Monday, March 4, 2013

Breasts On Bourbon Street: A Saucy Tale of Mardi Gras Injustice

It's the middle of the day, and it smells awful. Just awful.

And I can't find Ralph anywhere. This is approximately the fourth time I've lost him in the crowd in the span of thirty minutes.

What am I doing here?

 I feel absolutely horrible. My head is pounding, my nose is running, and I can't stop coughing. I shouldn't be here, I'm sick. Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras is no place for a sick man. I need to be in bed.

I'm inspecting the crowd around me, looking for my friend. But the longer I look at the crowd the more it looks like a blur. A flowing blur. Like a school of fish in a current.

That's when it hits me. This isn't a street, it's a river. A constantly flowing river. But water doesn't flow in this river, turds do. Loud, obnoxious turds.

I'm stuck in Turd River, I think to myself, and it smells awful. 

Suddenly, I feel a touch on my shoulder. I turn to see Ralph, he's found me. And he's even drunker than before.

"Where'dya go, man?" He says with a slight slur.

"I got caught in the flow of Turd River." I tell him. He looks at me absently after I say this. I can't tell if he actually heard me or not, it's so goddamn loud out here.

"I said, I got caught in Turd River!" I repeat.

"Oh, OK." He replies indifferently. "Well, let's keep moving, I don't want to miss anything!"

This makes me laugh. What could he possible miss down here? It's the same thing for a mile long. 

But really, I know exactly what my buddy means when he says he doesn't want to miss anything. He means he doesn't want to miss out on any breasts that might be exposed further down the river.

 That's what everyone wants down here.

Of course, they could probably see a lot better ones at one of the many strip clubs nearby, but they don't want to see nice breasts, they want to see Bourbon Street breasts. So then they can go back home and brag to their friends about how they went to Mardi Gras and saw breasts on Bourbon Street, just like in the movies. People are the worst.

"Let's follow them," Ralph points to a group of stumbling girls in front of us. "It looks like they're about to do something."

I nod my head but I'm not really listening to him. I'm so lightheaded it actually feels like I'm floating. Floating down Turd River, with the rest of the drunks on this street.

As I float, I think back to this morning, when he somehow convinced me to come out today. I had already gone out with him three times in a row, thus my getting sick; but that didn't matter to him. 

"It's my last day, you have to come out! Can't you just tough it out and try to have a good time?"

So here I am, floating in the sludge of the masses, trying to have a good time. But it's not easy. I'm being poked and prodded by the thousands of fat tourists that are trying to squeeze past me.

The girls we're following reach a balcony section of the street. There are balconies on both sides of us, and every inch of balcony on either side is crammed with people.

We will have to proceed with caution.

As you probably know, people rent rooms with balconies that overlook Bourbon so that they can drop beads down on people with boobs so they can see their boobs. What you probably don't know is that this doesn't really happen that often, and the people on the balconies tend to get bored after awhile. And in their drunken boredom, many decide to take those cheap plastic beads of theirs and huck it down at the people below.

I'm not talking about tossing them, mind you, I'm talking about just chucking them right at some poor bastard's head. 

So now, instead of just dealing with the obese couple from Kansas directly in front of you, and the toothless man with horrible b.o. to the side of you, and god-knows-who breathing down your neck behind you, you also have to watch out for random flying beads that are being thrown at the side of your face at high speed.

This is no place for a sick man.

As I head down this gauntlet of cheap plastic pain, I focus on my peripheral vision, praying that I will be able to see any flying objects before they slap me in the face. I hear a cry coming from the left of me.

"Sunavabitch!" I hear. I can't pinpoint the location of the voice, but I can tell by the pained tone that someone has fallen victim to the hijinks of those above us.

But my pity for this victim only lasts a few seconds, ending immediately when I step right into a huge pile of horse shit.

"Fucking... !" I'm so angry I don't know how to finish my furious thought, "!... pig!...asshole...shitheads!!!" 

I squirm my way through the crowd and make my way to the sidewalk, so that I can wipe off the excrement on the curb.

As I do this, I laugh at myself for my outburst. Fucking horse pig asshole shitheads. I guess that's one way to describe the cops who patrol the area on horseback, keeping the street safe while also creating a nice minefield of defecation.

After a minute of furious scraping, I sit down and pull the shoe to my face to see the damage. I see that I got a good amount off, but there's still is a great deal wedged into the bottom soles. I examine the tiny tunnels of poop that are still imprinted across the bottom of my shoe and determine that I will need to dig at it with a stick or a nail to get it all out.

But I don't do that. Instead, in my light-headed state, I continue to sit there and stare at the tiny brown tunnels and all my thoughts leave me. I just stare at the bottom of my shoe, and it stares back at me. Then the deafening noise all around me starts to sound very distant, and I start to feel myself drift far away, and I feel a little better. 

And then I sneeze on the poop that's on my shoe and I get sad again.

Soon after this, Ralph finds me and hurries me further down the street. I can tell he's come across something that's got him excited. I have a good idea what it is too.

 I'm not surprised when I find that Ralph has brought me to a sizable crowd that's standing still. There is only one reason why people stop flowing on Turd River, and that reason is boobs. 

 I stand at the edge of the crowd, and with my red, watery eyes I can see two women at the center of the crowd, who are looking up at a balcony and pointing to themselves. A clear sign that negotiations are underway.

People who have never been to Mardi Gras assume that women are just constantly taking there top off at any given point, and only asking for a pair of lousy beads as payment.

 As I mentioned earlier, this is a myth. Just like in the real world, it takes work to see tits on Turd River. It has to be a certain type of girl, and it has to be a certain type of beads.

 What kind of beads, you ask? The rare kind. The kind that are hardly seen but always in demand. Generally these beads, the boob beads, are much bigger than regular beads, have crazy designs on them, very colorful and flamboyant. Some even light up. But the one trait that all the boob beads share is this, they are all attention-getters. That's an absolute requirement.

But let's just get one thing clear, the girls aren't showing themselves just for the beads. A lot of them are doing it mainly for the same reason that they guys want to see them, so later on they can tell their friends about it. The beads are just a nice cherry on top. 

And so that's what brings these two girls to the process of negotiations with the balcony above. With suggestive hand gestures, they are making it clear that they are willing to expose themselves for the right set of beads. And so, the men on the balcony show off each extravagant set of beads they have, until, finally, they hold up ones that pleases the women below.

And once the beads are agreed upon, the girls lift their shirts. (Always make them show first, then dispense the beads, common Bourbon St knowledge). 

I don't see much from my view point, but I'm fine with that.

After the shirts are lowered and the beads are dropped and the crowd disperses, Ralph finds me again.

"How were they?" I ask.

He shrugs in response and we meander down the river once more, waiting for the next boob crowd to appear.
As we walk, I can't help but stare down at the never-ending line of puddles that have pooled up alongside the curb. These puddles are so revolting it's hypnotic. Foul, thick, turbid, greenish-brown bodies of water with numerous tiny, unidentifiable objects floating on top of them.

I'm so disgusted by this that my mind imagines what it would be like if I put my mouth in one of the puddles and took a big drink. The mental picture almost makes me vomit and I curse my brain for not working right.

The Bourbon Street puddles' hypnotic hold on me is destroyed when Ralph grabs me by the shoulder and pulls me to another crowd. We find another pair of women negotiating for beads from the men above.

But these negotiations do not go well, and soon the girls decide to head for greener pastures.

But before the crowd can disperse, an old, slightly haggard woman, maybe sixty or sixty five, comes out of nowhere and lifts up her shirt and waves her hands wildly at the balconiers.

I find myself amused for the first time since I came to Bourbon St. It's rather fun watching the various men in the crowd give half-hearted cheers while wearing expressions of confusion on their face. How were they suppose to react to this? A woman was showing her breasts, this was always a good thing, no doubt. But the breasts were saggy and misshapen... but then again, they were breasts.

Who woulda thought boob-watching could be so complicated...

I looked up to the balcony, to see how this was being received up there. From my angle I couldn't see any faces, all I could see was a set of beautiful, multi-colored giant beads hanging over the railing. At any moment, a decision was going to be made. Either the beads would drop down, or, get pulled away from view, and the story would be told.

But nothing happened. The beads simply continued to hover above the crowd. 

Confused, I looked back to the old woman. She was still there, of course. And putting on a real show. Screaming, jumping, swaying, jiggling. She was doing anything that would seal the deal so that she could get this one victory.

She was so enthusiastic, so desperate to achieve her goal, that I found myself rooting for her. I could tell by her weary face that life had probably given her the short end of the stick, and all she wanted was one more chance to feel beautiful again. Or at least, good looking enough to earn some boob beads.

This thought saddens me. Not just for the old lady, but for all humans. Don't we all come to this point eventually, at some time in our lives, when we want just the briefest reminders of who we once were?

I can't tell whether I'm having an honest moment about life, or if I'm so sick that I'm becoming delusional. I do know that I'm getting tired of staring at old crusty boobs, so I stare back up again at the dangling beads. They're still there, indifferently dangling twelve feet high.

I wonder what the hold up is. Maybe the bead holder is having a moral dilemma? He knows these boobs were not the boobs he was looking for, but her unbridled enthusiasm and energy gives him pause.

Can it be? Someone here has a heart? 

I can see the beads dipping down a few inches and I have the audacity to hope that this will have a happy ending.

But then, the real world steps in, in the form of a young pretty girl.

She squeezes past me to get into the circle, and then points to the man holding the beads. The crowd begins to cheer for the young woman, and I know the old lady's chances have plunged back down to zero.

Of course this would happen, I think.

But then, the young lady says something I can't believe.

"This is all I have to show."

She says this with supreme confidence as she points to her clothed body.

Are you kidding me? I think. This poor old woman has had her shirt lifted up for two full minutes, jumping up and down like a lunatic, and you think you can just swagger in and steal her glory without even adhering to proper procedure?

Even though I can't see the man's face above me, I can see his other hand pointing down at her and making gestures. He's clearly trying to further negotiations with her, but this girl isn't having any of it.

"This is all I have to show." She says again. She has this thick Southern, trailer trash accent that sound like nails on the chalk board to me. 

I picture what this person's life is back at home. She no doubt lives in a small town in one of the Bible Belt states, probably doesn't care too much for school, isn't well liked by her friends and she secretly knows it, and has made her way through life by flaunting her body around.

In a way, it's actually sadder than the old woman with the saggy boobs. But I still have the urge to scream at her.

You're not a Goddess, you don't get to come to Bourbon Street and have people bow to your whim.

I try to imagine what she would say in response. Although my guess is that it wouldn't be any different than what she's been saying... this is all she has to show. 

And while I'm going through all of this in my mind, the old lady is still standing behind the young girl, jumping up and down with her mammaries out.

She's a goddamn gladiator out there.

"This is all I have to show." The young harlot says for a third time. This time she circles her upper body with her two hands as she says this, highlighting her covered goods, just so the man above knows how hot she is.

"This is all I have to show."

She keeps repeating this line, and it's slowly driving me insane. Doesn't she know any other words? Can't her brain think of something else to say?

"This is all I have to show."

The crowd around the two women begins to get impatient. It's clear that the young strumpet is not going to show anything, and they've all had their fill of the pair of the gravity ravaged jugs.

But then, just before the crowd is about to dissipate, I see something fall from the sky.

It's the pair of beads. The man has finally released them. I can see from the trajectory of the beads, that they are heading right to the elderly woman. He made the right choice. Good for him.

But before I can even start to feel happy about this, I see the young girl take several long steps backwards and jump up and snatch the beads up.

"Nooooo!" The old woman shouts in haunting agony. "Those are mine. I showed my tits!"

She lunges at the young devil, demanding satisfaction. But before she reaches her, this giant whale of a woman comes out of nowhere and pushes the old woman away.

"Ain't no one touchin' ma baby." The whale says in the same unintelligent tone of the young lady.

It takes me a second to realize what's happened. Dear God, it finally occurs to me, this brutish whale gave birth to the harlot. Suddenly, I have a little empathy for the young girl. If this is what she was going to turn into over the years, maybe she should get her kicks while she could.

"Ain't no one touchin' ma baby." The whale says again through brown teeth.

There is pain in the old woman's eyes that I've only seen a few times before in my life. She looks at the whale, and speaks up for herself.

"But I showed my breasts! It's not fair."

But the whale only repeats herself for a third time: "Ain't no one touchin' ma baby."

The old woman reaches out for the beads, but the whale puts a stop to it.

"Ain't no one touchin' ma baby."

The whole time this interaction has been going on, the young girl has appeared oblivious to it. She only stares at her new beads instead and smiles at their prettiness.

Finally, the old woman admits defeat, and the whale turns to her pride and joy, and puts a loving arm around her.

"Ain't no one touchin' ma baby."

"This is all I have to show."

"Ain't no one touchin' ma baby."

"This is all I have to show."

They continue this fascinating conversation as they exit the crowd and vanish in the mass of flowing bodies. 

I look over to find the old lady, but she is gone too.

 It's just me now, and my hatred for everything. Including myself. Why didn't I say anything, why didn't I make that wrong right?

I don't have any answers though. I just have a sickness, and a hatred for humanity.

I walk to the closest intersection so I can get on a street that will take me away from all this. As I reach a corner I almost run into a middle-aged bald man who is holding a huge sign. I look up at the sign. It reads in big bold letters: FREE YOURSELF FROM SIN! JESUS IS THE WAY!

I look at the man. I look right in his eyes.

"Forget it, Jake, it's Turd River."

He looks at me absently. I'm not even sure if he heard me, it's so god damn loud out here.