The following excerpts are from journal entries from the late 1990s-early 2000s.
Streetcar took me straight to the Quarter, on my way to find my first job. Down by the water, the heat was oppressive mid-afternoon, streets reeked of stale beer and piss. I managed to get a sales position at this dusty little Indian shop on Decatur. Kruz was not only the name of the shop but also the owner’s name. He was a charm of grease with a gravel voice. The buzz of his electric wheelchair was like nails on a chalkboard. I would hear it often too late, and he was already poking me with his long, nimble stick of a cane.
My co-worker, Jamal, was always shirtless, sleek, and full of more muscles than brains. And then there was Hope. Her name implied one thing, and she was the opposite by nature. She was the type of woman who seemed older, bitter, and hated anything female outside of herself. She would sit and tell me stories about how she claimed five children on her taxes, without a single to show for it. Between Kruz and Hope, I felt a bit like Cinderella. My daily chores consisted of scrubbing the floors, cleaning tourists vomit off of the veranda, or moving boxes that weighed more than I did. Jamal often came up behind me and assisted me in my tasks, which always ended in Kruz very matter-of-factly lecturing me on the youth today and laziness. The irony as, as it turns out he didn’t need that wheelchair after all, and he was literally just too lazy to walk.
Across the street from Kruz was the shop that I indeed had my eye on, Gargoyles. Finally, one day, Andre, the owner, offered me a position, and I was more than ready to take it. Bring on the leather, bears, daddies, long stockings, and the gates of hell. I was prepared for it.
Hope was mortified and told Andre he was wasting his time, at which he laughingly told her to mind her own business.
The first day I started upon the new venture, a boy walked in. Six feet tall, thin as a board, blonde mohawk, Gaelic tattoos covering his neck all the way down. Intense look about him, and I had never seen anyone like him before. His name was Elijah.