Friday, September 02, 2005

The Sisters and Me and Fats Domino

My mom Linda, my Aunt Susan.

Sisters. They grew up poor in a shotgun shack under an industrial overpass. McKain Steet. The air smelled of chicory and baking bread and petrol. Three rooms, nine people, some Boston Terriers and a few chickens. They were the youngest and they had to watch out for each other, to make sure oldest brother Sonny didn't try to touch them when he stumbled home drunk, smelling of Jack and hair grease and Lucky Strikes. Bad things happened to them but they survived and when Linda ran away and got married in a baby blue mini dress Susan was the only family that showed up. And life went on.

***All circuits are busy now. Please try your call later. 127t***

I was ten when the sisters showed me my first wild night on the town, New Orleans style. They took me to the Mississippi, on the Riverboat President, to a floating concert by Fats Domino. They snuck in Amaretto in their purses, and giggled at their cleverness when the guards were too shy to look under the box of tampons they had used for cover. I giggled too, not because I understood, but because we had gotten one over on The Man. The riverboat cruised above the French Quarter and they drank and Fats found his thrill and we danced with our shoes off and shrieked like we were on fire. And we were, in a good way.

***Bzzt. Bzzt. Bzzt. Bzzt. Bzzt. Bzzt. Bzzt. Bzzt. Bzzt. Bzzt. Bzzt.***

The sisters are separated now, and even though she tries to mask it, thinking of me as that ten year old, I can hear the waver in Aunt Susan's voice when we check in on each other. And we say: Any news? No. Any news? No. She's fine, it's just the phones are down is all. Yeah. Call me if you have any news. And we don't have any news, but we call anyway to say: no news.

***Your call did not go through. Please try your call again. 127t***

And she's leaving her safety now to look for her older sister, who's fine, it's just the phones are down is all. They both survived being born at Charity Hospital. They both survived Sonny. They both survived Betsy. They'll both survive this. And she wavers when she says keep strong, and I can tell she's saying that for herself as much as me. And she'll go back into the Gulf and she'll disappear off my radar screen as she goes under for her sister and then I'll have even more no news, if that's possible.

Only I've got news. That ten year old is now as old as they were that night we shrieked with Fats Domino, and he's coming down to tell the sisters that Fats was found alive and well, and we'll all dance together again before this is over.


clayton cubitt said...

they rescued Fats Domino, your mother and brother are next, siege...

i keep checking your blog compulsively- please post as soon as you get word. your fans are holding their breath...

posted by: bookgirl82 on 9/4/2005 4:37:54 AM


posted by: essexboy2001 on 9/3/2005 12:58:37 PM

clayton cubitt said...

ps - the gun (which i have proper training to use) was bought for potential emergencies, safely stored and utterly legal (my dad *is* a sheriff after all), just thought i'd make that clear. don't try this at home.

posted by: on 9/4/2005 10:00:08 AM


so, i bought a gun. i hate guns; guns are death (my dad’s a sheriff: shoot to kill, period). how did it come to this, to thinking I need this thing, chill thing, hate and hateful. clear for some time that we live in a state of pixels, of slogans of made-up: but this is the most tragic example of the "not my responsibility, not my fault" pass-the-buckism style of "leadership" our current regime brings us. no one stepped up; gulf coast tossed around the cabinet like a hot potato, like the media had made it up (right? they say to each other for three days).

right: mother nature is a far more devastating foe than terrorists; people keep comparing this to 9/11, both so horrid but different as anything (9/11 like bolts of lightning, searing, this organic like some giant horrible monster from the sea, spreading) - recall it was new york city police and firemen and people coming from all around did the job then, no reliance on the feds for anything beyond a handshake (they fell through a rabbit hole there as well - what's down there, i wonder - maybe dick cheney).

now, like then - individual americans, the private sector, stepped up instantly with money, opened their homes, brought their boats, their food and medicine, their help, but no one from the Hill, high (and dry) up on all those steps, wanted to get their feet wet, to coordinate, to see to be the Big Picture. (that's what we hire these assholes for in the first place - to take charge in an emergency - don't they know? rhetorical question.)

so, plenty (land of) - supplies, troops, but the people we rely on (not anymore, not so much recently anyway) to tell them where to go, were squirming behind podiums, in front of impotent logos. spinning. weaving shrouds.

the very good and the very bad of america. best and worst are two sides of a coin anywhere i guess, but you hope it comes down better than this.

anyway, that's not what i wanted to say, really (just so angry), i hope you find your family, it's clear you love them so much - that's some kind of homing signal.

posted by: on 9/4/2005 9:06:11 AM


with love...

posted by: cremebrulee7 on 9/4/2005 2:05:01 AM


Impeach Bush.
Why what did he do?

Nothing, absolutely nothing.

posted by: proudfrog on 9/3/2005 9:20:43 PM


I'm waiting for your post, telling us you've heard from your mom... Thinking of you babe, with everything possible crossed -- xox M

posted by: girlbrainiac on 9/3/2005 10:34:20 AM


Hey Clayton,
I wish you and your family all the best in these times. Reading the newspapers yesterday with all the stories of pain and loss just brought my stomach to churn... I hope that the authorities get their act together and start really helping people out soon. After all, the response to the asian tsunami in January was far more coordinated than this has been... which makes the situation all the more sad, really...

posted by: oryxxt1 on 9/3/2005 9:44:08 AM


Siege: You and your mom bear a strong family resemblence -- posting her picture might be the most intimate thing you've show here, and that means a lot. Best of luck. Hope you get her to record a siege-cast for your blog when she calls. Hang tight. G

posted by: grgrns on 9/2/2005 11:46:59 PM


My thoughts are with you man, hope you get that good news soon. Just had an e mail from a buddy who got out just in time - Oh the sweet relief. All the very best.

posted by: captain_querc on 9/2/2005 11:55:42 AM
nerve personals profile: captain_querc