Annalisa’s Highway Blues
by David Reichart
Copyright 2011 David Reichart
She was in the grip of a wicked downward spiral when she approached her home town, riding in the back of a shabby minivan that the driver, bless his heart, called an airport limousine. The sight of cozy little Tetagouche, with its sidewalks already rolled up by seven p.m., brought her to the verge of tears, but she managed to get by with a heavy sigh.
Many of the buildings on Main Street were vacant, and most of the businesses that were making a go of it were small shops that occupied space once used by Western Auto, Rexall, G.C. Murphy and other iconic retailers of days gone by. Now, with night falling fast, the minivan pulled up in front of the one spot in town that was still bright and lively—Crawdaddy’s Lounge—and Annalisa Rochon stepped out onto the sidewalk.
Suitcase in one hand and a pair of high-heeled shoes in the other, she stared at the rowdy night club. She glanced at the minivan as it pulled away, its worn-out muffler grumbling through the driver’s U-turn as he set course back to New Orleans. While she stood there stalling, desperately uninspired, she noticed three shrimp boats on Bayou LaFourche chugging home in the l’heure bleu. Somehow it made her feel a little better. This was her world, and maybe it was time to quit fighting it and start embracing it.
Annalisa put the suitcase down and set her shoes on top. She gave her dress a brief tug at the hips—it seemed too short and tight in a way that suggested age, not style—then walked barefoot to a pay phone on the corner. She dialed seven numbers and soon began to speak with a mild Cajun accent.