Saturday, April 25, 2015

THAT TIME I CAME IN AS A FRUITFLY


A SHORT, SHORT STORY 

BY MARY ELIZABETH (LEACH) RAINES




That time I came in as a fruitfly, I recognized clearly that we’re all One. Humans don’t know this, but fruitflies do.



I’d landed on a banana peel in your kitchen, along with hundreds of my mates. I mean mates literally. Man, was I one horny fruitfly!

Then I saw that you were ready to squish me. As your thumb loomed over me, I screamed, “Don’t do that! We are the same! We are One!” I guess I wasn’t very articulate. You/I squished me anyway.

That was not fun. Next time, I'm coming back as a rattlesnake.





© 2015, M. E. Raines
For more stories by this author, please scroll down: http://laughingcherub.blogspot.com; check "other posts" at the bottom of the page for still more!



Saturday, February 14, 2015

THE MOVIE STAR WHO WANTED ME (AND HOW I WAS SAVED BY COMMUNISM)

by 
MARY ELIZABETH RAINES

Wow! A movie star wanted me. Me!
And yes, I mean “wanted” exactly in the sense that you’re thinking.
 

I had never thought anything like that could happen to me, although I’d certainly dreamt about it. All of us—at least those with normal hormones and reasonable imaginations—have entertained the fantasy of having a romantic encounter with a movie star. Even movie stars themselves sometimes get crushes on other movie stars.
     Robert Redford (you’ve heard of him, right?) tells of a time when he was a starving young artist in Rome, before becoming an actor. He spotted Ava Gardner and her entourage in a restaurant, and went a bit gaga over seeing the famous temptress. Gardner noticed, called the smitten young man to her side, and gave him a little kiss. 
     In the films he's made since that time, Redford has kissed many of the world’s most desirable actresses, and in his private life he is happily married—yet, what does he talk about with a moony smile and a far-away look? Having a crush decades ago on a movie star who acknowledged him and actually gave him a smooch! We can all fall prey to fantasies about those we see on the silver screen, you see.
     And now it was my turn.

I had become the object of desire of my very own bona-fide movie star, whom I shall call Chad. Chad was a genuine star, too, not just some minor actor who’d spoken a few lines in a B film.


     Maybe you’re thinking Chad was ugly, and thus easy to get. (I’m not superficial in the least, but hey, let’s get real: being attractive increases a person’s odds. Ava Gardner would probably not have summoned an unknown Karl Malden and given him a kiss.)(For those who don't know, Karl Malden was a first-rate actor, now deceased, who possessed a bulbous nose and an unfortunate face.) Not every lead actor is good-looking, especially if he’s straight.
     My movie star, however, was both beautiful and completely heterosexual. In fact, he was so handsome that there were stories of women who’d keeled over and fainted when they saw him take off his shirt on the giant screen. Maybe a few guys, too. (I presume that they fainted from lust, although, to be fair, the theater might have been overheated.)
     All females know Chad’s type. You usually see him on the covers of romance novels: that kind of chiseled, masculine man who makes any woman passing by want to drop both her grocery bags and her pants, fling herself down on the sidewalk, open her legs and cry, “Take me now!”

     When he fell for me (hah!), Chad was definitely not a kid any more, but still gorgeous enough to cause massive major-league drooling. His thick hair was perfect, tousled to just the right aw-shucks degree, yet fitting for the finest black-tie affair. His clothing revealed just a bit of bare chest here, just a ripple of an arm muscle there. His lips seemed designed to curl around the rim of a champagne glass, and his charming grin revealed luminous white teeth befitting a toothpaste commercial. If he chanced to glance at a woman, his bedroom eyes twinkled as if he knew all her secret fantasies—and liked them.
     In Chad’s most famous film, he’d had numerous love scenes with a well-known and very beautiful actress, whom I shall call Linda.
     “Chad,” I once asked him, “what was it like kissing Linda in all those romantic scenes you had together?”
     Well, I’ll tell you,” he replied slowly, a great big likeable grin spreading over his face, “The very first time we were in a clinch, it was a scene where we were sitting in a car. The cameras started to roll, so I kissed her. After the director yelled ‘Cut,’ Linda turned to the cameraman and hollered, ‘Retake!’”

 
By this point, you are probably frantic to know all the finer details of the affair I had with Chad.
The movie star.

Except that I didn’t have one.

You see, by the time I knew him, Chad was nearly 90 years old. Granted, he was the hottest nearly-90-year-old man I’d ever met, but the age difference was still daunting. He could have been my grandfather.
     He had reached the pinnacle of his stardom during the 1940s. This explains why women in the cinemas fainted when they saw him shirtless. Women tended to do that more in the 1940s than they do now. (Today a shirtless man would have to be playing a guitar and screaming into a microphone to get that kind of attention.)


     Chad’s Hollywood career had been cut short because he was a member of the communist party; he had been blacklisted during the McCarthy era, and no one would hire him to star in any more films, or so he claimed.
     In addition to being a communist, Chad tended be a little quirky. He was, for example, the only self-proclaimed nudist I have ever met. I personally never saw him strip down, but in his younger years, he apparently frequented nudist camps. (Which makes me wonder if communists have nudist camps…hmm.)
     Another quirk was that Chad had once been what they called a Muscle Man. He worked out and lifted barbells long before it became popular to do so, and it certainly served him well in his senior years. His excellent physique was one of the reasons the producers wanted him to take off his shirt in the movies; he was just about the very first actor who ever did that.


I’d met Chad through our mutual friend, Bob, who happened to be my landlord in a funky little compound in Hollywood. A group of unusual film people lived in this compound, including a world-famous porn star, a professional Santa Claus, cameramen, actors, script supervisors—and me. We were all friends. There was a shared central patio where we would have picnics and parties. Chad, being Bob’s best friend, was welcome to any event we held.
     Even from inside my house, I could always tell when Chad had arrived, because I could smell the pot. Among his quirks, you see, my would-be boyfriend was what they call a stoner. An inveterate pot-smoker, he proudly grew his own marijuana and he would always light up a joint the moment he entered our patio. I personally hate illegal drugs, and am not even all that crazy about the legal ones. Everybody else in our compound pretty much stuck to booze to get their jollies.
     Except for Chad.
     Who was almost 90, remember?


He continued to smoke pot until one eventful Labor Day, when he showed up late for one of our festive outdoor potlucks. Squeezing into a seat next to me on the bench of the picnic table, he silenced everyone and then he made a dramatic announcement to the group:
    
     “Guess what, guys?” said Chad.
     “What?” I shouted. (Chad didn’t hear too well.)
     “I’ve stopped smoking pot!”
     “You’re kidding me!” I said.
     “Why would I be hitting you?”  he replied, confused.
     I raised my voice, shouting directly into his ear, “You really quit?”
     “Yeah, I did. I found out smoking pot is bad for my health.”
     
     We applauded boisterously, and everybody fawned over him for awhile. Meanwhile, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a big white handkerchief that contained a strange kind of loaf wrapped in tinfoil. Was it some kind of weird hors d’oeuvre for the potluck? 
     While I was still wondering what this foil-wrapped goody was, Chad stuck it in his mouth and took a huge bite.
     “Yup, I stopped smoking pot,” he continued, looking very self-satisfied and chewing voraciously. “Now I eat it instead.”
     As the 13-year-olds say: Eeew.
     Perhaps Chad had misinterpreted the term POT-luck.

Chad and my landlord, Bob, were about the same age. Like Chad, Bob was a vehement communist. The two had been friends for decades and both were deeply entrenched in the film business. Bob wasn’t a star, though. He had only done a little acting; his main job was as a script supervisor. He had been trained to do this by John Ford, and had worked with a long list of the giants of film, including John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Joan Crawford and Jimmy Stewart. And Chad, of course.
     Years ago, someone had given Bob a huge paper-mache head of the actress Bette Davis. The piece was worth a great deal of money, but Bob, being a good communist, made a deliberate point of not paying attention to the material value of things.
     We had a metal stake in our patio garden and Bob worried that someone might trip and fall on it, so one day he brought out the huge Bette Davis head and placed it on top of the stake, kind of like a protective knob.
     “Bob,” I cried, “it looks like you’ve impaled Bette Davis’ head on a pike in the garden!”
     Bob had known the actress well. A strange smile crossed his face.
     “Good,” he said, and walked away.

Chad and Bob were quite serious about their communism. They used to get together with a couple of other Hollywood geezers—a famous photographer and a well-known set designer—and the four old men would have meetings that involved a lot of lengthy and intense conversation, head-shaking, wine (pot for Chad), despair, and occasional yelling.
     These aging cronies, all of whom had been blacklisted to some degree or another by Hollywood, embraced communism with the idealism of fresh-faced freckled Cub Scouts. I always suspected that if there were ever to be a communist takeover, Chad and Bob would be among the first to be lined up against the wall and shot. Having a communist for a landlord was very handy, however, so I didn’t complain. Communists—at least the naïve ones—feel guilty if they charge too much for rent, and they readily share things like appliances and household tools. I wasn’t about to rock the boat.
     Besides, it was communism that saved me.

 
     Let me explain. Chad hadn’t asked me out yet. He’d told Bob of his lusty intentions, but I wasn’t supposed to know anything about his longings yet. I dreaded the day when he would reveal his passion to me, because then I would have to reject him. For all his quirkiness and marijuana, he was sweet and I didn’t want to hurt him.
     Chad, it turns out, had been taking prescription pills for high blood pressure. The medicine had an unfortunate side effect. It made him impotent. He confided in Bob that he was planning to discontinue his medication so that he could fulfill his manly duties with me. Unfortunately, doing so would seriously jeopardize his health. What to do? It was a dilemma.
     After Chad shared his secret with Bob, the latter naturally ran straight away to knock on my door of one of my friends in the compound and tell her the whole story. She, in turn, came right over to my house and told me.
     This is how I learned that a movie star wanted my body.



A week passed, and the day I’d been dreading finally came. Chad stopped by and asked if I would come outside and sit with him; he said that he wanted to share something with me. I walked to the patio with a sinking heart. Rejection stinks no matter which side of it you’re on. Bob was also waiting there. I sat between the two of them.
     Chad began to court me in earnest. His way of doing this was unconventional. As soon as I sat down, he grabbed a long, musty yellowing piece of paper and thrust it under my nose.
     “Read this,”  he demanded. Then he sat back with an anxious sigh and waited.
      The paper he handed me must have been well over 50 years old. It had been painstakingly mimeographed, which is the way documents were duplicated in the days before copy machines, and it was crammed with columns of words, words and more words that had been typed in tiny crooked print extending nearly to the edges of the page. There were capital letters and exclamation marks sprinkled excessively throughout the narrow columns. I’d guess that about 2,000 words had been jammed onto that one page.
     While Chad squirmed with anticipation, I politely scanned a few of the sentences. Now, I am a good reader. I will happily read Thackeray or Sir Walter Scott, for example, and enjoy them. I have a volume of Melville on my night table. Trying to make sense of this stuff, however, made my head ache. It was incomprehensible. Typewritten letters formed shrill, ranting sentences that were both illogical and mad. The experience was as unpleasant for my nose as it was for my brain, because the paper beneath my gaze reeked of mildew.
     When I looked up, I saw with dismay that Chad had brought along a huge cardboard box full of similar decaying papers. They had been stored in his garage for years. The poor man had carried all of these tedious, tiresome manifestos to the patio in the hope of sharing his beliefs with me. He imagined that after I read them, I would be inspired to see politics in his pathetic, crazy way, and become a convert to communism.

     He was deluded, of course, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Before I could figure out how to tell Chad diplomatically that it just wasn’t going to happen, Bob reached behind me and nudged him. The two began conversing over my head as though I wasn’t even there.
      “What’s the matter with you? Are you f**king nuts?” yelled Bob, who did not endorse diplomacy in the same way that I did.
      He yelled because of Chad’s hearing loss, although Bob was somewhat prone to yelling regardless.
     “She doesn’t want to read them,” he shouted. “You’re never going to get her that way.”
     “I’m never going to get her in the hay?” replied Chad.
     Close enough.
     “She doesn’t want to read them,” repeated Bob in exasperation.
     “Need them?” asked Chad.
     “READ them. She isn’t going to READ them,” screamed Bob. “Look at her. She doesn’t like them!”
     “No?” Chad seemed surprised.
     “NO!” Bob shrieked.
     “Oh,” said Chad sorrowfully. “That’s too bad.”
     He paused to think for a moment.
     “Well,” he finally said, speaking over my head to Bob as though I weren’t present, “I can’t be with a woman who doesn’t believe in the party.”
     As easily as I had been snagged, without even saying a word, I was off the hook. Like I said, I was saved by communism.

Although it may have been absurd to consider having an affair with Chad, I did enjoy him. He was easy on the eyes, and he told good stories.
     Like this one. When he had been a muscle man, he used to own a gym. His clients had included the movie stars Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas in the days before they became famous.
     Chad fondly recalled a time when he was giving Kirk Douglas a rubdown and, as a practical joke, applied kerosene to Douglas’ testicles. Apparently his poor victim had run naked through the gym, screaming at the top of his lungs.
     Chad laughed and laughed as he told that story. It made me wonder what would have happened to me had I been naked and at his mercy.

Fortunately, that never happened, although I confess that my heart always beats a little faster whenever I watch him take off his shirt in his old movies.

© 2011, M. E. Raines
Copying or reproducing in any form without the author's permission is prohibited.
Please feel free to link to this article.


See Mary Elizabeth Raines' inspiring novel, UNA, available in paperback or for Kindle on Amazon




Friday, December 19, 2014

THE BEST APPLE EVER (A Very Short Story)

by Mary Elizabeth (Leach) Raines

It was the best apple ever. There can only be one, and this was it. Never before or since on earth would there be an apple so outstandingly, scrumptiously good.

Along with thousands of its lesser siblings, the apple got shipped to a supermarket, where some lucky guy picked it out of a bin. His mind was on things other than spectacular apples, though. It fell and he gave it a kick. The apple rolled against the refrigeration unit and lay there, bruised, until the produce manager found it and threw it away.

Sometimes I feel like that apple. 



© 2014, M. E. Raines
Copying or reproducing in any manner prohibited by law
Please feel free, however, to link to this story.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

WHEN I WAS KINKY

by MARY ELIZABETH (LEACH) RAINES

For a while, I lived in Hollywood. During my time there, my dating life was almost non-existent. 


Here’s why:
  1. I was not thin.
  2. I was not blonde.
  3. I was not a member of the Academy.
  4. I was not rich.
  5. I had never had botox or lip plumper, and I possessed my original breasts.
  6. I was not bi-curious.
  7. My idea of doing drugs was to take an aspirin if I had a headache.


That said, I did become the focus of heightened sexual attention one night. It was, as they say, waaaay cool! I was at a party and my becoming an object of lust was completely accidental. It happened like this:

Sometimes by chance, everyone in a room stops talking at the same time and there is a space of awkward silence. We’ve all been there. At the party I was attending, just such a gap occurred—a surprise lull in the flow of chatter. All conversation suddenly dropped away.

Well, almost all. Except for mine. I happened to be making a comment to another party-goer at that very moment. As the other sounds ceased, my remarks were amplified, projected boisterously into the otherwise dead room.

Here’s what I said: “I can get really kinky.”

Everyone heard me.

My declaration was followed by several seconds of stunned silence—reverence, perhaps. (It being Hollywood and all.) Then it was as if someone had turned on the floodlights. In a flash, I became the object of intense and fascinated scrutiny by more than a few turned-on party-goers. I felt sexy! I felt desirable! By golly, it was fun.

They liked me. They REALLY liked me!
But it didn’t last long.

My short sweet burst of popularity came to an abrupt end when the truth about my purported kinkiness emerged. I had only been describing what happens to my hair when it’s humid outside.

Sigh.


Even though my love life was sparse in those years, it wasn’t totally devoid of romance. (For proof, see my previous post, The Movie Star Who Wanted Me.) Occasionally I even dated. Once, for instance, I met a man in a café, and we went out to a nightclub the next evening. He was a well-mannered and good-looking European man who held some promise, even if he was a tad dull…dull, that is, until the end of the evening, when he managed to turn the conversation to a new topic.

My would-be beau began telling me, with animation, about certain women he knew who enjoyed wearing dog collars. That's right. Dog collars. As he spoke, his pupils grew larger—and maybe other parts of him as well. There were some clear hints that he enjoyed being the one who held the leash.

I imagine he was looking for Ruff-Ruff sex.
My response was that I needed to go home (alone!) and do some drugs right away (please note what my propensity for drugs entailed in the introductory paragraph, #7).


Okay, so I was mostly dateless when I lived in Hollywood. I was, however, well entertained, for I lived in a strange little compound populated by movie and TV folk who were themselves somewhat kinky.

In this eccentric show-biz community, for instance, lived Gary, a cameraman from the original Twilight Zone series who wound up committing suicide by hanging himself; we found his body swinging from the rafters. But that’s a story for another day, and yeah, probably not the most shining example I could give of being entertained.


So, okay, another resident of our compound was Santa Claus. Well, actually it was an actor named Harry, but he looked exactly like Santa, with the requisite round tummy, twinkling eyes, snub nose, white beard and jolly laugh.
Harry had started out playing Falstaff in the theater, and had gone on to earn a modest living with bit parts on TV shows like Cheers, Knots Landing, Batman and Night Court. It was when he reached his senior years that Harry found the perfect niche. He became a professional Santa Claus, and enjoyed modest success playing Saint Nick in a number of movies, commercials and TV shows.


Not long after I’d moved into the compound, my landlord, Bob, and I were chatting one afternoon on the street in our favorite spot next to the garbage cans (more about that later), when Harry-aka-Santa came down the steps of his apartment. He walked over to a parked car, where a friend of his emerged.

Lo and behold, Harry’s friend was another Santa look-alike, right down to the cherubic smile and rosy cheeks! The two were the same height, the same heft, had the same white flowing hair and beards, and were even dressed in identical garb. Both wore purple t-shirts. I couldn’t tell one from the other! Confused, I looked at Bob.

“All the professional Santa Clauses in Hollywood know each other,” he said. "They belong to a club."

As I watched, the two Santys hugged. Their hug grew in intensity. They wrapped their chubby arms around each other in an embrace and, belly pressed against belly, gave one another an extremely generous and lengthy kiss. Full on the lips. My jaw dropped and I stood there by the garbage bins, dumbfounded.

Although it may have made my story spicier if I were able to relate having had an affair with Santa Claus, this was not to be. Harry, as it turns out, was quite gay. But at least I can say in all honesty that—hold onto your hats—I saw Santa kissing Santa Claus.

The aforementioned garbage bins from our complex were a favorite gathering place of ours. Whenever cops came into the neighborhood—frequently—or a movie star disembarked from a limo at the studio across the street—also frequently—we would stand by the garbage cans to stare or gossip or exchange greetings.


It was also a fantastic place to hunt for treasures. Most of them were contributed by Lotsa Lotty, a member of our community who had at one time been a famous stripper and porn star.

In her heyday, she’d possessed silicone breasts the size of human heads. Now, decades past her prime and flat-chested after a double mastectomy, she buzzed around the compound in her bathrobe, glasses and curlers, sweeping the sidewalk—for she was a compulsive cleaner—and chattering into her telephone headset.


As a newcomer to the compound, I’d become alarmed one day when I heard groans and screams coming from behind Lotty’s closed door. I ran to Berta, the former Broadway actress who lived across the patio, and breathlessly suggested that we should call 911 because Lotty was making funny noises.


Instead of responding to my panic, Berta sank back onto her divan—Berta spent most of her days reclining on her divan—and murmured, “Oh, I’m so glad to hear that. Lotty really needs the money.” 

It turned out that Lotty, no longer in demand as a porn star, earned her living by doing phone sex. I grew accustomed to seeing her standing at her kitchen sink, ferociously scrubbing a frying pan and waving cheerfully at me through the open window, while crooning words into her headset like, “Oh yes, yes, whatever you want, baby…oooh, ahhh, it’s huge…

Back to the garbage bins. Even in retirement, Lotty often received gifts from her still-avid fans, for she had become a kind of cult figure. Her philosophy was easy-come/easy-go, and she despised clutter. Thus, whenever she grew tired of something, or if a gift wasn’t quite to her taste, she discarded it immediately, regardless of its worth. Lotty would even throw out expensive clothing when she got tired of it, despite the fact that she could have made a tidy amount of cash taking her used garb to a shop that specialized in reselling the clothing of former stars.


A person could find anything from designer pocketbooks to jewelry to appliances lying on top of our garbage cans, waiting for some enterprising scrounger—or me!—to give the unwanted stuff a new home.  

One day I noticed a hair dryer sitting on the garbage cans. It was a big hair dryer. I needed a hair dryer, and this one looked as good as new. Snatching it up, I took it home and tested it. It worked wonderfully and immediately joined my bathroom appliances.


It wasn’t until some weeks later that I had the opportunity to ask Lotty why she had thrown out a perfectly good hair dryer.

“Oh, it’s because of one of my phone-sex clients,” she said. “He likes to call me up and ask me to ‘do it’ with my hair dryer while he talks to me. One day he sent me a new hair dryer to use, so I threw out the old one…”

By association, my hair may be even kinkier than one would ever want to know.


(c) 2011, M. E. Raines
Copying or reproducing in any form prohibited. Please feel free to link to this article.


See Mary Elizabeth Raines' newly released novel, UNA, on Amazon

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

THE SONG OF THE QUEEN


by MARY ELIZABETH (LEACH) RAINES
© 2014, M. E. Raines

“The hive of the honeybee centers around its queen. When the hive needs a new queen, the workers select several larvae from eggs that had been laid in the cells of the honeycomb by the previous queen. The  workers feed these larvae a special substance called royal jelly and the cells they inhabit are later sealed. Because of the royal jelly, the larvae in these particular cells will eventually turn into queen bees. 

“Upon hatching, the very first queen to emerge from her cell begins to make a high-pitched piping sound. She sings to her still-unhatched sisters. From within their cells, they sing back to her. Tracing the location of their cells by the sound of their calls, she finds each of her unborn sisters and stings them to death. This is because there can only be one queen bee.”


Her name was Bodacious Bea and the club where she performed was called, ironically, The Beehive. Bodacious Bea had soft tawny-colored skin, fleshy breasts, and flawless, if spectacularly overdone, makeup. Her glitter-strewn scarlet hair was perfectly curled and coifed, piled high on her head.

On the past Thanksgiving, Bea’s brother had commented rudely about the color of her hair. “That shade of red is not even in the spectrum,” he had remarked, mumbling through a mouth crammed with stuffing and mashed potatoes. “It’s just wrong. Like seeing a blue popsicle.”

He did not approve of her being a drag queen. None of her family did. She consoled herself with the thought that even Jesus couldn’t preach in his home town.

Despite the sneers of her brother, Bodacious Bea was clearly the star act at The Beehive. And everyone always told her that they loved her hair!

“What makes me so special,” she said haughtily in a recent radio interview, enunciating each word carefully and lisping ever so slightly, “is my size. I am sooo not one of those gargantuan, ludicrous imposters. You can see right through them in a second. I am only 5’4”, and except for certain portions of my anatomy, I am very petite.” She rolled her “r” when she said the word very. With a little giggle, she added, “I am feminine, you see, to the hilt.

Night after night, audiences screamed their approval of Bodacious Bea. She had a bit where would return for a curtain call and stand in the spotlight. As the roars subsided, she would bat her eyelashes and cry to the audience, “Ooh, you naughty men! You make me want to throw my panties at you!” Of course, this made them begin to cheer her loudly all over again.

In her mind, it was indisputable: she was the queen of the queens…or she would have been if it weren’t for her rivals, Kurvee Kittee and Luscious Lou-Lou.


It was almost time for the show. Bea was punctual, and she was always ready well before everyone else. Emerging from her dressing room, wearing a snug turquoise sheath that glittered with the garish reflections from thousands of embedded rhinestones, Bodacious Bea minced confidently down the backstage hallway. Her dress was so tight that she had no choice but to mince. It wasn't a problem. She liked to mince.

In a high-pitched piping voice, Bea sang out, “Kittee! Kittee? Where are you? I so need to see you!”

Kurvee Kittee had galloped in only a few minutes ago, and she was decidedly grumpy. From one of the dressing rooms, a masculine voice growled, “What the hell do you want? I’m late, damn it.”

Whenever Kittee was stressed, she fell out of character. She could be decidedly unfeminine. This bothered Bea, who wished that Kittee’s fans could hear her now. Bea herself was always genuine; she never forgot for a moment who and where she was.

Bea opened the door to the dressing room from which the voice had sounded. Kittee, in her underwear, sat awkwardly on a stool before the mirror, legs splayed for balance, and was frantically attempting to glue her false eyelashes on. They kept falling off. Kittee’s red-smeared lips were curled back in a furious, impatient snarl.

Posturing coquettishly with one hand on her hip, Bea moved in behind Kittee and shook her head at the scene. “Oh Kittee, darling,” she crooned, “You always have so much trouble with your makeup...." She leaned in more closely and murmured softly, "You know, honey, I’m not sure you really belong here. You should leave.”

Kittee swiveled angrily around on her stool. She seemed to be preparing to shout obscenities at Bea, but she choked on her words as the latter waggled her hips and departed swiftly from the dressing room.

Re-entering the hallway, Bea turned in a new direction and, in a high-pitched falsetto, trilled out, “Lou-Lou? Oh, Lo-o-o-u? Where are yo-o-o-u?”

“I’m here, Bea, in wardrobe. And oh my god, I need help!”

The sad wobbly alto voice came from behind the clothing rack in the costume department. Bea sashayed over to the gleaming, gaudy garments. It was easy to spot Lou-Lou. 
She hovered high over the rack of clothes, for she was nearly a foot taller than Bea, and she was decidedly not thin. Nobody else was present in the room except for the two drag queens.

Unlike Kittee, Lou-Lou never lost sight of her feminity, but still, in Bea’s mind, she was always just a little bit off the mark. Yes, Lou-Lou tried too hard, but it wasn’t that. Trying too hard and being over the top were expected of the girls. Lou-Lou’s height was a flaw in Bea’s mind, but most of Lou-Lou’s fans enjoyed her gigantic frame. No, the problem was that Lou was just…pathetic. There was something whiney and droopy about her. Her voice constantly quavered and she always seemed ready to burst into tears. Granted, she did a good Judy Garland, despite her size, but otherwise, Bea felt that Lou-Lou was distressingly inferior.

“I just cannot find a thing to wear tonight,” the tall queen moaned helplessly. “I’m retaining water and it’s made me puffy. Nothing fits!”

Bea wanted to make a bitchy comment about the three puffy beers and two puffy cheesteak subs that Lou-Lou had wolfed down last night when they went out after the show, but she held her tongue.

Grabbing a large-sized emerald green frock from the rack and moving around to the other side to get closer to Lou-Lou, she warbled, “Why don’t you try this one on, dear?”

The dress served as a shield when she stabbed Lou-Lou. She didn’t want any more blood to spatter her turquoise gown the way it had when she had cut Kittee’s throat…although she realized that the audience might simply see the red spots as a wonderfully chic way of balancing out the glorious red color of her hair.

That night Bea gave the most splendid performance she’d ever given! The audience went wild! They loved her! They couldn’t get enough of her! It was the best night of her life. Bodacious Bea was truly the queen of queens!


A year later, sitting with her legs crossed on a chair in her prison cell, impatiently thumbing through a magazine, she came across the article describing the behavior of honeybee queens. Bea reflected sadly upon this. Why did the rules for one species have to be so different for another? She sighed, and wished she could freshen her lipstick. They would not let her wear her makeup in prison.

It wasn’t so bad, though. She still quite popular. She looked good in orange. And she was the only queen on her cell block.