October 20th, 2002

I Will Not Defame New Orleans.

Blood On The Moon, Salt On The Wound

You know what they say about nights when there's an orange ring around a nearly full moon — a "blood on the moon" evening. They say, "Uh-oh." (Or, if they have intricately arranged wedding cake hair, stupidly wicked nails and big gold hoop earrings, they say, "Ooo-uh-uh!")

Weaker vessels who are susceptible to the mildest lunar gravitational nuances seem to have one thing on their mind, and one thing only: "Let's go fuck with The Marquis on Lower Decatur!"

The freaks, as they say, come out at night.

Last night at work I kicked out about six — "people" (werewolves?) — then looked about and realized I had cleared the bar.

Grrrreat, I thought, it's going to be one of those nights!

I rustled around under the bar looking for a cannister of salt, then took it to the threshold and drew a thick line across the entrance. I stepped out onto the street and spoke loudly to no one and everyone (which consisted at that point of some random deformed alien-esque mutants slithering here and there in the shadows), "Evil spirits cannot cross lines of salt!"

Shortly after, something strange happened. Some truculent redneck whom I had kicked out earlier using a rather clever (if I may say so) scheme, namely, recruiting his girlfriend to "suggest" they go elsewhere, tried to come back in. The girlfriend shot me looks of, "I'll get rid of him, I swear, I'm so sorry," and as he stepped/stumbled across my salt line, he froze, looked confused, and started coughing violently for a moment.

Then he went away wordlessly.

I smiled the biggest, truest smile I had in me (which wasn't much to look at, but at least it was there).

By gum, it wuhhhks! It ack-shully wuhhhks!

The bar remained empty for about 20 minutes as the evil spirit/good spirit ratio adjusted itself to my mo' pow'ful mojo-juju, then the Good Eggs began arriving, in proverbial droves.

(Oh, Churchy, you are always a harbinger of lovliness, did you know this? Lovliness follows in your wake like white trash flocks early-birdy to a yard sale.)

Had a group of bartenders from Biloxi stumble in for my Wee Hours. "We don't miss New Orleans," quod the ex-natives, "but we do miss this bar!"

They staked out the billiard room, doubled my ring, tipped like bible belt housewives shelling out for their favorite evangelist, and perhaps most importantly, managed to actually entertain me — me! baded and jitter as they come!

One of them, a funny little Thai guy nonsensically yclept "Jimbo," kept putting ones in the video crack machine and bade me play. It continued to pay off and I continued to cash out. And he continued to hop up and down, applaud, stuff more ones in the machine, and refuse his cut of the booty.

O-mystical Salt of the Threshold, I do not understand thee, but dammit I plan to!

But perhaps the best thing about last night (post-salt-drawing) was that I was the happy recipient of a Big Mac.

I speak not of the curious three-bunned diminutive hamburger and its accompanying "special sauce"; rather, of the mammoth, benevolent black man who moved to the Pacific Northwest years ago and just yesterday has moved back home to N'awlins.

Big Mac is the amiable grandaddy to all the good boys and girls of the French Quarter. His bonhomie is partout. He watches everyone's back simultaneously, and has, on innumerable occasions, come between Good Eggs and the Troubles That Plague Them.

While in exile in Washington state, Big Mac would often phone my bar, wanting to talk to whoever was working to sate his homesickness. And everyone makes the time for Big Mac.

The depth of his smile has not been successfully sounded, and seems to span galaxies.

Plus, the dude can crack your back into shape in four seconds flat and leave us service industry spinal sufferers somewhat human again.

Biking home, everyone I passed whom I knew shouted the same refrain: "Big Mac's back!" It's like fucking Christmas ovah heeah.

I'm buying stock in Morton's.