Thursday, March 10, 2016

An Hour Well Spent


  • 12 Dollar Wednesday
  • Lilly On The Spot
  • "I Know Mario"

I got into the Quarter last (Wednesday) night, after having taken 2 days off.

I was still concerned about the young black lady who had told me that I couldn't play on Lilly's stoop "anymore," on Sunday night.

I was down to about 6 dollars, and almost hesitant to spend any, pending the outcome of any confrontation with her.

If she called the police, then they might be put in the position of having to explain to the best of their ability exactly why it is that I have a right to play there; it would be one of the cops who occasionally ride past me, without bothering me; but it might be the black cop, and, even though that shouldn't matter, it could prompt him to try to seek some kind of compromise, maybe to ask me if I could stop playing at a certain time.

I got off the street car at Harrah's Casino, as it was a little past 9 PM, and I could get a coffee and then still walk to the Lilly Pad by 9:30. As it turned out, I didn't get there until 10:30 PM.

Coming out of Harrah's and walking up Canal Street, I was just about in front of Popeye's Chicken when, across the street and headed my way was none other than Lilly.

I had never seen her that far south before.

She looked a bit tired and/or as if she had lost some weight, under the harsh white neon light of The Hippie Gypsy storefront.

She was going into Popeye's "to get some mashed potatoes and...." and she invited me to sit with her.
After a time period that allowed me to step outside twice for cigarettes "...Gee, did they have to grow the potatoes?" she joined me at the table, laden with mashed potatoes, beans and rice and a huge container of chicken.

At first, I thought that she might have gotten extra on my account.

"Did you eat, she asked?" (by the way, I HATE the convention of putting the question mark after the statement part of a sentence which conveys a question, such as: "Where are we going, she asked, as she gazed out the window?" -were you wondering if she was actually gazing?).

"I ate some before I left the apartment, I'm pretty full," I assured her.

"I'm gonna eat real quick before I go get the girls."

Then, I think she tested me.

She pulled a bit of the skin off one of the pieces of fried chicken and offered it to me. It was mostly the breading (which is where most of the offending soybean oil seems to reside) and I only nibbled a bit and put the rest on the table in front of me.

"You don't like the skin?" asked Lilly.

"I like the skin, but I usually only eat a little of it; some people say that you shouldn't eat any at all, like that's where the bad cholesterol is, or something."

Lilly seemed satisfied. I think that if I had ravenously scarfed the skin down and then licked my fingers, she would have given me a whole piece.

Just like a chess grandmaster (I thought) is going to smoke you off the chessboard, Lilly seems to be light years ahead of mere mortals when it comes to strategic thinking in such social situations; I never would have thought about testing someone with the least popular part (you don't hear someone say "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse, and then go to work on the skin) to gauge how hungry they might be.

That is part of Lilly's nature though, to be concerned.

When I was homeless she frequently checked with me to make sure that I had enough blankets and would be somewhere out of the rain, etc.

Lilly's phone rang, and after answering it, she told the person on the other end: "I got you some chicken," and I was glad that I hadn't eaten a piece, she was going to bring Angelique and Chantilly some; that explained the huge amount of it.

The matter of the young black lady was pressing upon me, but, I thought that it would be less selfish of me to introduce a matter which is even closer to her heart.

"I saw Chantilly Sunday night, with Michael, from Belfast, Ireland..."

"You did? What did you think of him, was he nice?"

I told her that the young guy had been very polite.

It was Chantilly who had gotten my attention after they had stood and listened for a while and I hadn't looked up. She introduced me to Michael.

I told Lilly that he had just seemed a little bit impatient. I couldn't remember if it hadn't been a little chilly that night and if he wasn't kind of shifting his weight back in forth in order to stay warm.

I concluded that he acted like the typical 20 year old (Chantilly's age) these days.

"He's 30," Lilly corrected, and then added that Chantilly and he had gone out "3 nights in a row."

"Which direction were they headed when you saw them?" Again, a question from the mind of Lilly, who would make an excellent lawyer.

I knew that they were headed towards the crazy end of Bourbon Street, but wasn't sure that they hadn't gone into the house.

This seemed to perhaps jive with the account that she might have gotten from Chantilly, as she nodded, apparently satisfied.

Then, I brought up the incident with the young black lady.

I told her that she had come out and said: "Esscuse me, but this is residential, and I live here..."
"Does she own a home?" Lilly jumped in.

"I don't think so, and I hadn't seen her in like, 2 years, when she had done the same thing."

I related how she had told me that I couldn't play there anymore.

Lilly drew in her breath. "That bitch! She must be the one who took the cat! Point her out to me sometime,"

She wanted to know out of exactly which building she had come, and as much descriptive information that I could recall.

"She must be the one who lives on the bottom floor on the right," was her conclusion.

"I'll catch up with her; I'll run into her, I know who you're talking about..."

Then, after about an hour, which I felt was well spent, I walked with her towards Mr. B's Restaurant, while she gave me the advice: "If she comes up to you again, call me or text me, and I'll come out," and then, perhaps in the contingency that she wouldn't be home: "Tell her....tell her you know Mario, the maintenance guy. Tell her you know him through the owner of the house..."

So now, I know Mario.

We got to the corner across from Mr. B's where Lilly told me that she needed to go inside and get her daughters, whom she would chaperone to the house, cutting a wide swath around the crazy end of Bourbon Street.

I took that as my cue to part company. I didn't see any point in my going in there with her and being the only person in the place wearing ripped jeans; and I thought that it might embarrass Lilly, who makes no bones about the fact that she has procured employment there for her daughters, in hopes of marrying them off to wealth.

She erased any such thoughts, by leaving me with a kiss, in full view of anyone, employee or other, who may have been gazing out a restaurant window (as well as Troy, another street musician on the opposite corner, and a few resident skeezers in front of the Unique Grocery store) before she crossed the street to go into the swank 5 star place, while I went the opposite way to go behind the Hotel Monteleone to pick their 5 star ashtray for snipes...

Respect is a funny thing, which seems to become magnified here in New Orleans. I wouldn't be surprised if I don't observe a change in the way I am treated by certain Unique Grocery skeezers, just because of being seen kissing a finely dressed lady.

So, that is how it stands. I got to the Lilly Pad at around 10:30 PM, an hour later than I would have, had I not seen Lilly, and played for just about 2 hours, only making 12 bucks, but making them off of not many more than 12 tourists, it seemed.

The cat thieving troublemaker never materialized.

It is Thursday evening; rain is threatening. I have gotten a little bit of weed and can stay in and put the finishing touches (hopefully) on a Bob Dylan song that I originally recorded about a year ago, and which I have redone in order to showcase how much better I have gotten in one year. I also decided to change the lyrics in a Weird Al Yankovich way...
It will be called "Unlike A Rolling Stone," and will appear in the sidebar of this blog as soon as I get around to putting it there....

   

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