Anna: What are you up to right now?
Me: In the next hour I will be getting in a Jeep or something with a drag king and two dominatrices and we will be driving to New Orleans.
Anna: So, what, you’re packing right now? Are you taking snacks?
Me: I’m more worried about supplies. I don’t know what we’ll be doing there.
Anna: I kind of feel like, in New Orleans, if you mess up? That’s it. No second chances.
Me: Like, The Big Easy. Like that Baldwin movie with Cindy Crawford.
Anna: So like you don’t even know what you’re signing on for.
Me: Like Singapore! I’ll end up getting caned!
Anna: My first response is that someone’s not coming back. And I’m sorry about that.
Me: The thing is, I’ve been to New Orleans. It’s quite pretty!
Anna: I’ve been too, lots of times. Why can’t we get real? I’ve dismantled my illusions about Savannah, DC, Atlanta, Vegas…
Me: But no matter how many times you see New Orleans, you still have this like Goth fantasy about…
Anna: Exactly. Like fog and mist and you’re holding hands with somebody and then whoosh — they’re gone and all you see is that last fingertip.
Me: Like The Forgotten.
Anna: But not as violent.
Me: I hate that movie.
Anna: It’s like playing peekaboo with a kid on an airplane: Boo! AHH! Boo! AHH!
Me: I watched The Queen of the Damned yesterday — not because of this, just because I hadn’t ever seen it — and like, that’s all I can think about.
Anna: Exactly! It’s so retarded!
Me: I only watched it because it has that girl we liked from Helter Skelter.
Me: Heh. Marguerite Moreau? My girlfriend?
Anna: So like I haven’t even seen that movie, and yet that’s exactly what I think of.
Me: Like an old shanty out on the bayou and there’s a crazy lady in a flapper dress and she’s got like a crocodile and the mice have to come and save you.
Anna: So do you have any idea what’s going to happen while you’re there? Don’t startle anybody. Don’t go around corners too quickly.
Me: I’m at that age where I’ve stopped assuming that crazy things are going to happen. Like, at this point, I’m going to have to make the crazy shit happen and that’s way too self-conscious.
Anna: But aren’t you going there with the girl that told you that story about the toolbox and the “please be gentle” guy in the leather bar?
Me: I don’t want to think about that story. But I see your point.
Anna: I just feel like I’m going to get a call. “Anna, it’s Jacob. I’ve got a car and a phone. Please teach me to drive right now. I’m in trouble.”
Me: That would not be out of character, for our relationship. Is it Mardi Gras yet?
Anna: Isn’t that like two months long?
Me: I don’t know. I found a string of beads downtown a few weeks ago, though, so I think it’s over.
Anna: Is it ever over?
Me: We will see. I think that part of the issue here is that everybody in New Orleans is in on the joke. Like all, “It’s part of le mystique, cher” and that’s why we have these false ideas about that place that won’t go away.
Anna: Just don’t sign anything.
Anna: And don’t get into any guitar duels with strange old black men.
Me: Heh. Okay.
Anna: And don’t tell anybody your name.
Me: And don’t leave the city limits until it’s time to go home. Stay away from open water. Don’t leave your beverages unattended.
Anna: What’s going on with Passions?
Me: The orangutan is wearing a nurse’s costume, and the witch baby has one glowing eye, and they keep “unleashing hell” but only on the bottom floor of Julian’s house.
Anna: That is exactly the kind of shit I am talking about.