After bidding Hector and Sinistrella adieu, I set off for my favorite cafe. My footsteps on the bricked sidewalk seemed louder than the pensees springing into my head, and wind and birdsongs echoed in the streets in a fashion I'd usually associate with esoteric arrondissements and quaint quartiers. Automobile traffic was unusually light, no doubt due to the price of gasoline. So this is how the end comes: not with the roar of SUVs, but the whimpering of their owners, I thought to myself. Ah, too bad T.S. Eliot was an Anglophilic misogynist incapable of experiencing robust emotions.
Once I'd stationed myself at a window table, I ordered a ristretto and pulled the daily newspaper from my satchel. G.I. JOE TO HEAD JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF; BUSH CITES EXPERIENCE AS PLASTIC MILITARY ACTION FIGURE, ENDURING ROLE MODEL made reading any farther migraine-inducing. I sighed, held my head in my paws and looked down at the table.
"Hello, Rocky," cooed a familiar voice. Evangelina!
"Mi amor!" I cried.
"I'm happy to see you, too, Rocky," she said. "I know now that you didn't have an affair with Angelique."
I took her hand in my paw and kissed it.
"Tell me, darling," I whispered, "have you seen Hector lately? I ran into him today outside Picasso's and he was with the most curious woman, a certain 'Sinistrella.' Do you know who she is?"
"Poor taste in clothing?" she asked.
"Bird-nest McGothic hairdo?"
"I have seen her in the company of Theodore the fascist. At the salon, it is said she bears a distinctive tattoo of a heraldic crest with a rat and a pigeon on her right buttock; and she pays with a credit card under the name "Mrs. John Negroponte."
"Hmmm ..." I muttered, rubbing my feline chin. "I knew there was something odd about her ..."
to be continued