By Chris Shaw
“The Cowboy Poet”
Loomis stumbled at the landing over a rusty folding chair, which imploded upon impact with his aching knee. Mojo pulled him to his feet. The other man helping him had torn and stained scrubs. Musta been an intern before this thing hit and rendered everybody nameless and practically useless. Loomis rubbed his weary eyes. Slimy black liquid was oozing out of the ceiling, down the pipes, and all over, accompanied by a thick mist.
The whole thing evoked a long-ago sci-fi spectacle, “Blade Runner.” That was, as Loomis most nearly recalled, a great movie about the end of the world in 2019, at least as we earthlings had known it to be, and uh here it was twenty-oh-five , in the fifth year of Little Bush (who sho’nuf didn’t appear to give half a hoot ‘bout no New Orleans) and …
“HEY! WHITE BOY!! You there?” Loomis whipped his head around to meet Mojo’s livid stare.
“You WID us or ‘GINST us, boy?” ‘Cause we need to get goin! Right NOWW!!”
Mojo shoved Loomis hard to a brick parapet that led to an open courtyard, half of which in the yellowy murk of a time past dusk, appeared to be hanging over two walls and a flat deck plum close to washed out. “JUMP, BOY!” A final desperate SHOVE , and well, Loomis had no choice. Grabbing the end of a filthy knotted line of hospital sheets, Loomis let go into Lord knows what awaited him in the mud below.
Meanwhile at the battered main entrance to the Ernest Morial Convention Center, a red-haired and tirelessly cheerful Lindsay Patterson pushed a wheelchair occupied by Lyvania Grimes, 91, and nearly passed out, but able to whisper “Why am I not in my home?”
Lindsay, a fresh-faced recent graduate in sociology from Maryland, had recently seen her uncle’s farm flattened by a tornado. It was choking for her to try explaining to Ms Lyvania why she couldn’t just stroll back to her iron-porched cottage off Lee Circle, since it was under six yards of green muck and possible alligators and a human corpse or two.
“Is…is it Halloween?” croaked Ms. Livania.
Lindsay’s delicately beautiful face reddened. She struggled to hide the tears.
“That’s it,” she offered softly in response to the dazed old lady.
“We’ll go in then, for the party. Happy Halloween, Miss Lyvania!”
To Be Continued……