: Unable to sleep and perturbed by Miss Sara Joy’s constant snoring (seriously, how can a dog that small make a noise that loud?) Bruce Halloran sits up in his emperor-sized bed and thinks over the events of the last several months. There’s ol’ Philsy Tupperman, wasting away in that farmhouse in Old Metairie. Still following in his dead mother’s footsteps, keeping her shrine as spotless as she demanded but was never able. Then there’s the prickly Dr. Youngblood, holed up in his mahogany paneled cocoon. Straightjacketed by his public persona. The mention of his former love sends him into tighter constrictures. Frankly, he’d be surprised if the good doctor didn’t shit twine.
What the hell is he going to do? It’s not like he can just show up on either of their doorsteps with the other in tow and force them to talk. Philsy would probably crawl underneath the house and Youngblood most likely has a hotline to the NOPD on his keychain. As much fun as both those scenarios would usually be, neither one solves the problem of fixing what Gary Pitts engineered three decades ago.
At least the depressing spectacle of Hallowe’en is now ended. Looking out from his third story perch upon the hipsters going about their tragically fabulous costumes, all Halloran can do is lament the loss of true originality and innovation this city once took immense pride in presenting. He is whisked back to the 80s once more and the brilliant, cutting-edge costumes that amazed everyone fortunate enough to see. The political commentary, the blatant-yet-distinguished sexuality, the sheer force of the abandon. It was a marvelous time.
Unfortunately, Bruce isn’t so ingrained to his past that he cannot see the world as it is. If he were, he wouldn’t have the same feeling of malaise that has troubled him since happy hour started at 4:20pm yesterday. As much as he would like to shuffle off the world around him and happily cocoon himself in the musty patinas of yesterday, he can’t.
You see, for all his faults Bruce Halloran does have at least one timelessly redeeming feature; he is, has always been, and will always be current. It’s a trait he both shares with and abhorred in his late mother. Until the end of her days, Mother Halloran was as fresh as wet paint. She embraced the modern. Just not the modernity her son enjoyed. While he was listening intently to Fleetwood Mac and Steely Dan, Mother was embracing Juice Newton and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. When she suffered a sudden heart attack at a Kathy Mattea concert, Bruce attended the funeral in a mauve Nudie suit embroidered with blue roses. A nod to her favorite color and the only part she ever played on stage.
The family wasn’t pleased, but the undertaker was happy to show his appreciation.
Being so afflicted, Bruce cannot ignore how the current world thinks. Anything can be what they now freely call “slutty.” Cartoon character, crayon, crudite, you name it there’s a tramp version out there for you. The depressing trend of young men actually participating in costuming has led to a new version of tramp yet to be widely identified. But it will in another year or so. The phrase “boy tramp” leaps to mind.
But more importantly the forms of protest are now more nuanced and more blunt. Cases in point: The beautiful young straight couple at dusk holding court on the banquette directly below his patio. Both of them are painfully young, each with washboard abs on full display in the well-aerated judges robes they were barely wearing. She was a slutty Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a halter robe, patent leather jet beaded bustier, fishnets and high-heeled platform mid-thigh black latex lace-up boots. He was Antonin Scalia, only in the exact same outfit. They both had gavels. Hers was branded with the GE logo, his with the NRA.
Later that same night another somewhat less fit couple arrived. Both were barely dressed, only more disturbingly matched. She was barely containing a pair of silicone surprises and a matching pair of hips beneath a repurposed Stars and Bars, while her bohunk boyfriend managed to carve out a wife beater and cut-offs for himself from the backup flag at Klan headquarters. They didn’t stay long, but while they were there they enjoyed a lot of popularity.
The modern. The current…...one desperately trying to move on...one who’s never known a day that wasn’t long forgotten by the world…...wait a minute.
Halloran runs back into his condo, startling the sleeping Miss Sara Joy into paroxysms of surprise. Landing in the rolling chair of his office, he grabs hold of all his notes on the matter, tossing page after page until he comes to his scribbled notes on one of young Mr. Tschantz’s emails. Reading the cryptic scrawl his 6th grade writing teacher once called “a pharmacist’s nightmare,” Bruce finally comes to the two little identical notes in different colored inks about Youngblood and Philsy.
“Chained to the past.”
The next thing Miss Sara Joy sees is his Master walking slowly over to the shiny glass thing where the happy water comes from. He knows what that means. Nothing else happening tonight except a narrow window for cuddle time. Miss Sara Joy jumps up onto his pillow on the leather sofa and makes himself comfortable. He’s gonna be there a while.Outside, the cold, damp winds off the river filter through the Crescent City with a slow persistence. Autumn is growing older and the weather has grown tired of warm and dry. Throughout the city windows either draw to narrow slits or close entirely to the outside world...This is My New Orleans.