FNP tells of Viviane L’Estrange and the history of the Sleek Cats as he closes in on Ronnie Kay’s (or his own) death.
Film Noir Persona, welcome back to The Sewers, we congratulate you here and now.
Goddamnit, I’m fucking eaten by bed bugs. Eaten. I’ve stayed in this stinking motel room for too long.
Oh why are you in a motel?
I’m on the run, baby, yeah. There’s a bullet out there with my name on it. And there are bullets in my pistol with many names on them. It’s just a matter of who gets their name attached to them first, you see.
So what’s happening?
I’ll tell you in short coz I ain’t got much time. Leah got her beautiful foot in the door of the Sleek Cats, coz that rabid dog Ronnie Kay ain’t easy to track down. But ya know what they say, when you start sniffing you get closer to being snuffed, and Leah she started getting a bit reckless, it’s woman nature, after all –
Oh please, don’t start with this –
Yeah, that’s how it went, they started trailing her, sniffing back, they started seeing her with yours truly, and they started trailing me, but I ain’t that easy to trail.
The beige boiler is trailing you pretty well.
The beige boiler saved my life. Yeah. It was about a week ago, 3am. Smoke coming outta the manholes, roaches covering the sidewalks of these godforsaken streets. I was hit with a sudden urge to disappear in the shadows, there was something in the air that just didn’t move right. you can feel it like an itch, like a nail you clipped too close to the flesh, like a sip of a drink you realize is not yours –
Yeah I was being followed. I made some sudden stops. I leaned over to tie my shoes near parking cars, so I could take a peek at their side mirrors. Nothing. Like a blind man looking for a pair of matching socks in a drawer. But I knew it for a fact. And I knew whoever’s trailing me is up to no good. It was getting to that crucial moment where being followed turns into being hunted, and you gotta act fast when it comes down to this. So I turned around. Started going back the way I came from. That throws them off. It confuses them. Then I spotted her. A long-legged vixen, her hair black as the night. She knew right there she made a huge mistake. She tried to get away, but now, all exposed, I was much faster –
Why do you always sound like a fucking rapist –
But she knew those streets, that broad, and she was damn sneaky. She was about to cross the street to an alley, she was about to disappear. And then, roaring down the road, came the beige boiler, its lights off. My heart was in my throat. I leaped forward to grab her, it almost ran over her, we both fell to the ground. “get your stinking hands off me, you asshole,” she cried, and I said: “I just saved your life, toots, and I think you owe me some answers, so start with your name.” and then it hit me that I’m talking to Viviane L’Estrange.
Oh yeah, the widow of the nastiest Sleek Cats to ever walk these streets. Damn she’s as breathtaking as they come, as beautiful as a suitcase packed with cash in a garbage dump –
More beautiful than Leah?
there ain’t a dame in this world more beautiful than Leah –
That’s sweet –
But Viviane she’s got the body of a roman goddess living in a playboy mansion –
Oh for fuck’s sake –
Anyway, she spilled it. She said the Cats suspect Leah’s up to no good, and they’re on to me too, waiting for me in my joint as we speak. She became friends with Leah, you see, and she wanted to find out for herself who I was before the Cats get to me.
If she wanted to warn you, why did she try to run away?
That was my question exactly, sweetcheeks. She said she didn’t wanna warn me, she was doing her sniffing for Leah’s sake, she was worried I’d bring Leah back with me to my joint, she was worried she’d get hurt. Anyway, I didn’t let it show I knew who she was. Said I knew nothing about the Cats or about LE’strange. But lemmie tell ya something about those widow dames. They know more than you can tell, literally. And I knew from the look in her diamond eyes that she knew I know who she is.
Who’s this LE’strange character?
Nicholas LE’strange, you never heard of him? He was a first class mobster, a man born a villain, they said he climbed outta his mother’s womb with a pistol in his hand. He started the Icelandic-Hawaiian mafia, got it working when it was nothing but three thugs sharing a rusty pistol –
He doesn’t sound Icelandic, nor Hawaiian –
Don’t get racist now–
What? I –
Anything nasty and vile that went on in this jungle concrete in the past fifty years, his hand was in it. Trust me, no police chief in his right mind would want this man dead. He was a true villain, but he kept it all in order. When he took a bullet in the chest in 2014 I bet ya some johns were crying in his funeral. And it took that cat eight whole days to die, with a bullet in him, at the age of seventy.
Oh wow, I bet this Viviane dame isn’t in her 70’s.
Oh no, she’s a fresh pink lady apple, this broad.
So who killed him?
Anyone who could’ve killed him is long dead. The Sleek Cats believed it was the Belgian Dogs who did it, so they just killed every last one of them. Some say it was an inside job devised by his son, who’s in his place now. But you gotta be careful when you talk about these things, y’know. Coz some say he didn’t take his father’s place only in command, if ya know what I mean.
What do you mean?
God damnit, you know what I mean.
Fine. So what did you make of this Viviane? Other than comparing her to fruit?
Oh she’s sleek, I’ll give her that. Hard to read like a dyslexic john’s handwriting. But I believed what she said about trying to look after Leah. And that means Leah’s done a good job getting her foot in the door after all. So I fake being out of town now, and Leah’s getting closer and closer to Ronnie Kay. I’m just waiting for a sign from her now. In one week’s time, I believe it’s all gonna be done with.
You’re going to be done with once you kill him. They’ll know it’s you. And Leah can’t stay there forever, can she? How are you going to get away with it?
You worry your pretty little head too much about it, toots.
I’m just saying you’re going to die.
We have plans for the day after.
Staying in a different motel?
Nah, nah, don’t you worry about it, toots. I’d worry more about the Cats, they’re gonna end up scratching each other after all this, if you know what I mean.
No, I don’t.
Well you just gonna have to wait and see.
And what about the beige boiler? What if it’s of the Sleek Cats?
Nah, nah. The beige boiler, if anything, is my guardian angel.
Right, if that helps you forgetting you’re going to be killed, I guess that’s alright. We wish you the best of luck.
Thanks, baby. And worry less, so you won’t get wrinkles, it ain’t pretty on a woman.