The Bus Trip: New Year’s Eve

 

Carl
Carl

New Orleans – 12/31

Carl had arrived with a friend, Deanna, at midnight.

We assumed that Deanna was Carl’ s girlfriend.

Carl was telling us about camping on Oahu when Lar burst in and invited us to join him in the swamps.

Peter smiled, “He wants to make up.”

When we declined, he offered us the use of his car rental so we could go alone.

Lar left to get a soda and the delegates discussed his sudden change of temper.

Was this an act of friendship or did he intend to kill us out there?

We agreed to forgo the swamps for extra sleep.

We awoke to the sound of Carl screaming angrily into his phone at Deanna.

We dressed and walked to the Club Brazil via Jackson Square and the French Market.

There was another disagreement between Lar and Peter.

Lar wanted to join the line to get into the MTV party at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Peter wanted to stick to our plan and go to the Club Brazil.

The rest of the delegates stood in silence as East Germany and West Germany berated each other in German.
 
Carl was also arguing with Deanna who seemed smitten with Rob.

We left Lar at the Hard Rock and continued to Club Brazil.

It was New Years Eve and the crowd spilled into the streets.

Just as before, Snake’s lead singer had everyone howling.

She opened her set and we danced.

Deanna left Carl to dance with Rob and when Carl tried to get her back, she ignored him.

Carl collapsed in drunken tears on the dance floor.

Peter and I held Carl up by the arms and helped him to stand and walk outside.

This time he collapsed under a street light and sobbed.

Suddenly a cluster of middle-aged women from Argentina surrounded us.

Some of them collectively patted his face and hands while one of them pulled a used tissue out of her purse to dry his tears.

None of it worked.

Peter went back to the club to get Deanna.

She arrived with a look of annoyed compassion on her face.

“Let me take you back to the hostel.” she said.

“Carl snarled at her: “Get away from me you bitch! You don’t care about me!”

“Carl…I won’t cover for you.”

Deanna tried to help Carl stand.

He shoved her away and ran in a zigzag toward Bourbon Street.

She ran after him.

“I’m afraid he’ll hurt her.” said Peter

I agreed that we should follow them, but suggested that we hang back.

Deanna and Carl fought with each other down the one-way streets and alleys of the French Quarter, while Peter and I watched,  from what we hoped was a respectful distance.

To my surprise, we entered the gay section from the other side of Bourbon Street.

Carl crossed over.

Deanna looked at Carl from the other side and said in a tone that bordered on contempt: “I love you but I can’t cover for you anymore. Besides. You hate both of us for it!”

 Carl stretched out on the sidewalk and wept. “Please, just go away.”

 Deanna called us over.

“Take him to the hostel please. I’m afraid he’ll hurt himself!”

Carl had lain near the entrance to the bar.

Peter reached him first.

He sat and gently lifted Carl’s head and cradled  it in his lap.

RG (c) 2015-2016

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2 thoughts on “The Bus Trip: New Year’s Eve

  1. “None of it worked.”

    I felt this exhilarating rush reading the piece. Then I read this sentence, and things just halted. Not a bad halt, though. A thrilling halt. Like a drum beat with the right intensity.

    Well done, Robert.

    Liked by 1 person

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