Flash Fiction: New Orleans – some realities may best be left to the imagination by LJ Frank

“Good evening.” The soft, sultry voice said. “How’s tomorrow night? “

“Sounds good.”

“Late? I’ll call you on your cellular about an hour before?”

“Sure. Thanks for the invitation.”

We were to meet near the corner of Chartres and St Ann Streets.

I’m a middle-aged writer. I ‘ve had other professions but it doesn’t matter. I’m not into the past. It’s the past for a reason. It’s something to shake loose, like a dog swimming in the water and once ashore shakes his body ridding himself of the memorable and not so memorable wetness and associated brackish aroma.

I’m still learning about relationships – both professional and personal. It’s unhealthy to stop learning. The brain becomes a stagnant pond smelling of algae when there’s no circulation.

I’m also mindful of my limitations and try to stretch them if the opportunity arises or purposefully expand them, sometimes in the face of reason. Some realities I’ve discovered are best left to one’s fantasies. We may suppress or repress our emotions and thoughts depending on our level of neurosis and self-alienation.  I don’t like to suppress or repress. They’re verbs I keep at a literal and metaphorical distance.

The sweltering heat was unusual for this time of year. I found losing track of time is easy in the bayou country on a hot and steamy day. One doesn’t need a watch or a clock or even eyeglasses as much as a sense of smell and hearing. I’m near- sighted. I avoid swamps, especially in Louisiana. I like the animate up close and personal. The French Quarter smelled and sounded like a perfect venue for my senses.

I squinted watching her walk towards me. Intriguing. Medium length straight black hair to the nape of her neck with bronze toned skin. She had long legs, wore high heels with exposed toes, black nail polish and a short v neck linen tunic dress. Stylish.

We decided to have a drink. Sitting at a small round table our communication was one of voyeurism. We took each other in. After being served our drinks, she began dipping her long tongue into the liquid. She reminded me of a swimmer testing the water. She then licked the salt off the rim of the glass in a slow and deliberate fashion with her dark brown eyes glancing up at me.

“I have French and Spanish in my blood among my other attributes, in case you’re wondering.” She said after finishing. “My parents met in Vera Cruz. It’s where I grew up.”

“I was born in a less exotic location…in the backseat of a high mileage Ford. My mother was in the middle of a conversation with her sister as we were crossing the border between the USA and Canada.”

“So that’s your excuse,” She winked at me. “A middle of a paragraph border child.”

“I figure it’s not too shabby of an excuse.”

“I like your style, character and looks.”

“A triple threat. Thanks. Connecting is like auditioning for a play.”

“You’re more correct than you might think. Would you say you’re instinctual?” She asked, extending a leg and rubbing her high-heel against my calve.

“You could say that.” I swallowed.

“We both know I invited you here for…artistic reasons.”

I nodded.

“We obviously don’t know a lot about each other.”

“True.”

“There are some things about me that might surprise you. In a good way I hope… It’s the French Quarter, remember.”

“Hmm. You’ve captured my attention.”

“I’m glad. My car is just down the block. I’d like us to go to a local marina. There’s a yacht there. It’s mine. I’d like to show you something. I’d like your…appraisal.”

“Oh?”

“Hmm. Do you have a gun?”

“No! Do I need one?”

She grinned and stood up. “Shall we?”