SiP 1-2

STRANGERS IN PARADISE 1-1

Flashback:

Ten years ago. At Puncture High School Francine Peters is rehearsing her lines for the Sip1-1school play. She’s about to go on in a few minutes, but she complains to Miss Beem that her toga won’t stay up like its supposed to. Miss Beem doesn’t want to hear about it. Suddenly Francine is yanked into the shadows by her naughty friend Katchoo, who was suspended for blowing up some guy’s locker. Katchoo says she doesn’t want to miss watching her best friend make a fool of herself in front of the whole school. Francine misses her cue. Miss Beem finds Francine and thrusts her out on stage. Francine is playing a serving wench, but she drops a pot of liquid refreshment. Freddy Femur slips on the spilled liquid, and grabs Francine’s toga on his way down. Francine is left standing there wearing nothing but her panties after her wardrobe malfunction, boobs revealed in all their glory.

Flashback:

Last week. Freddy Femurs and Francine Peters are sleeping together, but he’s too clumsy. He grabs the wrong things, licks the wrong things, and rolls over on Francine’s hair. She makes him sleep on the floor once again. In the morning Katchoo’s alarm clock goes off. She pulls a gun out of her drawer and shoots the clock, destroying it. This draws her roommate Francine rushing in to see what happened. Freddy mutters that it was probably her vibrator backfiring again. Freddy follows Francine into Katchoo’s room and starts giving her a hard time. Katchoo won’t roll over for him, she retorts that Freddy should keep trying to get laid, every dog gets a bone if he begs long enough. In the kitchen Freddy is upset, not so much that he had to take Katchoo’s crap, but that Katchoo was right. This leads to an argument where Francine reveals she doesn’t want to “give it away” because she’s afraid Freddy will have his conquest and immediately leave her. Freddy works himself up into a rage and leaves her right then. Katchoo sits next to Francine on the floor as Francine cries, and tells her she believes no man is ever going to love her like she wants them to because they don’t know how. Then Katchoo says if Francine wants somebody to beg for her body every night she would do it herself. This is a joke to Francine, who begins to laugh through her tears, but it is no joke for Katchoo. She pretends to woo Francine, and almost kisses her, but Francine freaks out, screams, “Why does everybody keep trying to…” and leaves. And Katchoo punishes herself for being so stupid.

Francine misses Freddy, she leaves message after message on his machine. In an art museum, Katchoo expresses her disdain for a sculpture by leaving a used tampon on it. This is observed by David Qin. When he catches up to her, he mentions what he saw her do, and she replies, “Sexist crap!” Then he says asks, “What does this piece say to you?” and she merely replies “Piss off!” and leaves. He follows her out into the rain, and receives more abuse, but he’s persistent. He brings up the idea of just having coffee together, and this finally breaks through to her.

Francine goes to Freddy Femurs’ office to see him, and barges her way past the secretary, Margaret, who is trying to ensure Freddy’s privacy. Francine insists, however, and goes straight to his office where she throws off her trench coat to reveal a voluptuous body in a bikini. But Freddy is already in the middle of banging a secretary on his desk. Francine is devastated and flees in tears. Freddy fires Margaret.

In the coffee shop Katchoo gets more and more agitated as she lays down the law how things will be, and if David ever lies to her she will feed his balls to his cat. The waitress offers some decaf.

At home Francine has been on a food binge all day. Katchoo says the phone is for Francine, it’s Freddy, and Francine rushes to pick it up. They arrange a meeting. Francine admits it was her fault he turned to the other woman, and she wants to start over fresh. Freddy says it’s not worth it, and he has to get going, he’s got someone waiting in his Porsche. Francine has zero self-esteem at this point, she is begging for him to reconsider. Finally she strips off all her clothes and throws them in his face, ready to give her body to him at last, right there in public, but he won’t do it.

At home Katchoo is doodling in her art studio, and naturally Francine’s face pops up on the painting. David is there and he’s very impressed with her style. Katchoo is pleased, but she pretends that his saccharine sweetness is too much. Outside their window, Francine crashes her car into a tree. She’s unconscious. Katchoo can’t open the driver’s side door. David can open the other door, but he’s reluctant to pull Francine out because she’s naked. Katchoo makes him carry her into the house. In her delerium, Francine says, “No Freddy, don’t…” and Katchoo comes to the conclusion that Freddy raped her. She swears by almighty Goddess that he is a dead man.

1-2

Katchoo is wearing Army fatigues and is trying to get a canvas bag full of something into a van. Her geeky neighbor tells her to stand aside and he’ll load it for her. But it’s verySip heavy, and he drops it, and it sets off a LAWS rocket which destroys her garage. But it’s all just Freddy’s nightmare.

David reads poetry to Katchoo. She decides to break it to him so he doesn’t waste any more time. She says, “I’m not interested in men.” He looks at one of her own paintings of a muscular nude, and this seems to throw her off guard. Francine stumbles into her studio, awake at last. Katchoo takes her back up to bed because she has a concussion. Francine doesn’t even know who Freddy is, indicating amnesia. Katchoo grabs a gun and runs out after Freddy at last. David looks in at a sleeping Francine and sheds a tear.

Katchoo comes upon Freddy while he’s wrestling with a drunk floozie on the floor. Katchoo whistles for Debbie to come in. Debbie is a mountain of muscle with a mohawk, a cigar, and a “Girl Happy” t-shirt. Katchoo suggests that Debbie take the “sweet tart” for a walk. Freddy picks up the phone to call 9-11, but Katchoo cuts that short with a drawn pistol. Freddy tries to explain what happened with Francine, but Katchoo doesn’t believe him. She tells him to take off his pants. When he stalls, she says get them off or Debbie will do it for him. He says he has friends in high places who will “fix her”. She retorts that Francine is in a coma, can he fix that? Freddy didn’t know that, but Katchoo doesn’t believe that either. A stray shot from her gun is what finally convinces him to strip. Katchoo has an electric carving knife. Freddy freaks out and tries to run, but Debbie throws him to the floor and ties him up good. Freddy offers her money, his car, anything. Katchoo says she only wants one thing from him, but not to worry, she’ll hand it right back in a second.

Katchoo comes home, checks Francine, and thanks David for sitting with Francine all night by giving him a kiss on his cheek. She tells him Freddy won’t be jumping any woman for a long time.

Freddy hangs by his hands in the display window at Macy’s, naked, his face done up like Bozo the clown. A crowd of laughing women have gathered around. There’s a magnifying glass set up right in front of his unit, and he’s wearing a sign that says, “Hi, my name is Ready Freddie! Won’t you take me home with you?”

1-3

This morning Katchoo destroys her alarm clock by dashing it against the wall. She goes to check on Francine, but can’t find her in bed. She’s in the kitchen chowing down on volume01issue03anything she can find. She really wants liver. She still has amnesia. Katchoo answers the door bell and its the cops, who read a long list of charges filed by Freddy. When they haul her away, Francine’s memory returns. Freddy tells her Katchoo tried to kill him, and Francine can’t believe it.

Detective Walsh, homicide, interrogates Katchoo down at the station. He says she’s there on felony charges, and he mentions that she looks familiar. She didn’t put any prior arrests on her paperwork, and she’s reluctant to answer any questions. Detective Walsh is forced to look it up on the computer. He finds that the FBI has a lock on her file, so he can’t even access it. Meanwhile, in her cell, the jailkeeper tries to get cute with her, she’s one third of his weight, but she gets him on the floor with a nose-lock that threatens to rip his face off. Only the return of Detective Walsh saves him. David Qin visits her in jail to comfort her.

Freddy’s former secretary Margie helps Francine sneak into his office as revenge for firing her. Margie knows about some shady dealings of his, and she gets on his computer in a back room to obtain proof. Francine hears someone coming. It’s Freddy! She goes out into his main office to confront him. To play for time, she lifts up her shirt to flash some tit. Freddy has a baby powder fetish, and she’s wearing baby powder. Margie has the disk and slips out of the office, seen by Francine. She straddles Freddy and starts to make out, but then goes, “But first, if you don’t drop all the charges against Katchoo, I’m going to give your Berger Foods file to the DA!” It spoils the whole moment. Freddy agrees to release Katchoo immediately.

Later at home, Francine and Katchoo and David reflect on their friendship over wine and a spaghetti dinner, together with Margie. The 106-issue epic love story that is Strangers in Paradise has only just begun.

STRANGERS IN PARADISE 2-1

For two months Katchoo has been missing, with not a word where she went. For five weeks Darcy Parker has put a detective to watch Francine and David’s every move until ICO003921Katchoo shows up. She finally arrives at the airport on a flight from Canada. Francine has let her bangs grow too long and gained a lot of weight.

Flashback: Katchoo is a top shelf hooker. She’s riding in a limosine with a woman named Emma as they travel to the next customer, but we guesss she’s really thinking about Francine and she’s crying. Later we learn she is actually worried about Emma.

Flashforward: Katchoo, David, and Francine are in a diner, and Francine has eaten everything on her plate. Katchoo gets her to admit none of her clothes fit anymore. Katchoo says she’s known her since seventh grade, and when she eats like this it means she’s unhappy. The three play a game of musical trivia for a while, then Katchoo hurries up to leave. Francine whispers to David that something’s wrong.

When they get home, Katchoo is upset that Francine didn’t water her plant, and it’s dying. She says, “I’m so sick and tired of everything around me dying!”. Katchoo storms off to bed. Francine tells David she doesn’t know what that meant, but she intends to find out.

Late at night Katchoo comes out to the piano and plays a piece of sheet music written by Emma just for Katchoo called “I Dream of You”. Katchoo’s eyes well with tears, and she says, “Oh Emma.”

2-2

Katchoo dreams she’s a character in a Disney cartoon like Red Riding Hood, walking in the woods with a basket of flowers. She’s being chased by an anthropomorphized alarm clock and seeks sanctuary in a tree with some cute chipmunks. The animals smell strangers-in-paradise-2something dead, and they realize it’s Katchoo. They want her out of the tree now. The alarm clock goes, “Dead girl dead girl dead girl…”. The chipmunks stomp on her fingers and she falls into a black abyss. Then she wakes up and throws her real alarm clock in the toilet.

She goes downstairs and intercepts Francine eating a midnight snack consisting of a tub of ice cream and a whole bottle of chocolate syrup. They have a serious talk about what’s bothering Francine, and it has to do with how Katchoo just disappeared for two months without saying a word. Francine thought they were close friends who would never do such a thing.

Darcy Parker checks in with her detective, who is parked in a van outside Katchoo’s house. He reports that Katchoo is still inside. Darcy mentions in a menacing tone that the detective has already lost Katchoo one time, and a second time would be intolerable. To make her point, she tosses her drink over her bodyguard’s (Bambi’s) shoulder. Bambi draws a pistol and shoots the glass dead-on. This seems to get the full undivided attention of the detective, Mr. Digman.

David calls Katchoo and asks her to come down to a certain art gallery. When she arrives, she sees all her own paintings on display. David saw a chance and took the liberty of putting them on display when Katchoo was missing. This is her big break, something she’s been waiting for, but she cries and runs outside into a park, followed by David. He tells her Francine is upset because Katchoo won’t say what’s wrong. Katchoo says she can’t because it would break her heart, and she tells David her secret:

Katchoo told Francine she quit high school to live with her aunt. In truth, she became an alcoholic living on the streets of LA, doing anything to survive, because home was a mother on Prozac and a father who raped her when she was fifteen. Then Katchoo met Emma, who took her in and cleaned her up. Emma was a prostitute, and for a while so was Katchoo. When Emma went back to Canada, Katchoo moved in with Francine.

Katchoo went to Canada to be with Emma for a while, because Emma is dying. She has AIDS.

2-3

Late one rainy night Katchoo sits awake remembering Emma, and the advice she gave before Katchoo took on her first customer as a call girl. “Ah come on, Honey,” Emma says when she finishes. “It’s not like it’s going to kill you!” Sad memory.

Katchoo goes to her ICO003923drawer and pulls out a t-shirt with an image of a bagel on it. She remembers Emma feeding her bagels and telling her to “put some meat on that scrawny butt of yours.” Happy memory.

David stumbles in when Katchoo is partly undressed, then chastely averts his eyes and waits outside. By coincidence, he has brought her some cream cheese…and bagels. Katchoo is in such a good mood David feels ready to tell Katchoo his secret: He’s falling in love with her. Katchoo gets very angry suddenly, and slaps him silly. She doesn’t know what to do with that revelation, and she asks David if he remembered when she said she didn’t like men.

David tells her he understands that she feels that way after being raped by her stepfather and being a hooker. She sets him straight on that. Katchoo wasn’t a hooker, she was a call girl. She only had two customers who paid her to be companions, and sometimes much more. And Katchoo charged them a fortune for it. David says he knows a lot of guys with girlfriends like that. Katchoo replies that her customers weren’t “guys” they were women. But she admits she doesn’t know what she feels for David, he confuses her.

David tells her it means a lot just to be able to stand near her and share something of her life. This sincerity is picked up by Katchoo, and she kisses him. Francine witnesses this.

Telephone call for Katchoo, it’s the hospice in Canada. Emma has taken a sudden turn for the worst. Katchoo starts packing her bags to leave, over the objections of Francine who begs Katchoo to finally tell her what’s going on. No time. David says, “Please let me help.” Katchoo touches his face and says, “You already have.” Then she leaves.

Mr. Digman the detective calls Darcy Parker while he’s chasing Katchoo’s SUV in the rain. He tells her she’s making a break for it, but he’s on her like glue. At the last second, Katchoo takes a right turn for the airport, while Digman keeps going straight.

At St. Mary’s Hospice, Katchoo shares Emma’s last few hours on Earth. David and Francine arrive too, but they remain outside in the hall. It’s snowing outside. In Emma’s final minutes of life, Katchoo looks at a picture of her and Emma in Hawaii, when they were so happy. She reminisces about their time there. They were so brown. Emma wrote a song for Katchoo, “Baby June”

…and if your baby let you down at night,

well Baby June would make it up alright,

and I was never ever happier than in the arms

and in the charms of her.

2-4

The detective, Mr Digman, is accosted by Tambi, the twin sister of Darcy’s bodyguard Bambi, in a dark alley. Tambi is about six foot seven with long flowing blonde hair. She says she’s the Tooth Fairy and smashes Digman’s face into the wall to obtain a tooth.ICO003924 Then she grabs him by the nostrils to get his undivided attention. Tambi says Katchoo is a dangerous woman, and since Digman has failed to report her whereabouts for the last week, they were worried for his safety. He says he lost her at the airport. This is not what Tambi wanted to hear. She breaks some bones, and the interview continues.

Francine makes some french toast. At Katchoo’s request, Francine kisses Katchoo with her mouth full of french toast and syrup. Katchoo says her kiss is just as sweet as she thought it would be. Francine interrogates Katchoo about the kiss she saw her give David, and Katchoo feigns ignorance at first. Then she says it was just a reward for David saying something nice, it didn’t mean nothing, she kisses her cat too.

Francine’s mother drops by unannounced, with uncle Maury in tow. He’s had too much to drink on the plane, and he keeps dropping hints that he needs another drink. Momma doesn’t like “Tina” very much (that’s what she calls Katina Choovanski, aka Katchoo), and asks if she’s still dating girls. Momma and uncle Maury then proceed to embarrass the heck out of Francine as only relatives can, but Katchoo grins and bears it all with unworldly patience.

Darcy Parker arrives in town. The owner of the Florence Hotel tells her the penthouse suite is ready, but they were unable to locate a bottle of 1812 Chateau d’Yquem, but they found an 1811 Napolean Grand Cognac and had it flown in that afternoon. “Not for me you didn’t,” she says. “God I hate this town.”

Tambi is waiting in the adjoining room with Mr. Digman tied in a chair, looking quite the worse for wear. Darcy greets Tambi warmly, then says, “Well, Mr. Digman, I ask you to do a simple job…”

“Parker?” he interrupts her.

“Mrs. Parker to you, dead man! Mrs. Darcy Parker.”

2-5

Katchoo has another troubled night, with one nightmare nested within another about Emma and Francine. She calls David to talk about her dreams. He is glad she is reaching out again. He thought she was cutting him out of her life.volume02issue05

Darcy’s female butler Samantha informs her that Mr. Digman’s vital signs are dropping after his “meeting” with Tambi, and if he does not receive medical care he will die. Darcy says she’s made her point and Digman may leave. And she says give Tambi a raise.

Francine is caught in a rainstorm when she goes to the grocery store. She’s dripping wet as she walks the aisles. She grabs a box of cereal, opens it right there and starts munching. Suddenly she bumps into Freddy Femurs. He has a blonde girl named Casey with him with a perfect tan, perfect body, and perfect boobs. She’s an aerobics instructor. Freddy announces they’re going to be married in Hawaii standing naked under a waterfall, which Casey thinks is the most romantic thing she ever heard. Francine is “happy” for them both. Casey offers her services to help Francine lose the extra weight, then they move along, leaving poor chubby Francine standing there, crying in a puddle of rainwater and cereal.

Katchoo is working in her studio. Francine comes home wearing a mini-dress and looking so good that Katchoo’s ovaries nearly drop on the floor. Katchoo says she is so gorgeous she could eat her with a spoon. Francine tells her that Freddy Femurs is engaged to be married. Katchoo is pissed that Francine has been in a funk for the last year over Freddy, and she’s only now pulling out of it because Freddy is unavailable. “That’s sick!” But being totally neurotic is part of what makes Francine who she is, and Katchoo loves her for it.

Detective Walsh goes to the hospital to see Wayne Digman. He has a blown kidney and other damage. His face looks like someone hooked his nose and tried to peel it off. This isn’t the first time it happened to him. Katchoo did the same thing to him a year ago when Digman tried to get cute with her in the jail cell. Detective Walsh tells his lieutenant to get a warrant and arrest Katina Choovanski on suspicion of felonious assault. Walsh looks again at what bad shape Digman is, and says get a second warrant just in case, for murder one.

Finally Darcy Parker has her report on Katchoo. They lost her in Hawaii because she bribed one of Darcy’s own porters to take her to a dumpster hidden in a trash bag, and then come back later to drive her to the airport. Katchoo got the money to bribe the porter from a Mr. Chalmers who gave her a large sum to dine in his room. The porter was terminated, and Darcy vows to repay Mr. Chalmers later. In the meantime she wants to know everything about the girl. Katchoo’s roommate. Francine.

2-6

Francine’s turn to dream. She and Katchoo and David are little kids drawn in a simple ICO003926_1style, like “Peanuts” characters. Katchoo calls David a doo doo head and wants him to go away. Francine gets upset and says she likes David. She likes him a lot. She loves David, as a matter of fact. She wakes up confused about whether she loves David or not. But one thing she’s certain of, she doesn’t want to get in between Katchoo and David.

On the refrigerator Katchoo has left a note for Francine to join David and her at the mall. But on the way out the door, Francine is intercepted by the police, who have a warrant to search her house. They’re looking for Katchoo, of course. Francine doesn’t know where she went. When they ask if she left a note, Francine lies and says no. They make Francine aware of Katchoo’s past felonies, and that there’s an FBI file on her as thick as a phone book which mentions prostitution, drugs, embezzlement you name it. Francine doesn’t believe them.

Darcy’s butler Samantha tells Darcy that the police have an all-points bulletin out on Katchoo, who is currently at the mall. She also says Tambi is on her. Darcy doesn’t want to lose Katchoo to the police after all the effort she has taken so far. She gives orders for Tambi to pick her up. And she wants Katchoo in one piece.

Now here’s the interesting part. Samantha, and Tambi, it seems, are double-dealers. Over the phone Samantha tells Tambi to move in on Katchoo, and to do whatever it takes to keep Darcy Parker from talking to her.

Katchoo is picking out clothes with David tagging along. She sees Tambi moving in, and excuses herself to go to a fitting room to try on a dress. Tambi follows her to the back of the store and looks under the stall doors. She says, “Hey Cinderella. Tick Tock. I told you it was just a matter of time.” No answer. She bashes in the door, but the stall is somehow empty.

2-7

David reconstructs for Francine the events leading up to Katchoo’s disappearance. He gets to the part where Katchoo wanted to try on a dress in the fitting room, and Francine’s ICO003927_1alarm bells go off. She takes David into her room and shows him Katchoo’s closet. No dresses there. Has he ever seen Katchoo wear a dress, she asks? No.

They get into an argument because David is asking Francine questions that she feels David would know better, since Katchoo seems to confide in him more. David complains that he wants to fit in, but there’s no room. Francine spells it out for him: Katchoo is gay. David isn’t so sure, but he knows why she’s not interested in men right now. It’s because Katchoo is in love with Francine, he tells her. And this throws Francine for a loop. David decides its time to tell Francine everything about Katchoo, and Emma…and him.

Speaking of throwing things, Darcy throws a flower pot because Samantha and Tambi lost Katchoo. Darcy wants her because she’s got $850,000 of her money. And there’s another problem. Wayne Digman survived surgery and he might soon be talking to the police. Darcy goes crazy and pushes Samantha’s head into a mirror. She threatens to pin it all on her and leave her to rot in jail if she doesn’t take care of their Katchoo problem and their Digman problem right away. Then she has an idea. “Bring the girlfriend to me. That will flush Baby June out.”

Digman can barely speak. He fingers Darcy Parker for Detective Walsh and says her file is on his desk downtown. Walsh dispatches a policeman to retrieve it. They watch a tall muscular nurse come up to tend to Digman and leave. In the hallway Walsh and his lieutenant Reeves talk about the nurse, put two and two together, and realize she’s the assailant. By the time they get back to Digman’s room he is dead with a sudden cardiac arrest, and the “nurse” is gone.

Katchoo almost succumbs to the bottle sitting in her hotel room. She remembers her AA meetings, and overcomes the temptation to drink. She asks God not to let Francine hate her, and then makes a call. During the conversation, Francine says that David told her everything. She loves Katchoo and doesn’t care if she was a prostitute who went by the name Baby June. Katchoo freaks out. She says she never told David her nickname. There is no way he could know...unless David is one of them!

Francine says a limosine just pulled up in front of the house. Katchoo keeps screaming at Francine they are killers. David approaches Francine. Katchoo screams at her to run!

2-8

Katchoo is still on the phone, but Francine is not. She has been replaced by Samantha, who recognizes “that hoarse little voice anywhere”. She reminds Katchoo the deal was she 51w0jqCqnkL._SY445_disappeared forever, and they wouldn’t kill her. Yet here she is. Katchoo just wants to talk to Francine to know she’s alright. Samantha says Wayne Digman didn’t appreciate being thrown off the police force after Katchoo pressed charges for sexual assault in the jail cell. Digman had access to Katchoo’s records, and now Darcy knows everything.

Samantha lays out Katchoo’s choices. Either she agrees to meet with Darcy, or she gets to listen to Francine’s brains being blown all over the room. David is no help, he’s being held by Bambi. Katchoo breaks, and says she’ll do anything they want, but don’t hurt Francine.

Detective Walsh goes over the Darcy Parker file in his office. She’s 36, and married to an 80 year old billionaire. Walsh finds a blurb about Senator Frederick Chalmers, under investigation for financial discrepancies in fundraising for the Republican Party. He was found dead last week handcuffed to a bed, with polaroids all over the place. But four years ago he was found unconcious at a party in the Parker residence, officially of “exhaustion”. The FBI discovered he was having sex with two prostitutes at the time. When he passed out, the prostitutes are alleged to have removed 12 cashier checks of RNC “clean money” worth a total of $850,000 from his wallet and disappeared. And the file goes on to say Darcy gave the name of one of the prostitutes as Katina Choovanski.

Who, coincidentally, is trying to get through on the phone to Walsh with information about Darcy. Walsh takes the call.

Francine sits in a chair in Darcy’s penthouse suite, with her hands tied behind her back while the mountain of womanflesh named Bambi reads a magazine. Francine keeps trying to rattle Bambi, but nothing works until she says, “You dye your hair, don’t you?” This finally earns her an icy look.

Then Darcy arrives, saying to Francine, “So you’re Katina’s flavor of the month.” Francine tells Darcy she is in big trouble for kidnapping her, and this earns her a slap. Darcy asks if Katina ever mentioned the money she stole from her. Francine says she wouldn’t steal from anyone, she doesn’t even care about money. Darcy says, “Not anymore she doesn’t.” Francine won’t rat on Katchoo no matter how much Darcy tries to scare her, and Darcy is quite the psychopath. Finally she says she likes Francine’s loyalty.

Katchoo is admitted into the room. When she passes by, Bambi says, “No matter what goes down here tonight, your ass is mine.” Katchoo isn’t rattled, she just tells Bambi to get in line.

Katchoo sees that Francine is bleeding from the mouth, but otherwise alright. Katchoo tells Darcy she didn’t take the money. When Darcy asks who did, Katchoo makes eye contact with Samantha but says, “I don’t know.”

Darcy asks if Katina knew she had a brother. She produces David, and says, “I believe you two know each other.” Katchoo is shocked. David sheepishly tries to explain, but Katchoo’s shock turns to anger because he was lying all along. “You bastard!”

Darcy tells her not to be so hard on David, she would be dead now if not for him. David lived with her for months and saw no sign of the money. David is family, so Darcy believes him. Darcy asks if Emma took the money. Katchoo tells her Emma is dead. Darcy whispers to her now. “You want to go live happily ever after with your girlfriend? I’ll let you go, I promise. Who took the money?”

Katchoo turns her head to make eye contact with Samantha again. Darcy follows her glance.

Samantha realizes she’s been fingered. To Darcy, it all makes sense. “You tell me those girls took off with my money, but four years later I find them broke or dead, and I find you making deposits into several Swiss bank accounts!” Samantha reaches for the gun in her waistband while she stammers that there’s been some mistake. Darcy screams, “There’s a four year old Swiss bank account with $850,000 in it, and it’s in your name! Explain that, Samantha!”

She puts a gun to David’s head and tells Darcy to back off or she’ll blow his head off. Katchoo is wired for sound. Detective Walsh, who is listening in a car outside, orders everyone to move in.

Darcy antagonizes Samantha, causing her to aim the gun at Darcy in her rage. The police bust down the door and tell her to freeze. She turns and takes some shots at them, suicide by cop. Walsh puts a round right through her head.

Bambi only cares about taking Katchoo out. She yells, “Cinderella!” and fires one shot. Francine can only sit in the chair as Katchoo goes down. The police fire at Bambi and take her down as well.

Walsh scoops Katchoo up and carries her downstairs to a squad car, with Francine in tow. They rush to St. Lukes, ETA four minutes.

Katchoo says she feels so cold. Francine tells her to hang on, “Don’t leave me, I love you, I love you…” Two minutes to the hospital. Katchoo hears, “Hang on Chewie, we’re almost there.”

Only Emma called her Chewie. Katchoo searches Francine’s eyes. “Emma?” Her eyes well with tears. “Oh Emmie…”. Then she falls silent and her eyes stare off into infinity.

2-9

ICO003929_1Katchoo sees Emma in a place that looks like Hawaii, and asks if this is heaven. “Sort of. You can see it from here,” Emma replies. Katchoo doesn’t want to go back. Emma tells “Chewie” she must go back, her whole life is in front of her. It’s a gift from God. “I’ll be here when you come back,” she promises. She turns in her hospital bed and sees Francine there waiting for her. Katchoo takes her hand, and Francine sheds quiet tears of happiness.

Katchoo has made a rapid recovery from her bullet wound. Detective Walsh stops by, says anyone brave enough to walk in there with a wire he considers a partner, Samantha Weis was pronounced dead at the scene. Bambi Baker is recovering a couple floors above them, when she’s ready she will be indicted for the murder of Wayne Digman. Darcy Parker herself is rich enough to wiggle out of any trouble she might be in. Katchoo mentions that Bambi has a twin sister Tambi, and she thought she saw her recently, but Walsh says Tambi has been in California with alibis and witnesses.

Walsh gives Katchoo her FBI file, he had a buddy pull her file out and purge her from the computer. Katchoo is free and clear, but Walsh says he thinks Katchoo has more than a gunshot wound to recover from. He wishes her luck.

Freddy runs into a pal who once dated Francine. He talks about what a wild girl she was, and how great the sex was. This gets Freddy thinking about her again, and in fact this turns into an obsession. He starts leaving messages on Francine’s machine, but Francine rejects this emphatically. She walks away saying “No! No! No!” to herself with each step.

Francine brings Katchoo’s clothes to the hospital and is ready to take her home. She says the state is paying for the operation, it was arranged by Detective Walsh. Then David pokes his head in the room too. There is ice in Katchoo’s glare, as well as Francine’s glare, and David can feel it. He says he’s going back to New York and wanted to make sure they were okay. He has a small gift, but Katchoo doesn’t take it. He leaves it on the bed. He’s sorry how things worked out, and he sees that he hurt both of them.

Katchoo says “Tell your sister to give you a raise. You did a great job. You had me fooled.” David replies that he doesn’t work for Darcy, he’s just an art student who came to Houston because Darcy asked him to do a favor. He doesn’t care what’s going on between her and Darcy, and he doesn’t care about the money, he lost the best friend he ever had and no amount of money is worth that. Then he leaves.

Katchoo opens the gift. It’s a picture of the same house where Katchoo lived with Emma in Hawaii. Darcy gave it to David in return for staying with Katchoo and Francine, and now he has given it to Katchoo. Francine asks Katchoo if she wants to recuperate in Hawaii. Katchoo says it’s a great idea but she needs to stop in Zurich first. Francine realizes that Katchoo had the money all along and put it in Samantha’s name to frame her. Katchoo says Samantha was embezzling millions of dollars of Darcy’s money, and it was only a matter of time until the storm hit, so she hid her own money in the eye of the hurricane.

Francine wonders aloud what will happen if the mob finds out. Katchoo tells her to relax, it’s a dead account, nobody knows about it and nobody cares what two girls from Houston do. They ride away in a taxi, watched by the statuesque figure of Tambi Baker.

2-10

ICO003930_1Two weeks after being shot in the liver and miraculously surviving it, Katchoo returns home from the hospital with Francine, who left the heater going. She takes off her sweater, saying, “I’m hot!” Damn straight, mutters Katchoo contentedly. But Freddy has left 43 messages on the answering machine. Katchoo gets so mad she pulls some of her stitches. She swears she will kill Freddy if he comes near Francine. On a side note, their landlord is evicting them because they haven’t paid the rent for three months.

Casey is wearing some naughty underwear and tries to get Freddy to come to bed. He doesn’t want anything to do with her, because he’s thinking about no one but Francine these days. He leaves another message. Francine hears it but she won’t pick up.

Next day in the video store Francine gets goosed by none other than Margie McCoy. When it comes out that Francine is being evicted, Margie offers her small garage apartment for free, just so it won’t be vacant. Margie can’t think of anyone better to occupy it. She says Francine and Katchoo make the cutest couple. She says she wishes she had the courage to come out of the closet like Francine. She says “I guess dating Freddy would turn any woman gay.”

When she gets home Katchoo is on the phone to David. He says he loves her, and Katchoo says she doesn’t care. She is shedding tears of remorse even as she says it. She tells Francine she thinks she loves David.

The phone rings again. Francine picks it up. It’s Freddy. Francine hurls language at him that would make a sailor blush and hangs up. Francine screams, “No more phone calls! No more men! They’re ruining our lives!” Katchoo has her sit on the floor and gives her a beer. Francine reveals that Margie called her and Katchoo a “couple” and it was probably the happiest moment of her life.

Now we are getting somewhere! Katchoo says, “Would you hate it if I kissed you?” Francine says she would hate it if she didn’t. They draw close together. The doorbell rings! Katchoo runs to answer it, saying, “I don’t care who you are or what you want, you are dead! Dead! Dead!” But it’s David. He wants to come in to talk about “us”. Katchoo says there’s no “us” and there never was any “us”.

David persists, until Katchoo gets so riled up she lays him out flat on his back with a roundhouse uppercut. This is witnessed by the neighbor gal, who gives a play-by-play to her husband. The husband is uninterested until his wife mentions that Katchoo is standing in the rain in her underwear and you can see right through them. But he never gets there, he is in such a hurry he slips and hits his head on the coffee table and ends up on the floor covered with Cheetos.

David gets back up covered with mud and declares his undying love to Katchoo again, which earns him a slap. “I love you Katina Choovanski, and you’re never going to be that out of me.” He says if that’s how they want to spend their time together so be it, at least it will be her fists that beat him. This finally breaks Katchoo. She’s so sorry for hurting David. They embrace.

Once again Francine sees the whole thing and feels cut out. She goes back into the empty house for a while, then returns to the window to watch David and Katchoo in the rain.

2-11

volume02issue11Freddy goes to the house of his buddy who once dated Francine, the one who still has her bikini and some sexy pictures. The lie Freddy is using is that he’s back with Francine and she wants that stuff back. Chuck has his own girlfriend Rachel there, and he doesn’t want her to know he still has that stuff, so he runs off mysteriously. While Chuck is looking for the goods, Freddy asks her how long she has known Chuck. “Long enough for him to know better than to keep any secrets from me.” She pulls up her shirt and flashes Freddy her boobs. “There, now we have a secret from him.”

When Freddy gets in the car he pulls out Francine’s bikini bottom and sniffs it like the disgusting dog he is. Then he gets to the main event, a spectacular picture of our Rubenesque heroine Francine in all her glory, wearing that bikini on a sunny beach. Now Freddy is good to go.

David wakes up in bed to the smell of coffee. “K-K-Katchoo?” he stammers. “Who were you expecting to wake up to, K-K-Katy?” she replies. Men are all the same, she mutters. Give them the time of their life, and they immediately forget your name…

Poor Francine walks all alone to work, but Freddy finally catches up to her. He wants to talk. He loves her. Oh, so that’s why he wants to marry Casey the buttless wonder, she replies. He tells her he has been playing racquetball with her boss and he called in for her, telling them she’s having a family emergency. That will give them time to talk.

In the elevator he hits the stop button between floors. He confesses that life has lost all meaning for him since he broke up. What’s the use of having a townhouse and a Porsche and a downtown club membership if he has nobody to share it with? And he doesn’t even care about sex anymore. Freddy wants Francine to admit the same thing has been happening to her. She’s let herself go to hell, her hair sucks, she’s put on weight, she’s working a job she hates and she lives with a lesbian pit bull.

Francine says leave Katchoo out of this.

Freddy says he wishes he could leave Katchoo out of this, but it’s like she’s joined to Francine at the hip or something. Freddy explores that angle for a bit, and then concludes that Francine is gay. That explains why she wouldn’t have sex with a real man like him, she couldn’t handle it. Which means Chuck must have been lying to him about Francine the lean mean sex machine when she’s really just the singing nun.

Francine says things with Chuck were different. Freddy says no joke. Freddy says “The thing is, you actually fucked both of us, but he’s the only one who got laid!”

Francine slaps him. He almost hits her back, but he restrains himself. He says he’s disappointed in her. He thought she was special. He drops an e-ticket on the floor that he says Francine won’t be needing after all. It’s a hop from Houston to Honolulu. After Freddy leaves, Francine picks it up and reads it, so deep in thought she blocks the door to the elevator for someone who needs to get on.

2-12

ICO003932_1

David remembers a party at his sister Darcy’s house. He wasn’t wearing glasses then. Darcy tells Katchoo she wants her to meet somebody. Katchoo is drunk. Darcy turns her to face David. She says, “Hello Somebody. Well lookit you, aren’ you som’thin cute.” Then Darcy points her at Frederick Chalmers and tells her to join Emma, because that’s the Senator he was telling her about. As she walks away David declares her to be the most beautiful woman he ever met, and his future wife.

Darcy says that would be a neat trick because Katina is already involved with somebody. When David asks who, Darcy says, “Me.”

David follow Emma, Katchoo and the Senator upstairs and watches from a distance. Emma strips the Senator’s clothes off, but leaves his pants around his ankles. Katchoo makes him trip until he’s on all fours. Emma stands on his ass, flattens him to the floor, and douses him with champagne as Katchoo breaks out laughing. Here’s the good part: With the Senator howling up a storm, Emma pulls him into the room by his balls. They shut the door. You can imagine the look on David’s face.

Later Katchoo tells Darcy she’s going to drive Emma home and get some Taco Bell for her and Darcy on the way back. Emma says she gave the Senator what he wanted, he won’t be able to walk for a week. Katchoo says she got three rolls of pictures, they’re priceless. “But come to think of it, they do have a price, don’t they?”

After Katchoo leaves the fit hits the shan. Samantha reports that the Senator is having some sort of seizure and foaming at the mouth. Darcy sends her up to get him out of there before the police show up and find him all screwed up. Too late, an FBI agent shows up, he says he has reason to believe there’s a medical emergency on the premise involving a US Senator. Darcy is furious that they are bugging her house, and threatens to go to her attorneys. This doesn’t deter the agent, he’d love to get her in a court room.

Darcy complains to Samantha that the Senator is holding her “clean money” from the RNC. Samantha says he already searched him and it’s gone. David reports the Ferrari Katchoo was driving is abandoned with the keys locked inside it. The FBI agent demands to know why a United States Senator is handcuffed naked to a ceiling fan in Darcy’s bedroom.

Back to the present, Katchoo hands David a note from Francine. As far as he can tell, it’s a nice enough note that mentions that there’s lasagna in the freezer and that Francine is happy David and Katchoo worked things out. But to Katchoo the note is a cry of despair. She tells him yesterday Francine was reaching out to her in one of those moments you wait a whole lifetime for, and then David showed up to ruin it.

Katchoo goes on about what a great person David is, “my kind of person” she says, but he’s not Francine. No matter how confusing life gets, Francine is “home” to Katchoo. She says she loves Francine with all her heart, and she could never feel that way about anyone, man or woman. David understands. Katchoo says besides Francine, David is the best friend she has and this means the world to David. They reach an agreement, and there’s a moment of mirth as they both poke fun at how maudlin David can be sometimes. But then Francine calls. She’s on a plane to Hawaii. She just called to say goodbye.

2-13

ICO003933_1

David and Katchoo are following Francine to Hawaii. On the plane, Katchoo says she wants to start painting nudes, with David as the model. He whines and moans but he can’t get out of it.

Freddy and Casey are walking on the beach at night in Lahaina. Freddy thinks he smells baby powder and wants to find out what it is. Casey gets mad, and says it better not be a hangup from an old girlfriend who wore baby powder. He comes very close to catching Francine hiding among the coconut trees. Casey says it must be all the flowers he smelled. Francine doesn’t even know what she’s doing there, and convinces herself she is crazy.

David and Katchoo are checking in to a hotel. They want separate rooms, but there’s only one left. Katchoo spies Francine throwing a rock into the ocean, then rushes out to the beach after her. Francine is nowhere to be found. Worse: The hotel room only has one bed.

David can’t help glancing at Katchoo when she takes off her bra. He sees a lily tattoo on her breast. It’s exactly the same tattoo Darcy has on her ankle. He remembers asking Darcy about it one day. Darcy says it’s her brand, she puts it on everything she owns. It’s on the legs of some of the girls there. Darcy even says she had it put on her lover’s breast, right over her heart.

David objected that Darcy could not own people. She says don’t be stupid, people want to belong, they are sheep, and the secret to life is to be a wolf. When David asks what happens when people don’t want to belong anymore, Darcy says she turns the matter over to Tambi. “I haven’t lost one yet.”

David thinks Katchoo is asleep. He says, quietly, “Someday you’re going to need me, Katina, and when you do, I will be there, I promise.”

Freddy and Casey are naked in a pool under a waterfall, and their teeth chatter as they freeze. The justice of the peace can’t read the vows fast enough for them. Casey keeps slipping and her legs are numb. Freddy tells the man to cut to the chase. “Do you, Mr. Pushy Man, take little Miss Tiny Titties here to be your God forsaken wife?”

Just then, Freddy spots Francine hiding behind a tree. He crawls out of the water and runs after Francine. She says, “Forget I was ever here.” But she did it, she came, that means she still loves Freddy. “No I don’t, but I had to see that I don’t belong here anymore. Goodbye Freddy!” He begs her not to do this to him. “I’m not doing anything to you, I’m doing this for me. Go back to your lovely wife.”

Freddy won’t give up. He says she’s not walking away from him, that she’ll never get rid of him. Just then a hand hooks his nose and slams his head on the ground. Then with the heel of that same hand, his nose is broken. “Touch her again and I’ll kill you,” Katchoo tells him. “Talk to her and I’ll kill you. If you even look at her, I’ll kill you. Remember this hand Freddy. If you ever come back into our lives, this is the hand that will kill you.”

Francine tries to apologize to Katchoo, but Katchoo says she doesn’t have to say a word. “Come on, let’s go.”

“Anywhere you want, baby.”

And then there’s David. Katchoo says she can’t get rid of him, so they might as well keep him.

Only ninety more issues to go.

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