My name is Nick Gautier and this is the story of my life.
First off, get the name right. It’s pronounced Go-shay not Go-tee-ay or Goat-chay (that has an extra H in it and as my mom says we’re so poor we couldn’t afford the extra letter). I’m not some fancy French fashion designer. I’m just a regular kid… well as regular as someone with a stripper for a mother and a career felon for a father can be.
But as my mom so often says friends are what God gives us to make up for the families we’re born into. And my mother, in spite of her occupation is a lady and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise. Consider this your notice. You respect Cherise Gautier or I’ll learn you better.
My kingdom is the French Quarter and here I reign as prince. Everyone knows me. From the gallery owners, artists, restaurateurs and Voodoo priestesses to the psychics littered throughout. All are counted among my friends.
Now I’m not doing bad for a kid whose education is from the backstreets and alleys. I sweep floors in the doll store along with a few other unmentionable jobs my mom would kill me over if she knew about. I even work as a guide on the “Undead of New Orleans” tours. Everyone who visits the Quarter either takes one or runs into one of these tours passing on the street. You know them. “And on this spot something spooky happened” or some other load of bull. Heck, I make most of it up each night just to keep from being bored.
I mean really, demons? Werewolves? Gods and goddesses on the streets (other than those being portrayed on the Mardi Gras floats)? Vampires? Who believes that crap?
The only blood-suckers I ever saw were lawyers and big butt mosquitoes (if you’ve ever been to New Orleans, then you know about the B-52 bombers I’m talking about). Besides now that Anne Rice has moved out of town she took the lot of that with her. We’re a vamp-free zone.
And then one night, I decided that even though I’d done a lot of bad things in my life, I wasn’t about to shake down a couple of tourists no matter how much money they had and I didn’t. So instead of beating on some innocents, the guys I hung with beat on me.
They’d have killed me, too, had it not been for this mysterious dude who came out of nowhere and struck them down so fast all I could see was a black blur. The next thing I know, I’m in the hospital getting stitched up, getting an earful from my mom over the bill, and this guy is gone. That is after he paid for everything.
My mom being my mom, refused to take his charity. Instead, she sold me into slavery to pay for it. Yeah, okay, it’s more like indentured servitude. I’m supposed to work for him until I pay off the bill.
Next thing I know, there are zombies loose in school and things I never dreamed real are dropping out of the sky (literally), trying to kill me. And all because of some prophecy, destiny thing that says I’m some great evil.
I don’t think I’m evil. I think it’s called puberty and I’m pretty sure I’ll outgrow it. If I don’t get killed first. In the meantime, things keep coming, I keep training, and everything’s getting stranger by the minute.
And I am right smack dab in the middle of this war.
Trust me being undead isn’t for amateurs and it’s not playtime with the paranormal. All the scary things that go bump in the night are real and you should pray you never come into contact with them in their true forms. They exist and are all around us. From the butcher and baker on St. Anne, to the little old doll maker on Royal, to the captain of my football team who happens to be a werewolf. In fact, your favorite restaurant could very well be run by an entire family of shape-shifting bears.
But you know what? I strangely think I like it. And it is a whole lot of fun.