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The Big Easy

The Big Easy

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Published by Sam Silvas
What happens when a small town boy ventures into the French Quarter?
What happens when a small town boy ventures into the French Quarter?

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Published by: Sam Silvas on Feb 15, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Sam SilvasTumblerSam@aol.com
The Big Easy
For three songs a woman who was not his girlfriend had been grinding on Rodger.He was in the House of Blues in New Orleans, the final night of a ten-day road trip thatbegan 2,300 miles ago in California. His girlfriend had taken a lectureship position at LSUand tomorrow Rodger will fly back to Stanton, population 4,512, and his job at Harper’sMarket.Bo Diddly was on stage with his box guitar, singing about himself in the thirdperson. "
Bo Diddly, Bo Diddly, do you like my stuff 
?" He threw his arms and legs out intime to the beat, movements that would look foolish on a younger man but are decidedlycool when accomplished by a seventy year old. Roger couldn’t deny the press of thewoman's breasts against his back, nor the presence of Linda next to him. But the thing hecouldn’t deny the most, the feeling he wished he was free from, was how goddamn goodit felt to have a complete stranger come on to him.Four songs ago he had felt breath in his ear, a long powerful gust that gave himchills. He leaned over to ask Linda if she was enjoying the show and snuck a look behindhim. A woman was smiling at him. She was much older than him, maybe fifty. Even inthe darkness of the club he could see a lifetime of coffee drinking in the stains that framedher teeth. The man next to her was even older and shorter than her, a bald spot on thecrown of his head and thick glasses resting half way down the bridge of his nose. Roger 
smiled at the woman. What the hell, he thought.Then the grinding started. The woman knew every word of every song, and thatimpressed him because if it wasn't
I'm a Man
, or 
Who Do You Love,
Roger was lost. Hepretended to dance to the music, answering the woman's movements-slightly, gently,undeniably.The song ended and the grinding stopped. Roger looked back and saw only theman. Roger gave him a friendly nod, then slid Linda's empty cup inside his and squeezedhis way to the bar. The woman was already there. He leaned into her, over her, as if hehad every right to."How are you?" he asked as casually as he could."You dance good," she said. She had on rings and bracelets that jangled together as she spoke."Speaking of that, where is a good place to go dancing?" he asked, putting hismouth to her ear.She bent him down to her level with a firm hand on his neck. He liked the feel of her fingertips on his skin. "Tipitina's. But if you want to people watch, you can't beat thebalcony at The Cat's Meow," she said."Where's that?" he asked."On Bourbon Street.""What isn't?" he said and laughed."You'll find it," she said.The show was over soon after he got back to Linda with their drinks, and the crowdimmediately began filing out."Haven't these people ever heard of an encore?" Linda said.
"Rookies," Roger said.But there was no encore. After ten minutes of waiting they turned to leave andRoger was not surprised to find that the woman was gone. Just as well, he thought, whatthe hell could I've done? But still.He and Linda had been dating only three months when she got the job offer fromLSU, and when she told him about it she said that she'd always wanted to drive acrossthe country and how much fun they would have on the trip. That's the way she was, tothe point but always leaving something out, something implied that Roger had to fill in inorder to understand her. Their few disagreements had stemmed from the times hecouldn't make the connections between what she had said and what she had meant. Shehad been teaching at the junior college across the causeway and had moved to Stantonbecause rents were cheaper. They met when she came into Harper’s and asked Rodger where the tampons were.After showing her he said, “I was going to ask you out but I guess this isn’t a goodtime.”“All the more reason,” Linda replied. “You know you can’t get me pregnant.
They went to the Oasis for a night of darts and house whiskey, woke up naked onher living room floor and have been together ever since. Rodger joked that Linda wasslumming with him and she’d answer, of course I am and they’d laugh. But every week or so Rodger would circle around to it again and they’d go through the same routine, butRodger was never sure how much either of them was joking.It wasn’t just the education. She had grown up in Arizona, gone to college in LosAngeles and grad school in Oregon. Rodger knew plenty of smart people in town and a

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