hands on you, and I always had a penchant for the underdog.”
“Ah hope he’s on good terms with Clearasil these days, honey.”
“Oh Daddy, shame on you. It was a nice visit, but I don’t think Horace’s mother approved. She’s in her 80s now, and I think I made both of them a little uncomfortable. But Daddy, you know how it is with your sweet little Katt -- she gets itchy and horny, and you know how I love to tease the men. Yes, your little lilac was born to raise hell.”
“And hell you’ve raised, sugar blossom, time and again. But you better think of raising that husband of yours, who is slow off the mark this morning.”
Poor Spud. Katt went to his side, roused him.
“Honey, it’s past one o’clock in the afternoon. Now you get yourself up, because the Katt is getting lonely. And you lay off that booze.”
“I’m gonna talk to Daddy. He’s the one got you liquored up, because I know him.” Yes, it wasn’t hard to see where Katt’s wildness had come from. And somewhere in her past, a Hall had fought for the Confederacy, fought with wild and ferocious abandon. Plunged a saber into those damn Yankee interlopers.
The Big Katt was still trying to rouse her beloved from his slumber. “Honey, the Katt is hungry, and the Katt must feed.”
Even dull, somnolent eyes were open enough to see that the Katt was aroused. And Spud remembered the days in Santa Fe, the terrifying days, when the Big Katt had consulted the high desert Indian shaman and learned to shape-shift into a coyote, and a mighty horny one at that. Yes, he could see that glimmer again in her eyes.
“The Katt must feed, baby, make no mistake. And the Katt will now close and lock the bedroom door.”
And so she did.
Back at the motel, the stranger had today’s paper spread in front of him. And a small item on a back page caught his attention: SMAKES LECTURE DRAWS PACKED HOUSE. He read the fine print: “Arthur Smakes, a commercial real estate developer from Baton Rouge, was the invited guest speaker at Bayou Central University last night. Mr. Smakes, who has developed quite a reputation as a real estate shark, kept a rapt audience under his spell as he informed wide-eyed participants on legal and procedural matters pertaining to building a fortune by maneuvering the often treacherous shoals of the real estate waters. . . ” The article went on to state that Mr. Smakes would be lecturing again tonight before a business elite in a town about ten miles to the north. Wouldn’t it be nice, the stranger thought, if Mr. Smakes had some company.
The stranger recalled Smakes’s inscription in Katt Hall’s yearbook: “Back seats, bonfires and bumpy roads, baby. To one heckuva hot torch of a girl -- Arthur.”
This infuriated the stranger. Who did this Smakes think he was, to attempt to possess what was rightfully his? He’d give Smakes a bumpy road or two, a not-so-long and winding one, leading not to the heart of Smakes’ erstwhile torch girl, but directly to the cemetery. Yes, he’d be among the eager faces in that lecture hall tonight, and he’d come away with Smakes’ autograph. The last autograph Smakes would ever write.
“Can I take you for a drink?” he would ask Smakes. “No, honestly, I was so damned awed by what you said about the housing crisis and how to get around it and make a killing. I’m one of your biggest fans.”
And Smakes, ever the slimy weasel yet as vulnerable to a compliment as any man, would probably oblige. But we get ahead of ourselves.
“Got them all covered, chief,” the deputy said in the police captain’s office.
“What about Smakes?” “What about him?”
“He’s giving some sort of speech tonight. I want your ass there.”
“Someone’s, anyone’s. I want him shadowed and shadowed good.”
“Roster’s kind of thin.”
“Go private if you have to. But don’t let him out of your sight.”
“Right. The budget, chief?”
“I said, if you have to, go private. Let me worry about the budget. This Hazelton beheading will no doubt break big tomorrow, and we’re gonna look bad. We couldn’t keep the sludge-monger from the Gazette away, more’s the pity. And there are bound to be photographs, because they always bribe someone in this office, and who can resist an honest bribe?
I could do without the inevitable snide allusions to Hazelton being some sort of latter day Ichabod Crane.”
Meantime, at the Great House, in the closed bedroom, the Katt was circling her prey.
“Honey, I’m really groggy,” Spud said, all but begging for mercy. My God, this girl had an insatiable sex drive.
“It’s two in the afternoon, baby. And the Katt hasn’t fed yet.” “I’m still hung over, honey.”
“Hung’s the word, baby, and you know the Katt must feed.
When we waltzed down the aisle, that was clearly understood. When the Big Katt is hungry, she will be fed. And we’re not talking Captain Crunch or Wheaties, baby, we’re talking one hundred percent certified grade A beef.”
“Strip down those jammies, honey, the Katt’s about to trans-form herself into an all-terrain vehicle.”
“Groggy or not, you will satisfy the Katt. Don’t force the Katt to look elsewhere for a meal.”
She looked him dead in the eye. And he could as like have been looking into the eye of wolf or other feral beast. This was not the kind of eye he needed to be looking into in his present state.
“Manly chores, baby. The Katt insists.” “Honey, please -- ”
She threw back her mane of golden hair. She smiled that sweet Southern smile, then exposed her teeth.
“Jesus H. -- ”
“Tango time, baby.” And she sprung upon him. Outside the door, an ear was pressed close to the keyhole, as Daddy listened intently to the action within. Music to my ears, he thought. His little girl was doing what he had hoped she’d do -- get that drunkard to produce some offspring. And now the bedsprings were rocking and squeaking.
“Please, baby -- ” And the Katt had him pinned back, half naked, and she could decide on simple mating techniques, or whether to leave a gigantic hickey right there in the middle of his chest. My, but that raw chest flesh was tempting.
“Treasure island, honey, X marks the spot.” And her teeth plunged. He let out a cry. But Daddy was gleeful and could not suppress a laugh. Yes, the Big Katt was back and doing what she did best, and Daddy was tickled as all hell. His eyes rolled with glee, his lips parted, and he smiled and smiled and smiled.