Excerpt from Two Apache Sisters and a Texas Gigolo
by Dina Polizzi
I was a tarot reading New York Sicilian in Jackson Square,
Selling the tourists what they wanted to hear.
A symbiotic tourist parasite, part of the traveling circus
Amongst “all the jugglers and the clowns
when they… did tricks for you.” [Bob Dylan]
What a scene, N’Orleans.
I met the Texas Gigolo first.
The town was hot, sticky and slow. Partly cloudy with an occasional drizzle of tourists. He was more slimy than sticky. SLICKY! Tall and thin, in his cowboy hat and shit kickin’ grin; lassoing his money Mamas home for the milking. He circled around me as I read cards for a Cleveland housewife.
“We all have choices in our life.” I explained to the housewife, as the cards explained to me. “The cards say that if you follow the path you are on, making no changes in yourself or your circumstances, this is where you are headed.” My hand spiraled out from the center card of her reading to the line of cards leading to the final outcome.
“Pick another card. Ask for an alternate outcome and pick three.”
Her dark bovine eyes were wide and hungry. She reached for the fresh spread in my hands.
Texas tightened the circle. I knew he was listening now.
“The Hanged Man represents feeling stuck, trapped by your own choices and indecision. The Chariot is leaving, running away physically from your situation. The final card – the 10 of pentacles – is a card of abundance and prosperity. This is the outcome you were looking for. If you leave, it will all work out to a wonderful end.”
A huge smile spread across the housewife’s face as her eyes glistened with tears. “Thank you! Thank you so much! I feel so much better," She let loose a grateful sigh. "I’m going home and start packing! What do I owe you?”
“It’s by donation. Whatever you feel it was worth.”
She looked through her wallet and pulled out a twenty. Then another. “I wish I had more to give, but we still have two days left of vacation.” She placed the money on the table.
“No worries. It’s great. Thanks”
“No, Thank You. This was just what I needed to hear.” She stood up. “Thanks again. I’m going to tell my sister-in-law to come see you. You were amazing!”
“I look forward to meeting her.” We shared a sincere nod and a smile.
She took a cigarette out of her pack and offered me one, reconsidered, dropped the full pack on my money, waved and left. Another satisfied customer.
“Now aren’t you the vision, Darlin’?”
I could hear the whip crackin’ over-head as Texas Tall slid onto the bench next to me. The impeccably tailored leather jacket, jeans and snakeskin boots reeked of ostentatiousness; but the shaggy brown hair, smiley dimples and deep brown eyes were killer. He reached over, picked up my new pack of cigarettes and offered me one. I took a cigarette, quickly collected my money from the table and tucked it away. With a snap of his silver lighter he lit my cigarette, lit his, stretched way back on the bench and shot his hottest Texas sun smile at me. I held out my hand for my cigarette pack. He reluctantly handed them back, leaned in and tapped the cards. The proximity to that much raw sexuality was eliciting a full body tingle.
“Perhaps you could enlighten me. Is there a lovely new lady in my future?” he cooed.
“Perhaps.” I replied. “Would you like a card reading?”
“Tell me then, are you one of those psychics like we see on TV?”
“Everyone’s psychic. I just read cards.”
He felt my x-ray vision as I studied his face and watched him smoke my cigarette. An overweight woman in a pink dress, with a wide brimmed hat, was walking by. She stole a glance at him. His eyes darted to meet her as his face cracked open to a lascivious grin.
“Well, not today Darlin’,” His gaze followed the pink lady. “You have yourself a fine evening.” He spared me a glance and a nod as he hurried toward the next passing possibility. No loss, no gain. That’s entertainment on a sweaty afternoon.
When the stream of tourists started drying up, I packed up my Woolworth’s table & chairs on my travel cart and headed to the river. Some black boys were doing flips and funny things on their heads for a crowd sitting on the steps. I spied an empty spot and slid in next to a woman with long black hair, jeans and a tan t-shirt that read, “Raised by Wolves.” She shared her shade with me, along with a couple of sprawled out junkies and a very sweet he/she. We got to talking and she told me she was an Apache come to rescue her runaway sister. She called herself Alice.
She said her sister, Jane, had always been a druggy and a derelict that found her Heaven in the pits of N’Orleans. Alice was bound by a promise to protect her sister; so she followed her around trying to save Jane from Jane.
“She’s usually not so hard to find. I can smell it. Wherever there’s shit, there’s Jane. Dancing, swimming and screwing in it! But in this town she could be anywhere. The place is full of shit!”
I took a good look around and Yup! There was shit as far as the eye could see. Temptations enough to set the senses reeling. The black boys finished spinning, collected their applause and change. The crowd was breaking up. Time to ride the tide.
“You want to walk?” I asked Alice.
We headed across the park towards Bourbon.
“I’ve been chasing her all around this town for days.” Alice shook her head. “Last night she was cracked out in an alleyway with a giant black man screaming at a window and a little black eyed teenager. I tried to get her to go with me and she shot out into the street. The girl started crying, the black man turned around, and I didn’t stick around to see what was going to happen. By the time I hit the street Jane was gone.” Alice looked exhausted and resolute.
“Have you seen her today?” I wondered aloud. I didn’t think anything I had to say could possibly be helpful.
“No. Right now, I’m kind of glad about that. I’m so mad at her.” She answered.
“Can’t say I blame you. Which way are you walking?” I asked.
"I’m probably going to end up north of Rampart. But mostly, I’m going to sniff the air…”
I considered, “Well I’m headin’ up towards Dauphine to drop off my cart, I wouldn’t mind walkin’ around with you after that.”
She smiled. “I guess that’s as good a direction as any.”
And off we went…