Monday, June 16, 2008

Jayne & the Satanists --Chapter 25


I went home and hid my recent acquisitions in the false ceiling of my closet that actually was the access to the attic.  I swallowed a couple of the benzedrine and thanked Mr. Fine for giving me enough of a stash to start a serious drug addiction.  I took two more.  When I looked at the camera, I saw that it had five exposures left.  So, I shot the remainder of Lex as he slept, woke, ate Dinty Moore and eventually posed for what was going to be a portrait that I was looking forward to seeing.

     When I got to the office I checked the police bulletins.  Nothing yet about a body found on the I-? 5  Then I headed for the dark room.  Under the red light I printed the roll.  The nineteen shots that Fine had taken looked like surveillance photos.  I was shocked to see three of Al Stirling and two of Bianca Hughes.  What most intrigued me though were the shots of Lex.  In the one of him asleep there was another image of him floating above the main one.  The ones of him waking and eating were normal, but the portrait in which he was looking directly into the lens was odd in that there was a bristling simulacrum surrounding him, spiking out as much as three inches in places.  I was definitely going to have to ask LaVey about that cat.

     I took the prints back to my desk and thumbed through them.  What could I figure from this.  Fine was Scream’s hired gunsel?  And maybe a bit of a detective?  Perhaps an assassin? 

     As I was fiddling around, the report finally came in.  White male found on the side of I-?, four miles east? of the entrance to Zuma State Park, face and neck slashed by a wild animal presumed to be a puma. No ID.  Lee called over to me to run the standard check with Dom Simone to see if it could be anyone of interest to our readers and to also scramble up a story on wild animal attacks. 


“I haven’t seen anything like it for years,” said Simone.  His voice had some quality in it that a pro observer such as myself knew was worth probing.

     “What do you mean in years?”

     “Well, there were a series of these attacks about five years ago in the hills.  Savage attacks attributed to a rogue puma.  No spoor, only some fur, unusually black, strange for a puma.  The victims were all low-life types, dealers and such.  We questioned zoos and movie animal wranglers, but nobody was missing anything.  Even talked to that LaVey guy you wrote about, because he keeps a panther, but it was locked inside when any of this happened.  Weirdest thing, no tracks or puma crap, no wildlife seems to have been killed.  And the animal didn’t feed on the corpses, except it seemed to have a taste for the eyeballs.  The corpses were all found missing their eyeballs.”

     My stomach dropped about five floors.  I made some calls and got the dope on wild animal attacks and lashed them together with some ardent speculation about the return of Bigfoot, references to lycanthropy and possible UFO involvement.  I did not want to imply any personal knowledge and I certainly did not want to implicate my pet.  I threw the copy into Hy’s in-basket, then I dialed Jayne.  She said we could meet at Ciro’s.


*  *  *  *


No surprise, she looked radiant in a pink mohair sweater and white pedal-pushers that you could not have slipped a dime in as she slid into the booth.  She ordered a strawberry milkshake with a double shot of white rum.  I ordered a martini and a corned beef sandwich.  “That’s a hell of drink,” I said.

     “Papa suggested it for me.  He called it a velvet daquiri.”

     “Papa Who-I-Think-You-Mean?”


     I was seriously impressed and would have like to have heard about that meeting.  Then I decided Jayne would not have let that knotch on her garter belt slip by, so I did not ask.  “So, Jayne, have you ever been to one of Scream’s weenie roasts at Zuma Beach Park?”

     “No.  I don’t go places where situations can get too outside.”

     “Ever hear of one of Scream’s associates who wears a Pacific Northwest Indian mask?  Black guy?”

     She stopped stirring her drink.  “Whoa yeah?  Hoxhok.  He’s one bad negro indian.  Claims that he’s part Haida from up in Canada.  His name comes from the cannibal crow of the mythology up there.”

     “Who is he really?”

     “Whoever knows with these masked men?  Clayton Moore in blackface?  I dunno.  Could be a pimp or a doctor in real life.  He’s no one to mess with though.  I think even Scream gives him a wide berth.”

     “Scream was hobbling around Zuma while Ariana and Hoxhok bumped uglies in the middle of some ceremonial shindig that involved barbecuing a skinned dog.”

     “Fuckers, I hate anyone who would harm a dog.”

     “Me too.  And speaking of pets.  What’s the lowdown on Lex?”


     “He saved my life the other night.  At great cost to the person who was going to harm me.”

     Jayne’s penciled eyebrows arched into twin inverted Vs.  “Uh oh,” she said.  “As I understand it, Lex wouldn’t hurt anyone, at least not just hurt someone.”

     “What’s the story, Jayne?”

     “We better let Anton tell you that.  Order me another drink, no milkshake this time, just soda and ice.  I’ll ring Anton and see if he’s up for a visit.”


*  *  * 


LaVey served tea that tasted like someone had dropped cigarette butts in it.  The cups were black bone china, of course.  Serena came into the sitting room to thank me for my efforts.  She had managed to scrub most of the blue dye off, though she still had a vascular pallor. She was dressed in black cotton lounging pajamas and wore a tight black turban on her head.  She looked like she was nursing the tail end of foul hangover.

     “Tell me Lex’s story,” I asked LaVey.

     He smiled and put down his teacup.  “You won’t believe me,” he said.  “But, Lex was always meant to be yours, at this time.  He is very old.  He was born in a monastery in northern Italy.  The monks were a rebel sect, the Catharists.  They claimed to be descended from the Crusaders.  Their beliefs mixed Christian doctrines with many of the pagan beliefs brought back from the East by the Crusaders.  When the papacy learned of their practices, they were deemed heretical and an inquistion ruled that they should be destroyed.  Many were burned at the stake, many drowned in dunking trials.  Those who saw the end coming, dispersed throughout the countryside and traveled to France England and Turkey.  Lex was smuggled to England with a Brother Constantine who fell in with the heretical cults abounding in those parts.  Lex was six years old at that time, in his full maturity, his prime of strength, health and wisdom.  He was accepted into the cults with Constantine and soon became a sort of mascot for the Brotherhood of Samhain.  He took part in many ceremonies.  He tasted human blood.  He had congress with a human woman.  He stared daemons in the face.  He grew canny and physically superior.  He became a favorite of the dark forces from the other side.  They bestowed gifts upon him.  He ceased to age.  Certain humans came to be able to understand his language and he theirs.

     “In an imbroglio, Constantine fled to France and he became a consort to Marie Antoinette.  You have undoubtedly heard the tale of the Maine Coon cat....”

     I shook my head.

     “When matters went sour for Marie, she planned to escape to America.  A ship was prepared and her five favorite Persian cats were stowed aboard.  Unfortunately for Marie, she was imprisoned before she could get to the ship.  Learning of her imminent demise, the captain set sail.  The ship landed in Maine.  Now legend has it that the Persians were set free in the forest and that they mated with racoons and the offspring became what are known as the one true indigenous American cat, the Maine Coon.  Scientifically, this is impossible.  However, how did these strong, hardy, self-reliant, twenty-pound cats with persian fur and mottled herring colored markings come to be?  Constantine was aboard that ship when it sailed.  With him was, of course, Lex.  I put it to you that Lex was the nigger in the woodpile, if you will, that he is the father of all Maine Coons, that all are his progeny and his blood runs in all their veins.  These were cats that lived in the forests and fended for themselves, fought off savage enemies many times their size, hunted for their sustenance and survived the hardships of harsh winters on their own with only their thick coats and signature ruffs and snowshoe paws to protect them from the elements.

     Constantine grew old in Maine and his name can be found in the records of the witch trials.  Happily, he eluded the persecutors and died peacefully abed with Lex purring him on to the other side, chanting his soul to another plane.

     “At this time, Lex moved in with a witch named Hyapatia from whom he learned much and taught much.  She had children and, when she died, Lex was handed down to the new generation.  One of these children grew up to be a very wealthy man and Lex was taken with him into Boston society.

     “There Lex became an initiate in the court of the Golden Dawn and,when his master died, Lex became the mascot of that gentlemen’s club.  He was a favorite of the frequent visitor Alastair Crowley, who it is said saw Lex and immediately sat down and had a two-hour conversation with Lex to the exclusion of all other gathered to meet the great man.  Crowley came away from the meeting quite shaken but formidably impressed.  From then on, whenever he entered the club he immediately asked for Lex.


“It is said that when Crowley died, Lex mourned for a week.  When the Golden Dawn club had to be closed because of public suspicion, I had already become a member.  I asked for and was awarded custodianship of Lex. I was required to take a solemn oath of fidelity to the cat, enforceable by death.  And so Lex came to California and became a part of my home and The Church of Satan for eight years now.  But I always knew he was destined for another.  Jayne had told me about you and without reason, I knew that you were the chosen one.  Lex came to you for he was always destined for you.  Just as he was destined to save your life the other night.”

     I was aghast.  “So how old are you saying Lex is?

     “Perhaps six hundred years.”  LaVey leered over his teacup, obviously gleefully enjoying my shock and disbelief.


No comments: