Four girlfriends on a weekend trip to New Orleans attract the attention of flesh-eating Scavengers. The women must rely on their wits, a cocky Irish movie star, and a dodgy deal with vampires to survive the night during this wild adventure through the Big Easy.
The clock struck midnight at the Columns Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. A mild, damp breeze stirred old Mardi Gras beads dangling from the heavy branches of the live oak trees shadowing the porch. Aging white columns framed a massive wooden keyhole door and laughter spilled out from an open window where patrons sipped Pimm’s cups in the dusty velvet-upholstered booths of what used to be a grand dining room. A streetcar rattled quickly past on St. Charles Avenue, leaving a flash of old trolley and the faint buzz of electricity lingering in the air.
Half a dozen tables sat vacant on the porch, chairs long since pushed back and the tops stripped bare of crumpled white table cloths. One lone table remained occupied by four women, laughing a little too loudly as they sat back in tipsy satisfaction; a cluster of empty glasses and a dirty crystal ashtray evidence of their evening’s entertainment.
Somewhere in the Garden District, a church bell tolled the late hour, causing the women to jump a little at the sound. A dark-haired woman in purple nodded toward the direction of the echoing bell and quipped, “Sounds like God wants a cocktail.”
The woman on her left, a short curvy blonde in a tight black dress snorted; spewing the remains of a dirty martini all over her friend.
“Damn,” said the brunette as she patted a tiny cocktail napkin uselessly around the table cloth, and then looked down the deep v-neck of purple jersey covering her breasts, now damp. “My dress is getting drunk.”
A third woman, slender and graceful with silky straight black hair drawled, “Audrey, stop bringing up God when you’re intoxicated. It’s tacky.” She eyed the blonde, adding, “And Beth, honey, don’t order martinis if you’re going to slop them all over the table. Sloppy girls don’t get asked to the prom, if you know what I mean.”
The fourth woman was tall and busty with skin the color of milky coffee. She wore a glossy candy apple red wig, a sparkly silver sheath, and fake python boots that gave an extra six inches to her already statuesque frame. She drained her glass before declaring, “Evie, we all passed prom more than twenty years ago, so drop the Junior League shit. Besides, sloppy women do get laid.”
Evie pursed her lips in disapproval. “Syd, do you always have to be so crude?”
“Fuck yeah,” the redhead snapped. “I’m on vacation.”
“Oh, calm down,” Syd said with a wink. “You just need another drink.” She wiggled her fingers in the air and a young waitress seemed to magically appear from inside.
The waitress sighed as she surveyed the dirty table. “Ladies, you ready for another round?”
Syd beamed. “Honey, you read my mind.” She looked around at the otherwise empty porch, adding, “hope we haven’t chased away your customers.”
The waitress gave a tired smile and said, “No, you ladies are just fine.” She gathered up glasses and asked, “Y’all celebrating somethin’ tonight?”
Audrey looked up from the futile task of patting her dress dry. “Yeah. I just got a divorce and Syd here turned forty.” She pointed to the redhead and gave a low, vodka-loosened laugh. “Now we’re all over the fucking hill.”
Syd gave her an evil eye. “And that’s why we’ve had to buy our own drinks all weekend.”
“Sorry,” Audrey replied as she tossed the napkin on the table and resigned herself to wet cleavage.
“Hey girls,” the blonde yawned. “Weren’t we talking about something naughty before I made such a mess?”
“Ooh, thank you, Beth,” Syd replied with a nasty gleam in her eye. “The list!”
“Ah, the list,” Beth’s lips twisted in a wry smile as she pointed at Evie. “Your turn. Five celebrities you’d sleep with if you weren’t married.”
Evie groaned. “The list? Really, Syd. Aren’t we too old for this?”
Syd gave her a stern glance and answered, “Evie, we’re forty. The only thing we’re too old for is American Idol. The day I can’t get drunk and fantasize about hot guys I’m not married to, you can plan my funeral.”
Deirdre H. Gage is a Texas writer who has claimed half a dozen other places as home, including Kentucky and Chicago – but her heart belongs to the Big Easy. She has been published in the Darker Times Anthology Volume Three, Cosmopolitan Magazine and Appalachian Heritage literary journal. The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms is her first novel, and book one in The Getaway Girls series.