The Dangerous World of Kitty Cat Bojangles
By Marci Darling
I’ve always dreamed of living a highly glamorous life: five star hotels, endless room service, strawberries and champagne. I suppose it all began the first time I listened to Eartha Kitt sing. Visions of peacocks and jewels danced in my head most vividly. Ah yes, exit sugar plums stage left, enter Turkish delights stage right. Eartha isn’t Turkish, but she had wonderful adventures there involving royalty and precious baubles. Her Turkish song, “Uska Dara” inspired me to learn to belly dance. I even thought of changing my name to Muffin Kitt and passing myself off as her daughter. But Eartha is still alive and could claim she had never given birth to me. Besides, she is mulatto and I could never pass for having exotic blood. But while being born white dashed all my ambitions of exoticism, I could purr like a kitten and even growl. Eartha is famous for her cat sounds. If I wanted to become a cat of the highest order like Eartha, I had to change my name; and that is how I became Kitty Cat Bojangles.
As my pocketbook never seemed to match my ten-carat dreams, I was forced into the most menial of human actions—working. And that is when Jimmy entered my life. I have “worked” for Jimmy on and off for years. Jimmy is a gambler who owes everyone in the world a lot of money. He was crazy enough to gamble away a twenty million-dollar inheritance by the time he was twenty-five. Fortunately for him, he was also brilliant and was able to support himself by teaching Literature at Columbia. When I met Jimmy, he had already made another fortune writing and directing movies in Hollywood, but the money was disappearing as fast as he received it. $10,000 a day during payday time, and it was gone like a puff of apricot tobacco smoke from a golden hookah.
This is where I came in. Jimmy gave me the cash (after a stern lecture on the perils of dishonesty, which often resulted in the loss of thumbs or mysterious deaths) and I took it to Vegas and placed his bets for him. Of course Jimmy wrote down the bets he wanted, which were almost always sports teams, and all I had to do was hop a plane to Vegas, take a cab to whichever hotel was new and didn’t know him, and place the bets at the Sportsbook. Easy, right? Well, it was a lot more difficult and dangerous than it seemed, mostly due to some odd peculiarities belonging to Jimmy. For instance, neither of us had a cell phone and Jimmy refused to give me a direct number to contact him. This made communication most difficult. I had to call his answering service and tell him which hotel I was placing bets at and he would call back and have me paged. I never understood why Jimmy didn’t get us both cell phones, or even just use a bookie in Vegas to place his bets for him. It would have made his life a lot simpler. But Jimmy had a lot of unexplainable eccentricities. There were always certain problems and I was always carrying extremely large amounts of cash in my large pink marabou purse. Another oddity of Jimmy is that he would never plan ahead. It was always a midnight phone call or ungodly hour of the morning call and with his devilish voice, I received my instructions and I was off. The biggest problem with this method is that the bets usually had to be placed by ten a.m. due to some nutty gambling rules and that meant with a seven a.m. phone call, I had to race to the airport, park, and race to the ticket counter. After insisting on going ahead of everyone in line, I ran all the way to the plane, sweating and crazed. The process repeated itself in Vegas where I always paid extra to the cabby to “step on it” and had to jump out of the cab and literally run all the way to the Sportsbook counter. To make matters worse. Jimmy often wired money to me in LA or Las Vegas and I had to pick up the money on the way and still make the bets on time. This job always sounded glamorous to others. If only they knew the truth.
When I first met Jimmy, I was eighteen years old and fresh blood to Hollywood. I had my blond hair ratted out in an afro-like hairdo I had seen in a photo of Eartha. As I had only been in LA for three weeks, I hadn’t met enough wolves to make me wary. Jimmy came onto me while I was buying orange juice at 7-11. He told me the usual “let me make you a star, dahling” spiel and instead of realizing he was making a pass at me, I was delighted he had recognized my charms so quickly. I knew I was meant to be a star. The world was waiting for Kitty Cat Bojangles.
Jimmy was a strange bird—there was no way around it. Once he realized he wasn’t going to sleep with me, Jimmy promptly put me to work for him. Back then, I was drunk with the glamour of it all; the money, the celebrities, the daily trips to Vegas. But just as quickly as Jimmy entered my life, he disappeared.
That’s the way it was with the cuckoo—here today, gone tomorrow. I didn’t see or hear from Jimmy for the next three years when out of the blue he tracked me down and invited me to his suite at the legendary Chateau Marmont. Jimmy looked crazy when he answered the door. His dark beard was thick and he wore a red polo shirt with fresh food stains dripping down the front. He had obviously made a feeble attempt to look presentable because he wore an ill-fitting suit jacket over his dirty shirt. His belly was so round the buttons had to stretch to meet their holes. I was disgusted and amused.
“Hiey,” Jimmy said in his slithery voice. He kissed me on the cheek and my stomach turned when I smelled the food stuck to his beard. He ushered me into his suite. As usual, he had two televisions on simultaneously with some form of sports playing. His tables were stacked with books and magazines. He pushed newspapers off the couch to make a place for me to sit and told me about the latest million dollars he had been given for a screenplay that he was supposed to have finished six weeks earlier. He owed the government $750,000.00 and everyone was breathing down his neck to make sure he didn’t gamble. He told me he was going to commit suicide soon. He said he never wanted to live when he couldn’t come at least thirteen times a day and as soon as he was nominated for an Academy Award, he would have achieved everything he ever wanted. I couldn’t argue with that kind of crackpot logic.
“Do you want to make some money today?” His eyes were wild and I could feel his mind going in a hundred different directions. I did want to make some money. Lately I had been forced through financial necessity into very a very unglamorous job working at a bookstore. I tried to pretend I was Audrey Hepburn in “Funny Face” but carrying boxes and punching time clocks severely interfered with my delusions of grandeur.
“Yes, I would love to make some money today.”
“It’s the Chavez-Camacho fight tomorrow night. The odds are six-to-one. I talked to Camacho and he’s hungry. He’s a killer. I know he’s going to win. He wants it more than Chavez. Chavez is too confident. I want you to take fifty thousand dollars and place it on Camacho.” Jimmy sounded so sure of himself I placed a little bet myself. I borrowed $100.00 from my cousin to put it on Camacho. Camacho lost. Jimmy disappeared again.
Over the next few years, I followed my delightful Turkish dreams and made a living belly dancing—a far more glamorous and lucrative job than the bookstore. I had created my own little luxurious world, even on my small income. I wore feathered robes and high-heeled marabou slippers. I had many gentlemen admirers and received a steady stream of gorgeous flowers. I was performing in a sizzling musical where I was treated like the star I always knew I was. Jimmy got nominated for an Academy Award for a screenplay he wrote, but he didn’t kill himself. I knew this, because he called me soon after.
I was lying in my cozy Hollywood bungalow when the phone rang. It was seven a.m., but it was the middle of the night for me as I never awakened before noon. My princess bed consisted of five lumpy futon mattresses given to me by various friends. I felt like the princess and the pea. I sleepily rolled over and reached for my phone. An old-fashioned phone with a white handle and a giant gold ear and mouthpiece, I always felt like Rita Hayworth when I talked on it, especially with my husky sleepy voice.
“Hey Kitty Cat. How are you doing?” The slippery hushed New York accent was unmistakable even though I hadn’t heard it in three years. It was Jimmy; He had tracked me down again.
“Yeah,” he cooed. “Are you doing well?”
“Yes,” I said, still intoxicated from the wine the night before. “I am doing a musical right now.” How I managed to promote myself in my sleepy state never ceases to amaze me.
“How are you doin’ on your rent? Do you wanna make some money today?”
I perked right up. Jimmy was such a juicy mealticket. But I had to play my cards right. If I acted too eager, he would offer me less.
“Sure,” I said. I was trying to act sleepy now. He had no idea how much I needed that money. I hadn’t paid my rent in two months. My motto always prevented me: “Take care of the luxuries, the necessities will take care of themselves.” I had learned this from Caresse Crosby, a dashing expatriate who lived in Paris in the twenties, my favorite literary era. Anybody who changed his or her name from Polly to Caresse was tops on my list. The luxuries were well taken care of. I had a closet full of exotic new sparkling belly dancing costumes, but my landlord was fed up with me. He had no vision—all he could see was the bottom line. I told him if he asked me for my rent one more time, I was going to move out. He sputtered something about how amazing my mind worked and told me in a curt voice I had one week to pay up. Even though my career was going wonderfully well, the money seemed to fly out of my hands as if it had little sparkling wings of its very own. Theater in Los Angeles pays shamelessly low, and I only danced two nights a week—late on Fridays and Saturdays at a steamy Egyptian nightclub—similar to the old Ciro’s of Hollywood—minus the movie stars.
Jimmy cut right to the chase. “I’ll give you $500.00 and pay all your expenses if you can go place these bets for me.”
“Now?” I asked, wanting the money, but horrified at the thought of leaving my warm snuggly bed at this hour.
“Yeah. You would have to leave now to make an eight a.m. flight. The bets have to be placed by ten-thirty. I am wiring you $16,000.00 to a Western Union on Pico. Stop on the way and pick up the cash.”
“Okay, hold on, let me get a piece of paper and write everything down.” My creamy Persian cat had been snuggling next to me, warm and purring all night. She glared at me as I threw the covers off the bed and stumbled over to the stack of glittering butterfly notebooks. “Sorry Bette,” I said. She had eyes just like Bette Davis. The likeness was uncanny.
Jimmy gave me the information and I was off. Big sunglasses, a Bloody Mary on the plane, and I was good to go. Jimmy sent me to Vegas everyday for the next two months. I stayed overnight once making the early morning betting a lot easier for me, but Jimmy had somehow reasoned out that my pay was for flying to Vegas everyday. If I was already there, there was no reason to pay me. I knew it didn’t make sense, but another of my motto’s kept me from questioning Jimmy too much: “never look a creamy gift-pony in the mouth.”
Between late night shows and early morning gambles, I was beyond exhausted. I had always hated Vegas, and here I was flying there everyday. My grandparents had lived in a very unglamorous trailer park there with stacks of The Enquirer cluttering up every available space. Why do old people believe that stuff? They are supposed to be wiser. I hated the Enquirer and I really hated being left in the car for hours on end while the adults stepped inside a casino ‘for a few minutes’. They never had enough money to get out of that dumpy trailer park, and my parents got sucked into the gambling with them. They fettered their meager wealth away. I, on the other hand, was getting richer by the day.
Sometimes Jimmy sent me to the Hollywood Racetrack on the way to the airport and paid me an extra $100.00. Other times he sent me on funky errands. He would have me pick up and cash his checks from the Writers Guild and wire the money to him. I guess he didn’t want anyone to know his address. Once he sent me to cash two $50,000.00 checks that Warren Beatty had written to him. He wanted me to send him $80,000.00 and to take the other 20 to Vegas. Embarrassingly enough for Warren, there were not enough funds to cover the check. I left Jimmy a message, he called the bank from where he was in New York, the OTB (off-track Betting) and he made them cash the checks. And I was off to Vegas yet again.
So now the wacky Jimmy was coming into town. It was hard to believe I had only seen my “sugar gambler” a handful of times during the six years I had known him; at ages eighteen, twenty-one, and now at twenty-four. I had been running for him this time for two months solid, and my world was getting more chi-chi by the moment. Of course he had to stay in the most posh suite at the exclusive Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills. The lobby literally dripped with aurora borealis chandeliers. One could only reach Jimmy’s suite on the tenth floor—the suite took up the whole tenth floor—by taking the elevator to the ninth floor and climbing a secret set of stairs to the tenth floor. This was the same suite made famous by Jimmy’s friend Warren Beatty, who lived there for twenty years.
Jimmy answered the door and actually looked like he had lost some weight. Of course, I hadn’t seen him in three years.
“Hi,” we both cooed and hugged. He could be rather revolting and was, of course, mad as a hatter, but I had a certain fondness for his unique insanity, and the pleasant plumpness he infused into my bank account. When I hugged him, I felt something foreign and hard around his middle.
“What’s that?” I was almost afraid to ask.
“Oh, these fucking guys took a baseball bat to my ribs.” I momentarily hesitated stepping foot through the door, but my curiosity (and greed) got the best of me.
“Oh, I owed their brother some money and I ran into him on the street. “He starts buggin’ me, ‘Where’s my money? Where’s my money?’ I was tired of hearing his pipsqueak voice, so I had him down on the sidewalk and I was beating him and out of nowhere, his two fucking brothers show up with baseball bats. They broke a coupla of my ribs, but they didn’t get any money.” He chuckled happily. “Do you want a piece of cheesecake? I am on this diet where I eat all health food.”
I looked at the coffee table laden with two tempting pieces of creamy cheesecake. “No thanks.” His room looked the same as always—massive chaos. I made room for myself on the couch.
“So, how are you doing?” Jimmy’s eyes looked more demented than ever. If I didn’t know better, I would have guessed he was high. He said he never drank or did drugs. His addictions were gambling and sex. He had told me a story once of how he had tried to fuck himself to death one night. These were the kinds of tales that worried me. My friends called Jimmy “the Kinky Motherfucker”. It was a pretty good description.
“I’m doing great. Belly dancing is most profitable and my musical is doing really well. We’re running into our fifth month.”
Just then the phone rang, and Jimmy lowered his voice to a covert whisper and walked out on the balcony. I slipped out of my red furry showgirl coat, just like the one Mae West wore when she rode in the dogsled in “Klondike Annie” and went to explore Jimmy’s suite. I felt so sneaky, so devilishly wealthy, I was untouchable. The powder room was bigger than my whole apartment. The tub was a dream. I have a weakness for madmen and bubble baths. I was especially enchanted by the white fluffy robes hanging on the back of the bathroom door. Oh how I love being rich. Someday it’ll be me in this suite.
Jimmy got off the phone and re-entered the room. We sat down to talk and he got that really crazy look in his eyes. Oh no, he wasn’t going to cum in his pants again was he? I didn’t have time to find out because the phone rang again. Judging by Jimmy’s extremely schmoozy voice, it was someone important to him at the moment. Now it was my turn to walk out on the gigantic balcony and watch the twinkling lights of Beverly Hills. It was winter, and a brisk wind chilled my cheeks. I crept back into the room to grab my coat, but Jimmy was getting off the phone.
“They’re going to call me back in a few minutes. That was Leonardo DiCaprio’s father. I’m trying to get Leonardo for my next movie. He’s so perfect. But I have to deal with his father.” Jimmy was such a name-dropper. He loved famous people. Jimmy’s next movie was about his days at Harvard. Jimmy had played on their basketball team and had been paid a lot of money to throw the games for the high rollers. I suppose Jimmy had always been morally corrupt. “Let me give you the bets for tomorrow, and tell the valet downstairs to charge your car to my room.”
I left the Beverly Wilshire in my beat-up convertible VW Bug. My bug looked very similar to a convertible Rolls-Royce Corniche, just a bit shoddier. I could hear the engine coming long before the valet reached me. I tipped the valet very well and drove back to my bungalow. I thought about Jimmy and some of his tales. He had told me that he had been a piano prodigy and at age twelve had gone to study with some big composer—Leonard Bernstein or Aaron Copland or someone of that magnitude. He had become their “boy”. Twelve seems way too young to me, but Jimmy said he liked it because he always did the fucking and was never fucked. I always wondered what caused a person to take that extra step into insanity and how can they still be productive and function in the “real” world. I found this question most perplexing. Jimmy was so shady. He told me about mob hits, car shootings, terrible things. Somehow I always felt as if I was in a romantic old gangster movie. It never occurred to me I could be in any danger.
The next day I dragged myself to the airport. Even after awakening day after day to make these runs, I still couldn’t get used to the early mornings. I have always believed the beauty of mornings should be left to the animals and humans should enjoy the nights. Unfortunately, the rest of the world doesn’t agree with me. I was beginning to get to know the other gambler-aholics on a first name basis. There was always an interesting array of characters on their way to Las Vegas. There were old people who had gambled away their retirement but kept winning just enough to keep them coming back. There were old and tired ex-celebrities on the planes and a man who carried a photo of his one-eyed cat, Lucky. I went to the ladies room to powder my nose, keeping my purse very close to me. Jimmy had given me more cash than usual—$24,600.00. It was rather stressful keeping tabs on so much cash.
When I arrived in Vegas, I got a talkie—a cabdriver who wouldn’t shut up. It was way too early in the morning for all this conversation. He said he knew how to win at craps every time, but he didn’t like to be greedy, so he stayed out of the casinos. Right, Mister, and I’m Florence Nightingale. I tried to tune him out, but he was way too loud for me. When I arrived at the hotel, I made a beeline for the bar, but they had the nerve to be closed at nine a.m. I raced to the Sportsbook; the bar detour had wasted precious time. I was getting careless. The Sportsbook was unusually crowded and I pulled over to a side table to write Jimmy’s bets. I did it as fast as possible—I was really under the wire now. The games started early today. I ran over to stand in line, feeling anxious over whether I would make the bets on time. I looked down to my pink fluffy purse, but there was no pink fluffy purse to be seen. Panic shot through my body. In the five seconds it took me to run back to where I had been filling out my betting card, newspaper headlines flashed in front of my eyes: “The Thumbless Kitty Cat Bojangles Found Dead of Mysterious Causes.” Of course, no one really knows who I am so they would more likely read: “Anonymous Beauty Found Dead.” I thanked my lucky stars when I saw my precious bag sitting nonchalantly at the table. The million-dollar question: was the money still in there? I opened the bag and nearly burst into tears. The money was still there. Wow. It was unbelievable—that kind of money sitting alone at a Sportsbook in Vegas, surrounded by desperate gamblers. The angels of prosperity were watching over me. I made the bets and was extremely relieved to have the cash leave my hands in exchange for betting tickets.
Now, phase two of this unusual journey. My instructions were to meet someone named Clarence and pick up a small teakwood box with an elephant carved on the front. I was to meet him in front of Dorothy at “The Wizard of Oz” exhibit at the MGM Hotel. Clarence was someone who worked for Jimmy as well. I stopped in the ladies room to comb my hair, which I had dyed black and cut to look like Louise Brooks in “Lulu”. Oh, I don’t know why I bothered to try to look presentable, but one never knows. Clarence might turn out to be a dashing rich admirer. (But one should never look into the mirror before noon unless one wants to be horrified. Big sunglasses were such a godsend.)
When Clarence showed up, my heart went out to him. He had tried to cover his bald head with three thick strands of hair. It was a sweet attempt really. He had little tufts of hair, like a warthog. I almost expected him to throw his tail up in the air and to take off running like I had seen the warthogs in Africa do when I went on safari last summer. He also had crossed eyes, a belly bigger than Jimmy’s, and to top it all off, he was wearing a priest’s collar. I sighed.
“Meow.” That was our code word.
“Meow,” he said looking shifty-eyed and miserable. He handed me the box and I stuffed it into my purse.
“Thanks, Toots,’ I piped, and winked from behind my glasses. I thought I would give him a little Jean Harlow from “China Seas” but it didn’t cheer him up in the least. I suppose it was the chewing gum I had popped into my mouth a few minutes earlier that had given me a momentary zing. It was most unlike me to be so charming so early in the morning. But he didn’t get it, and I was eager to get home. There was a big fluffy bed with my name written all over it back in Hollywood.
I sighed. “Okay, then, Ciao,” I said, no longer feeling cordial. I looked at him over the top of my sunglasses. “Toodle-oo.” I didn’t wait to hear his reply, but promptly caught a cab back to the airport.
On the plane, curiosity overtook me and I was tempted to look in the box. But my imagination got the better of me. What if it was somebody’s finger, or some poor sap’s nose? Ooh, I did not need to see it. I barely remember the trip home, but I do remember the deliciously deep slumber I fell into the moment my head hit my red satin pillow.
I awoke at eight p.m. and stretched lazily. Oh how I love to sleep. Bette was purring next to me. I turned on Josephine Baker, lit some candles, poured myself a glass of wine, and laid back down. Now, this was what I liked to awaken to—nighttime. My bed twinkled with Christmas lights draped around it, and I gazed dreamily at my cabernet red walls. I had recently painted my abode to look like an opium den. It really worked. The moment people entered, they wanted to lay down and dream. I didn’t want to leave, but I had told Jimmy I would bring the tickets and the box to his hotel. Oh the life of an adventurous minx. I threw on a silky long dress and my red furry coat with matching hat and lipstick. Before I could leave, my doorbell rang. It was the flower man. We were really getting to know each other well. The extremely rich director of my theater show, Busby, had such affection for my starlet ways that he was spreading the adoration on thick. Busby was gay, so he knew how to treat a queen of the theater. ‘Flower man’ was carrying a gorgeous sweet smelling bouquet of pink roses for me. The card read: “To Mistress Minx, the Voluptuous Vixen of my favorite opium dreams. All My Love, Busby.” ‘Flower man’ was also carrying a bottle of Cristal, my favorite champagne. Cristal tastes like butter. I wash my hair with it occasionally, but then I smell so divine I want to eat myself all night and it is most distracting. Needless to say, I decided to have a glass before I left. Two glasses of champagne later, and a bubble bath was calling my name. Oh yes, hot, steamy, with plenty of rose oil. “Divine decadence” at its best.
I suppose I was sleepier than I thought because the next thing I knew it was morning, eleven a.m. to be exact. And I hadn’t heard from Jimmy. Very strange. I was supposed to have met him the night before with his betting tickets and the mysterious box. I tried to call him, but he wasn’t answering. I threw on my black capris, a tight black sweater, and wrapped a pink chiffon scarf around my hair. I hopped into my convertible and drove to the Beverly Wilshire. I wanted his stuff out of my hands. There was no answer at Jimmy’s suite, and I began to worry. A garish yellow ribbon with the words “DO NOT CROSS” printed on it was fastened across his door. Construction or crime scene—either way, something was up. My heart started pounding. I could be in danger. This really wasn’t like him. Well, I suppose it really was like him. He disappeared- never before with loose ends- but, being a mad hatter, he was completely unpredictable. The sudden urge to escape out of the hotel was overwhelming. If I had the acrobatic skills of Cary Grant in “To Catch A Thief,” I would have gone out the window. Alas, I was no acrobat, and certainly not a high-flying one. I descended the stairs quickly. In the sparkling lobby, the concierge called out to me.
I thought it might be a good idea to pretend I didn’t speak English, but he caught me off guard. “Yes?” I said sweetly.
“Please come with me.” I followed him through a carved wooden door and we were suddenly surrounded by cream puffs. I thought I may have entered Heaven. This was certainly my idea of Heaven—cream puffs everywhere. Cream puffs were a definite weakness of mine. I always felt as if I wanted to climb inside one and live there amongst all that warm soft delicious cream. Whenever I was hungry I could just open my mouth and take a lick.
“May I?” I asked the concierge, who was getting more and more handsome by the minute. His chocolate brown eyes were so warm and polite. He bowed his head slightly. I wondered if they taught that in concierge school.
“Of course.” He promptly scooped one up for me in a gilded marshmallow white napkin, and I felt my body quiver in anticipation.
I took a bite and moaned out loud. “Mmmmmm.” That was all I was capable of saying as the heavenly puff melted in my mouth. The concierge led me down a corridor and unlocked an ominous door. I might have been worried about this turn of events if I wasn’t enjoying my cream puff so much. Besides, I had enough money to buy this hotel three times over. Okay, well, maybe not buy it. I really didn’t know how much hotels cost. But certainly I had enough to stay there as an honored guest. Chocolate man sat me down in a cushy chair while he perched himself on the edge of the desk.
“You come here a lot to see the director upstairs, James Schechter.”
I nodded, my mouth still full.
“I don’t know how to tell you this, but last night there was an altercation in his room. Mr. Schechter was shot.”
I stopped chewing, my eyes wide. “Is he all right?”
Chocolate man sighed. “They don’t know if he’ll survive.”
I was stunned. Tears jumped onto my cheeks as I thought of the danger I had unknowingly put myself into. I was supposed to have met Jimmy last night to give him his stuff. I could have been shot too. My face flushed, rather attractively if I do say so myself. I could see my rosy cheeks in a mirror behind the desk. I looked like Marilyn Monroe in “The Misfits.”
Chocolate Man sympathetically patted my shoulder. Now that I looked at his nametag, I saw that he wasn’t a concierge. He was a manager named Jonathon. Jonathon quietly told me confidential information. “I really shouldn’t be telling you this, but there is reason to believe the mob was involved. I don’t know the nature of your relationship with Mr. Schechter, but for your own safety, don’t ask his whereabouts, and don’t go to see him. They have apprehended two suspects, but they don’t know how many are involved.”
I nodded my head. Jimmy had told me something years ago about the Jewish mafia. I thought he was kidding. I turned my weepy eyes to Jonathon and whispered, “Thank you.”
He nodded and handed me a tissue for my nose. “I’ll be right back.” He left and came back with an adorable little pink bakery box, stuffed with cream puffs. He led me out to the valet and made sure I made it safely back to my car.
“Poor Jimmy,” I thought as I drove home. I suppose he was destined for such a fate. He really mixed with dangerous people. I had a fond fascination for Jimmy, but I really didn’t know him well enough to be devastated by the news of his demise. Of course I don’t know if he died, and I probably never will know. The less I know of such a character, the better. I like to think of him in Tahiti drinking Pina Coladas, recovering from his insanity.
It occurred to me that I should go back to Vegas to cash in the tickets. If there was a winning one and I didn’t return, I would never know. I had made so much money from Jimmy, it was the least I could do—collect his winnings. It was incredible to me that I still needed money when I was rolling in it. I would be fine for awhile, but I had been down on my financial wizardry for so long, I wanted to know I had somewhere to go. Jimmy usually lost, but surprisingly enough, he actually won this time. It was really a lot more money than I knew what to do with. I knew how to spend it, but this kind of money might raise suspicions at my bank I turned to the man who knew all about handling large sums of money—Busby, my director. Busby loved my Holly Golightly job and helped me to tuck the money safely away. He explained there are some places you can put money where it will do work for you. If it is enough money, you won’t have to work at all. Now that is what I liked to hear.
The box was another story. I finally opened it, peering into it with one eye in case it was something gruesome. It was actually a black velvet bag filled with the most beautiful sparkling red stones I had ever seen– rubies. Visions of exotic lands and magic carpets and princes wearing golden slippers with upturned toes danced in my head. There was nowhere safe to keep them except where they truly belonged—on a belly dancing costume. They were a breathtaking addition to my red costume, and I felt so rich when I danced in it. I wore one in my belly button and when the light caught it, I became true royalty.
It has been five years, and I never did learn what happened to Jimmy, the poor sap. But I do toast him with Cristal at least once a month, so he is well remembered by at least one person. I am here in my “penthouse lined in satin overlooking Central Park and all Manhattan”. I spend my days in my pink round tub filled with bubbles taking phone calls from admirers. The other day I climbed into a cab and heard Eartha’s voice growl over the car speaker “Fasten your seatbelts.” I see her twice a year at The Carlyle performing her incomparable cabaret show. I am studying her for my own upcoming show at The Plaza. The world is waiting for Kitty Cat Bojangles.