The Best of House of Spades, Track 1
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Veronica assumed that the back half of a cat wouldn't be as inclined to jump onto a dinner table as an entire cat would be, but then again she grew up around dogs.

Brad, to his credit, had enough sense not to let his exotic pets ruin the shot, if not enough energy to actually come out from behind his camera setup to deal with it like a responsible pet owner. "Fuckin' Orvo's sake, someone get Fuzzbutt off the fuckin' table."

Veronica grumbled, half-heartedly looking over to Izzy who, as before, looked like one half of those annoying coffee shop PDA couples. Given the transitive property of usefulness, that left her and…

"Hey, Jack. Can you deal with this?"

Of course, Jack was busy too, if "busy" was an applicable adjective to describe either "fiddling with his phone" or "jacking off"; looking over, Veronica still wasn't sure which and hoped to g-d for the former. Still, she was at least greeted with a sheepish glance, which meant he was at least paying attention. "Oh. Oh, uh, sorry. Just…waiting on someone I called." Oh thank fuck. "You need something?"

Veronica vaguely gestured to the feline posterior that was currently tracking an abnormal amount of cat fur over the table.

"Oh, my turn already? I mean…I was Fuzzbutt duty last time, you know?" Jack fidgeted with the phone under table. "Shouldn't it be Izzy's turn? I think, at least."

Veronica turned back to look at Izzy, then back to Jack.

"…okay, listen, this is kind of a very important call. I dunno, maybe take an IOU?"

"What…what the hell did you even call about? You knew it was gonna be-" Veronica briefly paused to shove Fuzzbutt off her plate and onto her lap. "fuck, you knew it was gonna be picture day. Like…come on. I'm not halfassing Dead Pig's cover art for…g-d, what would you even be calling about? I mean…urgh, fine."

Veronica held Fuzzbutt to her chest, carefully positioning the little monster so that she was touching the Fuzz and not the Butt. "Hey, Brad. Fuzzbutt goes in the laundry room, right?"

"Tito took the dryer, and I'm not letting the fucker eat another goddamn pet. Lock her in the bathroom or something."


About halfway to the only properly shoggoth-proofed bathroom, Veronica's phone began blaring the opening riff of Omotenashi, which probably meant Ashy wanted to talk. As it turned out, holding a cat and fishing your phone out of your jeans was harder than it looked. Still, Veronica was a strong girl, she could hold Fuzzbutt just fi-no, wait, out of her grasp.

As Fuzzbutt disappeared under a pile of living-room junk, Veronica sighed into the phone. "Hey, Ashy. Something up?"

"Babe, that drumming?" Veronica resisted interrupting Ashton with a grunt of pain as her finger pricked whatever dumb cult shit Brad left laying around for cats to hide in. "Tight. Kickin' solo, too." For a second, Veronica was certain she'd caught the little rascal; she'd only caught claw marks, however. "That's the closer, right? Can't wait for Dead Pig."

"Oh, the show. Thanks. I mean, me personally, I feel like Jack could've played better." Fuzzbutt suddenly darted out of the pile, only to hide under another pile in the nearby study. "Shit…sorry, cat's giving me trouble."

"S'cool."

"Well, anyways, I felt like he used too much distortion." Veronica made sure to close the doors of the study before rummaging once more through the occult garbage. "Plus, amusing as performance art is, I'm not sure that's in the Hos playbook. We're not exactly trying to be capital C Cool, yet…I dunno, maybe Izzy is." She's pretty sure she just touched something that giggled, but it had the texture of tanned flesh, which meant it wasn't a cat and therefore not important. "I mean, don't get me wrong. That was a neat show, props to her. But we're not art rockers."

"Like you don't roll with anartists on the reg." Ashton chuckled, which briefly lifted Veronica's spirits, at least. "Seriously. Shit's cool."

"I'll leave the Death Grips shtick for after we hit big." By the time Veronica finally caught Fuzzbutt, her arm was scratched almost as hard as it was after Hartley. Felt almost as good, too. "Anyways, I gotta put the cat in time out. See you at the party."

"Later, babe. See you at the party."


Cat butts thankfully don't meow like crazy when dumped into the bathroom. Shame that tidbit lacked real life application outside Brad's house.

Still, the exercise in anomalous absurdity did at least at least give Veronica time for one last look-over before she was immortalized in her own folly.

The mirror was dirty, as per most things in Brad's house, but it serviced well enough. The half undercut, dyed blue, probably screamed "tranny" a bit too loud, but it wasn't like she was an electro-swing artist or something. Her makeup was…smudged was one way to put it. Tutorials never seemed to help her all that much. Her jaw, while thankfully smooth, was…

Veronica remembered that she hated mirrors, and walked away.

Sighing, Veronica made her way back to the dining room, careful to close the door behind her without either crushing Fuzzbutt or letting her escape.

For a thirty-six year old man who lived alone (with the exception of his exotic pets), Brad's house was surprisingly…well, Veronica wouldn't exactly use the word "clean", but he did do his share in removing dust and grime. She'll admit that she wished he'd actually organize his things, although she's not sure how much stayed in one place, or even liked to be touched. Still, his pets looked happy-at least, for things without faces. Veronica wasn't sure on shoggoth physiology, or whatever she was supposed to call a crawling ball of tendrils.

As Veronica looked out a window to the front yard, she felt it hard to imagine that Brad had it best out of all of them. Two-bedroom in a good neighborhood, stable career path, and hey, CIA had yet to spook him…

…of course, unless she's hallucinating, that might've changed.

Someone-or something, perhaps-was standing at the door. It was a bit hard to see from this window

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