by Roy Hudson
The three friends were very close, and shared taste in music. When the Voodoo Experience concert line-up was released, they were all interested… except for Terry. Though their all-time favorite band was headlining the festival, their most hated band was also on the ticket. Terry would not stand for that.
His friends, Bill and Joey, tried to convince him to buy three tickets to the Halloween music festival in New Orleans with his federal financial aid refund from college, but to no avail. “Fuck that,” Terry spat. “I wouldn’t want to be caught dead in New Orleans this weekend.”
Joey sighed. “Come on, Terry. I’d buy the tickets myself if I could afford it. If you don’t want to see one band, we could take a brief tour of the city.”
“The creepiest city in all the states, with voodoo and all that shit? No thanks.”
Bill tried to offer the positive. “Think about the chicks who’ll be there. If they see we share a taste in music, they might want to hook up. If they hate those bastards as much as we do, we can go score during their performance!”
Terry frowned. “I’m not buying Voodoo tickets, and that’s final!” As if to make his point, he turned and headed toward the stairs of their dorm building… and spun around a bit too fast, losing his footing. He reached for the guard rail, but not quickly enough. Bill and Joey jumped as they heard the crack accompanying his fall.
“Oh, shit,” Bill said. “I’ve got to call the ambulance.”
“Wait. It’s the weekend, everyone’s out partying. Nobody heard that but us. We don’t have to call the cops.”
“What the fuck are you talking about? We have to report it! What if he’s not dead?”
“I’ll check,” Joey replied as he crept down the stairs. He searched for a pulse. “Nothing.” He then hoisted his friend’s body onto his shoulder.
“Where the fuck are you taking him?” Bill demanded.
“Back to the room. I’ve got an idea.”
Bill sighed. “I don’t even want to know.”
Once back in the room, Joey laid Terry’s body across the couch, then stuck his hand into his dead friend’s pocket.
With a curious look, Bill asked, “You’re not gonna rob him, are you?”
Joey smirked. “Not exactly. Do you remember the news from a couple months ago where the two guys got caught with their friend’s body, spending his money?”
“You can’t be serious. Those guys went to jail. If you try that, so will we.”
“Listen, do you want to go Voodoo Experience or not?”
Bill shook his head. “You just plan to drive Terry’s body to New Orleans and buy the tickets?”
Joey shrugged. “I can get his bank card and order them now, online. We’d just need his ID to pick them up at the booth there, then we can say he died at the show and nobody will ever know.”
“This is nuts.”
Joey smiled. “Trust me, Bill. This will work.”
The three of them drove to New Orleans as planned after Joey used Terry’s bank card to reserve three tickets.
Upon arriving in New Orleans, Bill asked, “How are we going to present his ID at the gate, Joey? His neck’s broken; it’ll be obvious that he’s dead.”
“I’ll show you,” Joey replied. He propped Terry up in the back seat so that his face was up against the window on the passenger side. It appeared that he was asleep. Joey then told Bill, “Drive me up to the curb so that the ticket attendant will see him. I’ll just explain that I got his wallet and he’s asleep before the show. It’ll work, trust me!”
Bill sighed, then got behind the steering wheel. “It better,” he growled.
As he sat in the driver’s seat with the window open, an old Creole woman appeared, a tooth-less smile on her face. “He said he didn’t want to be caught dead here,” she said.
Bill’s face washed over white. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You didn’t want to bring him, but you brought him anyway. He isn’t happy.”
Just then, Joey returned with the tickets. “What’s going on?” he asked.
“She knows,” Bill whispered.
“Your friend longs for rest,” the woman said.
Joey smirked. “He is resting. Now, if you don’t mind, we need to park and get through those gates.”
She smiled again. “No. I don’t mind… but he does. Don’t you, Terry?”
Bill gulped. “How did you know his name?”
Reaching into a pouch hanging by a string around her neck, she pulled out a handful of dust and blew it into the open car window. “He told me,” she answered.
“Enough of this bullshit,” Joey said. “Beat it, lady.” He sat in the passenger seat and said, “Drive, Bill. Park the car.”
“Yes, Bill,” the old woman said. “Get away from this curb.”
“Fuck you,” Joey shouted as the car slowly drove toward the parking lot.
As the car squeezed into a parking space, Bill couldn’t help but panic. The only space they could find was in a completely dark area of the lot. “She gave me the creeps, Joey,” he said.
“Don’t worry about her. Come on, let’s enjoy this show.”
Suddenly, a wheeze came from the back seat. “Oh, fuck,” Bill said.
A raspty voice said, “Not only did you rob my corpse, you brought me here. I told you I didn’t want to be caught dead in New Orleans this weekend… and here I am.”
Both Bill and Joey simultaneously grabbed their door handles to exit the car, but a strong hand grabbed each of them and dragged them into the back seat, screaming in terror.