Acknowledging Kate (Chopin)
Rudy come running and I heard the screen door slam,
Said, “I got the news right here in my hand”.
“Whee-we, I gots dem shrimp for Ms. Poltraine,” Curtiss says, panting, sweat plastered against his sleeveless t-shirt, buckets of water sloshing against khaki pants.
“Didja get dem shrimp out of the bayou?” Hattie Archbeau, says, opening the screen door, swatting flies. “Ms. Poltraine’s got dem special guests and she only wants da shrimp that comes out of the deep.”
All the good smells sift right out of the kitchen, the butta and the fat, the flour, syrup, the cayenne, oh the cayenne, tabasco, mustard, and waft up behind Hattie big like, a spicy shadow.
“You din’ mix in any mudbugs, now, didja?”
“Straights shrimp, Miss Hattie.”
“How many eyes de got?”
“Least three, sometimes none, jus gouged out eyesockets. Sickly-looking, all pussy.”
“Good, god, good. Ms Poltraine be pleased.”
“Who’s she cookin fo?”
“De big ons from the oils company.”
“De ones that did the spill?”
When Hattie doesn’t answer, Curtiss jumps and down.
“She’s gonna fed em dem own poison. Oh, dats rich.”
“Dats Ms. Poltraine. Shes givin dem back whats they did.”
~ Stephen J. Bergstrom