French Quarter Dreams – 2002

The following excerpts are from journal entries from the late 1990s-early 2000s.

I remember that James, my old boss, is giving me a ride home with another girl. She is a nameless stranger with dirty blonde hair and big, wide-eyed innocence. We are driving very fast through deteriorating stretches of endless highways. Finally, we exit and slow down. 

My vision is surreal. We pass a decrepit building, yellow glass on the left side of the car window, inside Nutcracker dolls as big as a man. James says, “That is the House of Illusions.”

A younger version of myself exclaims, “I want to go there!”

We pass an ugly, neon lite building with a Ferris wheel, very flashy. 

“That is Las Vegas,” James says. 

That must be where the devil lives, I thought to myself. 

The area we are in now is unrecognizable to me, and it is a forgotten, soulless part of town. “Where are we?” I inquire. 

“I took a different way. But now you can tell me the directions from here,” James states. 

“Are we almost there yet,” asks the nameless one. 

“No!” I exclaim, “because James took the wrong way and got us lost.”

We pull up to a four-way crossroads. The world turns grey. There is an off-white, dirty shingled house on the edge of the shadows. The car shutters and stops. We get out and walk inside the house to use the bathroom. 

Somehow I end up sitting on the toilet talking to James, perched on the edge of the bathtub. His appearance has changed. The nameless one is crouching in the tub. We are arguing about how we are lost and whose fault it is. The walls are stained, the floors cracked, and the neon lights are blinking sporadically. It is giving me a headache. 

Suddenly James blurts out, “If you could have one wish, what would it be?”

A bad feeling etches its way into my Being, which is the wrong question. 

“To get out of here,” I reply. 

My position has altered, and I am now sitting atop a flea-infested mattress on a rickety bed frame. The nameless one stares at James, wide-eyed, “I wish I could have you.” He pauses and then responds, “You are my student,” and begins to reach for her. 

The door opens, and an old man walks in. He is in the middle of an argument with a red-haired horse who can talk. Various other shadow creatures follow behind. The man seems frightened, “Alright, I will give you what you paid for!” He exclaims. 

The mattress I am sitting on starts to shake. For a split second, James’s face changes. He is the person that I once knew. He shouts to be careful and then again changes back into his alter ego. A bone dry hand shoots out from under the bed, long black claws digging into my skin. The thing emerges, and I believe it to be Satan himself. It points at James, “You have broken the third rule!” The nameless girl disappears. James disappears. 

The room is shaking, and now the demon looks at me. I find myself in a cage; everything turns black… 

My cage is sitting in the river creek bed of the Mississippi, and I can step between the bars and free myself. The water has been drained away, and all the mutated dead fish sit at my feet. They squish between my toes. The nameless blond girl is there, and she is starving. She takes a needle and sticks it in her arm to make the pain disappear. She looks at me, pulls the syringe out of her arm, and stabs me in the head with it. I wake up. 

Goodbye New Orleans, see you Space Cowboy…

Saint Louis Cemetery #2

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