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Authors: Victor J. Banis

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Tell Them Katy Did

BOOK: Tell Them Katy Did
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Table of Contents

Copyright

Tell Them Katy Did and Other Short Stories

Tell Them Katy Did

The Kiss of Death

Midnight Special - Author's Note

Midnight Special

Changing Views

Neighbors

Illusions

Clouds

The Princess of the Andes

Tell Them Katy Did and Other Short Stories

By Victor J. Banis

Copyright 2014 by Victor J. Banis

Cover Copyright 2014 by Untreed Reads Publishing

Cover Design by J.D.Netto

The author is hereby established as the sole holder of the copyright. Either the publisher (Untreed Reads) or author may enforce copyrights to the fullest extent.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher or author, except in the case of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages embodied in critical articles or in a review. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This is a work of fiction. The characters, dialogue and events in this book are wholly fictional, and any resemblance to companies and actual persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Also by Victor J. Banis and Untreed Reads Publishing

A Lovely Leave and Over the Rainbow

Home for Christmas

The Girls

What Child Is This?

Willow, Weep

http://www.untreedreads.com

Tell Them Katy Did and Other Short Stories

Victor J. Banis

Tell Them Katy Did

“You’re being followed.”

“Huh?” I said, not very brightly. She had spoken in a whisper, but the effect was the same as if she had shouted. The voice, practically in my ear, made me jump. I hadn’t heard anybody even approaching me, would have sworn I was entirely alone on the street. A woman, walking by yourself late at night, you needed to be careful. I had thought I was. Where the hell had she come from?

I looked sideways. A stranger, cute, young, white-blonde hair. In the moonlight, her eyes, staring hard into mine, looked fashioned of silver.

“What did you say?” I was still having trouble getting a handle on this. What was going on here?

“Not so loud,” she said, still whispering. “I said, you’re being followed. No, don’t look. If they know you’re on to them, they’ll take after you.”

“They who? And who the hell are you?”

“They’re gangbangers, five of them. They’ve been tailing you since you left The Midnight Oil.”

“Why?”

Her smile was mirthless. “Why do you think?”

“Well, yeah, but, Jesus, that’s four, five blocks. If that’s what they wanted to do…”

A car went by. I saw as it passed that it was a cop car. The guy on the passenger side glanced over at us, said something to the driver. I thought about flagging them down, but by the time I’d had that idea, they were gone, disappearing down the street. Another car went by in the opposite direction, a woman, driving alone, staring steadfastly straight ahead.

“That’s why,” she said. “It’s too public here. They’re waiting for you to turn down one of the side streets, where they can do it without witnesses.”

“This is crazy,” I said. “I live down Adams Street. It’s like a tomb there, no street lights, everybody’ll be in bed by this time. You mean as soon as I turn down there, try to go home, they’ll come after me? What am I supposed to do? Shouldn’t we start running now, or something? Try to get away from them before I get to my street?”

“Worst thing you could do. It’s like a mountain lion, someone starts to run, it gets the cat excited, he goes after them. That’s what they like, these guys, they want to know that you’re scared, it turns them on.”

I
was
scared, and getting more so by the minute. Two women, five guys, probably hopped up on something. “What, then?” I asked, my voice going up in pitch, even though we were still whispering.

“Then…this.” She gave me a sudden shove. We were at a corner, one of those dark side streets she had mentioned, and before I knew it, we were around it. “Now we run,” she said, grabbing my arm to emphasize her words.

We did. I thought I heard a shout behind me, and I wondered if we could really outrun them. I jog, not as regularly as I should—not as regularly as I now wished I did—but it was almost 2 a.m., and I’d had half a dozen beers at The Midnight Oil. I hadn’t planned on any track practice.

“Here,” she said, pulling me through a tall, open gate, and behind stone walls, thick and ivy covered.

We were in a cemetery, the old Saint Agnes Cemetery, no longer used since they’d built the new one at the edge of town. She tugged, me, breathing a little too hard, behind a big stone angel on an oversized pedestal, the kind of monument no one put up today. I was glad someone had, whenever. I dropped to my knees in damp grass.

Just in time, too. I heard footsteps running past beyond the wall, deep male voices exchanging barely discernable remarks: “…
a car down there, maybe she…where’d she…fuckin’ bitch.…”

“They’ll come back,” I started to get up. “They’ll look for us. We need to get out of here.”

“No,” she said, her hand on my leg. “No, they’ll give it up, now that you’re gone. I know these guys. By now, they’re a block or more away. They’ll just keep going. It’s what they do.”

“You know these guys?” I was kind of torn, wanting to run, the primitive animal instinct, and trusting her. She’d rescued me, hadn’t she, when I hadn’t even known I was in danger, hadn’t known I needed rescuing?

And, there was that hand on my leg. For a long moment we looked at one another, kneeling in the wet grass behind a cemetery angel. Her eyes locked on mine, a half smile curving her pretty lips. She was beautiful. I hadn’t had time before really to register that. The Midnight Oil. She knew where I had been, then, and there was only one reason a single woman would go to The Midnight Oil—and it wasn’t to pick up a man.

For a long time, her hand was motionless, but it began to move, then, ever so slowly, her touch hardly more substantial than the late night breeze that blew over us. Her smile widened.

“Pretty,” she said. “Pretty pretty.”

* * *

“This is so crazy,” I said, sitting up afterward. “I don’t even know your name.”

“Katy,” she said. “Katy did.”

“Katy
did
?”

She laughed. “Just a nickname, something people called me.”

She stood up. I did the same, brushing grass and leaves from my jeans, and looked toward the street beyond the cemetery gate. “Will it be safe now, do you think?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said.

We walked together to the gate, paused on the sidewalk. The street was dark, empty, utterly silent. Wherever our would-be assailants had gone, they hadn’t hung around here.

“Which way are you going?” I asked.

“The opposite.” She moved as if to leave.

“Where will I find you?” I blushed at my own audacity. I was not as a rule the one to take charge in a relationship. Mostly, I hung back, let the other set the pace, but something about her…she was unlike anyone I’d ever met before. What had just happened was unlike anything that had ever happened to me before. “If, well, you know.” I stammered, feeling like a silly schoolgirl.

She laughed. “Do you know In Your Face?”

“I know where it is. I’ve only been in town a few months. Do you hang out there?”

“Tell them Katy sent you. Tell them Katy did.” She looked up and down the street, and smiled at me. “Better not hang around here.”

I looked, too. There was no one to be seen. When I looked back, she had vanished, as quickly, as noiselessly, as she had appeared in the first place.

* * *

There are two lesbian bars in our city. The Midnight Oil was discreet, set off to itself in a quasi-industrial zone, no neighbors to complain, to see you going in and out and cluck disapprovingly, maybe tell someone at work.

In Your Face was the other bar, and its name said it all. It was not discreet. It sat at the end of a strip mall. If you went there in the daytime, you might run into one of your coworkers exiting KFC with the lunch run, or a neighbor just heading into The Bon Ton. Anytime, you were likely to be seen. The girls who hung out there didn’t care. They were the marchers, the pickets, the headline grabbers. People called them the In-Your-Face crowd, and it fit.

I was still pretty new to the game, wasn’t yet that outspoken, not yet that out. I’d heard of In Your Face maybe my second day in town, from a straight acquaintance.

“I wouldn’t even walk past that place by myself,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Those dykes, you never know. You might disappear and never be heard from again.”

I hadn’t been there, and maybe never would have gotten around to it, but the memory of Katy, Katy did, haunted me. I kept seeing her, in the moonlight, her silver hair spilled across my belly and thighs.

I waited a week, and finally, could wait no longer. I went a little after ten, late enough that the neighboring stores were closed, not so late as to be conspicuous walking through a mall parking lot.

There was a modest crowd, a trio of butches playing pool, a couple of femmes dancing together to a Melissa Manchester song, a quartet in a booth talking animatedly.

I went to the bar. The bartender was tough looking, and big, not fat, but big, six foot tall, at least, and built like a football tackle. Her hair was butch-cut and she wore no makeup. If she hadn’t been big chested, and it had been a different bar, I might have thought she was a man.

She gave me a cautious smile. “What’ll you have?” she asked, her voice a whiskey baritone.

I ordered a Rolling Rock and glanced around. One of the pool players gave me the eye, and I got a fleeting impression that I was now the topic of conversation with the group in the booth. New faces always arouse interest, in a lesbian bar, in a small town. Everybody mostly knows everybody local. Nobody knew me.

“You’re new in town?” the waitress asked, loading drinks on a tray at the service station next to me.

“A few months,” I said.

“What brings you here?”

“Someone suggested I stop by. I was kind of hoping she would be here.” I looked around the room again.

“Anybody we might know?” The bartender sat my beer in front of me. The waitress had her drinks on her tray, but she lingered, curious to hear the answer.

“Katy. Said to say she had sent me. Said to say, Katy did.”

To say I created a sensation is to put it mildly. As luck would have it, Melissa’s song had finished, and I picked one of those moments when everything seemed to pause. The waitress dropped her tray. It bounced off the wood floor, glasses and ice splashing everywhere. The pool players, the dancers, the booth group, everybody was staring at me, mouths open, expressions astonished.

“You trying to be funny?” the bartender asked.

“No, I…what’s wrong?”

“Katy, you say? Katy did?”

I nodded, bewildered. “Yes. Blonde chick, pretty, very pretty. Do you know her?”

“Sorry about the drinks, Beau,” the waitress said. “Set ’em up again, I’ll pay for this round.”

“Forget it,” Beau said. “Better clean up that glass and shit, though, before somebody steps in it.”

She busied herself remaking the round of drinks, setting them on the bar for the waitress. I thought she was going to just ignore me, but when she had that done, she went to a drawer under the liquor shelves, opened it, and took something out. She came back to where I was sitting, and laid a newspaper on the bar in front of me. The picture on the front page leapt out at me. It was my Katy, I was sure of it. Only…the headline read, “Girl dies from vicious assault.”

“Recognize her?” Beau asked.

“Well, I…” I couldn’t think what to say. “It looks like her, sure, but, well, it couldn’t be, could it? It says here, she died.”

“Christmas Eve,” she said. “A bunch of punks. Caught her, shortly after she left here, as a matter of fact. Worked her over pretty bad. They say she looked like so much raw meat when they were done.”

“I’m sorry. She must have been a friend of yours.” My thoughts were whirling. I gave her a rueful look. “Maybe somebody was playing a rotten joke, telling me to use her name.”

She looked at me long and hard. “Look,” she said, giving me another Rolling Rock. “Why don’t you grab that empty booth over there, and I’ll join you in a minute. Annie, how about spelling me?”

“Sure,” the waitress said, coming back from her drink delivery. She lifted the counter and slid behind the bar.

BOOK: Tell Them Katy Did
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