Monday, February 11, 2013

Mardi Gras Memories

I came to in Jimmy's bathroom.
I recognized it, so that much was clear.

As I tried to stand on wobbly legs & pull up my pants, the floor rippled heavily, the air flexed & it all came flooding back...

I had stood at the bar at the Stage Door, doing shots of Jagermeister with Buddha ( since departed - RIP), famous for nailing his ball sack to bar stools for money & drinks. That & the huge alien tattoo on top of his bald head.
I'd buy a round, then he would, almost as fast as our bartender, who looked  like a cross between Morticia Addams & Elizabeth Taylor, could pour them. I recall two bottles having to be opened.

I made my way down Chartres, towards Jimmy's place, and 9 finger John slipped me a couple of blotters by the parked car he held up. His warning that they should be halved was lost in the air as I swallowed both at once. In Jackson Square, a familiar face palmed me a bindle of cocaine. I soldiered on.

I somehow made it to The Bar where I worked, and to my friend & boss' upstairs apartment. In the bathroom, I snorted the entire half gram, and promptly passed out, pants down, on the throne.
Party goers kept peeking in and laughing, and I remember kicking the door shut.

Now the cocaine & LSD were both kicking in, themselves, and I rushed back to meet them. Yanking up my pants, and trying to remain standing, I saw a crazed figure, watching me. He appeared to be a Bedouin Arab, in full garb, with smeary, heavily lined, eye make up. As I recoiled, so did he, and I realized this was what remained of my costume.

I tried to open the door, but my kick had jammed it shut, and it was not cooperating at all. I did the only sensible thing, and tore the entire door out, frame work and all.
Setting it neatly to one side, I saw Jimmy shaking his head & laughing out loud.

"You know you're gonna pay for that, right?" He laughed.
"As you wish, Sahib", I answered, bowing & trying to blend in, and heading for the balcony.

I sat for a few minutes, watching the madness pass below on St Philip, between Royal & Chartres. A young man without any costume, or even an attempt at one, came and joined the few of us out there. He began to make racist remarks about me, as if he thought I were really an Arab. We ignored him at first, but he only grew bolder. As he was reportedly a friend of Jimmy's I tried to let it slide, but just as it became too much to bear, Jimmy appeared.

"You'll be lucky if David doesn't throw you off the goddam balcony, man", he said.
"Didja see what he did to my fucking bathroom door?"

The others laughed, and I tired to look sheepish, and we all hoped it would calm things down. 

But no.

"That fucking faggot isn't going to throw me off of any balcony!"
The young man was standing and shouting & pointing directly at me now.

"No. I'm not." I replied, standing to face him.
My voice was low, monotone, direct.
"You're going to jump", I told him, just as directly, staring hard into his eyes.
There was a brief moment of stillness, quiet & tense.

"NOW!" I barked, suddenly, sharply, but without moving.

Before the echo had finished returning from across the street, The Nasty Young Man had vaulted over the side, breaking his arm upon landing, they tell me, before running off.

Jimmy & I looked at each other & shrugged, as if to say 'Who knew?'

He scanned the small crowd, and addressed them in that 'Oh-well-I'm-Caesar' voice of his;

"Some people just don't understand the Power of Mardi Gras", he mused, shaking his head comically.
Turning to go back inside, he paused & offered, "Anybody wanna drink?"
I know I stayed for a few.

I didn't want to under estimate the Power Of Mardi Gras.

Lord David, from the 1st Mardi Gras of the 21st Century

No comments: