It’s a ‘girls gone wild’ week when the Lemon Drop Martini Club Ladies kick it up a notch in New Orleans. Constance and crew are in the French Quarter to meet with Beignet Broussard, a Wiccan/Voodoo Queen. She’s the only one powerful enough to help Constance get rid of Clarisse, a bi-polar, man-hating ghost who barged in and dumped herself and her paranormal gifts on Constance during a tarot card reading.
Constance finally has a great man in her life and Clarisse attacks him every chance she gets. How long can Constance hang on to her guy when a pesky ghost keeps picking on him? It’s a no brainer - she’s got to get rid of Clarisse.
But things get complicated when Beignet tells Constance the payment she wants for her services – a spell that will allow Constance to see and communicate with the ghost of Jean Lafitte, the famous 17th century pirate. He left a treasure map in code and all Constance has to do is find Jean and get him to decipher the code so the treasure can be found.
The challenge: Find the pirate, decipher the code, hunt for the treasure, and get rid of Clarisse. Challenge accepted: The Lemon Drop Martini Club – the baby boomers with an attitude.
It’s wicked fun and indescribable adventure in the historic city of New Orleans, where Lemon Drop Martinis, Hurricanes, and Huge Ass Beer flow like a river down Bourbon Street!
Quotes from Cajun Spice
“I think I heard him say the word ‘twat’; that’s not Cajun French, is it?” Catherine whispers to me.
“I don’t think so.” I breathe a sigh of relief, glad that Gaston is going in the right direction. “But, I don’t care what he calls you as long as he goes where I tell him.”
Tears are streaming down my cheek. “But, I was responsible for his death,” I wail. “I’m so going to hell in gasoline underwear for this.” I put my head in my hands and cry.
What’s scary for me is that I’m surrounded by four ghosts getting drunk on Jack Daniels on the front porch of an old shack, and they just started singing “Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” Led by Catherine.
There was a lot of hugging and hand kissing, which I knew looked strange because it appeared like I was embracing air, but no one seemed to think it odd. Clearly, I’ve been on Bourbon Street too long.
I shake my head in disbelief, and crumble to the ground. “When I sent the gator after Gaston, I only meant to stop him, not make him an entree,” I tell her with a sob as I rest my head against my bent knees. “I guess I should’ve been more specific.”
PART I—THE PROLOGUE
“Remember, he who fights and runs away, lives to run away again!”
Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean
In the 1960’s when I was a sophomore in high school, someone taped a Polaroid snapshot on my hall locker. It was a picture of a message written on the boy’s locker room wall, “For a good time call Constance, 666-0001.” That certainly explained all the weird phone calls I’d been getting, and my sudden surge in popularity.
I knew immediately who’d plastered my name and phone number on the wall of fame, our version of social networking back then, Laverne Fantini. Laverne was mad as hell at me because I went to the Homecoming Dance with her ex-boyfriend, Johnny DeMarco. Laverne and Johnny had been going steady since sixth grade, but had broken up that summer. Two weeks before the big dance, “Johnny D”, as everyone in school called him to differentiate him from “Johnny Z” Zarini and “Johnny the Ferret” Ferrazzano, stopped me in the hall and asked me to go to the dance with him. Johnny was a junior, and the quarterback on the football team. He was muscular, popular and one big dreamy Italian. Course, most of the population of Louisville, Colorado was Italian back then. Of the two thousand residents in our town, I figured at least nineteen hundred of them were Italian. I was in the Anglo-Saxon-Protestant minority, and that probably didn’t sit well with Laverne either.
Johnny D and Laverne got back together three days after Homecoming and were married one week after graduation, but here it was over forty years later and I knew Laverne was still mad as hell at me. How could I tell? By the slitty-eyed glare she was giving me from across the grassy space between the RV’s at the Louisville Rod & Gun Club on Marshall Lake.
It was Labor Day, and I was here with my boyfriend, Mick, along with our friends Dave and Cynthia who owned the Winnebago parked in one of the spots by the lake. Dave was a member of the club and he and Cynthia had invited us to spend the holiday with them.
We started off the day watching the Labor Day Parade in Louisville, and then Mick and I swung by the Blue Parrot Restaurant and picked up a huge tub of their famous spaghetti and meatballs before heading out to the lake.
Cynthia and I were lounging under the awning that extended from the Winnebago drinking Coors Light and watching the guys dock Dave’s bass boat at the pier when I suddenly felt the hair on the nape of my neck stand up. I pulled my sunglasses down and glanced around, and that’s when I saw Laverne. She was standing outside the RV next to us giving me the evil eye. I gulped and pushed my glasses back up to cover my face.
“Do you know who that is?” Cynthia whispered to me.
“Yep, it’s one of our old classmates, Laverne DeMarco,” I told her quietly. I nodded toward the lake. “And the guy walking down to the pier toward Dave and Mick is her husband, Johnny D.”
“She doesn’t look too friendly,” Cynthia noted with a frown. “I wonder what her problem is?”
“Besides gaining about a hundred pounds since high school, and being married to a Tony Soprano look-alike, she’s probably still pissed at me,” I grunted with a quick glance back at Laverne. “Her and Johnny D have been sweethearts since grade school, but they broke up for a few months in high school, and during that time Johnny asked me to the Homecoming Dance. Besides her, I’m the only other girl Johnny’s gone out with, and she’s never forgiven me.”
“You’re kidding!” Cynthia exclaimed with a grin. “I didn’t know you were such a slut in high school.” She stole a peek at Laverne and the smile disappeared from her face. “Omigod, if looks could kill you’d be dead right now.”
“That’s what I figured,” I cringed. “And I think the guys are heading this way, so no telling what will happen when they get here.”
I decided to put my big girl panties on and play nice, so I smiled at Laverne and raised my hand in a friendly wave.
She scowled and gave me the finger.
My mouth dropped open in shock. “Did you see that?” I asked Cynthia in horror. “She just flipped me off!”
My eyes widened as I glowered at Laverne, and suddenly bad words were gushing out of her in English and Italian. I didn’t know Italian, but I had no problem understanding the English she was spitting out.
I jumped up and yelled at Laverne. “It’s been forty years, dipshit! Get over it and get a life!”
I turned to Cynthia in disbelief. “Can you believe she’s talking to me like that?”
“She didn’t say anything...” Cynthia started, but before she could finish her sentence I heard the cackle of a voice I’ve come to dread.
“Uh oh,” I moaned and sat down with a thud. “Laverne wasn’t talking out loud, was she?”
Cynthia shook her head slowly. “No, you must’ve been listening to her thoughts using your mental telepathy.”
“Damn!” I gulped, and put my head in my hands. “And now Clarisse is here.”
Clarisse was a disturbed spirit that had been haunting me since June. She spent over a hundred years after her death looking for someone she felt was worthy enough to dump her supernatural powers on, and danged if she didn’t pick me. Having the special paranormal abilities of telepathy and telekinesis didn’t bother me, but what did bother me was if I used them Clarisse would find me and channel the powers back to herself. She was one scary ghost. She loved to pick on men, especially Mick; however, none of us were safe if she decided to cut loose with one of her poltergeist tantrums and start throwing things. I avoided using any of my paranormal abilities in order to keep her away, but Laverne caught me off guard and now we were in trouble.
“Oh God, Constance, she’s got the spaghetti!” Cynthia yelled.
I looked up in time to see our plastic food container filled to the brim with the best the Blue Parrot had to offer float up from the picnic table under the awning.
“Crap!” I yelled and lunged for the container, but I was too late.
In seconds Clarisse had meatballs out of the tub and spiraling through the air. One caught Mick right between the eyes and another bounced off Dave’s white polo shirt. Johnny D looked like a deer caught in the headlights as he dodged the hamburger bullets flying by his head. As mortified as I was watching this whole scene, I had to grin seeing Johnny D running around in circles screaming like a girl. I could see the whites of his stunned eyes right before a meatball hit him square on the nose.
I stopped grinning when I saw the look on Mick’s face. Oh boy. He was not a happy camper. I grabbed the container at the same time I heard Laverne growl, and believe me, hearing Laverne growl is never a good thing.
“You bitch!” Laverne shrieked, and snatched the spaghetti out of my hands. Before you could say Chef Boyardee, she reached in the container and pulled out a handful of the homemade noodles and sauce and flung them all over me.
Cynthia was by my side in an instant. “Hey, you can’t do that,” she protested as she reached for the spaghetti.
“Oh yeah?” Laverne taunted. “Try and stop me.” She pulled away from Cynthia and threw noodles down the front of her blouse.
“Okay, sister. You asked for it,” I sputtered as I snatched the container out of Laverne’s hands and turned it over on her head. Red sauce and noodles oozed down her neck and over her ample bosom. I turned, grabbed the Parmesan cheese off the table, and dumped the whole thing on top of Laverne’s sauce-covered chest.
Before I could add the garden salad to the mix, Mick came up and wrestled the bowl out of my hands.
“Is Clarisse here?” he asked me quietly as he held the salad out of my reach. I could feel the heat of his anger through his hand on my arm.
I nodded and watched Laverne tug the container off her head. I reached up and pulled noodles out of my hair. “Jeez, Laverne. I didn’t even have that much fun at the dance with Johnny D. All he did was talk about you all night.”
Laverne looked at me in surprise. “He did?”
“Yeah,” I continued. “And since I never retaliated for that message you wrote on the boy’s locker room wall, you can consider us even now.”
“You call this even?” Laverne spit out indignantly.
“Yep, I do,” I told her calmly as I headed toward the Winnebago. “Payback’s a bitch, princess.”
And it was time I got rid of Clarisse once and for all, I decided as I stomped away. That witch was causing way too much havoc in my life.