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Claim the Disappearing: Chapter 7

(I invite you to enjoy this free New Orleans novel, courtesy of the wonder that is the internet, unrolled a teensy bit at a time. If you are just joining us, feel free to return to THE BEGINNING and work your way through.)

St. Claude lifted his palms from the marble top table and slow clapped. My chest warmed, pleased I’d impressed him. 

Then he glanced at the darkening evening, calculating time. “You have one left. Make it quick. Which ancestor will you take with you to confront the Dauphine?”

I didn’t like it, him threatening me. Forcing me to tell you about the last of my three grannies. It didn’t bode well, not in this fleur-de-lis city where everything came at you in a trinity of threes. Bad enough I was in the foyer of a make-believe castle on the road from Chartres (Chart-ers, by the way) to Dauphine (Daupheen) via Royal then onto Burgundy (Bur-GUN-dy—don’t mess that one up) to Rampart before hitting St. Claude. I could’ve as easily been three blocks over where Piety invariably flames Desire which leads to illicit Congress before forever squelching Independence. Don’t fuck with this city. Its wisdom is written in asphalt, its imagination drawn in the graffiti that bloomed from Katrina mold. Its secrets hide in lodges, clubs, and societies where men indulge their high school meanness. And castles—oh, the secrets you will find in its castles. 

I feared the city was trying to teach me a lesson: if I thought I could play this city, bring my poser mask over from Mississippi, pretend I was cool and in on the joke, I would be the one played. The city would expose me. A castle would appear at the end of my stroll, and a saint would twist my arm until I was forced to choose which of my damaged ancestors I would take to the knife fight that is life. 

All right, all right—I’ll tell you the story of my third ancestor, a woman called Elfy.

NOLA garbage can

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