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Confessions of a Quarter Rat

 
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Simone Evreux
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 12:08 pm    Post subject: Confessions of a Quarter Rat Reply with quote

"Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)"
by: Concrete Blonde
https://youtu.be/sLABwwmKdyc

I got the ways and means
To New Orleans
I'm going down by the river
Where it's warm and green
I'm gonna have a drink and walk around
I got a lot to think about


As far as memories go, I have a lot of them. I remember bring rather young the first time my parents took me to the French Quarter. We were attending a service being held St. Louis Cathedral. A cousin was being confirmed that day. I didn’t really care about all of that, even if my Maman poked and pinched me to keep up with all the catholic cardo. I was enthralled with the entire “Vieux Carré”. It was a love that lasts to this very day. From the history to the culture and beauty, to the eccentric and cliché and all the in-betweens, it is part of who I am.

I saw my first concert when I was about 13. It was on a Riverboat and I was with three of my best friends at the time. My poor Maman. She was so tolerant of our squealing and singing. Suffering music that was far from her taste as could be. That night it had been three popular bands of the time. Groups like the Bangles, INXS, Alphaville, Yazoo, Tears for Fears, The Cure, Duran Duran, Eurythimics, the Smiths, and loads more were finally being played on the radio. I don’t recall who exactly we saw that night, but I remember the feeling. It had been so very intense, exciting. Exiting the riverboat late the fog was rolling off the river and laying upon the French Quarter like a misty veil. The air of mystery, age, and knowledge, that sensation that hinted that there was something beyond what we could see, well it captured my attention and I, being young and impressionable, fell in love.

Any chance I could after that I would go and just walk around exploring where I could. The older I got the more my infatuation deepened. It’s hard to explain falling in love with a place, but when something touches you deeply, it’s hard to ignore. It is a living, breathing thing. It changes and evolves in so many ways. Some for the good and some for the bad, but it is still constant in the fact it’s there and ever inspiring.

It is my muse, as it influenced my art and later my profession. At the time, my fancy was the supernatural. I had learned what I truly was shortly after turning 16 and that offered insight about myself and my interests. I read the books of Anne Rice, Nancy Collins, Poppy Z. Brite and several others who breathed life into tales about this city.

Eventually, I got to where I was old enough to go to clubs and bars and I visited many of those over the years. From one of the oldest bars, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, to new ones that don’t tend to last long these days. There is so much history to explore, with tales of Pirates and ghostly visitors, and the dangers of days long gone to recall. Those tales fill my head today.

So, I confess, I am in love with a city. N'Awlins has a good side and it has a very dark side, but all told, it is magic, mystery, adventure, culture, music, madness and more, all rolled into one amazing world all its own.

_________________
"Sometimes mortals can be more horrible than monsters."
― Rick Riordan
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Simone Evreux
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Strangelove"
By Depeche Mode
https://youtu.be/JIrm0dHbCDU

There'll be days
When I stray
I may appear to be
Constantly out of reach
I give in to sin
Because I like to practice what I preach
I'm not trying to say
I'll have it all my way
I'm always willing to learn
When you've got something to teach
And I'll make it all worthwhile
I'll make your heart smile

Strangelove
Strange highs and strange lows
Strangelove
That's how my love goes
Strangelove
Will you give it to me


I recall the first time I ever saw a demon. I hadn’t been drinking and I didn’t do drugs, but I was leaning against the wall in “The Crystal”, waiting to take my turn at the pool table when I saw him. He was standing over at the end of the bar, drinking and smoking. Now, the smoking part is where it first caught my attention. I think it is the artist’s eye I have. You see there was a halo of smoke about his head and there wasn’t anyone else near him. He also didn’t have a cigarette so he wasn’t actually puffing on anything.

It wasn’t an instant shift either. He looked normal at first aside from the weird smoke veiling him. Then he slowly took on a totally different aspect; Red skin, black horns, which seemed so very odd to me, because he was dressed nicely. You know, three-piece suit with elegant tie. Now, don’t get me wrong, “The Crystal” attracted all sorts. Most of the Goths that hung out there were generally well appointed. They were some in the more “Romantic” styles of the subculture. Others, could be any business type, but would smile and display their fangs prominently. Some of those were the real deal, while others were just pretenders. That’s how it was in this city if the truth be told.

While my button boot tapped to “Strangelove” by Depeche Mode, I watched that ever so slow transformation, wondering to myself “How is he doing that?” A few moments later a friend handed me the pool stick and I had to ask him. “See that guy at the end of the bar? The suit?”

Nate answered with a look at the guy, eyes rolling just a touch. “Yeah. What about him?” He squinted a bit while dragging a shaggy mop of dark hair out of his face.

“What do you see?” I asked. Curious really because I was already thinking that what I saw couldn’t be what he was. I’m intuitive that way.

“A suit smoking and drinking and looking out of place.” He took a swig of his beer after that and nudged me to go and take my shot.

After a few balls were sent into various pockets, I glanced Mr. Demon’s way again only to find him staring at me with creepy gold eyes. Well, my stomach sort of dropped somewhere around my knees. I blinked, trying to still the sudden rush of nerves that hit. He saluted me with his glass. It was then I realized he was very aware that I could see just who and what he was. I suspected he knew what I was in return, even with my abilities for looking reasonably normal.

I caught sight of my sister very briefly with a group of her own friends across the bar. She looked to be a bit fixated upon the same guy as me. I sent another glance his way and decided that while I wasn’t scared of many things, tonight may be a good time to develop that sense of self-preservation that so many of my family claimed I lacked. I didn’t know much about Demons and decided right there on the spot, I didn’t really want to attract their attention. I was already busy enough with the various vampire friends I have started to collect. That was about as much danger as I wanted to have.

I couldn’t leave my sister or Celeste on their own. I was the driver for the night, which was normal enough actually but I couldn’t stay inside the bar. It was starting to fill up, which meant I couldn’t keep that guy in my sights and that made me tense. I don’t like that sensation, obviously.

Anyway, I handed Nate a twenty, telling him I forfeited that game even though I was winning. I snatched up my plastic cup with cherry coke within. (That’s coke with real maraschino cherries. The Bar tender liked me so I always got extra cherry.) Hustled my black lace covered ass out of there.

I moved past the crowded dance floor and the wall caves. Those are what drew the Gothic crowd. They were small culverts that resembled caves with tables and curved booth seating. Over the past year or so I had seen my share of disturbing behaviors done within, which is why I generally avoided sitting in there. I stuck to the open area of the main bar and pool tables.

I lost sight of my sister and her friends, only one remained at the table which was one of my sister’s oldest friends, Chantay. “Where did Liss go?” I asked, with another nervous glance back behind me. I could feel the demon’s eyes boring into the back of my head. Well, that is how it felt anyway.

I got a shrug for my question, which made me mutter darkly to myself. I couldn’t see Cele either and that wasn’t improving my tension or the headache that was building in my brain. Making another swift decision I leaned down to Chantay, yelling a bit over the music. “Need to get some air, when you see Lissette, let her know I am outside waiting for Marc to show up. I can’t stay in here. Getting overloaded.”

I got a quick nod from a head covered in many hues of the rainbow and off I went. Pushing through the incoming flow of bodies I sent a quick wave to Danny, the bouncer before I slipped outside. Finally, I was able to take a very deep calming breath. It was mildly chilly out but felt good after the heavy crush growing inside. Neon flickered behind me in a glowing shadow of bluish-purple where I settled, leaning against the aged brick that housed the club. Here I felt calmer, watching the people passing along Decatur. Some I knew, others were strangers but I didn’t spy another demon, thankfully.

“Oh my goodness, there you are.” It was my sister, pushing her way out the blue door and soon she joined me in my lean. “You won’t believe what I just saw! And no, I am not on anything right now, so it’s not a trip or anything weird like that Simi.”

“Did you see a smoking hot. . . Demon then?” I quizzed, with a slanting of eyes in her direction and quickly noticed the surprised look she wore upon my uttering such words.

“Yes! Yes I did, and that is why I am out here now. You saw him too? Oh thank goodness! I’m not crazy! He saw me. He noticed me, so I fled. When are we leaving?” Snatching my cup she took a sip before handing it back and promptly tucked her hands back into the oversized black sweater she was wearing to keep them warm.

“I told Marc I would meet him here. Besides, I couldn’t find Celeste.” I was peering down the street, hoping my current beau would show up already. I planned to send him inside to collect my bestie and then we could all beat feet. I really wanted to be gone. I can’t even find the words to express just how much I wanted to be home, safe and warm and demon free.

“Send him into find her. I ain’t going back in there! No way, no how! Lina saw him too. I don’t know what she was seeing but she turned and said ‘Oh! He’s hot.’ Can you believe that?!” A little shudder rippled through her just as I glanced over and low and behold, there he was, Mr. Demon in all his smoking hot glory.

Great. Just dandy.

I had no idea what all he had heard but I forced myself to glance away all nonchalant. Not an easy thing when your neck hair is standing on end and your feet are itching to make a mad dash for safety.

That neon glow from the sign made his eyes seem to shift to a red tint which wasn’t helping much either. It also made his skin look more blue then red. Maybe that should have improved the overall image, but all it did was creep me out even more.

“Evening Ladies.”

Oh hell, he’s talking to us! I managed to nod while thinking his voice should be raspier somehow?

“You can see me.” It was flat statement, but it made my heart race. I really didn’t need this kind of trouble. I had my hands full with our sperm donor father, his relatives, the vampires and more invading our world. Beside me, my sister just stared at the guy. She was normally the chatty one but it seemed as if her tongue had just stopped working.

Maybe he didn’t even need us to answer. It’s believed some demons can read minds. Not that I like that thought much, I don’t. Just at the moment I had no idea what I should say. I thought about lying, but realized that may be the trap right? Get you to sin and all? So, in that moment, I did the only thing that I could think of, I shrugged. Yes, folks, standing before me was a demon. Red skin, Yellow eyes that shifted crimson depending on the light, jet black horns, smoke wafting from him with the scent of Hell and in his fancy three-piece suit with tiny little red pocket hanky and I SHRUGGED. Not my finest moment at all.

Realizing that I wasn’t going to say a word, because I didn’t really think I could, my sister squeaked at him. “See you? Why yes, I can. You are standing right there.” She followed that with a rather weak smile.

It was his turn to smile. I really wished he hadn’t. That smile would haunt my nightmares for years following that moment. Sharp jagged yellow teeth like a freaking shark. I swear he even knew the effect of that expression because he laughed somewhat evilly after and gave us a two finger salute off his brow. He then bowed his head and started off. “I’ll be seeing you.”

I kid you not those final words filled me with dread. I could tell that my sis felt the same way because she muttered “Not if I see you first.” We both watched as he vanished into darkness and mist started to form and rise up from the concrete.

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"Sometimes mortals can be more horrible than monsters."
― Rick Riordan
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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first time I had been to New Orleans, I had been a teenager of about 17 and carted along on a business trip with my parents. As two of our lord's thralls, it was their responsibility to conduct his day to day business during the daylight hours. This often included business trips, usually leaving me behind. However, as soon as my sixteenth birthday was behind me, my mother had convinced Titus that my true training needed to begin. This would include, among other things, learning what my mother did so I could one day take her place.

My education had been quite varied up until this point. My parents had decided that I should actually be raised amongst more mortal kin so I would learn how to fit in with them socially. So much of my schooling had been in the public arena with "normals" as my parents called them. I had learned over the years to keep quiet about little things that I could do, like hear their voices in my head even when they weren't speaking to me. After all, no need getting "normals" upset and confusing me with what they called "witches".

As mom had always told me, this was how I would connect with my prey and be able to be follow the lead right to the one I needed to feed on later. It was part of who I was and no need to fight it. However, no need standing on rooftops and declaring it to "normals" either. What they didn't know wouldn't leave me starving later.

My first visit, as I said, was a business trip. I had been on a few of them now, so I didn't really think anything of it while I was packing. Everything continued normally through the drive also. It was, when we were about 10 miles outside New Orleans, that I first noticed something was different. I usually have this uncanny ability to be able to "feel" my way home, much like a homing pigeon. Actually, I can even "feel" which way I am facing on a pitch black night in the middle of the woods when there is no moon. Getting lost almost never happens to me. Here, though, I suddenly had to look for clues like where the sun was in its travels through the sky to even know if I was going east or west. Nothing felt right. What should have felt like I was going south suddenly felt northward to me. This managed to bring on a bout of vertigo to rival any that the worst ear ache could deliver.

Before we went to check into our hotel room, dad had stopped at a convenience store to gas up the car (a precautionary measure dad always followed) and let me go inside to pick out a few snacks and treats. While I was in there, I crossed the kid's toy section that all of these shops have. You know the one that lures little children and gets them begging their mothers for things they absolutely do not need. This time, though, my attention was instantly drawn to one small item, a toy compass. As I picked it up, I felt the instant compulsion to purchase this and dropped it into the small basket along with the chocolate bars, cheese crackers and drinks I had in there.

Since dad had sent me in alone to gather the treats, I didn't even have to explain my reasoning for this little purchase. I quickly had it paid for and tucked into my jeans pocket before rejoining my parents to head off to the hotel. After we had gotten settled in, mom let me go do a little wandering along the streets in the French Quarter.

I always loved walking down more historical regions when in cities, especially those as well maintained as ones like the French Quarter. The beauty of the architecture was always fascinating to me. Finding the local “haunted house” and going on the tour of it was also fun. It’s not that I actually ever saw a ghost at one of these places, but it was fun to watch people react to the stories behind them. So many of the sheep are so gullible.

Today, though, I pulled out that little compass, carefully making note of where the hotel was and not wandering too far out of sight of it. As I walked along, I would look down when I got that strange feeling in my head and note what the compass read. At one point, I actually took a step or two, and in those steps I watched the compass actually flip. Within those steps, north actually became south and south became north. At the same time, I noticed that I had hit that vertigo feeling like a wall. At first, I thought it might have had something to do with electrical wiring, and the way electricity affects magnets. However, being right in the middle of the Quarter, and among so many occupied buildings, that simply would not have made sense. To have had that kind of sensation would have taken a lot more electrical output that any wiring around that part of the city.

It would be years later that I would finally hear an explanation that actually made this make sense. Of course, there were always stories of pirates like Lafitte who would use the areas around New Orleans to loose the British captains and ships that would chase him there. By loose, that is exactly what he would do. They would try to follow him in and get themselves lost on Louisiana’s inner waterways, often vanishing. Now one might think first of natives and local populations capturing or even killing those who managed to make it so far in to protect Lafitte. However, there were those few stories told by the few who escaped the hold of Louisiana’s coastline of their captains getting twisted around and compasses and equipment used to help them navigate not working correctly or giving false information. However, it was, when I got older that I learned of nexal overlays and the effect being where they occur that the sense of direction would be lost.

That day, though, I hit upon the one clue that would lead me to the truth of this place. It was a truth that would later help actually save my life. For this day, it was just a teenage bit of fun to play with it and the compass as I listened to the musicians playing on their chosen street corners and watched the artists create their sidewalk chalk drawings that would disappear with the next rains. Each step slowly drew me into the feel of the Forever Carnival.
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Simone Evreux
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sing under street lights. I used to do that a lot, when I was younger. I didn’t need to be drunk to do it, just happy. There is something very liberating about standing under a street spotlight and letting a song fall from your heart. It started when I was a teenager and wandering about near dusk with my sister and our friends.

It was nothing for us to break into song in the car. Our lively sing along with tunes played on the radio. We had wandered out of the Saenger Theater after a concert. The band that evening had been REM with 10, 0000 Maniacs opening for them. As always after such events, we couldn’t really hear much. Still, buzzing with energy, being young and energetic. It would be hours until we would be able to find rest so we wandered down into the Vieux Carre.

We didn’t spend much time on Bourbon Street, as that was often a crush and full of tourists. In truth, my experiences on that particular street were not good. So, avoiding it was generally big on my agenda. No, we as locals did what most locals do, if you don’t work on Bourbon, you avoid the main drag and spend your time on side streets such as Dauphine, St. Anne, Toulouse and especially Decatur to name a few. This night we were making our way slowly along towards Checkpoint Charlie’s.

Checkpoint Charlie’s, is an eclectic local place that offered food, drink, pool, live music and a place to do your laundry all at the same time. It was located just outside the Quarter, on Esplanade Avenue and Decatur. I don’t remember who it was that stopped under a streetlight, right beside Jackson Square, but one of our group did. There they broke into song. It was an old tune but one we have sang many times in the car. “Burning Flame” by a rather unknown group called “Vitamin Z”. We all just fell into it and sang along and before it was over, we had an audience. Not many but maybe fifteen to twenty people standing around clapping along and some singing with us.

“And all along on my trip to nowhere,
You annoyed me with your foolish games,
And how you teased when I first made love,
And I'm left so naked like a burning flame,
Burning flame, burning flame.
I felt the earth fall apart and crumble,
All my dreams down they fell,
And would an angel show mercy to the devil,
But you're under my skin and you know darn well.”
https://youtu.be/7kaGqiYqvMM

Songwriters: Geoff Barradale, Nick Lockwood, Philip Jesson.


There we were, all looking like morose goth chicks, singing a song that was anything but gothy. What was even funnier, we got paid for our impromptu performance. Money was literally dropped at our feet. You might think we took that money and paid for our drinks, but the fact was, we passed out the small amount to a few homeless folks we knew. They needed it more than we did. My sister was big on such things. We often helped out at the location Mission downtown with serving food. When we met someone who needed a meal, it wasn’t anything for us to buy them one. We had been very lucky kids, but the fact was not everyone had homes to go back to at the end of the night.

I don’t remember who it was that coined the phrase “Commit random acts of kindness and senseless beauty” But it was one of my sister, Lissette’s mantras. For a Dark Fae, she wasn’t very dark. She was what one friend called a bleeding heart. Yet, if one believes in Karma, then she was acquiring herself quite the tally, and dragging me along behind her, but I didn’t mind. Kindness is always free to give.

Anyway, back to the singing.

Over the years, we did this at random points in the city. Didn’t matter, if the mood struck, our group was known to break in song. Walking along the dark streets and singing. We didn’t do it late in the night, when residents might be sleeping. We were always respectful about such things. No one likes to be rudely woken up with loud serenading or music outside their windows.

Even today, if the mood strikes, we still stop and sing. The music may be different now, but the joy of just basking in the glow of a simple streetlight and breaking loose with a song from the heart still fills me with such delight, because in that moment, I am transported back to a time when I was young, and full of hope. When even the simplest of activity, brought smiles to my face and to others along the way.

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"Sometimes mortals can be more horrible than monsters."
― Rick Riordan


Last edited by Simone Evreux on Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Blasphemous Rumors"
By Depeche Mode
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDlQKhdo2eQ

Girl of 16
Whole life ahead of her
Slashed her wrists
Bored with life
Didn't succeed
Thank the lord
For small mercies

Girl of 18
Fell in love with everything
Found new life
In Jesus Christ
Hit by a car
Ended up
On a life support machine

Summer's day
As she passed away
Birds were singing
In the summer sky
Then came the rain
And once again
A tear fell
From her mother's eye

I don't want to start
Any blasphemous rumors
But I think that God's
Got a sick sense of humor
And when I die
I expect to find Him laughing




Mortality sucks. . .

Dozens of figures all dressed in black stood solemnly, lining the sidewalk and street in front Saint Josephs, in utter silence as the casket was carried along towards the waiting hearse. It was a dismal day with dark heavy clouds overhead and the slow drizzle that fell. The gloom of it all, aided by the looming shadow of the old monolithic Catholic church. I remember the sidewalk was slick, chilled and the entire feeling of dreary gray permeated everything. It felt as if the very heavens were also weeping the loss so many of us felt keenly in that moment.

Her name was Kellie and she was our friend. We lost her. It was senseless and left us all adrift in a world of disbelief and somber, cold cruel sorrow. An emotion that cuts deep into the heart. The kind of pain that leaves scars that remain forever. Rage, anger, fury at how our beloved friend had been killed burned within many of us. We could do nothing but weep and mourn. Kellie would no longer show up with a fist full of daisies that she passed out to her friends and even strangers in the dead of winter. We wouldn’t see her beautiful smile again or the mischief twinkling in her beautiful blue eyes. We would never again see wispy skirts fluttering as she danced gracefully under dim colored lights. No, a stupid idiot who had one or ten too many, thought a sidewalk was as good a road as the real one and ran her over on a humid summer night as she was walking home from work. One day she was there and offering hugs and smiles to those who loved her and the next, she was dead.

We had met her a few years before in the lady’s room at “Jimmy’s”. I don’t remember what bands had played that night as we hadn’t been all that impressed with them. I do recall the insane number of girls all squeezed into the bathroom however. Everyone getting ready to depart and head off to the French Quarter or Uptown. Kellie was this tiny brunette, who looked like a perfect porcelain Goth doll. She was joking and making commentary to the array all vying for the mirror, when others were really in need of using the facilities. My sister had been thinking of heading over to “Carrolton Station” to check out their comedy night and I was trying to convince her to head down to our usual club instead. Kellie joined in on our conversation while we waited for a free stall. I really think she was the one that convinced Lis to change her mind. I was interested in this guy that took pictures of still life fruit. So any chance to spend a little time with him was my obvious preference. Kellie was a romantic and aided in my efforts to see him.

People always say being Goth was more a state of mind. It was about having an understanding of Death and its fickle ways, but this made no sense to any of us. The forms of grief are different with each person experiencing it. She had been so young and full of life. Her interest in death stemmed more from the loss of her mother and then her father to cancer when she was younger. Her grandmother was her greatest love of all, and the poor woman was inconsolable in her grief.

Kellie did have a darker side, as we all do. She had the jagged marks upon her wrists from a time when she had fallen into the deepest of dark places of the mind. Losing her family haunted her, but she learned to express that in other ways. In her art, her attitude and in how she treated others with a wealth of compassion and warmth. Unlike many, she survived that black depression. She had struggled out of the mire of melancholy and brought radiant light she carried to others.

Her death made no sense to any of us. The fates or God, Gods, or whatever greater power that may guide this world is a sick, twisted mother bugger. The older I get the more I realize that. Irony is not always an amusing thing either. Kellie would likely agree with that if she was still with us.

In the next few months we watched helpless, as another friend fall into despair. His name was Oliver and he couldn’t face life without Kellie. He dove head first into drugs and addiction. Going rapidly from a handsome, elegant young man to a skeletal echo of what he once was. His downfall was so rapid that all we could do was try and hold on. That too, was heartbreaking to watch. Eventually, Oliver would join his beloved but his rout was not instantaneous. It was laborious, cruel, agonizing to witness. Both Lis and I fought to save him, but in the end none of us could stop the vicious claws of depression, alcohol, and heroine from tearing him apart.

I should thank Oliver in a warped sort of way. Watching him fade into a shadow from such soul crushing despair, broke my heart but also taught me a very valuable lesson. Unlike many of our kind, I wasn’t going to be caught in the grasp of excess. The Fae, in general can easily become susceptibility to many darker human predilections such as the drugs. Watching him slide so swiftly and deeply into that great gaping hole of misery and abuse, woke me up to the dangers there. Unfortunately, he was but the start. From drug overdoses to the pandemic that was AIDS, I would lose others I loved in the years following. Hence my opening statement. “Mortality Sucks.”

For a time in the way that grief works, we stopped going to the places that reminded us of our lost friends. We sought other interests and other landscapes to sooth the pain within. In a rather sad way, we all grew up a little after that dismal somber summer.

Every person, every experience, every action we take touches the soul in a variety of ways. That is one of the many lessons of life I have learned. Memory is also a beautiful thing. I can look back and while I still feel sad for her loss, I do recall the time before that. I remember the beautiful young woman who had touched my life in a relevant way. For me, she will never be forgotten.



(Authors Note: I am dedicating this to a young lady whose radiant light still inspires me. Yes, Kellie is a real person and true friend, who, in her short time upon this earth brought joy into my life and the lives of so many others. I believe where ever she might be in the great beyond, she will appreciate being remembered and knowing she is still loved.)
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a dream last night. In it, I was a tiny little girl again, plagued by night terrors. It would be many years later that I would discover the causes of those nocturnal demons, but that is a story for another time. Anyway, this night I woke with a start. Sitting upright, clutching my blanket with my heart racing, my pulse thundering in my ears. Every shadow looming over me with evil, cruel eyes, ready to snatch me from my big girl bed.

When such things occurred, I had a habit of snatching up my fleecy blue blanket, a rather ragged Snoopy dog (Both of which I still own) and scamper across the hall into my sister’s room. I can recall the hissing sound of dainty slippered feet sliding upon the wooden flood. Liz’s room was close, but in my child perspective, she was a great distance away and many dangers blocked my passage. This night it was sharp bursts of light from a storm that had rolled in from the gulf. Those flashes lit up the hall and in my panicked state, I saw all sorts of monsters chasing me towards safety.

I would try to be quiet, but when your 6, quiet isn’t always something understood. I would creep into Lizette’s bed ever so carefully, clinging to my special blanket and my stuffed dog. She always woke up. No matter how hard I tried to avoid disturbing her. She would tuck me in, gently stroking my hair and sing softly to me.

I woke with that song in my head this morning. My sister loved and still loves anything Dick Van Dyke. “Mary Poppins”, “Bye Bye Birdie”, & “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” to name but a few. It was one of his songs she always sang to me.

"Hushabye Mountain"
by Stacey Kent
https://youtu.be/Sn6Tol70BjU

A gentle breeze from Hushabye Mountain
Softly blows over Lullaby Bay,
It fills the sails of boats that are waiting,
Waiting to sail your worries away.
It isn't far to Hushabye Mountain,
And your boat waits down by the quay.
The winds of night sdo softly are sighing,
Soon they will fly your troubles to sea.
So close your eyes on Hushabye Mountain,
Wave goodbye to cares of the day,
And watch your boat from Hushabye Mountain
Sail far away from Lullaby Bay.
So close your eyes on Hushabye Mountain,
Wave goodbye to cares of the day,
And watch your boat from Hushabye Mountain
Sail far away from Lullaby Bay.


Songwriters: Richard M. Sherman / Robert Sherman / Robert B. Sherman
Hushabye Mountain lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


To this day, I find this song soothing. Hearing it always brings a feeling of warmth and safety. She would comfort me and drive away the monsters and terrifying beasties that chased me while thunder crashed and lightning streaked across the clouds. I must say she is a good big sister. She did have to put up with me after all.

In the way that all families have their stories. My Papa recorded her once singing to me when we were both very little. Outside of us, our own little special circle, no one else hard it. He might share the story of her crooning, but he never shared it with strangers. He saw it as something personal, private. A precious memory that was ours alone.

I confess, there are some nights even now when I wake up from a nightmare, seeing the shadows in my room shifting and wish I could still sneak off down the hall and crawl into bed with my big sister. I also know now, that the fear isn’t just the imaginings of a child, but the understanding that true danger does loom in the dark places. What we can’t see can still bring possible harm.

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"Sometimes mortals can be more horrible than monsters."
― Rick Riordan
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Simone Evreux
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Gone Daddy Gone"
by Violent Femmes
https://youtu.be/ekL7o8BQkZM

Beautiful girl lovely dress
High school smiles oh yes
Beautiful girl lovely dress
Where she is now I can only guess
Cause it's gone daddy gone
Your love is gone
Gone daddy gone
The love is gone away
When I see you
Eyes will turn blue
When I see you
Thousand eyes turnin' blue
Tell by the way you that you switch and walk
I can see by the way that you baby talk
I can know by the way you treat your man
I can love you baby til it's a cryin'
Beautiful girl lovely dress
Fifteen smiles oh yes
Beautiful girl lovely dress
Where she is now I can only guess

Silk shirts and mosh pits do not mix. I learned this some years back while attending a concert at “Tipitina’s, the storied music venue” located on the corner of Napoleon Ave and Tchoupitoulas Street. (That is pronounced “Chop’a’too’las”. Yes, yes, I know, but there are many names in my beloved city that do NOT sound anything like they are spelled.)

A group of us went to see “The Violent Femmes”. It was a warm evening that I recall and the place was jam packed. The ancient air conditioner was struggling to keep up with the thick crowd. Getting to the bar required some serious elbow action and nimble agility checks to slither past those leaving that very busy counter. Beer and more was flowing copiously which was normal for such a venue. This was after all, New Orleans where most evenings didn’t actually start until after 9 pm at night.

I had spent the day in meetings and touring galleries in the warehouse district near the CBD. So, my manner of dress was a bit more conservative for such an event. It was a purple silk shirt and black pencil skirt I had started the day wearing. I had brought some jeans to change into before heading out that evening, thankfully. Just hadn’t thought much about my choice in blouse.

So, the music started out with the song “Gone Daddy Gone” and the entire floor around us started to move. It wasn’t all that bad actually. I had expected that, as the Femmes were known as a Garage Band. My sister Liss was a huge fan, and had introduced me to their brand of music, so whenever they came to town, we generally went. This time was no different. She and her best friend had already left us, worming their way up towards the front, leaving the rest of us behind. We stood near the back, where I had believed the location was safe, but oh how wrong I was.

It was the entire lower floor of Tip’s that started to move. Wall to wall, bodies jammed in tightly. The sour smell of sweat and beer and heavier spirits, mixed with smoke and an insane mingling of perfume and hair product hung thick in the air. The heat only added to the intensity of what could only be called sensory overload.

Struggling to keep my feet under me, I clung to Celeste, who latched right back on to me. Both of us then pulled Mia, another friend close and we created a three lady clump, for lack of better words. Around us was a crushing swell of humans from which we found escape next to impossible.

Mia was a delicate looking blond with large thickly lashed blue eyes and was presently wearing an arm sling from an unfortunate roller blade incident a few days prior. In the midst of my seeking to protect myself and my friends, I felt this hand grabbing the back of my shirt. Remember? That purple silk shirt I mentioned? Yeah, that one. It was suddenly yanked one way, and then the other and the buttons at the front suddenly found themselves strained.

I grew up in New Orleans and have never once considered flashing anyone to be on my list of “Things to Do”. In fact, I found the idea of it, not the least bit appealing. It’s fine for others to do it, because that’s their business but I know few locals that will. Plenty of visitors do find such practices fun, thrilling or naughty, pick your flavor. It’s a case for many that visit N’Awlins to leave their modesty and sobriety at the airport.

Troubling thing was, I also had a mama who would have had the vapors at the thought of any of her daughters behaving in such a fashion. Mama always knew what we were doing. I don’t know how but she always did. So, that made for a great deterrent for both my sister and I from doing anything illegal or vulgar.

So, back to my dilemma of the stressed silk fabric of my shirt. Well, I had little choice but to move with it, or expose my assets to the world at large all the while praying to every Deity, fate and hope I could think of that the buttons would hold. One, flew free and I watched in horror as it bounced harmlessly off some leather jacket wearing guy in from of me.

Celeste had realized what was happening and acted. I heard through the loud music a sudden string of cussing. It was somewhat distant, as if far, far away but I was suddenly free. My bestie had used her impressive claws to dig into the idiot’s hand clutching my shirt. We wasted little time, just dragged poor Mia along with us and made for the exit. Stomping feet, pushing and using elbows to strong arm our way out.

A few minutes later I propped my friend with the sling up against the outside wall. The warm wood much safer than the stifling crush inside. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can mosh with the best of them. I have seen many a punk group across various locals in the city. From “Gang of Four”, to “Front 242”, “Ministry”, “Lords of Acid”, “Greenday” and even “The Clash” when I was likely too young to be allowed inside, but my sister was friends with friends that had their ways. I have even moshed to “The Ramones” and “Rage against the Machine” in knee deep mud at one Lolapalooza out of many I have attended. I exited usually from such crowds bruised but happy. However, I was usually dressed to handle such exertion’s.

Now to wrap it up; I couldn’t leave without my sister, but there was a gaping issue I needed to deal with. So, I went hunting in my car for something to keep my modesty intact. I had a light jacket but it was simply too hot to be wearing that. I did find a vest I forgot. One that had a variety of patches and pins on from several events I had attended, mostly your Sci Fi/Fantasy cons and Siggraph. I thought it was cool, while others may have found it goofy. It screamed "Geek Girl" before such a thing was cool. This night, I didn’t really care what anyone said about my choice of attire. I put it on and buttoned it up and kept my Victoria Secret, secret. We then spent the rest of the show, watching from the doorway. Worked out quite well in the end. If nothing else, it remains a very vivid memory that I can recall to this day.

Any time I hear that song now, I recall just how close I came to flashing the world. It's amusing now, but back then, I could just hear Mama in my head fussin' about it.

Moral of this tale: Never wear a silk shirt to a concert that might turn into a giant mosh pit around you. (This also goes for Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street, because that is wall to wall people with groping hands.) Tee shirts are generally safe for such events. After the “Violent Femme Incident”, if I know I am going to an event of that nature, I make sure to carry the appropriate garments along so I won’t have to ever watch another button fly away to be lost under many feet and spilled beer ever again.

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"Sometimes mortals can be more horrible than monsters."
― Rick Riordan
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Simone Evreux
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. Bingle's theme song:

Jingle, jangle, jingle
Here comes Mr. Bingle
With another message from Kris Kringle
Time to launch your Christmas season
Maison Blanche makes Christmas pleasin'
Gifts galore for you to see
Each a gem from MB!


As a small child I was thought of as quirky. I didn’t think I was all that odd a kid because my sister was much the same. Where most children would count the days to that annual mall visit to see jolly ole’ Saint Nick, I generally dreaded it. That whole idea of he “SEES” everything and just knows if you had been bad or good. To be honest, I was fearful of the all knowing bearded fellow with his judgmental ways who was rumored to leave lumps of coal or sticks in festive stockings. It never actually happened to me but the threat hanging over our heads was stressful to say the least. Which means; throughout the early years my parents had pictures of both my sister and I crying while sitting on the Mall Santa’s extra plushy lap.

It was our papa that finally decided it was time for a change. I was maybe six years old when, instead of that dreaded trip to the mall, he took us to “Maison Blanche” department store down on Canal Street, in the heart of New Orleans. It was there, on a blustery Saturday morning, that I was first introduced to Mr. Bingle. It was a puppet show featuring the adorable little southern snowman that enchanted me. My Papa, was quick to get myself and my sister a plushy Mr. Bingle of our very own. This became a new tradition. I still have that toy and every year when the weather cools down and first cold snap hits Louisiana I take him out and sit him on the mantle, his seasonal place of honor. He’s looking a bit worn these days, but he is rather old after all. I should also mention I got him pretty young and he has endured many an adventure with me.

A petite snowman with wings of holly and a hat made of a waffle ice cream cone. He has a shiny jingle bell on his front, rather like a belly button that jangled, and candy cane stripped gloves. A large red bow finished it off. He made dealing with Santa a whole lot easier for a child that was prone to making mischief and getting into trouble. He was my middleman for dealing with the big guy. I still love the little creature as he did bring me joy and he featured in our trips to the mall for those holiday pictures for a few more years at least.

I had been drawn to him from the start and considering what I would learn some ten years about my own nature and Fae tendencies, it made sense. And, in a curious way, he became even more enduring. Not many outside of our eclectic state even know who or what Mr. Bingle is, as it’s really a Louisiana thing that has stood the test of time.


((OOC: Re: Mr. Bingle who is a Louisiana state Celebrity, his legend started by Maison Blanche and carried on by Dillards.

Yes, the player behind Simone did have one of these sweet plushie critters. Sadly, mine has been lost to time. I dragged it everywhere with me as a child and it just didn’t survive the affection I bestowed upon it and the weather. However, I can transfer the memories and the love for my well cuddled Mr. Bingle in stories told by Simone which does make me happy. 😊

For those that want to hear the theme song: https://youtu.be/KevbjKFvsng Warning: According to my sister, this is downright creepy, so listen at your own risk.

https://youtu.be/KevbjKFvsng - History of Mr. Bingle
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Bingle - Yes, Mr. Bingle does have his own Wiki page. ))

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ghosts
By SYML
I see ghosts wherever I go
You know where they're hiding out
Is anybody real enough?
All these ghosts won't fight for their souls
I know we can break them out
Is anybody real enough?

https://youtu.be/WHba0KLfHOM


Seeing Ghosts

I didn't always see "Things" the way my mama or sister did. For me it was that "Feeling" or "Intuition" that set off my danger sense. Mama frequently saw apparitions or spirits. She claimed it was a daily event and I believed it. She also saw the death of others. It wasn't a blessing if you ask me. Such a thing would be more inline with a curse, but she took it in stride.

She once told us that she had been born with a caul, also called a veil. At the time I didn't really understand that, but as the years went by I learned more about what many believed. It was a hold over from superstitions of the old land. In some cultures a child born with a veil was a sign of good luck. Others saw it as a symbol of having "the sight". Some would display such an unusual birthing effect proudly, where others would seek to hide it, as it could bring calls of "Witch" and might lead to a horrible fiery death for a mere baby.

Caulbearers are said to have special psychic abilities along side a variety of other supernatural and foretelling talents such as seeing and speaking to ghostly energy. Hence our mama was rather sensitive. I often wondered if her abilities were what led her and papa to the Fae and the deal they made so many years ago. She could see through their glamour. She would never say, but I know our lives were better for that agreement.

Anyway, my first sighting of a ghost was interesting. I didn't know I was talking to one at the time. It wasn't anything to see someone walking along any Vieux Carré street in period garments. Many of the "Haunted History" tour companies hired colorful characters more then willing to dress the part for the various excursions.

Cliche as it is, it had been a foggy night when we arrived in the Vieux Carré. I loved it when the Quarter was blanketed in that soft mist, and especially when it was thick and mysterious. It suited the old buildings as it rose up tangling with the wrought iron rails with a slow drifting. That smoky haze added to the ambiance that this area is famous for. Liss and I were meeting friends at "The Crystal" down on Decatur. I had paused to take in the sight of the mist dancing along the uneven sidewalk or how it crawled along the cobblestone road and put it the visual to memory. Ahead I heard my sister talking to someone. She was well known to many so that in itself was not unusual. However, it made me aware that I was falling behind. I didn't dare try to run in my boots, as the ground was already slick with the damp of the night.

Coming up on a corner, out of the swirling haze I caught sight of my sister. At first I thought she was talking to herself. I didn't see anyone else but as I drew near, a man took shape. I admit, my first thought was that Liss was talking to one of the tour guides. He looked the part perfectly. Tall and elegant with a thick trimmed beard and a fashionable, well-crafted top hat adorning his head. Even his shoes were Victorian era.

He had the darkest brown eyes which were so intense I felt a shiver or disquiet race up my spine. It felt like he could see right though my carefully crafted disguise.

I heard his muffled reply to something my sister said, as the fog rolled around him. Once I was close, I found myself impressed that this fellow was really keeping in character. He had a faintly French accent with a voice that sounded like it was coated in warm honey. His English was littered with colloquial terms that were rarely used these days.

He was interesting, which explained why Liss, who had minutes before been complaining about her hair frizzing up due to the humid air, had stopped to chat.

After what had been a pleasant chat about the foggy city at night. His words both flowery and poetic, he warned us to stay away from Bourbon Street, as such a place was far to crass for ladies of gentle breeding, and then took his leave.

It was then he faded away into the gray mist that had isolated us in our own private bubble. Tendrils of ghostly fog spiraling upwards and he melted into those fingers of moist smoke right before our eyes and I gaped. After a few beats of my heart, Liss snagged my arm and dragged me along as I tried to mentally explain to myself what had just happened.

"He was a Ghost Simi." Liss stated in a matter of fact manner. "Welcome to my world." she then added.

It was nothing to see Liss start talking to thin air when wandering the Quarter and other locations in the city to be honest. She did the same thing when walking about Uptown as well and I was used to it. I often "felt" something but didn't generally "see" anything until that dark foggy night.

I never did learn his story, but did hear rumors of a few others encountering that specific ghost.

Since that time, I have seen the "Gentleman Spirit" frequently. He"s still just as interesting as the first time I actually "saw" him.

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― Rick Riordan
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