Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sunday Scribbling #142: Late: The Last Time

Lately, I been thinkin', How much I miss my lady - Amoreena's, in a cornfield, brightening the daybreak...

Saturn called, we rolled right in, preparatory to late night Nick's on Tulane. Nick's after midnight, pousse cafe, you better be prepped: the fire ain't right, you going downtown before you know it, doesn't matter how many colors you have in you.

We'd been over to Dooky's, Leah did us up right, gumbo, slake-baked oysters, remoulade like it was an ice cream float. I marveled at the octogenarian beauty, lithe as Miss Horne, her gorgeous praline skin, her smile the true river of warmth in that Crescent City.

Original Sundogs on the box when we walked in, I thought they'd died with the Drifters, Susan Cowsill and Holsapple with their blithe abductions: we'd all seen better days, some better than others, but Saturn didn't call to the young at heart. Black dearth was her drug, the bodyflesh of the reeking aged was food aplenty.

No rings round this planet: must have been the place Bobby blew in for his blue entangles, I stopped in for a spell...No spells available, as far as I could tell, dimmed fever in the corners, anviled death in the backstreets. V and Ray shimmied a booth; I settled for cracked red vinyl for my ass at the bar.

She slid the scotch my way, passed on my shekels, blew smoke across the three feet down the bar.

"Hummingbird, right? The last time?"

"Farther back than last time, chum." Serpent hiss, more than speech.

"Velocity couldn't keep up."

"You always did fancy yourself. April was a heavy wind that year."

"I wasn't choosy in those days."

"I see you've raised the bar." Her eye on Ray and V in the back.

"Kettle of fish you swimmin' with, Reena?"

Grim smile, gold tooth. I remembered the fight, Toulouse and St. Ann. "Uptown convent, sugar. Lady of Prompt - "

"Spare me."

"Even Lady Rice gone over, child. You never caught the Virgin?"

"Never caught, never been caught." It pained me to say it.

"I saw that."

She did. Fifteen years later, continents of time spanned, tectonic plates suborned, she saw right through me. I didn't stand a chance.

"I didn't come - "

"I know you didn't. So don't even try. See if you can live in the afterlife, D. I got no time for what we burned down all to hell. Save that for your little tattle-tale loves."

My guts ran to black roux. I stood to go, whistled for V and Ray in the back. Talons gripped my arm.

"Greenwood Cemetery. All the way in the back."

"You shouldn't - "

"Fuck shouldn't, D."

At the door, I turned: "Red camellias?"

This time she didn't bother.



Blogger BJ Roan said...

I felt as if I were in one of those seedy bars in New Orleans, listening to this conversation. Yet the "settled for cracked red vinyl for my ass at the bar" made me think of Algiers. Well written!

8:35 AM  
Blogger Tammie Lee said...

yes, red camellias

to go with red memories

12:57 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

BJ: The Saturn is a real bar in NOLA. As is Nick's, neither of which I went to, except in my imagination: I had my own favorite haunts: I lived off Carrollton Avenue, but officed in Algiers. Hopefully, you never made it to the nasty Hummingbird, a favorite of Mardi Gras revelers: once in, you might as well burn the clothes you went in with.

Tammie: Of course, red camellias. Plenty of red memories in this one.

1:38 PM  
Blogger anno said...

Your tour through the Crescent City starts off so warm and bright with gumbo, slake-baked oysters, and remoulade, that if it weren't for that preparatory note about Saturn calling, I'd be getting ready for all the laissez le bon temp rouler you are so able to muster. Sure, enough, though, you take a Stygian turn, and here we are in anviled death, grim smiles, serpent hisses, and the black roux of unfortunate intestines, all pointing to the dark end of Greenwood. It's a creepy horror story you've got going here, and I'm glad to be reading it in the full light of day. Is there more?

2:04 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Anno: I'd say that's enough, wouldn't you? There's a whole archive of New Orleans underbelly sketches strewn around who knows where now: it was interesting to see how quickly I could find that trap door again.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Devil Mood said...

I like the "child" there, it's important how characters address each other, it says a lot, doesn't it? :)

4:38 PM  
Blogger Tumblewords: said...

Incredibly fine writing - I've seen that side of 'Nawlins', I think... really enjoyed the read!

5:52 PM  
Blogger alister said...

Oh gosh, I enjoyed anno’s high proficiency comment near about as much as I enjoyed your sharp-shooting post! You two brains go on ahead. I feel like I’ve sat my ass on cracked red vinyl too long after sailin’ way too many clippers down my throat… I can see the silvery-white angel through the window and I’m attracted to it like a baby to a mobile.

10:37 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

DM: Right you are: I can just begin to fathom the roil of emotions Reena is trying to manage: a nuclear wash of rage, loss, insane (to her) still caring...

And then there are the automatic responses of anyone behind a bar in New Orleans. Where else but NOLA do servers address you as "sugar," "honey," "baby," and "child"? I miss that.

7:26 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Thank you, Tumblewords. You've had some adventurous nights in the Crescent, then?

7:28 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Ms A: Angel's a beauty, ain't she? No better place to find them than New Orleans' cities of the dead. On the chronometer, I'm a long way from the days of cracked red vinyl (mine would have been vodka tonic, which in NOLA is vodka vodka), but how easy it is to return with one quick imaginative switch.

7:35 AM  
Blogger San said...

Love this writing, bro. And the comments your Amoreena has garnered. Your Saturn reminds me of my Specs in SF (CA not NM). Not the image you've painted--Specs is far funkier, sporting the likes of a stuffed armadillo. Not the patrons exactly--Specs was frequented by a lady who would take a look at your handwriting, and, for a modest fee, untangle the blue entangles of your soul, black roux and all.

What I'm really excited about though is the phone call I received while reading your post. A little chime sounded. A recorded voice said, "Due to inclement weather your garbage pickup has been rescheduled for your regularly scheduled day."

7:22 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Ms San: Between our Specs/Saturns and your blithe waste-wranglers, that's a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world..., eh?

Merry Christmas, sister.

7:55 AM  

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