No More Meatless Tuesdays

photo(17)He had come to the city eight years ago to study journalism at Tulane University, but there he was tending the bar of a $5 plastic cup ($10 fishbowl on a lanyard) “bar,” one of those establishments on the boulevard where the public can buy drinks for the honor of waddling down the street semi-catatonic searching for “that” place where they would absorb music or face plant into huge tits or the floor, depending on their budget.
His companion on the other side of bar seemed to know him well, as well as seemed very acquainted with “a good time” her skin somewhat pock-marked by years of pickling in gin or whatever. I asked what was in the drink, and she answered a laundry list of sick liqueurs but this nook seemed a safe enough place to stop by and observe the sticky street crawl in the Disneyland of sintastic slickerly something and listen to the beads being tossed from the bar balconies as each establishment worked hard to keep Fat Tuesday alive every day, as if starting to market Halloween candy in August is thought bad enough.
Meanwhile, the rest of the city was quiet. Not because the conservatives were in bed. Not because the churches had sung vespers and turned in for the night, not because the businessmen had packed up their suitcases and headed home to their wives, but because the remainder of the city is boarded up, tottering and ready to fall, even those heroic “modern” structures of the 1960s that were then transferred into Professional Centres and gifted to suspect colleges were boarded up. The Lowes Union Hall, the Elk Lodge, the communications building, and something that looked right out of the Jetsons all were boarded up, blacked out windows calling down, throwing ghosts if one should show them one’s tits…. if one has tits…. It was as if the former ghetto for the French is now all that is, and the ghetto is reversed since the same buildings with the same balconies and the same facades on the other side of Canal Street were the pariah, given to KenTacoHuts and Walawalawawa Delis and places where the local chickenheads dance and the Crusties fear to tread with their cardboard signs and dogs on huge ropes since there is no “spare change” there, this is little there but those broken sidewalks in the pretend city, the relic that those who come here worship and those that live here, apparently avoid.
photo(19)“When they get tazed by the cops, fall down writhing but still holding up their drink so it doesn’t spill, that’s impressive” Steve (not his real name) told me as we gazed across to the Larry Flint Club and the girls stood in their bikinis bored out of their mind, but able to make each ass cheek hop up and down on demand when a group of males lumbered by. “I was in New York,” the informal bar maid exclaimed. “I was in the service had the morning shift guarding the guns you know the guns when that sniper stole well that was the shift before mine someone fell asleep so it wasn’t me but I went AWOL and went into the city the village you know the village well I got this there,” and she proceeded to pull down her paints to just above her blessed mound and there was a butterfly of sorts, a blue ink tattoo that were I to find one on my own muff, I would go straight to the oncologist before ever suspecting that it was a tattoo I had placed there intentionally….
“Yeah I been to the city but that was ten years ago so like 9/11 and shit but now I live up on the top of the crescent which is good and I used to go to this bar Names and Faces next to that goth club in the village it was you know the village I haven’t been there in ten years…” At that a few biker patrons entered for Steve to pour them a drink from his buckets (I don’t mean to be rude, but to say you tend bar in my Gotham mind means you mix two or more spirits together on demand, not serve from a bucket). The biker-sorts then were accosted by the informal waitress and I assumed that this informal staffing situation perhaps did not pay the bills as well as perhaps showing your butterfly to strangers in other situations and for reasons I won’t expand upon.
Steve talked a little about spending the past four years tending bar here and there, mostly on the bourbon boulevard. “There used to be potholes, huge ones and after the rain they’d be deep full of water. Drunks would fall in and their fall would cause a wake… so we’d run out to not watch them fall in, but watch them take the wake in the face… I mean, if I stepped in one of those puddles my mistake that meant get new shoes, they’re that disgusting.” It seemed that apart from tazing by the cops on horses, watching cops drag people down the street on horseback was impressive. They dragged people:
a) By the arm
b) By the hand
3) By the hair
c) By the clothes, which usually didn’t last long before the individual was half-naked
I finished my bug juice, and thanked Steve for some tips for where to see good music the next day and returned to the street. It seemed sad that four years on, here he was rather than out in journalism-land, which, I hear isn’t doing to well these days. Still, it seems a waste. Maybe it’s just had I been able to get in to Tulane and do journalism, enjoy New Orleans for four years, I would at least get out there into the world and blog about shit or something…
photo(18)I wandered down the street looking for a more polite establishment than a “to-go” bar since I felt obligated to experience something more “real” and while the gay bars seemed to have the calmest atmosphere than their yowling screaming “you go girl!” heterosexual partners on the block, they had horrible music and creepy scuzzy cruzey patrons bathed in purple light. I decided to go with the elderly bar, a “European Jazz” bar with a striking call girl shill who was just north of young showed me to the one seat left in a joint packed with grannies all hopped up on Lipitor and Plavix and getting the spins from… old age. Indeed for the street, it had the best music, and there is something touching about the smiles of grannies bobbing their heads to tunes from the 1930s and signing along and some of them had cute daughters my age, or maybe just a little older, but the one or two grand daughters were certainly banging, and also my age perhaps. After covering the drink minimum, listening to two sets, “Dream a Little Dream for Me,” I let off and escaped past the strip clubs, the pizza by the slice shanties and avoided the drunks, my shoes making a sticky sound in places as I walked back to the tram stop. On the tram I passed more passed out houses and businesses, they seem to be taking down some of the city on Canal in order to build a “medical district” since the coming bubble economy will be people falling apart as the Baby Boomers drift off into die land. At my stop the landmark is a huge church, school, and convent. The lights are out. The sign says “No Mass Currently Held Here, please go to St. Oneofthem’s for services. God Bless.”
What does it mean if the darker corners of the city are now all that’s holding it together? What if all those late night secret activities are now open, in the street, and that’s the only thing breathing life into the city. That, and the medical complex’s resporators.
With so many of the churches closed, so much of polite society passed into the grave, the wooing behemoth fatties who waddle down the streets party hardy and then retreat to their bunkers, the drained swampland now turned Walmart parking lot in order to keep Fat Tuesday alive every day, as they shop for Halloween in July, and Christmas in August, with sin the norm and those fuddy-duddy institutions, the ones that called for forty days of Lent after Tuesday, with them gone, is sinning as fun as it was before? Is it just another commodity, just another thing we stick in our holes? Perhaps that is a good thing, perhaps party on here, we never have to go to bed.
I stood on the boulevard with my plastic cup, and wondered if the girl across the street could shoot a ping pong ball into it out of her vag.

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