by Alon Charlot
Mike sees his phone vibrate. It’s a text message from one of his friends from a different school, David.
Mike, “I don’t know yet. I don’t even know where I’m going yet.”
“Man, you know you are going to Bacchus tonight.”
Bacchus is the parade on Sunday night before Mardi Gras day. It’s one of the biggest parades of the season.
“My girl wants to go to a parade out in Metairie?”
“Nah, you coming with us man. We will be uptown on Amelia Street across from the Mexican Restaurant.”
“Let me ask my girl if she’s down to go.”
“Alright man. Let me know. We’re gonna be leaving around six.”
Mike called his girlfriend to see if she wanted to go with him to uptown. She declined, because she was already set on going to Metairie. Mike didn’t want to go there. She got mad and hung up in his face. Mike texts David back.
“Just pick me up when you are ready man.”
“Okay, I’ll let you know when we are on our way.”
Mike goes upstairs to get dressed. Stephon is going by his friends from school. Stacie will stay home. She doesn’t like going anywhere during Mardi Gras season. Stanley will be staying home and watching church on the TV. As it gets closer for the time for Mike to leave he heads back downstairs. His phone vibrates.
David texts, “We outside man.”
Mike goes by his mom to tell her he’s leaving. “I’m bout to go out mom.”
“I’m going to the parade across the river.”
“Who you going with?”
“One friend from school, and some others from different schools. You know David.”
“Oh yeah I remember him. How is he?”
“He’s good. I’m bout to go now though ma. They outside waiting for me.”
“Okay son. Be safe! Don’t let me hear you got shot or something.”
“I won’t mom".
David, “What’s up, Mike!”
Mike, “Nothing much man. What’s good with you?”
”You already know how I am man.” David holds up a daiquiri and shows Mike. The girls have one each in their hand too.
Mike sees that and says, “You started drinking already?!”
David says, “Yeah man. I haven’t drank much, a few sips maybe. I’m not trying to get messed up. I gotta drive back. Plus this my mom’s car.”
Mike laughs, “I thought this car looked familiar. I might not be drinking too much either tonight.”
“Man you don’t have a choice. I’m driving so you need to enjoy yourself… Oh I almost forgot, these are my friends Melissa, Janet, and Karla.”
Mike waves and says, “Nice to meet you all.”
The girls all say the same back. David drives off from Mike’s house. They start to head across the river to uptown. They are going to a place where all the popular high school kids meet up, Amelia Street.
They finally show up to the street. It’s filled with people from almost every high school in the New Orleans area. Kids of all races are in the same area. The boys mainly consist of jocks and their friends. The girls usually consist of cheerleaders and girls that play sports as well. During the Mardi Gras season the high school kids usually feel free to do what they want, because they have the consent of their parents to go out and have a good time without parental supervision. The parents don’t usually know what goes on when their children go out on the Mardi Gras nights.
David is trying to find a parking spot. He’s driving slowly so he doesn’t pass up any parking spots. He thinks he found one. He pushes on the brake hard so abruptly that one girl spills her drink in the car.
Karla says in an angry tone, “Damn David, what was that for?! You made me spill my drink!”
David replies, “There was a woman crossing the street with her child in a stroller. I almost hit her!”
Mike says, “You alright man?”
“Yeah I’m good man.”
“You might wanna stop drinking for tonight?” as he puts his hand on David’s shoulder to show him comfort.
“Yeah you might be right.”
Melissa says, “No! You just need to calm down and enjoy yourself. It’s Mardi Gras and we’re seniors. Turn the fuck up!”
David just smiles and starts to drive again. He finally finds a spot a few blocks down from Amelia Street. He parallel parks into it. He managed to not hit the car in front or behind him. They all get out of the car. David goes to check the backseat where Karla spilled her drink. He was worried about the smell of alcohol in his mom’s car.
David says, “I’m definitely going to have to clean that when I get back home.”
Karla says, “Well if you didn’t stop like that we wouldn’t have this problem.”
David rolls his eyes and Mike speaks, “Look, lets just enjoy the night guys.”
David locks the car doors and they all start walking towards the parade route. Mike and David fall back from the girls to walk behind them.
Mike says, “So which one is yours?”
David replies, “Melissa. We have been texting a lot lately.”
“Which one are you going for?”
Mike looks at him and says, “I’m not going for any of them. I have a girl already man.”
“Aww how cute. You actually gonna stay faithful tonight.”
“I’m just trying to stay out of drama. I’m not like you.”
“Whatever man. We’ll see after tonight.”
They start to catch up with the girls. They see floats ahead of them going down the street. It’s the floats of the first parade of the night. There are usually two parades before the Bacchus parade starts. Mike and the group start getting closer to the route. They need to cross the street though. As they are walking through the crowd of people that are trying to catch beads. The people are reluctant to moving and let them pass. They think they are trying to take their spot. People have stepladders with their children at the top of them. They have folding chairs all over the place. Some people even have food and ice chests near them full of beer and water. There are a ton of beads on the ground along with beer cans and empty plates of foods that people littered. Mike and the group had to maneuver around everyone and everything. Once they finally made it to the front of crowd they had to cross the street and go through the same process. Everyone in their group is in front.
David says, “Y’all ready? We’re gonna go after this float passes.”
Everyone nods their head yes. The float finally passes and they cross the street right in front of a cop car who is also part of the parade.
Once they make it across the street Mike says, “I’m surprised the cop didn’t stop us since y’all have those drinks in your hands.”
David replies, “He’s apart of the parade so he isn’t worried about us. Plus there’s too much underage drinking going on right now; they’d have to arrest all of us.”
Mike says, “True.”
Melissa says, “Mike, I need you to loosen up. You’re starting to sound like a buzz kill.”
Mike starts thinking maybe he should loosen up. They are walking through the crowd across the street now. Walking through this crowd was easier, since people notice their trying to walk to the back of the crowd. The people open up for them as if Moses spread them with his mighty staff. They make it to the back of the crowd and start walking to Amelia Street. They see all their friends on the street as they walk up. All of their friends have a drink in their hand. Some of the other people there are smoking marijuana. Some daring kids even take it as far to take drugs in the form of pills to further the influence. The street is crowded and usually the cops aren’t around on this street. They even have a designated area where they would go to use the bathroom, which is behind a resident’s house that no one knows. This is a time of fun and recklessness for all the teens.
She sees the news anchor say, “An update from downtown as a twenty-two year old man has been shot and murdered a few blocks away from the parade route tonight. The cops do not know where the suspect has gone. The victim was found lying on the ground near his car. The cops have found out he was robbed of his wallet and other items. The police do not have the name of the victim as of right now.”
Stacie sees this and texts Mike immediately, “A twenty-two year old has been killed near the parade route downtown! Where are you?”
Mike texts back, “Really? Wow. This city is dangerous. I’m uptown. Nowhere near downtown.”
“Okay, please be safe out there.”
“I will mom.”
She stops texting Mike and hears a rumble upstairs. It’s a bunch of footsteps coming from her bedroom. Then the person leaves out of the room and starts running downstairs. It’s Stanley. He has his robe on with no clothes on underneath.
He walks into the den where Stacie is and says, “Did you hear about that boy getting shot near his car downtown?”
Stacie says, “Yes Stanley.”
Stanley in a worried tone says, “That’s not where Mike is huh. He’s not near the parade huh?”
Stacie rolls her eyes and says, “He is at the parade and he’s fine. He’s nowhere near the area of the shooting.”
Stanley sits down and grabs his chest exaggerating like he has a heart attack.
“You mean to tell me he out there and you didn’t tell him to come home!”
“I did not tell him to come home, because he wasn’t near the area. Plus he didn’t drive up there.”
“You are going to get our son killed! I’m going to get him. Where is he?”
“I told you he is no where near that area!”
“Stacie, I’m going to get our son. It isn’t safe there!”
“What is wrong with you?!”
He walks back upstairs and puts some white briefs on under his robe. He puts some shoes on that he has been walking on the back off, so they look like he’s wearing slippers. He walks back downstairs and leaves the house just like that.
Stanley calls Mike on his phone and says, “Hey son, where are you?”
“I’m uptown on Amelia Street. You must be calling about the same thing mom texted me about.” Stanley hangs up the phone. “Hello? Hello?” Mike hangs up the phone soon after.
Stacie calls Mike now and says, “Mike, your father is on his way over there.”
Mike replies, “What?! Why?”
“Because of what happened downtown. I didn’t tell him where you were though.”
“I wish you would’ve told me this sooner. I just told him where I was.”
“Well I tried. You could hide or go somewhere else.”
“I think we’ll be fine. He won’t find parking near here, and I know he won’t want to walk all the way over here.”
“You may be right. Like I said before, be safe out there, son.”
Karla says, “So why does Mike seem so uptight?”
David replies, “He’s just a good person really. He really tries to do no wrong. Plus his mom would kill him if he ever did anything like this. Y’all don’t know Ms. Stacie. I’m actually surprised he’s even drinking tonight. He usually never drinks.”
Karla asks, “What’s wrong with his mom?”
Janet says, “He seems like a nice guy.”
David says, “He is a good dude, and his mom is just strict when it comes to stuff like this. She just doesn’t play around when it comes to her children.”
Janet says, “I could understand that.”
Melissa says, “Blah, blah, Mike still a lame ass dude.”
David replies to defend Mike, “He’s not. He just knows what he has to do to get what he wants. That right now is baseball.”
Janet asks, “What you mean?”
David says, “He’s an amazing baseball player. Like people are talking about him getting drafted by the major leagues by the end of high school.”
Janet in awe says, “Wow! Really?”
David replies, “Yeah.”
Melissa says as though she is surprised, “I did not know that!”
They make it back to the area where everyone is. Mike sees them walking up. He jumps in front of them. He is past the point of tipsy. He’s having more fun. He’s only been drunk one time before this one.
Mike shouts, “Y’all have been missing out!” He puts his arm around David. He says loudly enough for the girls to hear him. He thinks he is whispering. “You must’ve wentto go fuck Melissa huh?”
Melissa in disgust says, “Umm excuse me?”
Mike says, “I said that out loud?”
David replies, “Yeah man?” He laughs.
Janet and Karla laugh as well. Melissa walks off to go chill with a different group of friends for a little while. Mike and David both take another shot. Janet walks up to Mike. She starts flirting with him. Mike is hesitant to flirt back because he knows he has a girlfriend.
Janet says, “Take a shot with me!”
Mike replies, “Uhh I think I’m good on the drink for right now. I’m already drunk?”
Janet gives Mike a sad face and says, “Please, for me? I don’t want to take one alone.”
David shouts, “Don’t be no bitch Mike!”
Mike says, “Damn! Okay I’ll take one with you?”
David says, “Yeah you better!”
Janet gets the bottle from David. It’s a bottle of cheap vodka. Janet takes the bottle and walks back to Mike. She drinks the shot straight from the bottle. She drank about three shots all on that one take.
Janet holds up the bottle in front of Mikes face and says, “Your turn.”
Mike looks at the bottle as if it is death itself. He takes a quick sip and tries to give the bottle back to David.
Janet laughs and says, “Nope, you have to drink more.”
Mike laughs, “Okay, okay.”
As Mike is about to take another shot, he sees someone in a robe walking up. He thinks to himself that the person looks familiar.
Mike’s face drops and puts his hand to his forehead in embarrassment.
“Oh shit! That’s my dad!”
Janet asks, “What’s going on?”
David says, “Why is your dad out here?”
Mike says, “I don’t know!”
All the teens in the area see him. They start pointing and laughing. Stanley doesn’t care. Mike is trying to figure out what he’s about to do. Melissa walks up to him and grabs his hand. She pulls him away and walks him to a hidden little alleyway on the next block. Mike was confused, but he didn’t question it. It got him away from his father. Melissa checks the corner of the alleyway to make sure no one is around.
Mike says, “Thank for getting me away from there.”
Melissa is confused but doesn’t ask what he is talking about, “So I heard you’re really good at baseball huh?”
Mike replies confused, “Yeah, how do you know that?”
Melissa starts to get closer to Mike. She grabs his penis through his pants. Mike is shocked.
Mike jumps and says, “Wooh, what you doing?”
Melissa says, “Just relax. Unless you don’t want me to do this?”
She starts to unzip his pants and pulls his penis out. Mike doesn’t stop her. She starts to suck him off in the alleyway. Mike is speechless. He’s enjoying it so much he forgot his father was out there.
Stanley to one group of teens, “Do you know my son Michael? He’s pretty tall. He’s plays baseball.”
They shake their head no and laugh as he walks to the next group of kids to ask them the same question. They sayno as well. He keeps going until he finally sees a friend of Mike’s that he recognizes. He sees David.
Stanley shouts, “David!”
David turns around and sees it’s Stanley calling him. He starts to walk the opposite way.
Stanley says, “David, I know you see me.” He catches up with him.
David replies, “Mr. Stanley what are doing out here?”
“I’m looking for my son? You seen him?”
David doesn’t want to snitch on Mike and says, “I mean I don’t know where he is Mr. Stanley.”
“David I saw you outside my window when you picked him up. Don’t make me embarrass you in front all your friends.”
“Sir, it’s too late for that.”
“If you don’t tell me where he is! Ima make it worse.”
“Okay, someone took him.”
Stanley shouts, “What you mean someone took him?!”
“Relax Mr. Stanley. It was a girl. I didn’t see her face. They went somewhere I don’t know where though.”
“What direction they went in?”
“I’m not sure?”
“Well thank you David for being no help.”
“You lucky I don’t tell your mom what y’all doing out here.”
He walks away and continues to search. As he walks up to another group, sounds similar to gunshots ring through the air. The kids noticed and started running in all different directions. They didn’t ask questions; they just ran. Stanley knows the sound. It was a car backfiring that was in the parade. He stays calm and tries to find his son through all the kids running. Janet runs up the street and tries to hide in the same alleyway Mike and Melissa are in.
Janet in disbelief says, “Wow Melissa! You really went this low.”
Melissa stops what she’s doing. Mike turns to put his penis away. David and Karla finally catch up to Janet.
Melissa pulls Janet close to her and whispers, “Please don’t tell David.”
Janet pulls her arm away from her. Mike is embarrassed, but he acts like nothing happened.
David while trying to catch his breath says, “Come on guys. We gotta get back to my car. There were gunshots.”
Mike is stunned and says, “You serious? I didn’t even hear that?”
“Lets go! Your dad is still looking for you too?”
Mike says with no hesitation, “Let’s go!”
They all leave and head towards the car. They are a block away from the car. Stanley walks back to his car and calls Mike. Mike answers and Stanley is relieved. The conversation was short. They finally make it back to the car.
Mike says, “Tonight was wild!”
As they walk up to car door Melissa opens the passenger door and drops to the ground unconsciously. David notices as he opens the driver door.
“Melissa! Get up! We don’t have time to play around.”
Mike walks by Melissa and bends down and says, “Melissa?” She doesn’t answer. He slaps her face gently a few times to see if she’ll respond. “Y’all, I don’t think she playing.”
Janet says, “What the fuck do you mean?”
David rushes to that side of the car and gets down on one knee and checks her pulse and says, “I can’t feel a pulse!” He starts to panic and goes to give her mouth-to-mouth. Mike sees that and tries to stop him, “Wait don’t …” Mike was too late to stop him. Janet and Mike both look at each other while David is still giving mouth-to-mouth.
Janet goes down to check Melissa’s pulse also and says, “David, she has a pulse.”
David goes to check her pulse again and Janet notices his hand is in the wrong area. Janet says, “That’s her collar bone dick lips!”
Mike puts his hands on top of his head and says, “Wow!”
David replies, “Huh?”
Mike quickly responds, “Nothing. She’s alive and that’s all that matters. We need to go.” David and Mike pick her up and put her in the car. Mike says, “We need to get her to a hospital.”
They all get in the car and start to head towards an emergency room on the other side of the bridge. As David gets closer to the bridge a police officer pulls up behind them and puts on his lights.
David notices and puts his head on the steering wheel and says, “Fuck!”