“Get up. Dance up. Who ready? She ready. J’Ouvert time!” Banging on the pot, Micha went to each room, chanting her chorus. She’d never heard so much cussing.
“Now you, b-yatches know how it feels.” She returned the pot and spoon to the kitchen.
“Payback.” Asha stumbled down the hall to the bathroom.
Micha knew she’d pay dearly for her wake-up assistance. Whatever. It felt good to get back at them. Most times, she was the last to get going. Their threats to leave her behind always fell on deaf ears.
“You’d better take off the jewelry.” Simone pointed at Micha’s earrings and necklace. “Didn’t you bring something old that you didn’t mind having to throw in the trash?”
“When you said old, I thought you meant like not fancy.” She’d worn a blouse that she’d bought about two years ago. The horizontal stripes were cute, but with the inches expanded around her body and limbs, those horizontal stripes were not flattering. “This will have to do.”
“Okay,” Simone replied in a tone that suggested she might regret it. “Mud. Powder. Chocolate syrup. Coconut flakes. Your body will be covered.”
“Sounds like a damn good sundae to me. Are they feeding us?”
“Of course. I wouldn’t have gotten a ticket that didn’t include food and amenities. By the way, we will be hanging with the Mudderation Crew.”
“Sounds fab…not.” Micha wondered how she was going to keep mud from getting on her hair. Once she saw Asha and the other tied scarves on their heads, she copied with hers.
Once again, 4 a.m., they headed out to the meeting point for their J’Ouvert band, Mudderation Crew. Their group quickly expanded as arrivals, still in pristine condition, added on to the ranks. Music underscored the semi-chaotic feel.
“What are those?” Micha pointed to trucks that lined the road.
“First truck is the music. The truck with the flat bed had the barrels of mud. This is a much smaller set up than the mas bands that you’ll see later today. The last truck has the bar cooler with the drinks and a cooling zone. The operator will spray and you can enjoy or not.”
“Time to get our mud on!” Simone yelled the charge, as if she was going into battle and they were her troops expected to follow.
Micha took the small bowls of mud and poured over her body, as if she was lathering up in a shower. She stayed clear of her face, especially with her contact lens as a potential issue.
Anais stood just out of reach of taking the bowl of mud or getting splashed. “You know, I understand the Carnival tradition of Jour Ouvert. I researched, followed what you all told me, but this part is….” Her mouth curled up with a definite distaste. “And my hair is not going to stay under this small scarf.”
“First, stop calling it joy-vert. It’s jou-vay…think French. This is the official start of the Carnival—it’s day break. You can’t begin without this celebration. It’s like dressing up without washing your face and brushing your teeth.”
“Simone, you ‘ear dat.” Micha teased, trying her own version of the accent.
“Class in session. All yah, listen. We’re here to celebrate all our darker elements, devils, imps and spirits before the Lenten season.”
Asha grabbed Anais’s long hair with her muddy hands. “Where’s your latina, middle eastern inner spirit, my friend?” With that open question, Asha proceeded to scoop the mud and liberally apply to Anais’s body, face, and, as an added measure, emptied the remaining contents onto her hair.
Micha and Simone grabbed each other’s hands, waiting for the explosion.
Carnival Temptress (e-novella) available for Kindle and Nook; 99 cents.