someone i didn’t know that Kiki knew – typical – was selling a desk.
she lived in the neighborhood, and it was just before 2pm, maybe time to venture out into Jazz Fest, 2018. i put on the jeans i’d found in my first New Orleans Apartment, red shirt. slipped shoes over mismatched socks. Kiki slipped into something – typical – that looked perfect on her. she motioned with her head, red hair swaying: “ready?”
only day one, so maybe this was why the shit had yet to meet the show. a few strolling groups, loners, couples. big old man with a blue Hawaiian had set up shop at the edge of our driveway. table a mushroom grove of varied hats. our landlord had warned us about him. currently unable to remember the warning, i took a hit of my beer and took to the streets.
we ambled past the entrance, down Fortin. winnowed dodges past tourists, residents, noting those who were out selling water, charging for port-a-potties, suggesting tips in exchange for cold domestics.
“shit.” i said. “we forgot to come up with a hustle.”
“there’s time,” Kiki said.
“how about an irony booth? tune the radio to WWOZ and charge shitty hipsters to listen to Jazz Fest live.”
“kissing booth,” she said. “one dollar for a kiss. if we don’t like who’s paying, we just kiss each other. wasn’t that great, we can say?”
“doesn’t happen too often in this world, but win-win.”
we swung right on Gentilly Blvd, cars crawling to the whim of drunk pedestrians. more booths, pop ups, clever shills chasing the dollar. we crossed over, passed the Seahorse Saloon. i glanced through the windows. saw some actual ass in those seats.
“never seen it crowded,” i said. sipped my beer and lit a cigarette, grated sunshine through green leaves. “will there even be room for my memories?”
“the night you, me, Hobbes, Dalia, Cali holed up here after the meeting? you me and Dalia after the Star Wars movie, both of you swimming in your sad smiles, talking about Carrie Fisher? Sitting with Tara, blackout drunk with our backs to the building, laughing about come for the music, leave for the music?”
“those memories aren’t going anywhere, Lucky.”
we kept walking, turned down a few chances at bottled water, found strange footprints in the beat. passed a table lined with purses, vender a woman stretched out over the hood of her car, round lips, large teeth teaming up to present a beautiful smile just beneath sunglasses surrounded by oaken skin and studded piercings.
took a right on Castiglione. the world suddenly turned suburban, and save for that particular brand of Louisiana heat, i could close my eyes and dream of early mornings after poker games on Long Island.
Kiki guided me up some stairs, pressed her finger beneath a sign reading RING DOORBELL.
brief peek from beyond blinds, and we were let in.
gentleman with a beard, accidental mohawk, and sleeveless shirt. his partner had a round face, friendly smile, and shaking her hand felt guarded and serene.
they led me to the desk.
antique. couldn’t say as to what kind of wood, but the surface was a multiversity of circles, fossilized drinks, and that much made sense to me. i sat down in the chair. came with the desk. sturdy, not a fold up. vinyl covered cushioning for the back and the back. i tried out a series of poses. mimicked writing, keyboard and pen. slouched over, head down, thinking of my worst memories. absently reached for a bottle of red.
“goddamn,” i said. “are these drawers?”
“yes,” he said.
“for over twenty years i’ve been writing at a card table with fold in legs. it was easy to carry. always had to keep moving, pack things up when things ended.”
“welcome to storage space,” she said.
i turned my head, just to see how my other cheek would feel as i stared out the window. “don’t worry,” i told them. “not going to sweep imaginary implements off the top and pretend to go to town on someone.”
they laughed. “please don’t.”
i sat back, looked up. gave Kiki the nod.
she paid them. we arranged for the pickup, Monday. after the first weekend of Jazz Fest was put to rest. we shook hands, left the way we came.
Kiki held my hand as we walked down the street. “you have desk, now.”
the light grew bright on Gentilly, and i gave a squint. “yeah.”
“thank you for the desk.”
“you should have one.”
“forgot to check how it works while watching pornography.”
“it’s a little low,” she said. “you might have to pull the chair back.”
“taking that as a compliment.”
we walked for a bit more. a water vendor called out, large woman loving her lawnchair, told Kiki, “Girl, you is fine!”
i glanced back and smiled. she laughed. we knew what we meant.
i went back to my thoughts as the crowd thickened, music thumping, once more.
“baby?” she asked.
“i’ve been writing at a card table for so long,” i said. “i carried it along the streets of New York, took it for rides in the subway. always had someplace else i had to be.”
“it’s ok,” she said, as we passed the Seahorse. “those memories aren’t going anywhere, Lucky.”
so we had looped back around.
weaving in and out, Jazz Fest 2018.
i lit another cigarette and silently hoped this desk would be the one.
hat vendor still outside of our house.
still unable to remember whatever warning our landlord had doled out.
went inside, poured a Jack Daniel’s – typical – and sat down at the table, fingers working, waiting for Monday to make a manic scene.
or for fucking free in digital
so long and thanks for all the pish.