Because of the shatness of Bourbon Street, on Monday night we bought PBR silos and loitered on the sidewalk behind the cathedral in Jackson Square Park. Okay, sure, technically only Coors Light comes in silos, being the silver bullet and everything [nards] but you can't full well call a 24 oz can of heaven a tallboy when it's more than a tall order and you're drinking double the pleasure. So "silo" it is.
After striding around the block for awhile, two dirty crackheads plopped next to us on the sidewalk. We carried on conversations within our own individual groups, laughed at the same jokes and threw sporadic conversational interjections at each other.
A stranger ambled up after about half an hour, saddled with a low-slung back pack and munching out of a box of Crunch Berries with a long-handled spoon.
"Hey strangeh," called a crackhead. "Where yeh headin'?"
"Down Frenchmen street. There's a [some musical style] band playing at [some bar] and they got [some drink specials.]"
"Niiiiiice. I'll be headin down theah lateh."
"Cooo, maybe I'll see ya."
"Aiight. I'll be lookin fer the boxxah Crunch Berries." They exchanged smiles and a handslapfingersnap, and Crunch Berry Guy drifted away with his box and spoon.
I looked at Muffy. "I am hungry. And that guy was awesome."
"He is not an amateur."
"Hell no, that guy's definitely a professional. I'll bet he gets paid to be fucked up."
"I would pay him to be fucked up."
"I would give you half."
"And then I'd double his fucking salary."
"Crunch Berry Guy is so pro he's got a Masters In Professional Fuckedupness."
"Yeah, but that M.P.F. was bestowed upon him in the streets. Being a Professional in a field such as ours is a natural talent. That's some shit you can't learn at Tulane."
"Unless he went to Kellogg. Now that's a school for Professional management."
"HAH! For sure, dude. And Crunch Berry guy manages to mix business and cereal."
"Dude, cereal is business. That's what they teach you at Kellogg."
"Cereal is serious business."
"They should really leave cereal for the Professionals."
"PDA 2009, dude. P. D. A."
We hung out there for a couple of hours before wandering back to the hotel, where I ate some Cheetos, wrote a drunk blog, and then convinced Muffy and Amber to head back out with me.
I led them to the casino across the street. I was just itching to play craps. Seriously itching. Took twenty dollars cash and an ID, because if I'd had plastic on me I would have diced my ass off. Nearly two hours of craps and free drinks, and I passed out back at the hotel with fifteen still in my pocket. Muffy and Amber weren't as lucky, but then again, they don't play craps.
And I am a Professional.
But the highlight of the night was back on the sidewalk, leaning against the fence behind that cathedral.
"I came here twenty-two years ago with my dad--" the older dirty crackhead began, his voice surprisingly clear and pleasant, without an ounce of the grit we expected, "--and he was like, I'll be right back."
He paused to light a cigarette, taking a long, slow drag. "I'm still waiting," he exhales in an expert stream of smoke. "He never came back."
We exchanged secret glances, listening in on his confession.
"So I fucking went to Mardi Gras and sold my roller skates for crack."