Archive for the ‘Wild Rumor’ Category

Big Cheese gives big speech

by on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Late afternoon Wednesday the Big Cheese held a rally at Laveau Square, accompanied by a number of raccoons. The exact number of raccoons was impossible to determine, as they were in constant motion. I saw perhaps twenty, but people are saying there were hundreds.

The Big Cheese delivered an animated speech, at times gesticulating wildly to emphasize a point. But since no word was spoken, it is hard to say precisely what was the content of the speech. One presumes that somewhere in there was the traditional exhortation, by Carnival royalty, to attend the parade given in their honor (Samedi Gras, this Saturday) and to engage in general revelry of the season.

The raccoons cheered frequently and at times seemed to be chanting. I spotted Green-Eyed Fairy proprietress Francesca Alva nearby and decided to head to her refined establishment after the rally.

Miss Alva, who speaks Raccoon, told me that the raccoons are planning to take over New Toulouse. “They’re going to choose me as their queen,” she said. Just in case, I hurriedly paid my bar tab (leaving a nice tip, of course) and then went around town loosening trash can lids. Never let it be said that I failed to assist our possible new overlords.

Jack Mondieu plans to stop short of obtaining two black eyes in order to better fit in.

Cards on the loose in New Toulouse

by on Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

When Celestina Navarre arrived in New Toulouse, she couldn’t have known that she would become the most celebrated soothsayer in the parish. Or maybe she did know. All bets are off when it comes to fortune tellers.

Madame Celestina, as she is known to her many satisfied patrons, was part of a traveling carnival but jumped ship to set down roots in New Tou, in what was to be the most heinous mixed metaphor in Tattler history. She soon built up a large and varied clientele that ran the gamut from housewives and underpaid journalists to moneyed landowners and the holders of the highest offices of city government. Now these patrons are upset because she can no longer offer her acclaimed tarot card readings. Why? Her special cards are missing.
You would think that a seer would be able to find her own lost property, but apparently that’s not how it works. It seems that this is akin to losing one’s eyeglasses: Without her cards, poor Celestina cannot see any farther than you or I can.

If her cards are so important to her, how did she come to misplace them? When asked, Madame Celestina said that she discovered the cards’ absence right after the leader of the Goat Gang had asked for a reading. She hinted darkly at a connection between the two incidents but did not outright accuse the gangsters of stealing her cards. This reporter tried to get her to divulge the identity of the mysterious Goat Gang leader, but she demurred, citing professional confidentiality.

A coalition of Madame Celestina’s clients is offering a reward for the return of her tarot cards to their rightful owner. Without her insight into their lives, they say, it is harder to make important decisions. For more information about this effort, citizens are urged to visit Madame Celestina’s place of business, located at #8 Bayou Street (rear entrance).

Jack Mondieu hopes for the return of Madame Celestina’s cards, because he can’t recall where he left his best pair of trousers.

A paid political statement from the mayor

by on Thursday, April 28th, 2016

I want to let you know what kind of man my opponent is. Richard E. Mains, the slippery candidate of the entirely fictitious Citizens’ Party is going to run against me for Mayor. Haha, the CITIZENS’ PARTY! We know all of the Citizens in New Toulouse, and they go to parties, they don’t join them. It’s just a made-up, fancy-sounding name to make it sound like they have popular support.

This guy—I hesitate to call him “man”—used to be your insurance agent! And now he’s not, but he has enough money to finance an expensive political campaign. He’s a wealthy man—now, how did that happen? I’ll tell you. Little Dicky Mains isn’t living high off the hog on the insurance company’s money, oh no! He’s living off of the premiums that poor people like you and me paid in! That man has run off with our premiums, and now he wants to run off with your city government! He says he retired, but you know that’s a lie—when he ran off with those premiums, they just plain old fired him. The good people of New Toulouse are too smart to be fooled by a shyster like that! Have you ever seen an Insurance Agent go out of business? Noooo! They can’t! Their profits are guaranteed by their magic actuarial tables! Their profit is assured! But that’s not enough for Mister Fancy Suit Dicky, is it? Nooo! He done scammed his employer and run off with your money! I challenge you to find the insurance company in town! They closed it! They bundled up your hard-earned premium money, and Mr. Fancy Suit is spending it on booze and probably even worse!

Mark my words, if that man becomes Mayor, he will scam your rent money and your taxes and all of my graft that comes in from outside sources, and he will put it in his carpetbag, and back to the big city he will go. In the middle of the night! Don’t vote for little Dicky, vote for me, Henri Godenot, the Mayor you can talk to!

Henri Godenot is the mayor of New Toulouse.

The View from Mondieu

by on Thursday, October 29th, 2015

1jackmondieuBeing connected directly to the pulsing heart of New Toulouse by virtue of my many contacts, of various states of learnedness, at the myriad delightful watering-holes throughout our fair city (where there is never so much as a slight overcast to the sky, and where beautiful birds untainted by feather-rot warble sweetly from every branch), there have come to me wild rumors, gossip, and outright fabrications of the most upsetting sort.

Dr. Augustus Boffin, recently arrived in this town, is a current subject of such spurious speculation. Some say he is the mayor’s “mind man,” here to assist City Hall in its efforts to keep the locals happy and uninformed. That is, of course, pure poppycock. Dr. Boffin is the Boffin of Boffin Scientific Inc. (BSI), a perfectly benign concern mainly involved in outfitting the amateur science enthusiast. Any bright eight-year-old with a healthy interest in beetle collection or wireless technology knows this.

But some local scandalmongers have even been painting poor Boffin as a sort of mad-scientist figure out of the fevered imagination of H. G. Wells, darkly muttering about the shipment of crates from BSI to City Hall, as though they held parts for some evil mind-control device and not the insect vivaria and radio parts they probably contain in actuality.

Clearly these whisperers and ranters could use a dose of cold, hard reality with a side order of common sense. To this end, I call upon the mayor to stand up and tell the people of New Toulouse why exactly he has been conferring with Dr. Boffin. Mr. Mayor, please find the time to speak and allay our concerns! I will be waiting, pencil in hand, ready to record for the Tattler the substance of your address.

Jack Mondieu, Ace Reporter, exhibits a love of chemistry. His favorite molecule is CH3CH2OH.

Weather or not

by on Friday, October 9th, 2015

The overcast, greenish sky and unusually rough water, together with yesterday’s shipping report, have made some locals worry that New Toulouse is due for some nasty weather.

According to library staff, the Kate Chopin Library has been docked in “a safer location” for the time being. Those with books due back in the next few days needn’t worry about being fined for any days when the library is unavailable.

Over a party telephone line last evening, someone predicted that “The Flood” was on its way, but it is unclear whether the speaker was an engineer with inside knowledge of the city pumping system or the prophet of some doomsday cult. But at the corner of Royal and Nightingale streets, there are already sandbags in evidence at the Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning, and who are we to argue with the liberally and technically learned?

An unusual number of small birds have been seen about the city, chirping their fool heads off about who knows what. Taloosters already plenty equipped with firearms and liquor are stocking up on still more firearms and liquor, just in case. And, presumably fueled by the report of the storm-damaged steamer Calamares and its flooded cargo of coffee and bananas, someone has bought up all the available coffee beans, and currently there are none to be had on the open market. Look for cafe and restaurant owners to adjust their price for a cuppa joe accordingly. (There is still room for a would-be banana tycoon.)

Speaking of the Calamares, a new report has come in, just as we are going to press:

  • Oct. 9: Steamer Calamares, running before the storm for home port of New Toulouse with a ruined cargo and fifteen sick passengers, reports heavy winds and seas, and all pumps operating at full output. When asked for a shipboard report, radioman Tucker said, “Captain LeBlanc says, ‘No! No time for that! Hey, Gremillion, what happens if you shoot it?'”

Jack Mondieu thought the sky was falling, but it was only a sticky projectile cast off by a chirpy bird.

A skeleton in the closet

by on Tuesday, July 21st, 2015


Strange death message

by on Sunday, July 5th, 2015


Krewe Bayou might be having a ball

by on Thursday, January 15th, 2015

This morning I woke up to a piece of paper hitting me in the face. I’m still staying at the rooftop hotel, so I suppose that is not the worst thing that could have hit me. Groggily I peered at the page: it was a handbill advertising a maybe-party this Sunday, hosted by Krewe Bayou.


Last year around this time, I asked the shadowy figure calling herself Queen Notakraken how a person might join the krewe, if he were so inclined. You are already in Krewe Bayou, she told me. Everyone is in Krewe Bayou, whether they know it or not.

You would think that as a member of the krewe, I would have heard about this party earlier, or whether we’ll parade, or what. You would think that, and you would be wrong.

So all I have to go on are whispers, and this poster, and what looks to be party decorations on the roof next door. They say that Ghosty Kips had to cancel on spinning the platters because of a family matter, and that the mysterious “DJ Tabasco” stepped in handily to save the day with his collection of Cajun, zydeco, and swamp pop recordings. (They don’t say what “swamp pop” is, but I don’t think it has anything to do with Okra-Cola.) They say that there will be plenty of beer, which will come in handy in case of fire. They murmur of a trivia contest with “fabulous prizes.” And I overheard a rumor to the effect that “everyone gets a baby kraken friend.”

Now you know everything I do.

Jack Mondieu, Ace Reporter, is often perplexed.

Paper trail leads to secret clubhouse

by on Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

When I came back to New Toulouse, I began looking around to reacquaint myself with the area. I was not surprised to see so many changes. Seems like things are always changing in this world. And given the fact that I travel to many regions during different time periods, I have gotten accustomed to change. But that’s another story.

While hiking around town, I came upon the ferry that crosses over to the bayou. Hopping on board, I made my way across the river, thinking about life in New Toulouse several years ago, before I’d left on my last journey.
As I departed the ferry, I found myself still reminiscing of times past, so I perched on a bench to take in some evening air and ponder. My fingers brushed a piece of paper tacked onto the bench. It read, “We said we’d tell you where to find the clubhouse, but we never said it would be easy. Look in the train station for more instructions.” Well, that was enough pondering for me. I had to find out what this was all about.
Now, I could tell you more about this find, but that would ruin all the fun. There’s just nothing like a peaceful day’s stroll on the bayou. Oh, did I say peaceful? Be sure to grab one of those sawed-off shotguns available in the train station. You’re gonna need it.

Shantz Hawker is an Acadian lone wolf who returned to New Toulouse after a long, hard journey through his ancestral heritage. He has settled here once again to open an apothecary in the French Market.

Fishy business in the city

by on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

As I was taking my customary stroll around the French Market the other day, I noticed Crawdy’s, a recently opened seafood restaurant. Feeling hungry after my walk, I decided to see what this establishment had to offer.

My first impressions were favorable—the place was clean, bright, and fresh. I sincerely hoped that this was reflected in the food. My order was taken by a somewhat vacant-looking youth, and I wondered what might turn up on my plate.

Waiting for my meal, I noticed an old copy of the Tattler. As I leafed through the classified ads, my eye was caught by a heartfelt appeal from Miss Gigi Lapin asking if anyone had found her pet crawfish, Jimbo, who had disappeared near the docks. I recalled the numerous posters I had seen around town with a picture of the missing creature.

At that moment my meal arrived, and despite the boy’s gormless appearance, my “Crawdy’s Surprise” was everything I could have hoped for. As I chewed hungrily on the tasty crawfish, my mind turned again to poor Miss Gigi and her loss. A shocking thought occurred to me, but I decided to wait until I had cleared my plate before considering it further.

Miss Alva, engaged in a liberal application of hot sauce

Miss Alva, engaged in a liberal application of hot sauce

After a second helping, I asked the boy where he got his supplies. Becoming suddenly shifty, he mumbled that someone called Miz Vee took care of all that. Hardly surprised that he was not the owner of the diner but “juss the mannijah,” I asked him who owned the place. He told me that he had been shucking oysters on the docks one day and watching the unloading of a freighter from San Francisco. An elderly lady was particularly anxious about some crates and shouting at the longshoremen to be careful with her merchandise. The boy could not read what was written on the sides of the crates, because it was in Chinese characters (or maybe because he couldn’t read, period), but seeing the stencil of a smoking pipe, he assumed that she was in the tobacco industry. She gave a long sigh and said that it was good to be home. Noticing the boy, she asked him what in tarnation he was doing staring at a lady, and then to his surprise offered him a job at the diner.

Who is the mysterious lady behind Crawdy’s?

What are the ingredients of “Crawdy’s Surprise”?

Will Miss Gigi and her beloved Jimbo ever be reunited?

Francesca Alva is the proprietor of the Green-Eyed Fairy, a select establishment in the Rue du Bayou. She is entirely unconnected with Frankie’s, a miserable juke joint on the old site of the infamous Tarantula Arms.