The Saints of New Orleans


Chapter 1

Day started like All the rest down here in Mississippi. Hot and muggy as soon as the daylight broke through the dark night. My little brother still asleep like usual, leaving me to make breakfast and do all the morning chores. He was 20 years my junior and I was pretty much the only father figure he had ever known. Ma and pa died of the scarlet fever not long after he was born. I was 26 and off fighting a war that I had no business in. As soon as I got my discharge papers I was on my way back home. That's where I found this ferrel little child with eyes like mine. He must have been born just after I left. It took some learning and several whippings to get him back into a form that resembles humanity. Sometimes I think that the whipping hurt me more than it did him. After a few years he had become a model child that others would base their thoughts of a good boy on. I can't imagine what he saw before I showed up. 

  We had neighbors about a mile down the road. A nice black family that with all the girls they had could have made their own church choir. The old man would always tip his hat to me if we ever crossed paths. He told me that the tried to leave food out for the boy as often as they could never get a sight of him, but he must've ate it cause the next day they would come retrieve the plate and even the chicken bones would be sucked dry.

  They had a beautiful creole looking daughter about my age that I remember fondly as she used to be my fishing partner. She would always play with my hair because it was shaggy and curly and nothing like her own. When we were kids we had no idea about race or judgement of one's color. It was pure innocence just enjoying each other's company.

  After returning from war everything was different. Blacks and whites kept to their own company. So when I asked Maylene to go fishing with me her daddy abruptly refused my request and said " she ain't here noways."

  On the walk home I heard a loud screech as if it were an owl howling, but it was broad daylight. 

  That's when I saw 2 assailants brutally handling Maylene as if she were a ragdoll. I ran down, grabbed a knife from my boot and shoved it into the first mans neck I could reach. The other backed away as if he had seen a ghost. It was the mayor's boy Jeffrey. The other was just some vagrant no one would ever miss. But Jeffrey pleaded for his life so I took the heel of my boot and cracked him in his kneecap. He wailed louder than the girl he was attempting to rape.

  I tied him to his horse and after making sure that Maylene was alright I rode him into town to the sheriff. Being the mayor's son and all his trial was the next day. They asked me to be in attendance. It was a pig circus. They had their minds made up, and Maylene wasn't going to get any justice. So I had to get it for her myself. I rose and asked to speak to the judge as I walked forward I pulled back the hammer on my .38 that was restless on my pocket. I said your honor, is there anyway that we can guarantee this not happen again. He stated, it didn't happen this time. So I placed the barrel against the judges podium and let the first of six bullets loose. Hit the judge right in his gutless torso. The next two bullets were for the mayor's boy. Hit him in the knee and the groin. I wanted him alive to suffer. The last three were for the bailsman because I wasn't going to jail just for serving justice to those that tried to escape it. I grabbed Maylene by the arm and stole two horses that were tied out front of the courthouse. Coincidentally they both belonged to the mayor. We rode for days with no sight of anyone following us. 

  We rode for what seemed like a week. Only stopping to water the horses and catch a short nap. We both being country folk we knew what plants we could eat and not get sick from, but weeds and roots don't fill the belly and by the time we reached Louisiana we were famished. We figured New Orleans was a big enough place that the two of us wouldn't be paid any mind. They have their own brand of trouble there and we may as well have been Saints in this city. 

  We found a place on the outskirts that welcomed both white and colored Patrons. I had just enough money to get us a room and a hot meal. I wasn't worried about money because I could always make more doing whatever needed doing. Even covered in road dust and grime Maylene was still looked angelic in my eyes. The room was just that a room. Bed ,toilet, running water for the bathtub and sink and a window looking out over the French Quarter, but no walls. Privacy was not an option in this room. So I told Maylene I would step out and see if I could find a second hand store to get her some suitable clothing. She thanked me in that soft sweet southern drawl. Every word that ever came out her mouth I think I could recite verbatim as it sounded sweeter than any other sound I had ever heard. She started removing her shoulder straps before I could get out the door and I had to remove my hat because I thought I may just faint. I quickly and clumsily opened the door and removed my gaze from her.

  I walked down through the small hotel and out into the streets of the quarter. I looked at every booth I passed trying to find something fitting for Maylene. I finally found a peddler about the same height and build as Maylene that was selling her clothes they may or may not have bees stolen, but for two dimes I found her a nice skirt and shirt to match and I talked her into a pair of socks and loafers for a nickel. She threw in a pair of slacks that were meant for a boy but would fit her just the same. A few blocks down I found a fella selling men's clothes and I offered to trade my untattered clothes that just needed a wash for some of his wares and of course he happily obliged. With my last four dollars I spent two of the on I a sterling silver pair of earrings and a small bottle of french perfume that I wanted to surprise my beautiful friend with. That left us two dollars for a couple of drinks at the pub in the hotel lobby and breakfast in the morning. 

  I had been gone for at least an hour. Plenty of time for her to bathe and get comfortable. I returned to the room knocking before I used the key to enter. What a sight, as beautiful as she was awake she looked heavenly as she was sleeping under the cotton blankets. I laid the goods I had purchased on the chest of drawers and the earrings and perfume on the pillow in front of her so she would see it when she woke. 

  Me being as dirty as a ditch digger I took the sheet from the other bed and fashioned a make shift curtain in front of the tub just in case she did awaken I wouldn't make a crude scene. That hot bathe felt so good on my aching muscles and I am not sure how long I was in there before falling asleep but I awoke to Maylene pouring water on my hair washing out the soap she used to wash it with. I was startled at first and I placed a rag over my manhood. Not as if she hadnt been able to see it already, although the water was a bit murky do to how filthy I was. She just smiled a big smile with her white teeth that were accentuated by her cocoa brown lips. "First thing tomorrow I'm going to trim this mop of hair of yours because you look like a vagrant," she said. "A shave wouldn't hurt either". Then she looked in my eyes as if she could see my very soul as she bent down and gave my lips a peck. "Thank you for the earrings and perfume" she said. She was already wearing the earrings but she said the perfume is only for special occasions. "Tomorrow maybe," she said. "Dry off and come to bed your going to get waterlogged in there if you stay in much longer." We had separate beds and as tired as we both were, I don't believe that if we only had a single that anything would happen anyway. She said "thank you for everything you did for me and sweet dreams." "Sweet dreams" I replied back as I faded off to sleep. 

  I woke with a startle, "My little brother I thought".

  Maylene was already awake brushing her long black hair that she always kept in a braid that went down to the middle of her back. I said, "Maylene, I have to go back to fetch my brother". She replied that he was in safe hands at her daddy's. "As soon as he heard that you were going to be at the courthouse also, he went and got him that morning." I felt a huge relief. Her daddy was not someone that invited any badge wearing son of a bitch into his home. So I knew Sam would be safe. I got my breaches on and put on my shirt cleaned my boots off in the tub and we made our way down to the hotel lobby for breakfast. We had a good meal and handed the keys back to the desk clerk. I noticed as we were walking out another fella walking in with a stack of papers. "Oh hell" I said to Maylene. " Our photos were right there on the front page, May, " I whispered to her. "We need to get out of town and fast." We didn't have but a satchel with all our belongings, so we saddled the horses and headed west towards Texas.

  We made it a few miles out of New Orleans by noon. We came to a town with a general store where I traded my .38 for a Winchester lever action .44 caliber rifle. Much longer distance and I didn't want to have to get close enough to someone to get a good shot in with that little revolver. After the horses were watered we set out with the sun directly overhead. We made it through the swamps of the Atchafalaya before dark and we set up camp on the other side. This would give us plenty of time to tuck tail and run if we saw lights heading in our direction. Two long grueling days on horseback through the swamps and sugar cane fields of Louisiana would wear out any man or horse. Still 2 days away from the Texas border. We found some old moonshiner tending his still and he could see we meant no trouble so he set us up for the night in his barn. We drank our fill of shine and ate whatever it was he put in front of us. We were so hungry we didn't bother asking what it was. He played the banjo and his brother on the washboard and it seemed like every shiner for miles came down and enjoyed the music and drink. Maylene and I danced like we had the spirit in us. This was the second time I had the pleasure to kiss those beautiful lips of hers but it felt like the first all over. I could have waited forever for that and it would have still been better than anything I had ever lay my lips upon. 

  After everyone was either leaving or passed out. We made our way to the hay loft in the old man's barn. We made love with more passion than I ever knew possible. When we kissed it was like taking in the holy communion. It was as if we were one body, knowing each other's move before ever making it. It was surreal and so real at the same time. The most beautiful thing I have ever experienced in my life.

  The morning came quicker than I can remember. The old shiner had fixed us some sandwiches and gave us a bottle of his liquor. He had already fed and saddled our horses for us. He bid us safe travels and told us not to worry about him telling any lawman shit. We were back on our way to Texas.

  • Author: mdrogers (Offline Offline)
  • Published: December 12th, 2021 12:09
  • Category: Short story
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