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NONFICTION

Mortals by Storey Clayton

E

arly February, the edge of Mardi Gras season just making its way toward the starting gate. It’s a Wednesday night, 1:30ish, and I get a call on my Uber Driver app a few miles up from my current location in the Marigny. It’s a bit of a trek from where I am, away from the busier, surgier parts of town, but I decide to accept. The pickup is somewhere in greater Treme, a small ramshackle house on a wild-looking block with almost no trees. As soon as I pull up, the ride is cancelled. I’m frustrated because there’s been surge downtown most of the night, great stuff for a Wednesday, and the cancellation came just after I’d taken the time and gas to get there but before the rider was on the hook for a cancellation fee. I’m muttering to myself about not accepting this ride in the first place as I drive away, headed back toward the Marigny. I get about six blocks when a ping pops up again at the same location as the just cancelled ride. montanamouthful.com

My frustration melts away—maybe it was a mistake or they reconsidered. But now I have a rider, the same rider (the name is the same), and all is forgiven. It takes her three minutes to emerge from the house and I start to get nervous again, but then she stumbles out and into the car. She is extraordinarily quiet, barely audible, as she confirms her name. I ask, almost reluctantly, how her night was. She replies, “Terrible.” “Oh, I’m sorry. Anything you want to talk about?” “I’m just going a few blocks.” “I know, but. If you want.” “Well, actually, I would, but it’s kind of heavy, so maybe I shouldn’t bother you.” “Please. Bother me. I like talking to people. It’s what I enjoy about this job.” “Okay. Well, my friend, uh, he killed himself last night.” “Oh my God. I’m so sorry.” “Yeah, me too. We all are. Really devastated. I mean, we used to be closer, you know? But we were still friends. At least I Montana Mouthful | 45

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Volume 1, Issue 3; Haunting

Montana Mouthful  

Volume 1, Issue 3; Haunting