I don’t remember if it was one of the cold parades, and if it was, we’d burned it out by 10 a.m. through a true dedication to the spirit of Mardi Gras. I look over and your Krewe of Southdowns cup is empty, only a trace of orange swirling around the bottom. I’m frankly dizzy, a lovely cotton candy headache pushing up against my fake Vegas Elvis sunglasses. A float scrapes by embedded on the back of a bright purple 18-wheeler, thumping a song that sounds like a robot rapping. It’s the kind of music I normally say that I hate but right now it’s the best thing I’ve ever heard. I can feel the beats tremble in my stomach.
I look over and you’re waving your hands in the air, Saints jersey already half covered with pink and green beads. “I’M’A BUY YOU A DRANK” scream the fifty people jammed around us, I’m startled and laughing, I love Spanish Town but have never been in a crowd of poets and painters starting to grind on each other before. I almost drop the antique camera I’m hauling around when the hail of beads comes—and I snag the best I’ve ever gotten, a rope of footballs with a Bud Light badge. The robot song dopplers down the street. The football beads clatter onto the golden dice and neon plastic fruit already roped around my neck. A trickle of sweat runs down my brow.
I look up at the sky and it’s so pretty, off to my right is a girl dressed in hot pink 80s prom dress mashing up on a boy with a brown suit coat straight out of a 70s detective show, I cock the shutter on the Land Camera, squint through the lens, the sun comes out and I hear cheers start up behind me as “Don’t Start Believing” screams down the street, and I like the way there’s all those busy wires and equipment strung overhead, hundreds of pounds of copper and steel and oil nailed to great shafts of wood and swaying gently as the beads begin to scatter and fly.