Monday, October 31, 2011

Herding Cats

I have been making it a point to help my editor Otis distribute copies of the Quarter Rat when they come out. This usually means large armfuls of magazines being lugged up and down Bourbon Street, dropping them off on bars and cigarette machines to the delight of bartenders and service people throughout the Quarter. Doormen's eyes light up, shotgirls shriek with delight when the latest copies are slapped into their hands. I dig being able to see reactions to the latest cover, most of the time artists don't get that immediate validation. 

Otis was struck with an idea that was brilliant on paper. He would have our friend Xan on his advertising pedicar haul the boxes of copies while 5 topless girls with painted chests delivered them to the bars. Sounds easy on paper.  Being the loyal employee that I am, I left work painting apartments at the Pantalba early (Thanks Robert) to meet up with the pedicar, Otis and by this point 5 very buzzed topless chicks. How tough can this be?

I found the crowd gathered around my coworkers at Iberville and Bourbon, and soon our entourage' was slowly proceeding down Bourbon to countless cell phone photos taken by dumbstruck tourists from the Midwest as 5 topless young women darted in and out of bars with Trick or Treat bags loaded with the Quarter Rat. Bourbon Street stopped in it's tracks as the red pedicar surrounded by drink wielding hotties darted back and forth in front of us. It was my job to make sure the girls had enough copies to drop off. Otis was the wrangler. "Come on girls, let's stay together, keep moving we have a lot of ground to cover..."

Evidently everytime they went into an unsuspecting bar they caused quite a stir, that was the idea. Apparently, for each time they dropped off a handful of issues someone in the bar would offer to buy them a shot. Needless to say, by the time we reached the 400 block trying to keep our group together was a lot like hearding cats. Xan and I were in the pedicar chuckling as Otis kept asking "Where's Amy?"

Chasing Amy
Amy was the proverbial wild card of the group, either one block behind, one block ahead or in case one balcony above the rest of the group. Otis shot me a look like "Perhaps this wasn't one of my better promotional ideas." With a Frankenstein monster painted on her torso, a constant cigarette and beer she was like a child with severe A.D.D. turned loose in Disneyworld after having ten Pixie sticks.  Otis turns to me "Styles! Your in charge of keeping track of Amy. You're both from New Jersey." Suddenly this started to seem like work, "Why am I in charge of keeping the out of control dancer from Jersey out of trouble...Oh yea, I got the t-shirt."

Somehow we managed to make it down to Saint Ann with our delivery crew together and not one arrest. I turn to see some of our girls in the gay bar Oz slapping the ass of a muscular male dancer on the bar and trying to stuff a copy of our magazine into his butt crack while asking to be teabagged. 
"Are we done yet?"
"Not yet Styles, we still have to hit Lower D and Frenchman. Where's Amy?"
"Uhm, she was just here..."
"I ask you to keep an eye on a naked woman and you can't even do that?"

Suddenly I hear a fraternity hollering and making WHOOT WHOOT calls. "I found her..."

By the time we hit Lower Decatur the girls were hammered, I mean at least one face plant per block kind of hammered.  Amy had lost her tiny little skirt somewhere and was just wearing a G-string and flip flops as she would just fling a handful of Quarter Rats into unsuspecting open doors.  Otis came up from the rear, keeping the girls safe and picking up handfuls of magazines scattered on the sidewalk. "Where's Amy?"

"Right there." I proudly announced, pointing to her and another girl dry humping on top of a parked motorcycle as two brothers working in a kitchen stepped out to take cell phone pics of the live show outside. "This was only supposed to take an hour and a half, it's going on three now. I still need you to get that script and artwork in an E-mail to California tonight. I promised they would have it in the morning." Otis handed me a beer in appreciation for my help. "Otis, perhaps next time we should tether them together with bungee cords."

We were only about two thirds the way through our planned route by this point. Xan had left to tend to his wife who was working her tarot card table on Jackson Square. At night, Jackson Square is no place for a woman to be alone.  We proceeded up Decatur past the pirate bars and head shops, handing out mags. Amy's motor skills were suffering and I stayed  beside her like Lyndsay Lohan's chauffeur on a Saturday night.  She would get down on the ground and start playing with the dogs of street rats sitting on the sidewalk and her G-string would drop off of her ass. "Amy, pull up your string, we don't want to get busted for nudity." The whole time I am thinking about the couple of hours worth of Photoshop work I still have to do, and get to my day job in the morning. 

 Working our way up to the Square, the girls would pose for photos in exchange for tips. The one girl was holding a sign the entire night reading "TIT$ FOR TIP$" They seemed to be doing pretty well as singles and fives wear pouring out of the pockets of their cut offs. I'm not sure where Amy was keeping hers. Again I was following behind her keeping an eye on the situation like a Secret Service agent behind Obama at a Tea Party rally. Suddenly Amy stops to look into a doorway, and does the drunk walking downhill walk into a five star restaurant. 

By the time I get up to the door, I find her sitting on the lap of an elderly Italian man sipping espresso in an empty dinning room. He might have been an owner or friend of one. At the counter is a dumbstruck hostess shaking her head in disbelief that a near naked woman is giving a senior citizen a lap dance in the middle of her Zaggot rated Bistro.  "Come Amy sweetheart, the gang is waiting for us at Coop's." The woman shoots me a "Is she with you?" look. "I think this is the last year that I take my daughter Trick or Treating." I respond to distract her with humor before she calls the cops.

We caught up with the others in front of a convenience store on Decatur as a group of older men ogle the topless young girls. One asks to take their photos, which gets a reply "If you tip us..." One guy in the group pushing 70 mumbles something about 'Prostitutes.'  "What did you call us muthafucka?" The one girl slams her half empty beer to the pavement and charges at the senior citizen with a clenched fist as the other girl grabs her around the waist in time to prevent a manslaughter charge. "Go back to the fuckin Bible belt if you don't like tits, shithead!" Which I may suggest to Mayor Mitch as the new tourism campaign for NOLA.

As we point the ladies into the right direction to avoid a bloodbath, again I am asked "Styles, where's Amy?" "Uhm, there!" I point to the upcoming corner where a NOPD squad car is parked. Amy is sprawled out on the trunk lid writhing for a group of convention goers who are now videotaping her one girl show on the back of a police car. Fortunately, the cop is nowhere to be seen. "Aw man, we are so going to get busted on this idea. Styles, if the cops stop us, I want you to disappear while the girls and I distract the cops. You must get that script sent out tonight."

We found ourselves on Toulouse in front of my apartment, my patience and Seagrams had run out back on Decatur. "Otis! I'm going to run in and use my bathroom..." "Oh no you don't Styles! You're not going to run up into your apartment and hide from these women. You have to stick around to the end. Besides we have a production meeting when we finish with this." 

I stumbled out of The Dungeon chewing a mouthful of Cherry Bombs and mumbled to the Lucky Dog guy on my corner "Here take these off of my hands." He looked down at the dozen copies of the Quarter Rat in my hand and responded "You gave me some earlier." "No, not the magazines, the girls..." Back on Bourbon four hours after we started Otis thanked everyone for their help and our group quickly dissolved into the crowd. Their adventures were only beginning for the night.

On the walk back to my place to continue with business I said to Otis "I never in my wildest dreams would ever think that I would be thankful to get rid of five half naked drunk chicks." Otis chuckled, "I never would believe that I would agree with that statement."

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