Dark Days in Port-au-Prince (Part 3, Ibi Aanu Zoboi)
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 third installment of Dark Days in Port-au-Prince comes from Haiti Noir contributor Ibi Aanu Zoboi.
Gilbert stayed put, his eyes tightly shut, the taste of iron in his mouth. He rolled over to his side and curled up into a fetal position, like his son in the womb. Or daughter. Not a daughter. With his luck, she’d be indebted to a life’s work at Adam & Eve. His unborn child was the only thing he could think of. Locito was disposable, but not Elsa and that thing they made together—the only thing in the world that would make him pull his dignity up from the bottom of his dusty sandals and stand to face Sylvain and Jean Pascal as they came running towards him. Finally. Had they seen what had happened? Gilbert thought. He would not ask.
“Shit, man!” Jean Pascal exclaimed. “You must owe some serious money!”
Gilbert caught a glimpse of Sylvain shaking his head. “Not possible. I will put my life on it, they’re after Locito. Am I right or am I right?”
“Heh. I thought you and Sirop Miel had a thing,” Jean Pascal said. “She doesn’t call any man out of a bar unless, you know.”
Gilbert tried his hardest to stand upright, but a sharp pain jabbed at his left side, as if that lady had the heel of her shoe still lodged in there. He coughed. “Sirop Miel?” he managed to ask.
Sylain laughed. “You mean you left the bar with her and you didn’t even know who she was?”
“Heh, heh! Carmel Sirop Miel! The sweetest pussy at Adam & Eve—and the whole town, if you ask me,” Jean Pascal added.
“I swear, that face, I didn’t know who she was. But I remembered that face from somewhere,” Gilbert said as he wrapped an arm around each of his buddies and they helped him down the road towards his house. They didn’t believe him. The rest of the journey home was peppered with stories of this Carmel Sirop Miel and how she would lure her clients into acting out their wildest fantasies in the dark rooms of Adam & Eve. The wilder the fantasy, the higher the price.
“Locito, I mean, sure he went to that place, but he is a good guy. I should know. He’s my brother. He walked a straight line all his life.” Gilbert was able to stand on his own now as Sylvain stood nearby with his hands shoved into his pants pockets and Jean Pascal lit a cigarette.
Sylvain started to tell another story of how Carmel Sirop Miel seduced a small town preacher when a bright stream of headlights flooded the thick darkness surrounding the men. The car sped towards them and came to a full stop just inches away from where Jean Pascal stood at the edge of the cinderblock wall guarding Gilbert’s tiny pastel-colored house. The lights blinded them and Gilbert could hear Elsa’s flat-footed steps heading for the front door.
Just as Elsa opened the front door, that woman, this Carmel Sirop Miel, appeared before the stream of headlights.
“Gilbert, what is going on here?” Elsa asked as she rested both her hands on her round, full, and bare abdomen.
“Good evening, gentlemen,” Carmel said in a voice as smooth as her ‘bee’s syrup’ moniker. “Gilbert, I thought I’d come back for a little collateral, in case you were thinking of skipping town before sunrise, eh?”
IBI AANU ZOBOI was born in Port-au-Prince as Pascale Philantrope. Her writing can be found on the web, in literary journals, and anthologies including the award-winning Dark Matter: Reading the Bones. She is a recipient of a grant in literature and writing from the Brooklyn Arts Council for the Daughters of Anacaona Writing Project, a program for Haitian teen girls, and she has completed a young adult fantasy/science-fiction novel based on Haitian mythology. She lives in Brooklyn.
Part 4 of Dark Days in Port-au-Prince will appear on Friday, January 24th.
Posted: Jan 17, 2014
Category: Akashic Insider | Tags: Noir Series, Haiti Noir, M.J. Fievre, Haiti Noir 2: The Classics, Noir, fiction, Exquisite Corpse, Serial story, Roxane Gay, Ibi Zoboi, Ibi Annu Zoboi, Dark Days in Port-au-Prince
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