The Word

I am getting ready to go to a fancy wedding and I slip into my pink frilly dress with the bow in the back.

But I can’t see to tie it.

I live in an apartment behind the Sloth Lounge in the French Quarter. (I don’t drink much but it’s nice to know I can get a Bloody Mary anytime if I need it.) So on my way out, I ask my gentleman friend Lust, who’s in the lounge, “Would you tie my sash?” He gets out his wallet and says, “How much you need?”

Sometimes it’s a good thing he don’t wear his hearing aid.

I think fast. “Fifty will be fine,” I say, and take it and kiss him good-bye. After I leave, I find a store window to act as a mirror and tie it myself.

I flounce over to St. Louis Cathedral, where the wedding is. My sister-in-law Gloriosa’s little girl Momus is the flower girl in this wedding, which is a big society thing because Gloriosa is high society these days.

My mother-in-law, Ms. Larda, told me to get there early and “sit fat” to save her a seat, because she has to drive in from Chalmette and find a parking place. She told me to get in the fourth row – behind the relatives but close enough to see the action – and to sit on the aisle. She will sit next to me but not on the aisle, because she don’t want to be in the aisle shots the wedding photographer always takes.

Ms. Larda plans things very exact when it comes to enjoying weddings and funerals.
Now Lust, he don’t like weddings or funerals much, which is why he begged off going to this one with me. I am there because of Gloriosa. I been doing a lot of things because of Gloriosa lately and I got a chance to brood about it while I’m sitting in the pew waiting for things to get going with this wedding. (After I kneel down and say the Glory Be three times to show respect, like Sister Gargantua always said to do.)

Gloriosa’s in-laws, old Mr. Proteus and Ms. Sarcophaga, have been living with her while their house is renovated and I guess they were about to drive her out of her tree, so she asked me to spend last Sunday over there, to sort of dilute the company.

My son Gargoyle was in town from LSU, so he came too. It wasn’t too bad but I was more than ready to leave when Gloriosa insisted we sit down for a nice game of Scrabble. She said the challenge would keep our minds young.

 I guess she doesn’t want us to get any more senile than we already are, Ms. Sarcophaga said, in a snippy kinda way. Gargoyle was off roughhousing with the kids, so it was just the four of us.

An hour into the game, I was sick of it. I don’t got much tolerance for spelling. Ms. Sarcophaga had the word “mast” vertically on the board. A few letters down Proteus had “bed” going across. I got the letters U, R, A, T, I, N and G. I was staring at the board and Gargoyle popped up from somewhere and said in my ear – “I got a way to play all seven of your letters and end this game.” I say OK, and I get up and go to the bathroom and he sits in my chair.

So I’m in the bathroom when I hear a shriek like somebody set the Scrabble board on fire.

He had connected “mast” and the B in “bed” and spelled mast-U-R-B-A-T-I-N-G.
Well. That ended the game. And not just because all seven of my letters were played but because Ms. Sarcophaga screeched that this ain’t the kind of word we use in games. I told Gargoyle the same thing on the way home, in a loud voice, but he still thought it was funny. He didn’t have enough letters for “committing a perverse act,” he said – like that was funny.

So while I’m waiting for this wedding, I remember to say a little prayer of thanks that Ms. Sarcophaga is away on a cruise.

Then Gloriosa slips into the pew behind me.

She kneels on the kneeler and, without even saying her three Glory Bes, starts whispering to me across the back of my pew. She has a bad habit of whispering loud in church but then almost everybody whispers in church before a wedding, so I guess I shouldn’t mind.

 She asks can I come over a week from Saturday to play Scrabble again.

“Is your mother-in-law going to be back?” I say, real quiet.
“What?” she says.

“IS YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW GOING TO BE BACK?”

“Yes,” she says. “She gets back tomorrow. She’ll be there.”

“Then no,” I whisper

 “What?” she says.

“I SAID NO.”

 “Why not?”

Just then I see Ms. Larda waddling up, so I get up and stand out in the aisle to let her get in the pew on the other side of  me.

“Why not?” Gloriosa says again, whispering loud. I turn to look at her.

“She’s mad at me, remember?” I say. Just then, everybody else stops talking at one time but I don’t notice the silence.

“What?” says Gloriosa.

 “SHE’S ALREADY MAD AT ME FOR ‘MASTURBATING,’” I say.

All of a sudden I am looking at a whole churchful of bulging eyeballs. 

It is a long wedding and I skip the reception.

I go straight home to the bar and decide it’s time for the Bloody Mary.
Bottoms up.

(No pun intended.)

Categories: Modine’s New Orleans

Comments

comments