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Down at the Twist and Shout Ch. 01

Ass Shaking

All characters indulging in adult activities are aged 18 or over.

This story is just that, a story, so no reality of action or consequence should be inferred; it’s just part of the made-up world in my head, where things happen, and people behave the way I want them to, because it makes the story work. Please read and enjoy, I had tremendous fun writing it, I hope you get as much pleasure from reading it.

There’s a lot of story and scene setting, and not a huge amount of sex, that comes in later chapters, so be warned.

If you wish to comment, please do so, I welcome all comment, whether positive, critical, unhappy, unhinged, or just plain psychotic. If you just want to be rude/nasty/threatening, go ahead, I’ll just delete them, but I do keep the funny ones…

The characters herein sometimes speak using Cajun expressions, I have my wonderful wife Lori and her friends and family in Thibodaux, Houma and Dulac, La. for supplying me with a goodly stock; for those less familiar with the sometimes unique word-use in the bayou country, here’s a small glossary of those words and phrases that probably need translating.

Minou: cat

Minou-Minou: kitten

Boo’sha: endearment, probably from ‘beau cher’; closest is probably ‘darling’

Pirogue: flat bottomed punt or skiff for poling through the swamps and bayous

Maw-maw: Grandma

Paw-paw: Grandpa

Tante: Aunt

Noncle: Uncle

Rou-Garou: Swamp Bigfoot or Sasquatch

Fais-do-do: Family Gathering or Party

Zydeco: Cajun music and dance form

Petit boug: Little boy

Coo’yon: Swamp-Crazy

Étoufée: spicy shrimp stew over rice

Maque Choux: Braised corn with shrimp and hot sauce

Po’ Boy (Poor Boy): Spicy Fried-Shrimp Sandwich

Muffuletta: Thick-Stacked Cold-Cut & Olive Salad sandwich

Beignet: Square fried doughnut, dusted with sugar and served in threes

Défan (papa, mama etc): Dearly Departed

Down the bayou: South

Up The bayou: North

As always, my heartfelt thanks go to my friend, editor, and mentor, GrandTeton, who corrects and controls my wilder punctuation frenzies, gives me meaningful raised eyebrows at some of the more outré ideas I moot, and generally maintains a reasonable level of realism while unraveling my sometimes muddled prose.

Have fun.

BB1958

____________________________________________________________________________

Jean-Bastiènne Deaucette, known around town as John Bastine, but to those who knew him best, as just Big John B, stretched out happily, a long, satisfying, jaw-cracking yawn making his eyes water even as his joints crackled pleasantly.

Another night like that, he thought, and he’d seriously consider just chucking it all in and going back to Bayou Petit Gaillou and hunting bullfrogs, sucking up maw-maw Eulalie’s red-hot Jambalaya, poling through the swamps in noncle Papite’s pirogue, cooking corn mash likker, and never, ever opening a newspaper or owning a TV ever again; there were nights when, as far as he was concerned, New York was rank as a six-day dead hog, and the previous night had been one of them.

Even living in a rent-free loft in West Village sometimes just wasn’t enough return for some of the surreal, extreme, or just plain fucked-up shit his clients pulled.

He was deeply asleep, dreaming of hooking ‘gators with Édard and Jean-Noel when they were boys, and it took a while for the tapping at his door to break into his dream and rouse him. He looked groggily at the clock slowly orbiting the computer screen; damn, he’d only been asleep three hours. Who the hell was waking him at nine in the morning?

The tapping intensified, further fuelling his wake-up grouch.

“OK, I’m comin’, don’t break down the goddamn door!” he yelled, stumbling to his feet and tripping over his boots where he’d kicked them off before collapsing on the bed.

“Ow! Goddamned fucken things…!” he grumbled, hopping and kicking them across the partitioned sleeping area of the wide loft as he hobbled to the door. Whoever was there never let up for one second, tapping constantly, irritating him even further.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m comin’, hold it down, Goddammit…!” he yelled, yanking the door open ready to give whoever was knocking a faceful of attitude, but it died in his throat as he saw who was there.

“Hey Country-Boy, you look terrible!” grinned Justine Pellini, his pretty, elfin little half-sister. She looked a lot like her father; she had his black hair and brown eyes and his fine, straight nose and small, neat ears, but not his creamy, Neapolitan skin tone; rather, she had inherited their mother’s ‘English Rose’ complexion, her fine, arched eyebrows, and her full, smiling lips. She even had the same slender, petite, shapely figure, and looked more like a college freshman than an old married lady of twenty-three years.

In John’s eyes, she was just about the loveliest thing he’d ever seen, and, just like every time he saw her, his heart did a quick one-two before settling down again; erzurum escort every time he saw her, for that first few perilous seconds, his memories and suppressed feelings threatened to rise up and choke him off, turning him into a shambling, tongue-tied idiot as he gaped at the girl he knew, with a hopeless, terrible certainty, he loved and was in love with, and had been since what seemed like forever, but could never, ever have.

John writhed in guilty despair in the privacy and deepest recesses of his mind at the knowledge that he wanted something so wrong, so unattainable, but he never let a hint escape to trouble Justine, the only person in the world that he loved selflessly, hopelessly.

Hard as it was, still he managed to keep that one thing from her, hiding that pain down deep where it could never be found or suspected. Justine was his baby sister, only twenty-three but already five years married, she had a husband, and John respected that union, even if he privately considered Giancarlo Pellini to be a pointless, pudgy waste of skin; the law and her own vows put her forever out of reach, no matter how he longed or yearned for her.

So John kept his peace, and kept his distance from her; nothing good could ever come of the kind of relationship he wouldn’t let himself even fantasize about having with her, no matter how much he longed for it. Somehow, when she was around him, near him, close enough to touch her, smell her perfume, and hear with agonizing clarity every breath she drew, he still managed to keep temptation at bay and firmly at arm’s length.

But he was still intrigued as to what she could want at that time of the morning, knowing as she did the kind of hours he worked.

“Well hello to you too, Minou (Kitty-Cat), what y’all want this time of day, or did y’all just come here to make fun a’ me?” he smiled, playing up his down-bayou accent, knowing it would make her smile, even as he pushed his surging feelings back down, letting no hint of his inner turmoil show in his eyes or his smile. Justine had a beautiful smile, it lit up the room, and when she used it on him, John melted like butter under a blowtorch.

Justine stared up at her big brother, noting the tiredness in his eyes and his generally rumpled state.

“Oh gosh, did I get you out of bed, Johnny? I’m sorry, baby, I didn’t think…look, we can talk later, just get some sleep, honey, you look like crap!”

John smiled and gestured her into the hall.

“Why thank you, Princess, you-all don’t look so bad neither! Day I’m too tired to talk to my baby sister’s the day they put me to bed with a shovel. Come on in, baby-girl, and tell me what’s on your mind.”

Justine took his arm and piloted him over to the couch, then pushed him in the chest to make him sit.

“Sit there while I get some you coffee, you look like you need it. Don’t you-all move, boy!”she smiled, mimicking his accent.

John grinned to himself as he listened to Justine clanging and clinking in the galley kitchen along the north side of his loft, then smiled in return as she came back to the couch.

“Coffee’ll be ready in five. When are you gonna furnish this place, Country-Boy?” she grinned, poking his arm. John responded by gently shoving her on the upper arm, getting a playful slap on his bicep in return.

“I got everything I need, baby-girl; I got bed, I got couch, I got ice-box, TV, computer, ‘phone, an’ a stereo; what else I need?”

Justine looked around critically.

“This place is the size of a parking lot and you live in the center of it; the rest is just a great big echoing space. It’s just beggin’ you to fill it with, I don’t know, things, maybe?”

John finger combed a stray wisp of ebony hair away from her heart-shaped face.

“Always the home-maker, baby, even when it ain’t yo’ home! Don’t you-all worry ’bout me none, honey-chile, I likes it fine jest way it is,” he drawled, his exaggerated ‘good ole boy’ accent putting a mischievous smile on her face.

“Hah! If it wasn’t for me you’d be sleeping under a pile of leaves like a bear or an old skunk. You’re in the big city now, swamp-boy; embrace it!” she grinned as she punctuated each word with a poke on his upper arm, making him grin anew.

“Ow, ow, ow, OK, y’all made yo’ point li’l girl, now where this coffee you been promisin’ me?”

Justine smiled and went to get the coffees. While she clinked and clattered in the galley, John leaned back, a small smile playing on his lips as memory once more took him back to when she’d been born.

*

Johnny been almost three when his daddy, Jean-Martin Deaucette, was killed on a crosswalk in downtown Houma; a truck had come out of nowhere, jumped the lights, and mowed him down; the driver, Marty Labouchediere, was slumped behind the wheel almost too drunk to see, let alone drive. He’d been arrested, charged with vehicular homicide, but Judge De La Boulé, his mom’s uncle, still let him out on a $100,000 bond, and Marty promptly disappeared.

A few weeks later they found his body hanging ghpops.com from a huge White Oak by Bayou Boeuf at Forty Acre bayou; he’d been sliced open and strung-up just as neat as a line of speckled trout, with a nine-inch ‘gator hook wedged up under his sternum. Sheriff Broussard still had the file open, but there’d been nothing found in all this time, and probably never would be; the Labouchediere boys made enemies throughout The Isle the way other people breathed, with no effort whatsoever, and there was no shortage of people they’d pissed-off, cheated, robbed, or just plain antagonized.

The young John barely remembered his daddy, or the accident; his memories were mostly confined to the pictures in the albums and the stories constantly told him by his mama, Jane, a pretty English girl, one of the secretaries at Greenham Common Airbase in England who’d caught Jean-Martin’s eye when he was stationed there.

After two years of scrimping and getting by, refusing to take the charity Jean-Martin’s family freely offered while she waited for the insurance company to get past their endless barricades of paperwork, Jane Deaucette decided that time was running out, there was no future for her in Houma anyway, and that maybe New York was where she should be looking if she ever hoped to make a life for her and Johnny.

She was reluctant to take John with her. New York was no place for a single mother with a small child and no family to lean on, and John wasn’t happy at all about moving all the way to New York anyway; maw-maw Eulalie and all his cousins, aunts, uncles, and other kin of his kin, his extended family, were scattered through the Atchafalaya, in Bayou Petit Gaillou, and Houma and Dulac; the Parish, the bayou country, and the swamps were his home, and he wasn’t prepared to trade them for the sidewalks, subways, and shopping malls of New York.

Jane knew how stubborn John was; even at almost six years old that steely, ice-cold gray stare that was such a Deaucette trademark was already his, along with that stubborn unwillingness to budge he got in full from his daddy; Jean-Martin got the same way when anyone tried to push him, so she reluctantly left him with his grandmother Eulalie while she went to try and earn enough to relocate and reunite her family.

Jane got lucky, landing a job almost immediately as a personal assistant to a successful businessman, Antonio Labianco, and she soon caught his eye; the fresh-faced girl with the arresting English accent captivated him, and before she knew it, they were dating.

Jane took it slow and hesitantly; the memory of Jean-Martin, the only man she’d ever really loved, remained strong, and with that was the hurt and sorrow that he’d been taken from her and Johnny so soon; besides, above all else she had her son to think about; finding him a new daddy wasn’t the reason she came to New York. Antonio understood her reluctance, but his care and solicitousness won her over, and a year after they first started dating, when he asked her to marry him, she said yes.

John grinned at the memory of how mad he’d been when mama-Jane’d trailed that slick-looking city boy down to home and told him she was getting married; his mama was supposed to come home one day, not take up with some slick with manicured hands and a gold watch that likely cost more’n Jean-Piquet’s new pick-up, but maw-maw soon put him straight. She took him outside and cuffed him good, and told him to hush his mouth and listen; his mama had to make a life, his daddy was gone, she was young, and she couldn’t spend her life loving the dead and living on her memories; life went on. This new man seemed like a good man; his mama had good instincts; if she thought he was OK, then he was OK. Now was he goin’ back in and show some manners to his guest, and respect to his mama, or was she gonna stripe his ass with paw-paw’s old hickory cane for runnin’ off at the mouth?

John had returned, and, under his maw-maw’s steely gaze, had welcomed Antonio to the family, and gave him his permission to marry his mama. Antonio had asked John to come live with them, but John had felt deep down that the man had secretly been relieved when he’d refused, and he was right; the solemn little boy with the steady, unflinching gaze and the air of wisdom and savvy beyond his years unnerved him.

John felt no real regret at not going to live with Mama-Jane and her new husband; Louisiana, with the damp, searing, hammer-blow heat of summer, and the humid, sticky warmth of winter was his home, not New York and its brutal winters. Jane had looked sad, but John was adamant; his home was here in the parish, not being in the way while his mama made a new life for herself; one day he’d decide whether or not New York was the place for him, but not now.

Justine was born the year Jane and Antonio married; Jane had asked him again, the way she did every time she called, to come and be part of the family, but the seven year-old still refused; to his way of thinking, now they had a baby, their family was complete; they didn’t need him being in the way, and he was happy to be in the Atchafalaya with maw-maw, cousins Édard, Jean-Noel, and Jean-Bastiènne, his namesake, and all his other cousins; he had his traps, weekend ‘gator fishing with noncle Adhémar, and fais do do every month or so, with tante Thérèse determined to teach him and his two left feet to dance the Zydeco, while his huge family gathered in one place to eat, dance, sing, and reconnect.

He didn’t want to give up his Sundays after church, splashing around in the swamps teaching his tomboy twin-cousins Mélette and Odélie how to stick bullfrogs and fish for catfish, scaring them by swearing blind he’d seen a rou-garou watching them way back in the canebreaks, and frying up a mess of bullfrog legs with the two of them to say sorry for making them cry.

Even getting a whupping from Tante Amice for ruining her grandbabies’ appetites by stuffing them with fried legs and blue crab didn’t hurt too much, not while noncle Zack grinned and winked at him, no-doubt recalling doing the exact same thing with his baby sisters back in the day.

His life worked. He was part of these people. He was kin to just about everyone in the parish, and most of the adjoining parishes, and he didn’t really consider himself an American; he was a Cajun, this was his country, these were his folk and their ways, this was his language and his heritage, and he had no intention of giving any of them up.

When he turned eighteen, maw-maw cornered him and asked him what he was going to do next.

“Jean-Bastiènne, what you goin’ do with yo’ life? You eighteen, spending life catchin’ bullfrogs and catfish in the swamp not a good life. It OK for petits bougs, little boys, but you man now, you got to act like man, think like one; you do well in school, got some good grades, if you want, you go to college, study, be somethin’ big; mama-Jane leave you all your défan Papa insurance money, it still there in bank in Thibodaux, a-waitin’ for you to go to college, do somethin’, anythin’, not just be lazy and go coo-yon in swamp country; that not like your daddy, and it not like you.”

She paused, looking him in the eye as she tried to discern whether her words were having any effect.

“You want to make me happy, be happy you happy? You do somethin’ with your life, you only get one, so make it count, be worth somethin’. Everyone thinkin’ you just like your daddy, they all expectin’ you make somethin’ o’ yourself too; you a big, fine, man now, not little boy no more. Maybe you not want to go to college? Maybe you go work for tante Clôdile, she got po’ boy store down the bayou, out by Dulac, you want go work fo’ her? She vielle fille, old maid, no-one to leave it to, maybe one day you take over? It’s a good livin’; people gotta eat. What you want, Jean, you grand homme, grownup, now, not petit boug? Tu es mon petit-fils, et je t’inquiétez (you’re my grandson and I worry about you).”

John had grinned at her expression, but he already knew what he wanted.

“Maw-maw, I already know what I gonna do; not work with ma tante Clôdile, je l’aime beaucoup, I love her ver’ much, she like my maw-maw too, but I cain’t spend my life makin’ po’ boys an’ muffuletta’s, an Roadhouse Beignets. I already sent off my application, school helped me fill it out, an’ Principal Délage give me a recommendation. Maw-maw, I’m gonna be deputy sheriff up in Orleans Parish!”

His grandmother grinned at him, her eyes twinkling, thinking how much like his father he was; Jean-Martin had always kept his lip buttoned about his business, too, never saying anything until he had something to say. Maw-maw Eulalie wasn’t a sentimental woman, the back-bayou country’s no place for sentiment, but her eyes moistened as she thought how much like her son Jean-Bastiènne was, and not just in looks and heft.

“That an honest job, Jean-Bastiènne; you an honest man, you be do well, I know!” She sighed theatrically, and grinned devilishly at his inquiring look.

“Now you better go somewhere up the bayou an’ be scarce fo’ few days, go see tante Émilie; yawl don’t be here when I tell noncle Papite he gettin’ a lawman in the family an’ now he got to move his still!”

*

Justine sitting down next to him with two mugs of coffee broke his reverie. John took his gratefully, sipped, and smiled wistfully.

“Mama always said you made the best coffee around; she wa’n’t lyin’, baby sister. Now, ‘spose you tell me why you here makin’ me coffee and rearrangin’ my home at nine in the mornin’?”

Justine grinned quickly at his overdone Bayou accent, put her coffee down, and suddenly her hands were nervously twining together. The bright, smiling girl was gone, and now she looked sombre, serious, and uncomfortable.

“John, it’s…it’s Carlo, he…”

She got no further before John interrupted her.

“What’d he do? Tell me, Justy, what did he do? Did he hurt you? Goddammit, if he’s hurt you…”

Justine recoiled; all trace of banter had gone from his voice, his face; now it was set, expressionless, his slitted eyes glittering chips of gray ice. His voice had changed too; now it was clipped, terse, soft, flat, and menacing, no trace of accent in it, and for one split second she was genuinely afraid of him.

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