A Trip to New Orleans

Arian Knops

A Trip to New Orleans

3 mins
October 26, 2021

A witty person once said, “When you’re dead you don’t know you’re dead, all the pain is felt by others. The same thing happens when you’re stupid.”  This story will challenge the last part of that witticism.

It was Mardi Gras time in 1966 and four of us packed into Wally’s ’55 Chevy that was lovingly call the cancer car because it had more rusted through areas than painted ones. But it was transportation. The bet amongst our friends at the Naval Air Station in Meridian, Mississippi was that the car wouldn’t make it all the way to New Orleans and back without breaking down. The distances guessed, ranged from, almost a full round trip, to that the crate wouldn’t make it past the front gate of our base.

We made it to New Orleans in fine fashion and parked the car on the street in front of the house whose third floor we had rented. We left the keys in the car knowing full well that no one would steal it, plus that way Wally wouldn’t lose the keys in his planned inebriated state.

Mardi Gras 1966

The house was in the French Quarter and staggering distance from where the most intense partying was taking place.

Smitty hadn’t even had a drink by the time he was hauled off to jail. His crime; littering. It seems like we were supposed to bring necessities along, like toilet paper. Well, Smitty had endured the trip from Meridian and needed the bathroom before anyone else for a number two.  Having finished his ‘business’ and with no toilet paper opted for using a hand towel. He knew that he couldn’t flush it, so he simply tossed it out of the bathroom window. Within about two minutes there was a knock on the door. There stood a fine officer of the law holding the feces covered hand towel. When asked who the guilty party was, Smitty was immediately pointed out. It seems his disposed of towel had landed about two feet in front of the beat cop now standing in our doorway. Smitty was off to jail for littering. When the cop left, I found a nearby small grocery store where I vastly overpaid for a four-roll pack of toilet paper.

The three remaining hooligans headed off to Pat O’Brien’s Bar to sample the famous Hurricane, a drink made with a couple of types of rum, some fruit juice, and some other hard liquor that could have been vodka or gin. It was a very strong drink and I finished off two as did the only Irishman in our group, one John Joseph Patrick Brady, formerly of Boston.

The two of us made room in the bar for some other celebrants and decided to wander the streets for a bit to walk off the effects of the drinks when what should we come across, but two police officers mounted on mighty steeds who were attempting to keep the crowd in check.

The two horses backed into each other and with our minds a bit clouded, Brady and I both came up with this wonderful idea to tie the horse’s tails together, slap their behinds and stand back to see what would happen.  It is utterly impossible to tie horses’ tails together if you are well on the way to being drunk. But we tried.

It took about two or three seconds before two of New Orleans’ finest grabbed us. The man cop was big, big enough that Brady, who was a short little guy, might have been looking at his belt buckle and I was staring at the middle of the man’s chest. The partner cop was a little woman who couldn’t have been over four foot ten. I said, “How cute, a Fuzz and a Fuzzette”. The lights not only went out in Georgia that night they also went out for me in New Orleans.  

Later I was told that the Fuzzette had cracked me on the side of the head with her nightstick. Well, I was told the next morning, in jail, by Brady, that I went down like a sack of rocks. We hadn’t been arrested, but simply put in a cell with about a dozen others for “Safekeeping.” Breakfast consisted of a dry bologna sandwich and slightly warm coffee.

We helped Smitty pay his twenty-dollar fine for littering and then all piled into the cancer car for the trip back to Meridian. No one else felt the pain in my head.

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Arian Knops

Arian is a short story contributor to the Sentinel & Rural News. Arian has written two full-length thrillers which have received critical and popular acclaim. Arian lives in Bruce, WI, with his charming wife, Arlene.