Trouble started wid two churches in Lafayette, Louisiana. De guilty know der shame.
Every year de Methodists would have a Craft Fair. Dey was methodical, dem Methodists, and none more than Etienne Boudreax, who was in charge of de fair dat fateful year. Etienne was de kind who could put hammers, plows and all sorts on her wall and make it look like barn chic. Tried dat myself once. Folks came in and axed, “Whazzat washboard doin’ on yer wall?”
Etienne had chosen “Peace in de Valley” as her theme. Things was crankin’ up right fine. Church ladies planned to sell mudbugs served on newspapers, but dey was puttin’ on airs and callin’ dem ‘Crayfish’ like dem Nawthern parishes. Dey figured dis might could save on buyin’ paper plates. Course folks was welcome to make put de Tabasco, as well.
Crafts came flyin’: tall stuffed rabbits that hid de vacuum cleaner so’s you could keep it out and people’d never see it, tissue box covers shaped like little houses….de whole nine yards. Folks was pretty hepped up about it and ready to stand in line.
Der was a fly in de ointment: Cleoma Tibaudau. She’d decided to hold de Baptist Church Raffle on de same weekend. Bein’ only a block away from de Methodist Church, dis wouldn’t float. She put up a ad in de paper. Turns out “Puttin’ on de Glitz” would have men in tuxes parkin’ cars. ‘Round dese parts, if’n you can get a man to put on a tux, folks will come and see it, I guarantee. Not only dat, but she done advertised that der would be dose little horse dovrays: crackers wid spray cheese on ‘em, spam kaybobs and such. I ain’t lyin’. She even advertised a sit you down dinner. To hear ‘em tell ‘bout it over at de Methodist Church, you’da thot she’d installed a drive through tarot card window in her home.
“Peace in de Valley” my foot! It was now “War in de Trenches.” Next ting you knowd, Etienne hired a String Or-chestra. Sorta. Closest ting we got in Lafayette is a Blue Grass jug band. She found some fella who had a cotton candy machine and got him goin’. Den she found someone who could bend balloons into stupid stuff and someone who could juggle heavy wood pins.
Cleoma got wind of dat and de fur did fly. She didn’t like dat, no. She bought a bunch o’ sheets and got out her bedazzler and bedazzled jewels all around dem sheets, den pulled ‘em back ‘til de church entry look like some kinda hoochy-koochy palace. She glued glitter over everythin’. Nobody could sit but der backside was shinin’ like a big ol’ billboard. The Baptists was truly standin' up for Jesus dat week.
Etienne wasn’t just standin’ still. No. Eleven at night she was sneakin’ down de street, placin’ plastic footprints from de Baptist Church to de Methodist Church. After dat, she was tired but it had made her de confidence dat she was ready.
Back at da bayou, Cleoma had got a old Mr. Microphone and some big speakers, mounted dem on a truck and, as soon as day broke, commenced to “take de show on de road.” Two good ol’ Baptist boys was shoutin’ out. De way dey was braggin’ ‘bout der event, you’d a thot salvation was through works.
Cleoma began liftin’ up dem footprints, one by one. She made mad. She had a group o’ good Baptists followin’ right behind, lookin’ every bit like mad ol’ Philistines.
“Y’all cease and desist, in de name o’ Jesus!” she proclaim. You’d a thot she was doin’ an exorcism.
De blue grass band done froze. De fella throwin’ pins got offstride. Dem pins knocked over de vat o’ mudbugs, splat. De fella foldin’ up balloons slipped on dat mudbug water and went kaboom. De guy makin’ da cotton candy, he make like a statue wid his mouth hangin’ open and forgot to catch up de cotton candy. Fibers was floatin’. Kids started throwin’ mudbugs. Sister, Revelations done come to life.
Cleoma came at Etienne, gave her a pair o’ eyes, den slipped on de mudbugs. Etienne, de good Christian, tried to catch her. Dey ended up in a pile, laughin’ and laughin’. Folks jest joined in, slippin’ and slidin’. Looked like one of dem Mosh Pits. All went home dat night sayin’ might as well quit. “Peace in de Valley” done beat ‘em all.
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