He slipped in the door through a sliver of a shadow, teeth clenched, the veins on the side of his neck as visible as rivers on a map. The voodoo priestess looked at him and shook her head.
"Oh no, not you, you need to git on outta here baby boy, I am not gettin' mixed in any of your nonsense again."
He sat back and pulled a plug from his shirt pocket, biting off a sizable chunk and chewing vigorously.
"I done fucked up Charley, you gotta help me....the curse of the toads is on me somethin' fierce."
He pulled up his sleeve and Charly could see the skin on his forearm turning a dull green brown.
"Who did this too you baby boy....this is bad, and I ain't talking food poisoning bad, I'm talking black magic bad." She took a closer look and shivered. As she leaned in she could smell a musty, muddy odor coming off him, a swamp smell.
"Coal Black, what in the hell have you done?"
"Just fix me Charly... I don't want to be no damn toad." He began to whimper and scratch at his arm.
"Who done this Coal and why?"
"It was Mama Zen, I swear it." Charly flinched, she looked nervous and began to curse under her breath. She knew Mama Zen had strong magic, and the backing of the Iberville Saints on her side.
"Now why you gotta go and and cross that black cats path for, you ain't nuttin' but a fool."
"I took it Charly, I didn't want too, but them words was pretty. Pretty like snow pretty Charly, prettier than that girl on Bourbon that don't wear nuttin' but paint on her boobs."
"Whose words baby boy, whose words you done stole?" She glared him with narrowed eyes probing.
"South Africa," he said in a whisper.
Her breath caught and she shook her head violently.
"No, no, no, Jesus no." She began to cry. She knew beauty, and she knew magic, and what she really knew was that there was no saving Coal Black.
"Go get my keys boy, I'm taking ya to Lil' Ones place..... Tonight."
"Why Lil' Ones Charly, is it safe there?"
"No baby boy, but he's got a real nice garden."