A short story by Terrance Gavan
The trees were bending on the teche.
A bunch of good ol’ boys were sipping Jack and reminiscing about their crunch with destiny.
Bobby-Joe Depatie had his old Martin guitar by his side.
He had just stopped playing, long enough to add a tiny bit of his own apocrypha.
“Well, I know one ‘tings foh’ sure,” said Bobby-Joe, whose ambivalence about the law was surpassed only by his disdain for law makers. ”Ah’ knows that this motherfuckah’ Romney don’t give shit about what the fuck’s goins’ on down heah on the bayou or in any poor precinct in this fucking country.”
Bobby-Joe Depatie comes from a long line of anarchists and he hasn’t voted since Kennedy.
Big Tremble St-Charles took a sip from his tallboy Budweiser and spat into the freshening howler blowin’ in off the Gulf.
“Fuck you Bobby-Joe,” said Big Tremble. “We ain’t here to argue ’bout no fuckin’ politicians today. You got your head truly up your ass if you think that we’re gonna’ listen to your bullshit and shuck and glide today.”
Leonard-Sweet-Lips Robideaux chuckled. His horn was in the 63 Chevrolet that all three men were leaning on, heads tucked in against the blow.
“We got a funeral to play here motherfuckahs,” said Sweet-Lips. “Now is not the time nor is it the place to be talkin’ bout’ nothin’ but what songs we gonna’ mess up the hall with tonight.”
The entourage of 60-somethings were missing one today on the teche. They had been coming here for 35 years and probably more. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays Bobby-Joe Depatie, Sweet-Lips Robideaux, Big Tremble St-Charles and Cornell Wild Thang St John. Dawn. On the Bayou. With friends.
Wild Thang is not there, but his trombone is.
Bobby-Joe Depatie, Sweet-Lips Robideaux, Big Tremble St-Charles remembered what Cornell St. John had said to them that night at the hospice, while they all sat drinkin’ jack and coke around the comfortable white bed with its shiny white sheets.
“Ah, shit,” said Cornell. “Find someone to play Alice and get the fuck on with youse-all business.”
Those were Cornell’s last words to Bobby-Joe Depatie, Sweet-Lips Robideaux, and Big Tremble St-Charles.
The three men looked at the old bone, Alice, sitting there in bas-relief against that snakebit half-light of dawn.
Alice would make this trip alone today.
Silent as Wild Thang in that simple aspen casket.
Bobby-Joe Depatie, Sweet-Lips Robideaux, and Big Tremble St-Charles uncorked took a few more sips.
And said goodbyes to Cornell Wild Thang St John.
Big Tremble looked up at the sky.
“Ugly day for a motherfuckin’ funeral.”
“Uh-Uh.” Bobby-Joe Depatie, Sweet-Lips Robideaux and that ugly fuckin’ wind answered in practiced unison.
They played that day and into the night.
They played for a friend.
But not… with that friend.
And their thoughts did not strain too hard against the hard buttress of their craniums that night. The Booze. The Songs. And the Company.
Dispelled gloom… as it always had.
Now is not the time nor is it the place to be talkin’ bout’ nothin’ but what songs we gonna’ mess up the hall with tonight.
And they messed up that hall… real good… even without Alice’s onerous shit.
And they said goodnight well until morning’s light.