Louis had vanished. Iʼd look for him but he kept out of the bars, strange hours, whatever jobs he picked up. Saw Jeff again who came on to me at Jewel’s and weʼd play around some with his big beard and arms and was kinda hot but he was not Louis. I couldnʼt make out with him. Louis was in my way. He knew it, didnʼt offer any information. I worked my shift regular and fucked around now and again, hangin with my bartender friends. Iʼd get off work at 5am, count tips and be home around 7am to pass out and get some sleep. I just worked a Sunday beer bust and was feeling good and frisky. I parked myself on a stool in the back of Lafitte’s by the fireplace, had my stool leaning against the bricks, and kicked back having had a lot of drinks and shots and shooting bull and cruising hard.
It was getting on 11 or so. I couldnʼt see the front door but heard a commotion up front. Then Louis turned the corner by the fireplace and there I was. He stopped cold. He looked a bit rough. Shirt with no sleeves open down his hairy chest. My buddies didnʼt like him at all. They thought he was trash, drugs, not good for me. He did not care or even acknowledge them. The blood rushed to my head. Conversation stopped and he leaned again as close as he could to get in my face. If his lips hadnʼt been moving he wouldʼve been kissing me. He said “I tol’ you I wanna show you something. I been lookin for you, I never come in this fucking queen bar.” I kinda pushed back and said, “What the fuck, where you been? And I don’t work in no Queen bar.” He let that go. “You make me think about you,” he whispered in my face. I started sweating. My friends Jason and Bobby got defensive and tried to intervene. Louis got in my face again lookin straight into my eyes, piercing me. Then backed up and stood there. “You coming?” I didnʼt hesitate. “Yes.” I got up and walked out the door of Lafitte’s with this big Cajun in front of disapproving queens throwing daggers, certain I was heading for the gutter.
It was a hot, muggy shirt-sticks-to-your-body night. Louis had his car parked not too far, rusted up ol chevy impala that didnʼt run right. We got in the front seat, and were all over each other. Man could he kiss me. Knocked me back. “Iʼm gonna show you….” he said. I leaned back and liked the breeze coming in and his sweat and arms being close. We drove. We drove past Esplanade and past Marigny and across Elysian Fields and kept going deep into Bywater and following the River. “Where in the fuck?” I muttered. He said nothing. Stared at me. Rubbed my neck, put his finger on my lips. I had a strange trust but these were parts unknown and dangerous. White boys did not go down this deep into the Bywater. Finally before the Industrial Canal he stopped. Kissed me real deep again in the front seat. We were both hard.
“C’mon!” he growled and was out the door. I looked around, it was rundown shotgun houses, a cheap corner store and a warehouse with broken out windows and boarded up. “Cʼmere, it’s right here.” We walked around the warehouse and he pulled a panel of plywood off and we ducked in. it was a huge space, all sorts of tables, industrial equipment, the streetlights shining through the broken out window panes. We were the only ones in there. He had some drugs so he put a lot of lines out and we snorted em. It got me so high and horny my shirt was off in and then our boots and pants and we were wrestling. He was punching me and swinging and I was dodging and weaving and when weʼd catch each other weʼd hold on. We kissed hard. We rolled on the ground in the dirt, naked, put our boots back on. I licked every part of that man and he licked me. We fucked on tables, on the floor, on boxes, up against the wall for hours. We drained each other of everything we both had. We couldn’t get enough of each other. He was so strong. We were two hardcore lover wrestlers having to have every part of each others bodies. We finally fell on the floor, panting, soaked, spent, sore, barely touching, didnʼt have to say anything. This match that had come to a draw.
Dawn began peeking in. We looked at each other awhile. We touched again, kissed. We had to get out of there. He put his arm around me and let me up and kissed me deep before we got out of the plywood opening. We walked separate cause this was not the quarter and was a bad area. We got in his car. I told him to drop me off at the bar cause I needed a fucking drink to come down from this. I had this man everywhere on me.
We drove up St. Claude heading to the Quarter when some blue and red lights flashed, we were being pulled over. Louis’ tags were expired, no insurance. We had our shirts off. Sweat pouring off of us, we smelled like sex. I thought we were goners. I didnʼt know if he had more drugs or not, I donʼt think I cared. The cop leaned in and said “Now what you boys up to this time of the morning?” A look came over the cop’s face when he saw ours and we had no shirts. He must’ve smelled the sex and sweat. We were white boys in a black neighborhood. We were too much trouble. “You boys get along home now, don ʼt stop anywhere else,” he ordered as he backed off and went back to his car. And then Louis dropped me back at Lafitte’s. We looked at each other hard.
I got out of the car, looking like Iʼd been crawling through the gutters. Jason was now on the bar stool Iʼd left earlier. “What the fuck happened to you?” he asked, “youʼre bleeding and youʼre bruised.” “I got in a fight” I replied. “With that guy?“ Jason pushed, ”are you okay?“ ”I took a ride, and I think Iʼm still going,” I slowly replied. I drank a shot and a drink but didnʼt want to describe anything to anyone. I went to the bathroom and washed my face. My body was sore but felt alive. We had been like two gladiators. I ducked out the doors of the bar down Bourbon to Esplanade thinking about every detail of Louis. I was smiling walking home shirtless the five blocks down to my bed.