Dark Days in Port-au-Prince (Part 2, M.J. Fievre)
To celebrate the release of Haiti Noir 2: The Classics, edited by Edwidge Danticat, we asked contributors from both of our Haiti Noir volumes to participate in an exquisite corpse style story—a serial story in which each participant builds off of what the previous participants have written—to create an original piece of fiction with a decidedly dark tone. Check back each Friday through February 7th for a new installment of this six-part short story with sections from Roxane Gay, M.J. Fievre, Ibi Aanu Zoboi, Katia D. Ulysse, Josaphat-Robert Large, and Edwidge Danticat.
This second installment of Dark Days in Port-au-Prince comes from Haiti Noir contributor M.J. Fievre.
Gilbert nodded. He was going to suggest a walk to Adam & Eve, the brothel where his half-brother Locito usually stayed when the Madrigal docked in Port-au-Prince, when the woman entered the bar—a lost kitten in a lougawou’s lair. The light from a car outside poured through the dirty window like rice and lit her face. She was pretty, although it was difficult to pinpoint what made her so—something to do with the cheeks and the mouth and the eyes. Too pretty for this place, Gilbert thought as she looked up and caught his eyes. The stranger smiled and waved. She looked vaguely familiar, but Gilbert was unable to place her anywhere for the moment. She motioned him with a finger to come and talk to her, and then exited the bar.
“Oh, my,” Jean Pascal said. “Is there something we need to know?”
“I’ll be right back,” Gilbert said, intrigued.
As he walked outside, her face already burned into his mind, he could feel his buddies looking at him. He found the woman leaning against a car by the entrance, a cigarette between her full lips, and again he pondered where he knew her from. A big man wearing a baseball cap was behind the wheel, and the front passenger’s door was open, waiting for the stranger to climb back in. The motor was running and Caribbean Sextet was playing low on the radio—a dusty beat, vast and full. He thought about Elsa. She loved Caribbean Sextet, their music sweet and easy breezy.
“You’re Gilbert, right?” the woman asked. She was wearing very short shorts, a tank top that read Talk nerdy to me, and high heels. Her permed black hair half-mooned her face now.
“I’m Gilbert,” he confirmed.
And as soon as he did, two hulky men came out of the shadows. He felt the punch against his cheek first. Then, as they held his shoulders in an iron grip, something like a knee or an elbow crashed against his rib—three or four times. He was too much in shock to even cry in pain. He fell on his back, and the woman put the heel of her shoe against his throat. Her smile was predatory. “I’m looking for Locito,” she said. “And you know where he is.”
Gilbert felt the dampness of blood on his shirt. He felt pain shoot through his ribcage. Every inch of his face was raw, hurting.
“You’re going to bring him to me,” she said. “On the Madrigal. Nine o’clock sharp, tomorrow night.” She pushed her heel a bit deeper, and Gilbert started coughing. “I know where you live.”
Gilbert winced. She let go of his throat. “Bring him to the Luna Star Lounge. I’ll be waiting.” She took another puff of the cigarette, her face now impassible. “Oh, and don’t tell him about this. You can keep a secret, can’t you? I suggest you think about that very pregnant woman of yours. That ought to keep your tongue tied.”
M.J. FIEVRE’s short stories and poems have appeared in P’an Ku, The Mom Egg, Healthy Stories, Writer’s Digest, Caribbean Writer, Pocket Smut, and 365 Days of Flash Fiction. She is a regular contributor to the online publication the Nervous Breakdown and a contributing editor for Vis.A.Vis magazine. She is the founding editor of Sliver of Stone magazine.
Part 3 of Dark Days in Port-au-Prince will appear on Friday, January 17th.
Posted: Jan 10, 2014
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