Welcome to the Bayou – by Jessica B. Bell

This is a cheat as much for me as it is for you — you being long time readers or brand new readers, or readers who feel like you’ve been here for a long time and want to discover or re-discover something anew. The fact is, Jessica was writing something really excellent, and then fell into a deep despair and had to be medicated, thrown into a padded cell in a straitjacket so she couldn’t hurt herself — and then there was that incident with the Cheez Whiz and Saran Wrap, but she’s feeling much better now, and when I mentioned to her that she kind of left her Swamp Story dangling, she grunted something that I can only interpret is a bittersweet mix of regret, longing, and quite possibly hunger pains, as it had been a couple of days since I fed her. She pointed out that it had been several weeks since she’d last written an installment, and so it was possible that people might want to read them again to reacquaint themselves with Bayou Bonhomme (and further, she said that it would give her some time to read through it again and remember where she was going with it. And so, per Jessica’s pleading, I’m going to re-post this here for you — whoever YOU may be. Enjoy, darlings!

dilettante factory

English: Honey Island Swamp, Louisiana, USA

“Welcome to Bayou Bonhomme,” the thin man said with a toothy but debonair grin as he stood at the door, with perfect posture, ushering his guests into the small dining room that was never empty, rain or shine. “Welcome to Leroy’s Grill, home of Louisiana’s best barbecue.”

He’d almost look like a gentleman if he wasn’t wearing an apron that was constantly smeared in barbecue sauce and grease. Leroy’s beloved mother had always told him that there was no excuse for poor manners, whether you were speaking in church or serving up barbecue, it didn’t matter. Do it all as unto Jesus, she’d say, and even though Leroy had seen things — some horrible, some incredible — since then that had made him question the whole Jesus thing, old habits died hard, and so Leroy honored his mère’s memory and her Creole heritage by always being polite to his guests.

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