The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #35

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The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #35

One Picture

One Element

One Emotion

200 Words

Marie LaVeau’s House of Voodoo

Mardi Gras Beads

Curiosity

Please add your story in the comments below.

8 thoughts on “The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #35

  1. (I have broken the rules, but I could not resist)

    Cluttered shelves held an assortment of mason jars filled with all manner of strange things. Ropes interwoven with dried vegetables and handmade figures dangled in bundles from wooden support poles. A musty smell lingered, underlying the menagerie of exotic scents presumably belonging to the items in the jars. The floorboards creaked under foot and a shaft of light cut through the gloomy interior of the shop from a small window up high.

    Named after the legendary voodoo queen of the 19th century, Marie Laveau, the shop lay situated deep within the French Quarter. Jenna stumbled upon the shop, driven from the main thoroughfares that hosted the Mardi Gras carnival celebrating Fat Tuesday, by a deep sense of curiosity inspired by the legends of old New Orleans.

    Stepping through the shaft of light, deeper into the shop, Jenna nervously fingered the multicolored beads gathered around her neck. The beads were traditionally tossed down from the parade floats to spectators or, in her case, gifted to any girl willing to bare her chest.

    Sitting at a bistro table in the back, Jenna spotted an older woman. Her skin was deep brown, her hair a bundle of messy black cords.

    “Finen’ wha’yon look’n for chile?” the woman spoke, her voice thick with the Creole accent tourists often mistook as Cajun. “Gree gree, or mor’n chu chut beads deah?”

    A native of Ohio, Jenna puzzled at what the woman was saying.

    Jenna was about to ask the woman to reiterate when a deep and dramatic young woman’s voice spoke seemingly directly into Jenna’s ear.

    “Get out girl, you don’ belong’n dis place,” the voice warned.

    The older woman was talking again but all Jenna heard was a low rising of whispered warnings. They came from the jars, the hanging charms, from all around. They all promised dark knowledge, dark acts, and dark consequences for young girls that did not belong.

    “Um, sorry, uh—ma’am. I think I just got… turned around and—I should go. Sorry,” Jenna stammered as she backed away towards the door. Jenna turned and bolted out through the door into the cobblestone street, eyes wide with terror.

    Back in the shop the older woman began laughing. A younger woman, the spitting image of the elder, stepped out from around a corner and set a microphone down on the counter.

    “We got that one good didn’t we grandma?” the younger woman laughed as she went and adjusted a small, innocuous speaker mounted on a post holding an assortment of Gris Gris charms.

    “You ain’t lyin’,” the older woman replied.

    The two shared a long laugh together. They loved Mardi Gras and the gullible yanks that it brought sniffing around each year.

  2. “She just flashed her boobs, Jeff!” screamed Bob. He’d never been to Mardi Gras before, it was all a bit much for him.
    “Yes, Bob. She did it for those Mardi Gras beads. Calm down, we don’t wanna get any unwanted attention. Here.” I passed him the bottle of Jack and he took another swig.
    “Where are we, Jeff?”
    The other guys whispered to get rid of him. I said they should go off, I’d catch up later.
    “Bourbon street. That’s probably why that girl got away with it. If she’d done it in the Garden District the cops would’ve got ‘er.”
    “I want some beads, Jeff. I want some!”
    With drink in him, Bob’s IQ had gone down about 60 points. Never again.
    “Look! ‘Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo’! They’ll have some beads!”
    “No, Bob, they only have trinkets and voodoo…”
    “Yeah, but I’m curious!”
    “Bob, you get beads from the floats, they throw them at you when they pass. I’ve heard, though, that if a guy is brave enough to flash…”
    His trousers were down, showing both his crown jewels and knobbly knees. It took the cops five seconds to arrest him.
    “Bye, Bob.”
    “Jeff? Hey, Jeff! Jeff!”

  3. I was too late.

    I’d met Stacey just before my American trip. Big brown eyes, long eyelashes but perfectly bald. An amazingly serene seven-year old.

    “Want to see my beads?” Stacey asked me. “These ones are for chemo,” she said pointing to the many pure white beads in amongst thousands of more brightly coloured ones.

    “Lots of white ones,” I murmured. I didn’t trust my voice.

    “Here’s more Programme Beads,” she said, “radiation, hospital, transfusions, that sort of thing.” Far too many of them.

    I nodded.

    “And my ‘Beads of Courage’,” she said, lifting a particularly spectacular collection. “For Milestones.” Her face became momentarily solemn. “For when things really hurt. You know.”

    I could imagine.

    On the flight back, I’d been anticipating Stacey asking me with bright curiosity all about the Mardi Gras beads I’d bought her and me telling her about buying them in a strange New Orleans Voodoo shop.

    Instead, I sent them to Stacey’s parents: an Eleggua bead to clear the way, an Ogunn bead for her coming battles and a Yemaya bead to calm sorrows.

    I received back a lovely note.

    Stacey had been buried with her Cancer Beads. Onto her final string they’d added the Eleggua, Ogunn and Yemaya beads.

    For her final journey.

  4. #9

    Bobby – “Mamie, we ought to get back to the group.

    Mamie – “Oh, Bobby, We’re just a couple blocks from the parades. look! Marie Laveaus’ Voodoo store! What does a Voodoo store sell?”

    FX: squeaky door opens ringing a couple jingle bells

    Bobby – “MAMIE! I’ll just wait out here for ya!”

    FX: door closes

    Narrator – Inside was thick with the scent of sweet incense.

    Shop keeper – “May I help you?”

    Mamie – Are you Marie Laveaus?”

    Shop keeper – “Deary me, no child. Marie lived and died centuries ago. She was the voodoo queen of New Orleans. Seemed proper to name the shop after her, don’t you think?”

    Narrator – Mamie nodded.

    Shop keeper – “tourists, eh?

    Mamie – “Mardi Gras.”

    Shop keeper – “The boy; he a … “special” ….. friend?”

    Mamie – “Bobby? He’s clueless. All he thinks about is football. I wish he’d pay me more attention.

    Shop keeper – (rummaging through some bottles on a shelf.) Tell you what, Darlin’, you sneak a drop of this in his drink. And here, both of ya wear these colored beads. Now undo this top button … and take this tie outa your hair , ….. and talk to him about the things he likes, you got me? And make EYE contact; that’s important …………….. That’s ten dollars, honey ……… best ten dollars you’ll ever spend though, I’ll tell you that!”

    Narrator – Mamie paid the woman and stepped back outside.

    Mamie – Come on, Bobby, let’s go get some of that chickory coffee that’s so popular down here. By the way, how’d the game go last week … ?”

  5. A Soul to Keep
    Danielle Lee Zwissler
    It was Mardi Gras and I was in New Orleans with my friends from college. I had never been here before, but it was turning out to be one of the greatest nights of my life. I drank some good liquor, kissed a whole bunch of girls—earning me some pretty stellar beads, and even made my way into the house of Voodoo, a place that I had thought was made up, until I saw it up close.
    I walked in, and it was dark, shrunken heads decorated the doorways and the smell of incense tickled my nostrils. It was weird, and cool and like something out of the movies.
    “Pick a card,” a woman said. Her voice was deep and she had long fingernails. I shook my head, and told her that I was just looking.
    “I know what you want, but it’s not in here. Pick a card.”
    “I don’t want anything, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I went to leave, but her long curly fingernail pointed right at my friend Paige. I swallowed.
    “You want her, but she’s with that idiot over there. You would trade places with him if you could get the chance.”
    I looked at her and shook my head quickly. “No, that’s no.”
    “Don’t lie,” she said, and then held the stack of cards in front of me once more. “Pick.”
    I took the card off the top, and then shrugged my shoulders.
    “Look at it,” she demanded. I looked down, and in front of me was Paige, I looked back up, and Paige was standing in front of me in the same place the woman had just been.
    “What’s wrong? Are you coming?”
    “Uh, yeah,” I said, confused. I went to turn, but page grabbed my hand and then leaned in to kiss me. I flinched. “What are you doing?”
    “I’m going to kiss you,” she said.
    “But Chas is right there.” I pointed outside, but where Chas was, was me. I shook my head and tried to get a closer look. “What the hell?”
    “Honey, are you okay?” Paige asked. “Honey?” she felt my forehead and then looked at the lady that was in the shop. “What’s wrong with him?”
    “Oh he was just complaining about the prices.”
    Paige grinned. “Yeah, he’s pretty cheap. How much for this necklace?” she asked, and then looked down at the price tag. She giggled. “It says a soul.”
    I swallowed, nearly fainting, and then I heard the scream. It was my own, but it was coming from outside. Chas was looking right at me, and I was looking at him.

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