: Walking Miss Sara Joy around the neighborhood with a Bermuda shorts pocket full of wadded plastic grocery bags, a wide straw hat and cat’s eye sunglasses, Bruce Halloran is still waiting for his little boy to crap. He’s marked every available vertical surface in the neutral ground on Elysian Fields from the river to St. Claude Avenue, but as to the rest there is sadly no sign of development.
Which really chaps Halloran’s ass because it’s hot outside. Not as hot as it had been just a few weeks ago, but hot enough to break a sweat. Back toward the river again.
Walking back toward the river they pass the Phoenix. Former site of his and Gary Pitts’ numerous licentious encounters. Usually far to many to remember. But today he suddenly recalls one particular incident with ringing clarity.
Sara Joy had taken up a stool at the 'all new' and 'improved' Phoenix after Katrina. In their day the Phoenix was the palace of fleshly perversion, the place to find any position or persuasion, chemical, hormonal, or otherwise. When Sara Joy and Halloran ruled the roost here, the joke around town was The Phoenix had the only pool table made by Sealy Posturpedic. The courtyard with the barber's chair so perfect for leather worship. The upstairs bar with just enough light to make out sizes and directions and the darkened cage in the corner providing the necessary hardware to create the soundtrack for the night. Sara Joy’s memories were the remnants of sweat, bourbon, cigarettes, and poppers, and he loved it. There wasn't a square inch of the building where he didn't do somebody, just in 1984 alone. But after Katrina it stood as a sterile parody of its blanching filthy glory, clogged with foreign faces and overpriced cocktails. None of those people knew him.
So technically he was 'new meat.'
Taking up a perch at the far end of the bar, he’d cruised the dismal pickings, ordering a bourbon and coke from the overly ingratiating bar bear. After about 15 minutes of bland club music and no other prospects for entertainment he was about to leave when a couple of thirtysomething cubs took up the stools next to him, obviously having an argument. The dreck on the sound system made it hard to hear everything, but he heard enough.
"...saw you looking at him...", "...nothing happened...", "...because of you, Trevor...", "...you always do this...", "...do you want Billy now...", "...have to tell you again, its you...", "...prove it!"
A thought crossed Sara Joy's malicious mind. Reaching for a nearby pen, he slipped a dollar out of his wallet and wrote in bold black letters;
'I want U now! Call whn U ditch the bitch. Billy'
Watching from the corner of his eye, he watched Trevor pay the bill while his whiny boy-toy demanded attention. Bar bear drops the change unseen by the quarreling couple. Sara Joy slipped the marked dollar into the pile of change and walked away. The couple stormed out, Trevor in tow. Reliving the story again, Halloran can see the wide smile crosses Sara Joy's cruelly thin lips, revealing that weathered fence of teeth only seen at the Preakness or royal functions.
And he waited with the patience of one who knows the joy of anticipation.
43 minutes later Whiny Cub returned with grudgefuck in his tear-riddled eyes and a crumpled dollar bill held like a shiv in his hand. Pitts watched his prey make his way past the gossip gauntlet and march upstairs. Bruce can hear Pitts describing himself with “the leisurely stroll of Lauren Bacall”, positioning himself at the bottom of the steps, arranging for maximum impact, then "ascending to descend."
Halloran continues to follow along automatically behind Miss Sara Joy as he mulls the story over again in his head. Why would he remember this now? Granted, it’s another example of the dirty little tricks Gary Pitts lived by and adored. But what isn’t? There must be something to make that one episode leap out at him. There must be something he’s not seeing.
*swkl-plitch* Halloran’s right foot slips slightly ahead of him before halting.Like her namesake, Miss Sara Joy has crapped on everything again...This is My New Orleans.