The Super Dome is literally wall-to-wall bodies for the Saints season opener against the Vikings, which is to be expected since that is who we beat in the 2009 NFC playoff championship game to advance to the Super Bowl against the Colts in the Super Bowl.
I’m jammed up against a wall in the mayor’s suite while Rita sips champagne and waves her hands around wildly as she talks to Rita Benson, either the co-owner or owner of the team.
The suite is packed and it’s still a good 45 minutes until kick-off. Somewhere in the background someone has Stand Up and Get Crunk cranked up and on endless loop.
The suite is jam packed and Roger, like me, is sort of standing with his back to the wall just trying to avoid running into people. He tries to say something to me but the noise is too loud and I just laugh and shrug and he raises his bottle of Bud and toasts me.
I’m also wired on coke, which was a bad idea for a mob scene like this (Mental note to self – next time I show up at a major sporting event Ativan). Cocaine is not a good drug for crowds and I clutch my bottle of beer in a death grip so hard that my knuckles are white and I’m sure the bemused grin on my face probably looks like the acid-stained grin on the Joker’s face from Batman and I’m thankful for a moment that I don’t have a mirror.
I’m also grateful that Rita, my Rita, is leaving me alone for the time being, but I know that any second now she’ll turn around, grab me by the arm and drag me into some sort of introduction with somebody of some kind of importance or significance (hopefully not somebody in drug enforcement that can tell I’m high).
I cringe at the thought, but before finish the though, the crowd in the suite parts as a group of people, an entourage actually, trails in. It’s the mayor, his wife and a handful of his cronies. He greets Rita, not my Rita, Rita Benson first and they hug and he politely kisses her.
The scene is so surreal I’m really not sure what to do with myself and then I glance over and now Rita, my Rita is chatting with the mayor. Rita spins around and moves towards Roger and I and I’m thinking, “Oh great, here it comes” when she actually reaches out and touched my brother on his arm and leans in to whisper something to him.
He looks just as surprised as I do, but as the mayor steps forward, my brother steps up, extends his hand and shakes it. They start talking about something.
What I’m not sure, but both my brother and the mayor are quite animated and I actually think I hear the mayor say, “Our defense is gonna send Favre back to the Kill tonight (short for Favre’s Mississippi home town, Kiln, which is probably not even a full ten miles over the state line driving east on I-10).
I can’t be sure of this though because of the background noise.
“Hey,” says the mayor boisterously, and for the first time of the night, a semi-silence falls over the suite. “Where the fuck is my beer at?” he asks laughing good-naturedly.
One of his aids (at least I guess that’s what you call them), snaps to attention and moves toward the fridge over on the far wall of the suite, which reminds me that I have to go to the store.
I’m emaciated. I’m sure of it. I haven’t done any shopping, no stocking at the apartment since I moved in, which is a shame. Although the place was largely unfurnished, it did come equipped with a refrigerator, a washer, a dryer, a dishwasher and a gas stove (which I prefer infinitely over electric stoves).
I watch the aid make his way to the fridge and I’m surprised at the size of the thing. It’s double the size of mine, which I guess must mean I have refrigerator envy. The mayor clocks me, sees me gripping my beer and notices it’s near empty and he calls out loudly across the room, “Hey Tony, get an extra one here for….”
He pauses deliberately and I say, “Trevor” maybe a little too loudly. I’m surprised at how loud my voice seems to boom out. The mayor reaches over, shakes my hand and introduces himself.
“Get him a Heineken Tony, save that horse piss Budweiser for Ray-Ray (meaning former Mayor Ray Nagin) in case he shows up,” the mayor says, chuckling obnoxiously at his own joke. Everyone laughs along with him because, well he is, after all, the mayor.
At that split second, Rita descends upon us like a hawk swooping down upon an innocent field mouse and launches into full introductions.
“Oh this is the guy?” the mayor says, as Rita nods. “ Bring him two beers. You want a mixed drink? Anything from the bar?”
“I’m good for now,” I tell him.
“Rita’s told me all about you,” the mayor tells me and I just sort of nod, not really sure what to make of this statement. Anything you want from the bar, just help yourself.”
I almost laugh at this, because there was once a time, when I probably would have taken him up on this offer, made myself truly at home and completely drained his alcohol supply. The thought makes me almost laugh and the mayor continues, “I have to tell you, we have a great city here. We’re really making a lot of headway with recovery efforts. I’ll be honest, we have a very flourishing art scene here in New Orleans. So when Rita was telling me about the gallery I was sort of like, ‘okay, another art gallery. Great, been there done that. But I stopped down by planning and zoning and checked out the plans. Nice, it looks like it’s really going to be a class act. And we’re glad to have you here as part of it. Just don’t go pissing off any more publishers. Especially over at the T.P., they’ll have both our heads on spikes at the foot of the Causeway.”
I laugh and tell him not to worry.
“No troubles from me,” I tell him.
“Great,” he says, slapping me on the back and then motioning over towards the seats as he glances at his watch. “Only a couple minutes now until kick-off. Come on. Come sit with me.”
I glance over at Roger, who just grins and nods at me as if to say, “Don’t be a dumb ass. If the mayor wants you to sit with him, go fucking sit with him. I’ll be okay.”
I know it’ll make for a long night, but I also know that declining will make things even longer so I join him.
It is, in fact a long night. And although the Saints win, 14-9, the whole game is lackluster. Hartley, the field goal kicker who got us into the Super Bowl I the first place, misses two field goals and, more importantly, Favre isn’t as brutalized in the pocket as he was during the NFC Championship game last season.
As the game ends and the crowd begins to disperse I feel my iPhone in my pocket vibrating. Curious to see who it is, because everyone I really know is in the suite with us right now, I pull the phone out of my pocket and I see that there is a text message from a blocked number:
How r u?
I figure it’s a wrong number or something, so I ignore it and slip the phone back in my pocket. Twenty seconds later it vibrates again and I pull it out. Another text:
Trevor r u there???
I hate texting. I abhor it. My fingers are too big to work the key pads. Where it takes the average person to rattle off a 100-word State of the Union address, it takes me almost five minutes just to type in my own fucking name. But I text back:
Who is this?
This time there isn’t a reply immediately. In fact, two or three minutes actually pass before the person on the other end responds:
it’s a surprise…xoxoxo
I slide the phone back into my pocket and meander out with everybody else.
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Favre beans…and a fine Chianti Clarice, I’m thinking as I push my cart through Dorgnacs. I’ve got earbuds connected to the iPhone. As has been the habit the past few days, I have Ceremony, by New Order, on endless loop, because it’s a song Maddy and I used to love..I need rice, so I grab a five-pound bag and toss it into the buggy…I stop at the beer aisle and grab a six-pack of Red Stripe and a six-pack of Turbo Dog. I also get vodka and Bloody Mary mix. It’s been fun falling back in love again with Maddy…which I know is kind of absurd because she’s not really here but I pretend that my anonymous texter (who hasn’t texted me since the night of the Saints game) is really Maddy..In fact last night, as I laid in the bed jerking off, I imagined her naked, her nipples getting hard in my mouth, goose pimples rising across her flesh..I remembered her screams, the way her nails sometimes dragged across my back…the way she twisted her fingers in my hair and forced my head into her as I ate her out…and I exploded…laying panting with a big puddle of cum dripping down my leg, my breath ragged…What if it really is her? God, I hope it is her. But what if she’s ugly now, I wonder as I stop on the spice aisle and grab salt, garlic powder, gumbo file, thyme, white pepper, and brown sugar. It doesn’t matter. She could be 300 hundred pounds and hideously disfigured and I’d love her just the same..That’s bullshit and you know it, I say to myself. No it isn’t, I argue back as I veer to the meat section. I grab some steaks and a ham and a whole chicken…I imagine what I’d cook for her if she was at my apartment..What would she say, what would she do when I brought her to the flat….would she be anxious? Excited? Would she just look at me like I was a creep for re-renting the place? Soup, I need soup. Soup is good food…I toss soup into the buggy but realize it’s so fucking loaded with sodium I almost put it back. Intead I make it back to the rice aisle and grab a bag of dry split peas…I won’t be serving that to her..or chicken livers..unles she likes chicken livers. No, probably not. She used to love pizza though..and mangoes and spinach salad…I have to have these things on hand for her in case she comes. She’s not coming, I say…You don’t know that, that could have been her. It could have also been any number of people..maybe Rita..No, Rita was in the suite at the game with me..Did I see her text anyone? No, she hates texting worse than I do. Maybe even Valerie, trying to fuck with my head. Or maybe it’s Valerie and she wants me back…But I don’t want her back…That train left the station…This thought stops me dead in my tracks right there in front of the frozen yogurt, which Maddy used to also like….but the thought repeats itself, running rampant through my head. Fuck Valerie. I don’t want her back…I did….but now I don’t….I don’t want anybody..No that’s not true – I want Maddy…but I don’t need anybody..Even though I want her, I don’t need Maddy…I don’t need anybody…but I do need Alfredo sauce…..
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I’m walking back to the gallery after lunch when a Trailbalzer swerved crazily off the road and up to the curb, not even three feet from where I’m standing. I’m about to shout, but the passenger window rolls down and some guy with dark wavy hair motions for me to get into the SUV.
I walk closer to see what the fuck is what. The guy has on black and white checkered chef pants and a white tee shirt on. I do a double-take and realize it’s Donald.
I lean in through the window and say, “What’s up man?”
“Yo, yo, yo, yo, yo baby pop I said don’t stop,” he sings along to “Push It” of all things before he turns the stereo down. “How the fuck are you my man?” he asks. “Talked to Kat, and she told me you might be in need of my services.”
“Yeah,” I say, remembering. “I do in fact.”
“Jump in,” he says.
“Let me go check in with the gallery real quick,” I tell him.
“No time for love, Dr. Jones,” he says. “Seriously dude, Just get in. Hit’em on the cell. I don’t have a lot of time. You wanna do this or not?”
“Yeah,” I say.
I open the door and climb in and he guns it.