Last year Mama D's Arts Bordello did a "Choose Your Own Adventure" night, where four writers offered up four stories with multiple endings. The audience got to select the ending they wanted with the help of Myles the Applause-o-Meter Vixen. We had a lot of fun and Time Out Magazine gave us a great write up: CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE.
Today I'm posting the story I offered up at the show, with all possible endings. The ending the audience selected was B. Which one would YOU choose?
Standing in the heart of the French Quarter, you see New Orleans as a slightly over-ripe mango: juicy, succulent, but just on the verge of becoming rancid. The buildings are alive, weeds growing lazily from crumbling bricks. Roaches, slow moving and fat eat yesterday’s forgotten crumbs. The air is hot, damp and gluey. It feels used, as if it came from a balloon that someone deflated days after the birthday party.
You look at your girlfriend through bleary eyes. A slow stream of sweat trickles down her collarbone. A recycled breeze blows, carrying the perfumed scent of a famous psychic at a filthy sidewalk café; the health inspector long since bribed away.
Your stomach grumbles. A low, nasty growl. You feel a slow, hot, wet fart steam through your butt cheeks. It dissipates into the muggy heat of New Orleans. You glance down at the sidewalk and notice a crawfish head, a broken string of Mardi Gras beads, dirty Band-Aid and a tarot card.
You are thirsty, and remember the plastic milk jug filled with Mexican Holy water you have at home. A friend of yours moved out of a big dusty house on St. John’s Bayou, and needed to get rid of a few things. So in addition to the Mexican Holy water, you got half a set of encyclopedias, a tiny crystal vase, and a broken TV tray.
As you wander around, typical French Quarter scenes are unfolding:
Wisconsin tourists on Bourbon Street look bewildered as a man with his head inside of a plastic barrel starts to sing a Louis Armstrong tune. His baritone voice is beautiful and the acoustics in the barrel are excellent.
United Cab drivers smoke cigarette after cigarette, lined up in front of the Monteleone Hotel on Royal Street. They talk about their ungrateful kids in college. You see a middle-aged conventioneer walking two steps in front of a pimply hooker in scuffed white heels. She frowns and checks her watch. The conventioneer does not open the hotel door for her. Neither does the bellboy.
On Decatur Street, a skinny clown stops to re-affix his nose as a child complains that his balloon animal just doesn’t look like a dinosaur.
You hear a clap of thunder and rain begins to pour, crushing flowers on the hats of carriage-pulling horses who clip clop past Jackson Square.
You and your girlfriend take shelter in your favorite bar on Toulouse Street. It’s not your favorite bar because of the atmosphere (to be honest it’s disgusting and they can’t put locks on the bathroom doors because too many people were doing coke) but because of your favorite bartender.
Her name is Libby and she has a mysterious scar above her lips, which are always painted shade of vermillion that the tube calls Flirt. She wears flowing sundresses, and her bra strap is always showing. She smells of chicory, jasmine and sex.
While you and your girlfriend drink Abita Amber and Ruthie the Duck Lady’s duck waddles behind the bar, you listen to Libby tell everyone about last night’s crowd;
“Conrad Bourgeois came in here-you know, the butcher from Schweggemans. Said he had the money to pay for his drinks, but he’d have to tip with beef jerky. I’m not kidding. So at 1am he leaves. Then 4am rolls around and the strippers from Big Daddy’s come over. They all have plastic bags stuffed with beef jerky.”
Suddenly Ruthie the Duck Lady shouts, “Look out!” You turn around to see the skinny clown from Decatur Street pointing a .44 Magnum at Libby.
“Baby, you can’t leave me,” he pleads. “I love you. But if I can’t have you, no one can.”
Just then, the Wisconsin tourists pop their heads inside. The fanny packed wife says, “Look at this Bob, isn’t this cute. It’s a real old fashioned New Orleans bar. Oh no--Bob! That clown has a gun!”
“Nobody move a fuckin’ muscle!” snarls the skinny clown. “Except you two. Get over there.”
The Wisconsin tourists shuffle over to the corner.
The door bursts open again and the conventioneer from the Monteleone hotel runs in. He’s naked, chased by the pimply hooker. She’s wielding a knife. “Gimme my money you asshole!” she snaps. “I don’t care if you couldn’t get it up, a deal’s a deal!”
Libby pulls out a bow and arrow from behind the bar and points it at the pimply hooker. “Drop the knife. It’s bad for tourism when conventioneers get killed in this town and since the locals tip in beef jerky, I need the tourists.”
You look at the bow and arrow, the gun and the knife. Do you:
A. Jump over the bar and grab Libby’s bow and arrow, copping a feel in the process.
B. Kick the skinny clown in the nuts.
C. Offer to pay off the pimply hooker.
Think carefully now. Have you made your decision? Then read on...
ANSWER A: You leap over the bar, grab Libby’s bow and arrow with the right hand and grab one of her tits with the left. The skinny clown shrieks: “You filthy bastard! Get your hands off her!” He starts firing randomly. One bullet hits the conventioneer in the bare ass, giving him a heart attack. He dies instantly. Another bullet dislodges the chipped chandelier, killing the tourists from Wisconsin, shattering their cameras and squashing their fanny packs. The next three bullets manage to kill Ruthie the Duck lady, your girlfriend and the pimply hooker. Libby leaps back, accidentally drops the bow and arrow and slams into the cabinet behind the bar. It topples over onto her as bottles of booze come crashing all around. You dodge the cabinet, grab the bow and arrow and aim it at the clown. He shoots you right between the eyes. You’re dead. The clown hoofs it out into the sultry New Orleans night, followed by Ruthie’s duck, the sound of Zydeco music filling the air.
ANSWER B: You kick the skinny clown square in the nuts. He drops the gun, which slides over to the tourists from Wisconsin. The wife picks it up. “Look Bob, a real New Orleans gun!” she says. The gun accidentally goes off, going straight through Libby’s throat, ricocheting off the bar, boomeranging back and killing the Wisconsin wife. Just before dying, Libby releases the bow and arrow, killing the clown. The clown slumps over onto the naked conventioneer, giving him a heart attack. He dies instantly. The Wisconsin husband grabs the gun, which goes off again, killing Ruthie the Duck Lady. The pimply hooker leaps up and stabs the Wisconsin husband 12 times and says, “That’s for killing Ruthie the Duck Lady, you piece of shit!” You’re about to grab your girlfriend and get out of there when she gasps, “Honey, I think the beer was poisoned.” You both die a horrible beer-related death. The pimply hooker surmises the bloody scene, scrambles over to the cash register, grabs a fistful of cash and tucks it into her purse. She saunters into the sultry New Orleans night, followed by Ruthie’s duck, the sound of jazz and laughter filling the air.
ANSWER C: You make a grab for your wallet to pay off the hooker. The skinny clown says, “I said nobody move!” and shoots you dead. Libby raises her bow and arrow and the pimply hooker leaps at her, slitting her throat. “Don’t you touch him! His balloon animals are works of art!” Libby slumps to the floor. The clown shrieks, “You killed my Libby!” and starts shooting up the joint. He shoots the pimply hooker, then your girlfriend and moves on to the Wisconsin couple bellowing, “I fucking hate fanny packs!” Another bullet ricochets off the bar and hits the naked conventioneer in the penis. “Not my penis!” he cries. The pimply hooker looks up from her pool of blood and gurgles, “What do you care, it doesn’t work anyway,” before dying. The conventioneer grabs her knife from her dead hands and says, “Life isn’t worth living without my penis,” and stabs himself in the chest. Ruthie the Duck Lady ambushes the clown with the bow and arrow, spearing him in the right temple. She rips it out and spears him in the left one too, just to make sure he’s dead. Dropping the bow and arrow, she grabs her Mint Julep and wanders out into the sultry New Orleans night, followed by her duck, the sound of a brass band filling the air.