I – 10 East, The Rougarou (Burning Man 14)

The old pick up fit like a well worn boot. Just sitting in it reminded Roy of how good it always felt after being away for weeks on the oil rig. It started up and the motor made that sound that said let’s go. Roy picked up his water jug and took a swig. He put the gearshift in drive and pulled down the gravel road headed for I-10 East, right through Rougarou alley. He smiled as he remembered the stories his Father used to tell him about the legendary swamp creature. He’d never seen it but he sure knew a lot about it. Apparently it went back to even before the French Acadian settlers had arrived in the area. The local Indians had legends of a hairy beast that lived in the swamp and moved silently through the bayou with the breeze and used the Spanish moss as camouflage.

Roy turned on the radio. The news channel was blathering away about more government surveillance. He was glad at least that it wasn’t news of the blast on the rig. He still hadn’t made up his mind if he wanted to go back. He thought maybe he’d become a fry cook in some seaside town and make shrimp burgers and hush puppies for a while. He’d saved up some money from his time on the rig and maybe it was time for a change. He changed the radio station. WWOZ 90.7 there ya go, he thought, that’s what I need. Wouldn’t ya know it too, like a blast from the past, a time warp, it was Dr. John singing Loop Garoo. The hairs on Roy’s arm bristled up as he heard the strains of the Doctor’s voice. Just like the creature he thought. Looks like I made the right call, the radio is speaking to me now. Come back home it called, gonna pass the days.

Madame Jubal stood in the corner of her shop and pulled a package wrapped in brown paper off a shelf. Gingerly she unwrapped the package and noticed two beercaps slipped out of the wrapping. She chuckled to herself and thought about her Father who must have been the last to wrap it. She took out the framed carving carefully. It was a picture of her Great Aunt from Haiti. The picture was a delicately detailed wood carving that was crafted in such a fashion that it was three dimensional and almost alive. Madame Jubal held it and breathed softly as if she was in the presence of her Great Aunt. The eyes were looking at her. She could feel it. She placed the carving down and lit a candle. Everything in  the shop was suddenly alive, the place was filled with spirits even as the sunshine streamed in the window. Lafitte squawked in his cage: “Company today”.

“Yo sure is right about dat honey. We got company right now!” She sat down in a chair and held a Tarot deck in her hand. The image of her Great Aunt Anacona looked up at her from the table, the eyes on the carving sparkled. Madame Jubal knew something or someone was coming soon.

Roy drove along as the bayou flatland rolled by. He had the windows down and let the warm breezes fill the truck. He’d always loved the smell of the low country. The swampy brackish air had a way of making him feel at home. The radio droned softly now and his mind drifted off. He was thinking about Monique a girl had known in high school. They used to drive this route years ago on their way to visit her Uncle. The road had changed greatly since then. There used to be many places to pull over and quickly get lost but now it was built up and the side roads were largely gone. He often wondered what had happened to Monique. She had left town and married a doctor was the last he had heard. He sighed and looked at the gas gage. It was time for a break, he looked for an exit nearby. He still had an hour to go before Slidell.

Tiger Truck stop, easy on and off, it fit the bill perfectly. Roy pulled in and turned off the engine. He got out of the cab and stretched his legs, locked the door and went inside. Coming out of the convenient store was a fine looking woman. Roy realized he was staring at her. She smiled in her dark sunglasses and held the door for Roy. He literally had to shake himself out of his stare. He swore the woman was Monique but he felt so unsure he said nothing but “Thanks”. “Pas de quoi” she replied in Cajun.

Just then Roy noticed out of the corner of his eye a man in black at the far end of the sidewalk in front of the store. The man was blind as he held a white cane which twitched back and forth like a divining rod. In his other hand he held a lit cigar.  Roy blinked and went inside. The store was busy with truckers and travelers. A fresh pot of coffee was just finishing dripping. Roy gratefully poured a cup. As he turned around the man in black was right behind him. He held out an empty cup towards Roy.

“Do you mind?”

Roy said “not at all” and filled the man’s cup.

“Thank you now, y’all have quite a day ahead.”

Roy stopped. “What now, what’s that you said?”

“I said thank you. You best get going.”

Roy was puzzled by this. He headed to the counter. He wanted to avoid a confrontation. He felt for the opaline talisman. It was there under his shirt. He pulled it out and held it. It felt very cold. He stepped up to the counter to pay, he was going to pay for both coffees but when he turned around the man was gone.

He stepped outside and smelled a cigar! Sure enough there was a cigar on the sidewalk still smoldering. Roy gassed up the truck and glanced around the entire time. The man in black had disappeared completely. Just like the gator and the cottonmouth had done that morning in the swamp. He hopped back in and started down the ramp back on I – 10. He was softly humming the Loop Garoo.

“Sky full of Moon

The Night Owl was born

Gabriel was blowin’

On a little foghorn” — Dr. John, Loop Garoo
























































Contraband Bayou (Burning Man 13)

He heard the raucous bird cackling loudly nearby. He opened his eye to see the gathering light. The air was misty, there was a light fog obscuring the dawn. He looked over to one side and his breath caught in his throat. A gator laid not 4 feet away. This was quite a specimen, at least ten feet if not thirteen. Its’ enormous head was as large as Roy’s entire upper body. The black eye stared emptily. In fact the eye did not seem to focus on him at all but right through him. He turned to his right and instinctively reached for his pistol. It wasn’t there, he’d left it at home. Shit, he thought to himself, he had to pick today to play superman. He picked up his boot just to be sure. Right behind the boot lay a cottonmouth. Fucking lucky day! Roy thought. Same empty eye, devoid of sense, at least sense that he could understand. He breathed very slowly and put the boot down. As if on cue the serpent silently slithered into the black water. He turned to the other side to check on his other bed mate. The gator was gone. Not a sound, or even a ripple in the swamp. All he could hear was birds, the harbingers of the new day, denizens of Contraband Bayou. If he hadn’t seen the creatures he never would have known they were there.

Roy had spent the last two weeks recuperating at the house where he lived with his aging Mother. He had spent the days drinking voluminous amounts of beer and shooting cans in the backyard. He had wondered about the strange medallion that had come into his possession. It had a timeless quality to it. It somehow seemed familiar. When he asked his Mother about it she said maybe it was from Lafitte’s treasure. She said it must have floated up to him on the log somehow. Maybe a storm had dislodged it from its’ resting place. He wished his Father was still alive. His Father had always claimed he was Lafitte’s descendant. Roy figured it was his Father’s way of coping with his own origin after finding out he’d been adopted. He could never prove his relation to Lafitte but he loved to bring it up after a few drinks. That’s why Roy’s middle name was Jean. It was a reminder of his Father’s supposed heritage. It had brought him here to the Bayou. The legend was there was still treasure here. For Roy it was a spirit quest. He needed answers. He still couldn’t believe he was the only survivor of the rig explosion.

He reached for his pack and retrieved a can of sardines. Food always tasted better when camping. Roy was so hungry it might as well have been brunch at the Hyatt Regency. Yes Mr. Gillespie would you care for another Mimosa? No thanks, this water is fine. Taking a long drink he stood and rubbed his beard. He wrapped up his bed roll and groundcloth. He sat on the roll, laced up his boots then packed up. He looked around for any trace that either he or his bedmates had been there. There was gator tracks in the soft mud. The prints were as long as his boot. The snake had left no discernible  trace. Satisfied his site was clear he trekked off.

He threw open the door of his pickup as he tossed his pack inside the cab. He was thinking about his Father Claude. He thought it was interesting his father had a French name. Roy had looked into the Lafitte connection many times. It was certainly curious that no one could actually pin down where he had died or been buried. The legend that sparked his curiosity the most was one involving Lafitte’s wife. It was said that she was Haitian, part black and a voodoo priestess. That would explain his darker complexion. It was said that Jean Lafitte had divine protection, he had not died in a sea battle but had lived out his life and raised a family in the Caribbean. Roy wanted to believe this, he really did. This was the story that his Father would have liked. Roy suddenly knew where he needed to go, New Orleans.

Madame Jubal went to the front of her shop and arranged the books in the window. Something was brewing today, she knew it. The clock on the wall chimed nine times. It was rare that she was up and about so early. The sunlight caught the steam rising from her tea as she stirred it with a cinnamon stick. “Lafitte we gettin’ company today,” the parrot blinked. “Company today,” he echoed, “company today”.

Waiting On The Trickle Down

Clem stared at the copper tube winding down from the top of the still. The tip rested on  a porcelain jug that sat on an upturned crate. He was quietly mumbling to himself as he had done every night for the last seven years. “Dang God of the still have mercy, lemme see a trickle down of your blessed juice.” The stool he sat on creaked as his knees knocked together. A fat spider scrambled underneath the copper pot where the fire should have been. The kerosene lamp sputtered. Clem got up and turned the wick up a bit. “Damn” he muttered “seven years and not a drop”.

Just then he heard a rustle in the dirt behind him. He turned around and with a jaundiced eye saw his neighbor Billie standing in the door of the ramshackle shed. “Clem you have plum lost your foolish mind,” proclaimed Billie. “For seven damn years you’ve been huddled over this stinkin’ still every night waiting for a trickle from that cold pot. I told you once I told you a thousand times welladay you got to light a fire for that damn thing to work.” Clem stood up and spat out a chunk of tobacco he’d been roiling in his mouth. “Shaddup Billie. Just shaddup. You know this here is a magic still. I got it from the old still god Ronnie Reagan. He said there is no way it wont work afore he dropped dead.” Billie shook his head. He took off his hat and held it like a preacher. “Clem old pal, every day you work for that mean old straw boss Willard. You give him and his people all your best corn. You shovel out his stables. You done break your back every day working at Rove Farm. Not once have they ever done a thing for you. A man like you oughtta wake up and smell the coffee!”

“Aw hell” Clem grumbled. Billie turned and ceremoniously replaced his hat on his head and walked away into the night. “Plum foolish old coot, be dead afore he sees a trickle.” As Billie got further away his words echoed in Clem’s head. Clem thought to himself what he had been told. If he did what the straw boss Willard told him to do everyday. If he kept the Rove farm clean and free of undesirables. If he gave all his best corn up to them. The magic Reagan still was supposed to trickle down. He imagined in his head hundreds of full jugs of the sweet elixer. He remembered that Reagan once told him that: “Facts are stupid things.” In his mind he agreed. He was glad Billie had gone. He sat back down on the stool, his knees knocked together. He grabbed another wad of tobacco and took up his mumbling. “Dang God of the still have mercy, lemme see a trickle down of your blessed juice.”

“Facts are stupid things.” — Ronald Reagan

“Money doesn’t talk it swears.” — Bob Dylan from the song: It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Blog for Putin, Ford MIA, God on Climate Change

In a fit of despotic behavior the Emperor of Russia, the bear wresting hero of the Right Wing Nut Job elite, (including the Razzie nominated Steven Seagal), one Vladimir Putin has restricted blogging in the evolving country of Russia. He must have read something that gave him heartburn and inspired him to call for all blogs within Russia to be State registered and approved. Brilliant choice by Vladimir perhaps now his joke writing staff of retired KGB agents and the comic genius Eddie Snowden can get some actual hits on the what will now be the world famous blog: The KGB, The NSA and Me an Internal Triangle. We can’t wait to see what comes of this wonderfully oppresive move. We’re betting on more Pussy Riot!

Across the world in another Northern land the infamous Mayor of the beautiful Canadian city of Toronto, Rob Ford, has gone Missing in Action. The truth is after being recently captured on another crack cocaine camera opportunity/adventure he was finally convinced it was time for some timely intervention. On his way to rehab in Chicago, the city of choice for cocaine lovers, he was refused admission into the United States by Customs Officials. According to our sources he disappeared but is now somehow in rehab at an undisclosed location. Perhaps he’s in one of those ‘Speakeasy’ Rehabs that Chicago is famous for. We wish him a speedy recovery as his antics are needed in our world as we grow closer to the release of Godzilla.

Today we were able to reach God by phone. He was sleeping with three angels at the time and was a bit cranky at having been awakened. Yes, if you’re curious, he calls them ‘Charlie’s Angels’, we have never known God to go the other way. We immediately asked him if it was his will to impose this climate change thing, who he sleeps with is his own business. God told us in no uncertain terms in no damn way is he monkeying around with the climate. Everything that’s happening is our own fault. He said that: “The last time I interfered  I was drinking scotch and smoking hashish and things went terribly wrong. I blacked out and woke up with a devil of a hangover. Never again, it’s all your free will now boys and girls.”

“Glad I could clear things up for you.” — Jake Shween

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

The Author expresses his condolonces and sadness at the loss of Farley Mowat. He was a gifted author and a champion of environmental causes and will be missed.