Lake Charles, Louisiana
Expressionist is probably not the right term, but Jannick Meisnner was a German male in his mid-30s. He claimed to be the German embassy’s cultural attaché at large. He was making a study of the Satsuma fruit and its impact on life in southwestern Louisiana.
My wife and I met him at a bar down the street from the university where she taught. This was right before we were married. My wife holds several fine arts degrees. She liked Jannick and we had him over for pulled pork sandwiches. He ate and drank lustily. In fact, he won me over by the amount of Satsuma rum he could drink in one sitting.
We probably saw Jannick every day in some capacity. We took him crabbing. He had us over for schnitzel. He would attend a reading with my wife. He and I would drive down to Vinton to go to the strip clubs. The three of us watched every Saints game together. On my wife’s 30th birthday she bet a hundred dollars on black at L’Auberge. Jannick was there to console us after she lost.
He counted cards and split his winnings. Jannick Meisnner was the prince of thieves.
A few weeks before the wedding Jannick offered to be our officiant. Why not? We did not belong to a church. So Jannick married us at the Trahan homestead down in Cameron Parish, in front of my father’s gun cabinet.
We had set up chairs for about 30 guests. Jannick’s speech was actually quite beautiful. It had my wife and my mother in tears. He even wrote our vows: Jenn, will you accept Glenn as a man bound by worldly limits, whose love for you is nevertheless boundless?
Then, after the vows, he asked if anyone objected to our union. He followed this with a joke about the guns in the cabinet not being for show. Nearly everyone laughed at this, except a tall, thin man in black denim I hadn’t noticed before. He stood up suddenly and began shouting at Jannick in German.
Priester, du machst keinen Edikt gegen das Erziehen und das Tragen von Kindern. Die Weltbevölkerung ist zu viel. Die Erde wird verbraucht sein. Unsere Flüsse trocknen aus. Du bist kein Mann Gottes! Sag ihnen, du musst ihnen sagen, dass sie nicht züchten können. Ihre Orgasmen werden ihre Kinder sein und sie werden Tausende von diesen vergänglichen Nachkommen genießen. Informiere sie über diesen neuen Bund. Diese neuen Kinder werden den Sternen zahlenmäßig überlegen sein. *
Jannick responded by taking off his jewelry and charging at his abuser. They started kicking and punching their way through the house, eventually spilling out into the back. They ended up in the turtle pen. A brief aside: my father once raised turtles to sell to the Chinese. Turtle meat is a delicacy in Mainland China. The man in black denim began throwing turtles at Jannick and bashing him with turtles. Jannick deflected the turtles with other turtles. He improvised a smart cuirass of turtles and a lance of turtle. Jannick took deadly aim at the man in black denim but before they could finish their sweet melee (the meat of the soft-shelled turtle is sweet, not savory), my father returned from inside with a shotgun. He fired a warning shot then leveled his shotgun at the skirmishers.
In all, thirty turtles died from massive internal trauma. The police arrested their murderers but were gracious enough to let Jannick sign the marriage certificate. Apparently Jannick and the man in denim were lovers and they spent the night in Cameron Jailhouse doing loverly things. Of course, we don’t mind. The marriage certificate is valid and Jannick reimbursed my father. It was in Deutsche Mark and I believe we came out ahead in the currency exchange.
*When you spiked my vanilla ice cream with the cheapest amaretto available, it gave me an upset stomach.