I wrote this for my writing class about two years ago.
The only reason I went to the LSU game in the first place was to see Jacques and the band. As we were getting ready to leave Doctor said, “Let’s take your Jeep,” which had four low tires, an empty tank, and an expired inspection sticker he didn’t notice. So we drove to Patin’s where they pretty much performed yearly maintenance while Doctor talked on the phone and I read mechanic magazines and killed flies.
As we sat in what people called the worst traffic in the history of LSU football, Doctor started his plan in case we lost each other. “It’s not like we’re going into the Congo or something, and if I miss the band I’m going to be really mad at you, and don’t ask why. I’m just warning you.”
We finally got on campus and parked in what he said is his personal spot because no one is ever parked there and that’s because it’s where the garbage cans are stored and where a group of drunk coeds guided us in. Drunk people sure like to help people park.
I texted Jacques that we had arrived and he called back and said,
“Actually… garble garble garble,” and I said, “Actually what?” then we were disconnected. We got to our gate and went up the elevator with a plethora of purple people and as I was going down that hallway to get to our suite I noticed we started off at Suite #100 and we were in Suite #125 and I heard the drum beat I didn’t want to miss and one of the two reasons I was there in the first place. I turned around like Regan from the Exorcist and gave the Cuban the death stare and began to serpentine, cutting in and out and whipping and zipping around people with sharp lefts and sharp rights like you’ve never seen before. It felt like one of those fast breaks the Mighty Cubs patented in 1974. Then there it was, #125. Doctor was still in the low hundreds. I darted into the suite, flung open the glass door to get to the seats and sat in the first one I could find then Doctor arrived. “Told you I was fast,” I said.
The band began their march and a woman walked in front of me and sat right next to me. I ignored her and continued to sit leaning over to really see and pay close attention to the band and she stuck her head around to where it was almost directly in front of my face. I slowly turned my head toward her but my eyes were still on the field and she said, “I’m Jane Doe (not really), and who are you?” I said, staring at the field, “Phyllis Mata,” and pointed to the field as though I was saying please shut up so I can watch the band. Doctor, who apparently forgot this was one of the two reasons I was there, introduced himself to her. He’s not catching on that she’s disturbing me and she’s checking us out to make sure we belonged there. They chatted about how we got the tickets, how we’re from New Iberia, how we have season tickets...all the while I leaned forward, I leaned sideways, I leaned backwards, I looked at her a few times and laughed sarcastically, and I think I even did the patented Laura Belanger “shhhhhhhh,” at one point.
The band finished and she finished and Doctor finished and that was that. The second the band stopped they stopped. We left the jam-packed stadium and walked back to our garbage can parking spot where some even-drunker-now-coeds guided us out. And by the way, I don’t like a suite. All I did for however many hours a game lasts is bob and weave in an attempt to avoid all how-have-you- been situations.
No Jacques, no Golden Band from Tigerland, and it took us longer to get out of the parking lot than it took Alexander Fleming to discover penicillin. I don’t get it
PHYLLIS BELANGER MATA was born at the old Dauterive Hospital and grew up on Wayne Street. She is a 1974 graduate of Mt. Carmel Academy and is a chili dog “without the wiener” aficionado.