”A tattooed doctorate student twerks in a swamp outside New Orleans.” Was the prompt for the week. And thus this thing:
”Yeah girl! Fuckin’ shake it baby!” the outburst was followed by that squealing piggish laugh. She shook her hips as she squatted down, pretending like it didn’t get to her, though it did and he fucking knew it did. Rocking her hips back and forth she slowly got up, wrapped her right leg around the pole and spun around. She could feel Hester move beneath her skin, the ink flowing in tune to the music, pictures and colors dancing beneath her skin. As she spun around she could see him sitting there, just a bit too close as usual, his white tank-top stained yellow with sweat and grease. His tiny black eyes staring out intently at her from within their deep set hollows of his pudgy face, and beneath the short snout she could see his tongue darting out to lick the left tusk sticking out of his lower jaw. He was sweating profusely of course, his pink skin glistening in the dim light of the barroom. He was flanked as usual by his skinny, inbred, cronies. Servile gap-toothed smiles plastered across their faces and pathetic glee in their watery, bulging, fish eyes. She felt the ink beneath her skin swirl around and Hester forming a big raised middle finger pointed straight at the fat piece of shit. She shot him a little smile, pouring her revulsion in to it, and felt a surge of joy as she saw his eyes darken with anger, before she leaned back her black curls touching the floor behind her as she moved in to the final part of her routine.
A while later she walked out from the dressing room, faded jeans jacket and black pants capped off with a pair of new white converse trainers. Man did it feel good to finally be dressed, she’d never really been entirely comfortable with the nudity and after working at La Croix for almost a year now she doubted that she ever would. But the pay was good and she really felt like part of the family now so she things could be worse she thought. Besides there wasn’t like there were tons of places where someone like her could work out in the open like this. As she weaved her way across the large room she glanced around, she couldn’t see the Pig anywhere, he’d probably left. It was quite a busy night though, most of the tables were filled and on the stage Cherie was doing her number. The lights were dim and the faces of the crowd were lit by the flames on the stage
As she sat down at the end of the bar she took her books out of her bag, followed by her notepad and an assortment of pencils in a rainbow of colors. With that she started reading, stopping now and then to underline a sentence here or there with colored marker. She was deep in her studies when a voice broke her out of it. ”You hungry love?” The smiling face of Brigitte the barmaid, framed as always by auburn locks, leaned close to her. ”Yeah, yeah I guess I am.” She’d really lost track of time. A big plate of rice, chicken and crawfish appeared on the counter in front of her.
”Thought you might be sweetie.” Brigittes sapphire eyes glinted in the firelight from the stage. Cherie was now naked as the day she was born and juggling balls of flame as she spun around the pole, needless to say the clientele were enraptured, they always were.
She pushed the notepad and books off to the side and dug in. ”Thank you Mamman.” She said between bites, she got a smile in return as the pale redhead moved down the bar to refill a few glasses. She leaned down on the bar and as she continued chowing down on the plate of quite delicious food before her her mind drifted off. She was snapped out of it with a bang. As the massive plate sized hand hit the bar her plate jumped and the bar fell silent. She turned around and looked up in to the tiny black eyes of the Pig. Behind the massive, stinking, fat shape of him she could see his cronies. ”Think you somethin’ special uh?” His tusks vibrated with barely contained anger. She could feel the ink beneath her skin move around anxiously. The stink of cheap bourbon wafted off him in waves.
”Leave me alone.” She tried to keep her voice steady, tried not to show her fear. She felt the ink crawl up the sides of her neck forming two biting snake heads on her cheeks.
The huge man leaned in close. ”I think I’s owed a fuckin’ apology.” Those tiny eyes were like black pinpricks now. ”Whore.” He spat out that last one, his spittle hitting her in the face as she leaned back. ”Look…” His other hand came down on the other side of her with a bang and interrupted her.
”Get away from her!” Brigittes voice cut through the silence. He looked up and was met with the furious stare of the woman behind the bar.
”This ain’t none of you business so fuck off!” He turned back to her. Hester had now formed a snarling panthers face over her own. ”You don’t threaten my girls you fat shit!” that one hit him and he pushed off the bar and extended a finger at the barmaid threateningly. ”I’m gonna…”
”There a problem here lamour?” the voice dripped with honey, smooth as the finest rum. The dim light danced on his black skin and the gold tipped cane in his right hand tapped on the wooden floor as he made his way down the bar. His choice of evening wear tonight was a purple tuxedo capped off with a purple top hat and beneath the brim of the hat a vicious smile cut across his white painted face. The Pig turned towards him. ”This between me and these here bitches.” Defiance in his voice, but beneath it a hint of uncertainty cut through the drunken rage.
Samedi took a deep drag on his cigar. ”Surely I misheard you there, mon frere.” A cloud of white smoke encircled his face. The Pig took a step closer to him. ”I’m sure you fuckin’ heard right you old…” he didn’t have time to finish the sentence. ”You’re drunk, time to leave i think.” the honey and rum gone from his voice, it now sounded like the deep clang of bells and the crawling sound of pale maggots dripped off every word. ”I’ll do whatever I damn well please!” The Pig walked up closer to him, looking down at the tuxedoed man. She could feel the ink beneath her skin tingle as she got up and took a step closer to the fat man.
”You want to challenge me in my own bar? How strong you feeling?” As the two men stared at each other she began to prepare herself for the worst, Hester crawling beneath her skin in anticipation. After a few aching seconds the Pig turned away from the cold smile of the old man, he pointed a quaking finger at her. ”This ain’t over!” With that he turned around and with his cronies in tow he waddled out the door of La Croix.
She sat down on on her stool with a sigh, her whole body shaking. Samedi walked over to her and put his wrinkled hand on hers. ”You okay lamour?” She smiled up at him, a forced smile but a smile none the less. ”I’ll be fine.” He sat down next to her and produced two glasses, sliding one over to her. He raised his glass to her. ”You’re part of the family now, and family stick together no?” She picked up the glass and downed it in one go, the smooth bourbon fire gliding down her throat. With a laugh he took a sip of his own glass. ”You ever her the story of the barmaid, the sailor and the traveling salesman?” She hadn’t. As he began his recounting of the tale the conversations around them began to once again pick up and the music once more began to play. When it finished she was laughing, you always did at one of his stories.
It was many hours later when she sat behind the wheel of her ’92 Nissan Micra, weaving her way along the narrow road going home through the bayou. As she turned a corner she stepped down on the brakes in panic, the car coming to a screeching halt. A large cedar lay across the narrow road. She’d barely managed to stop in time. Her heart was racing as she got out of the car and walked around to make sure it was ok. As she leaned down to check the rear tires a massive hand wrapped around her neck from behind and she was thrown several feet down the road, landing in the mud, her breath knocked out of her. Coughing and spitting she looked up and saw the massive form of the Pig walking towards her, and behind his grinning little cronies, moonlight glinting off knives in their hands. ”I’m owed a fuckin’ apology!” He bellowed as he lifted her off the ground, his massive hand squeezing her throat. She struggled against his hand but to no avail. She could feel the tingling again, the ink beneath her skin swirling in fury.
He threw her against the car, and as she hit it hard she left a big dent in the rear door. He was towering over her as she lay there on the ground trying to compose herself. ”Me an’ the boys gonna have fun with you, bitch.” The hatred and glee in his voice made her skin crawl. That was it. No more holding back, no more hiding. She could feel Hester flow out from beneath her skin and in to the ground, could hear her squeal with mad joy. As the Pig leaned down to pick her up he was met with a sharp fist to the gut. His fat jiggling he staggered backwards coughing and sputtering for air. Before he could compose himself she was on him again, slamming him against a large cedar, the spanish moss rustling with the impact he made. To her sides she heard the panicked screams of the cronies, Hester was making short work of them. The Pig struggled and clawed at the hand around his neck but her grip was like a vice. She moved in close to him, put her face close to his and took pleasure in the panic in his piggish little eyes.
"You thought Samedi was protecting me from you?" She saw terrified realization in his eyes as she felt Hester returning, the ink rushing up her legs and out her arms. "Boy where you wrong huh?" Tendrils of ink began to crawl off her hands and beneath his pink skin, he began to squeal in panic, his terrified screams building in strength as she went to work.
The sun rises above the bayou. Down by a small jetty sticking out in to the gator infested waters a Nissan Micra sits parked, behind the wheel a redhead is checking her makeup in the rear view mirror. A tattooed girl and a elderly black man in a purple tuxedo stand out on the jetty looking at the ripples from whatever large thing they just dumped in the water spreading out in the otherwise calm water. Out on the bayou the deep guttural groans of gators reverberate, food in the water they seem to say. Samedi puts his hand on her shoulder. "You ever hear the one about the pig and the gator?" His face breaks up in a wide and vicious smile. He tells her the story and as it ends her laughter blends with the sound of gators feeding.