Normal History Vol. 167: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 28-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Cathy Corncob piped up loudly and hauled herself up off the sticky, red vinyl bench seat at the back of the speedboat. “There is nothing in my past that I regret,” she yelled at the captain, who, surprised by the outburst, heaved the wheel so hard to port that Cathy’s open-toed sandal caught on a neatly coiled line on the deck and sent her spilling, full speed ahead, toward him. He killed the motor and the bow of the boat dropped as they slowed to a stop.

“Holy Toledo,” he said, pushing his cap back to rub his forehead. He wasn’t sure if it was a moo-moo or a kaftan that Cathy was all twisted up in, but he was damn sure it was blood dripping out of her ear, staining his otherwise immaculate deck.

He’d tried damn near everything to get her to own up to killing Voxy, the extremely irritating cat that had lived in the house between them on Window Island’s main street. Sure, he had threatened to strangle its scrawny neck the next time it kept him awake with its insane yowling, but if his distraught neighbors had bothered to take a look in Cathy’s direction and seen the smug expression on her face rather than assuming he’d gone ahead and killed the damn cat, they might not have been so quick to judge.

Cathy held her pink chenille robe at the waist with one hand while the captain stood there in his none-too-clean white T-shirt, boxer-briefs and gray athletic socks.

The new neighbors, a young couple, hunched over the lifeless body of Voxy, muttering about calling the police. There was no doubt in the captain’s mind how this was going to play out. He was being framed for the not entirely senseless killing of a borderline innocent animal. As he digested the details, he saw a length of fabric on the porch several feet beyond the crouching couple. The pink chenille sash. Cathy saw it, too.

“Dear God in heaven,” the captain screamed, clutching his head with both hands. A man of action over words, he jumped up and down repeatedly, pulling his knees tightly into his chest, making him look largely like an incensed gorilla at the zoo.

The young man helped his weeping wife into their kitchen and slid the door closed. Cathy flung off her robe, leapt naked onto the neighbor’s porch, snatched the sash and held it between her teeth as she navigated back to her veranda. The captain’s mouth fell open. He scuttled inside.

After the police left, the captain phoned Cathy to talk her round.

“You won’t get away with this,” he bellowed before slamming down the receiver.

Spring turned to summer and nothing more happened until letters arrived summoning all three parties to appear in court on the mainland. Sure, the captain knew Cathy had no way to get there when he calmly offered her a ride, but he never meant to kill her.