Cajun Potions

by Mark on February 15, 2010

The old man knelt on the stage by his case and then carefully removed a banjo covered with decades of Mardi Gras scars.  Placing the instrument close to his ear, he alternately strummed and adjusted its strings.  Satisfied, he eyed the crowd. In the shadows by the juke box a familiar face waved her floppy straw bonnet at him.  The old man acknowledged by tipping his stovepipe hat, revealing a mahogany scalp with patches of cotton around the ears.  He turned to a half dozen other musicians, all tooting or taping, and shouted over the noise.  “Boys, we needs to heat this place up.  The devil’s visitin New Orleans tonight.”

The brass blared into a rowdy Dixieland tune.

Craig Brewbower swaggered through the bar, pumping hips and arms to the beat with a drink in each fist.  A lime shirt embroidered with Greek letters clung to his trim and taut physique.  The bleach, applied to his short-cropped hair, and the make-up, filling the lines beneath his coal black eyes, completed the youthful fraternity jock disguise.

Trinity set her bonnet aside.  She brushed back her teased milk chocolate hair until it rested on her mocha shoulders.  It took a moment until her gaze discovered Craig.   He stood with his back to her at the condiments bar.  “So, hot stuff,” she whispered to herself,  “You stirring in them roofies?  Now, who’s the quarry?”

She watched him turn and scan the mob of oyster suckers and crayfish nibblers.  He grinned and winked at a buxom coed stuffed into a LSU sweater.  Bourbon and ice clinked inside each glass, but a pink swizzle stick sprouted out of only one.

“Poor little lamb,” Trinity sighed, looking at the girl.  “You needs some help.”

Craig breezed past Trinity.  He never saw her boot until it caught his shin.  Like a missile, he catapulted through the air.  He landed hard.  Peanut shells scraped his face.  The cocktail glasses flew from his hands.  Their contents splashed against the table legs.

Miss LSU bounced over to him.  With a pink scarf she wiped the shells and bourbon off his face.  “Are you okay, honey?  She turned and barked at Trinity.  “You whore!  I saw you trip him.”

Trinity opened a compact as if to touch-up her make-up.  Craig’s date moved closer.  “Don’t you ignore me!”

With a deep breath Trinity blew into the compact.  A pink and violet cloud poured into the smoky air and then swirled into Ms. LSU’s nostrils.  Stunned, the coed stumbled backwards, blinking her eyes and shaking her head.  Trinity whispered into her ear.  “Run from this place, darling.  Run like hell.”

The coed grabbed her purse and sprinted through the bar, crashing into a waiter.  She looked back once and then bolted through the door. Still on his hands and knees, Craig caught a glimpse of his departing date.

Trinity reached down and helped him up. “Watch who you’re tripping over, stud.  You almost broke my ankle.”

Craig stared at the swizzle stick lying in the broken glass and then turned toward her.  “You could’ve killed me.”

“Look honey, if I wanted to kill you, I’d be more direct about it.”

He swept dust and shells from his chinos.

“I’m Trinity.  You going to apologize?”

“In your dreams, bitch.”

“Goldilocks is gone.  The least you can do is buy me a drink.”

Craig took a couple of steps.  He winced and then rubbed his knee.  “Why would I want to mess with trouble, like you?”

“I’m a witch, honey – certified sorceress.  If we mix the right potions, who knows what magic awaits us.”

He turned toward the door.  She looped in front of him.  “Tell you what, let’s have a few drinks.  If I’m still standing at midnight, I’ll treat you the steamiest night of your life.”

“What happens if you pass out?”

Trinity touched the bottom of his chin.  “You’ll have to let me know what I missed.”

Craig glanced at his watch and then inspected the bar in a three hundred sixty degree sweep.  Trinity felt his inspection end at the tip of her breasts.  He grinned.  “We’ve got ninety minutes.  I win either way.”

“A pinot noir, Monsieur.”

“I’m Craig.”

“I know.”

He shook his head while walking to the bar.  Trinity reached down and retrieved her mammoth flowered satchel.  She pulled out two glass vials; each with a burgundy liquid sloshing around, and then stuffed them into her halter.  Closing her eyes, she summoned up Craig’s web site – image after image of naked girls.   One was handcuffed to bedposts with a snake coiled on her belly.  Another lay prone across an ottoman.  Fresh whip welts flamed from her buttocks.   Each victim’s vacant eyes stared back at Trinity.

“Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis and now, New Orleans.  Craig, you are a wicked brew flowing to me.”

She watched him carry the drinks to the condiment stand and pull something from his belt.  He appeared to be stirring one of them.

Rohypnol, Trinity thought, shaking her head.  His victims appeared to be inebriated, but it was really paralysis.  Craig pretended to help them home, but instead he dragged them to his den.  After the rapes he pulled out a camera.  The victims were tortured for months as their parents received racy photos.

On his way back Craig stopped to chat with a table of coeds.  Future victims?  In one of the wineglasses was a pink swizzle stick.  Trinity retrieved one of her glass vials.  A thick burgundy liquid sloshed around it.

“Oh Mammy Monge!”  She lifted her eyes toward the ceiling.  “Protect your grand-daughter.”  Trinity threw back her head and drank the liquid.  Her mouth dropped open and her eyes turned white. Her body trembled for a few moments.  She recovered in a coughing fit just before Craig returned.

“You might want to drop to a pack a day.”

She laughed.  “My only smoking is preparing meat for the barbeque.”

“Sounds tasty.  Do I get to sample it?”

“Soon enough, Craig.  Why the swizzle stick?”

“Oh, I got a Merlot.  Quite frankly, I can’t tell the difference between them.”

“A pinot is like blood flowing from a wound.”

”Lovely!”  He raised his glass.  “Bottoms up and I mean that, Trinity.”

“Joie de vivre.”  Her glass touched his.  She pressed it to her lips, closed her eyes and took a sip.

He grinned, sat back and then gulped half the Merlot.  “You claim to be a witch, but your parents must be holy rollers, giving you such a name.”

“Oh, they’re religious all right – about their cooking and other things.  My grandmother, Mammy Monge, named me.  Trinity is the three main ingredients in every Cajun dish, onions, celery and bell peppers.”

“Spicy!  Is your Mammy a witch?”

“Mammy is now a spirit that protects me.”

He chuckled.  “Why do you need protection?”

Trinity gulped the remaining pinot and pushed the empty glass toward him.  “Oh Mammy doesn’t believe I’m in danger.  She stops me from harming others.”

The dimples in Craig’s grin quivered a bit.   He checked his watch at least twice.

“In a hurry, stud?”

A frown passed over his eyes, like a quick storm cloud, before the sunshine returned to a smile.  “Tell me, will Mammy Monge mind if I stir some new seeds into her grand-daughters recipe?”

She tapped the base of the wineglass.  “Buy another round before we start cooking.”

A brash rendition of “When The Saints Come Marching In” blared.  Craig returned to the bar it seemed with a less lively step.

“My wolf looks confused, Mammy.  Roofies ain’t cheap.  Wonder how many doses he’ll try this time?”

She closed her eyes and evoked his web site.

Craig revisited the condiment bar.  He reached for the belt once . . . twice and finally, a third time.

“Jesus H!  Mammy you was right.  I’ve released a demon in him.  He’s determined to grab my ass, dead or alive.”

Trinity retrieved another vile, a longer cylinder filled with a darker purple fluid. “Mammy, I’m not ready to join you, yet.  Help me beat his magic.”

The tremors after drinking the potion approached convulsions this time. Her head swayed in a circle. Steamy smoke surged out of the empty vile, encircling the table, like a chalky wreath.  Trinity’s head crashed to the table just before Craig returned.

“You worried me for a bit, my little witch.” He put down the drinks.  “Thought someone sold me a blank batch.  Let me help you to the door.”

He pulled her back by the shoulders, but she was as limp as a rag doll.  While lifting her arm, Trinity’s head launched up and then her eyes popped open.  Startled, Craig dropped her.  She smashed into the table.  The wineglasses teetered.  Craig recovered enough to tiptoe to her.  The smoke dissipated.  Trinity held both drinks.  “Took you long enough, honey.  I thought Ms. LSU returned to steal you away.”

“You passed out!”

“Nah, just deep in a séance, trying to view your prospects.”  She handed him a glass.

“What did you see?”

“All a big dark blank, Craig.  Looks like we’ll have to carve out something for you.”

He raised his glass, “To hell with the future, let’s toast tonight.”

“Couldn’t say it any better.  To hell and tonight!”  She downed a third of the glass.

A guitar joined the song.  Craig looked content, like a fox savoring a hen.  “Drink up, Trinity.  We still have time for another round, but I doubt I’ll need that to win the bet.”

“While we still have a few moments, let me tell you about a great recipe Mammy taught me.  The main ingredient is hard to find.”

“I imagine it won’t be long before grandma and you are cooking, together.”

She stirred the wine with her finger and grinned.  “You know, honey, I wish you’d brought me one of those pink swizzle sticks.”

He frowned.  Trinity licked the wine off her fingers.  His eyes searched the floor as if suddenly realizing the stick fell in his attempt to lift her.  Trinity watched Craig’s  mouth pop open after discovering a broken pink swizzle stick floating in his wine glass.

“Now honey, I’m going to have to talk fast.  Very fast!  Think of all of them victims.  Visualize the poor girls you’ve ruined.  Imagine the pain to their families.”

“How . . . how do you know?”

“Oh, we don’t have time for a full explanation.  Let’s just say Mammy led me to your website and she drew you to me.  Mammy despises snakes.”

He looked like a punch-drunk boxer, trying to focus his eyes.

“What these girls need is that special recipe we talked about.  I’ll be sending each of them the best gumbo they have ever tasted.  Lots of rice and spices.  It’ll heal them, Craig, especially when they read the recipe.  Have you guessed the special missing ingredient?”

She grabbed him by the hair, pulled up his head and then drew within a few inches of his face.  Sounds came out of his mouth, mostly grunts, gurgles and groans.

“A cowardly dick-less wonder, like you.”

She released his hair, allowing him to smash into the table and on to the floor.  Trinity threw the satchel over her shoulder and put on the bonnet.  The air was alive with the band’s roaring rendition of Washington Square.  The banjo player led a snake dance through the bar with the patrons thrusting their arms and hips with the beat.  He approached Trinity.   Craig’s limp arm hung on her shoulder as she dragged him toward the door.

Still strumming, he asked, “You need some help there, Trinity?”

“You know I can manage, Pappy.”

“Make sure you don’t burn the roux, darling”

“Slow heat – not too much flour, just like you taught me.”

“Your grandma would have been proud.”

“She is Pappy.  She is.”

The music roared and spilled on to Bourbon Street as Trinity began the journey, lugging the ingredients home.

The End

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