Drag Queen on a Stool

“You would need to be on drugs for this to be more fun than it is,” I say to Prometheus.

I lean back against the shuttered window of the Stud, watching two tall, lanky boys suck face a few feet away. They are oblivious to the rest of the bar, people squeeze past them with cocktails in their hands. My new t-shirt clings to me, sweat coloring it two shades under the arms and along the crevice of my chest. A small decal of a big-toothed creature sits high on the front of my shirt. Beneath it are the words, “Dirty Monstah”.

We watch the two boys devour each other. Prometheus pumps his fist in the air, “Tall and lanky is my type,” he says in my ear.

We had danced for an hour on the ever-tightening floor, our moves slowly circumscribed as the boys wearing t-shirts with little decals pulled their lesbian girlfriends in leather pants and cowboy hats in for the groove. Pushed against the go-go box, I watched a pale, thin boy with a mohawk above me jerk to the music as the lights wash over him. His hand hit my head. “Sorry,” he said, but I just smiled. Go mohawk boy, go.

I bring my humpy Imaginary Friend tonight. He dances with us, I pull him by the hand, I touch the small of his back. I lift the back of his shirt and slide my hand into his waistband to feel his warm skin against my fingers. He is the hottest boy in the bar.

I sit on the ledge with Prometheus, our backs against the shuttered windows. Between my legs there is a stool upon which the Imaginary Friend sits, his back to me, his hands on my knees. He fades in and out, then suddenly a very tall drag queen with a blonde shock wig yanks the stool away and drags it over to the long line waiting for the private bathroom. She sits and lets her high heels hang from her outstretched toes.

For a few seconds I miss it, the closed door, the swallow or the snort, the lightning juice filling me, the night opening up.

“Mikey!” I look up and see him walking my way. Chest forward. “I’ve been thinking about you.”

I hug him sitting down. “Is this your boyfriend?” he whispers to me. He means Prometheus.

“No, he’s my friend.”

He ignores Prometheus, turns to me. “I lost that poem.”

“Which one?”

“The one about the hands, you know, the ‘traffic on La Salle filters in only one direction.”

“Ah. I’ll send it to you again.”

“No! Don’t even say it, you won’t. You know you won’t.”

“I will. I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it.”

“Okay, okay.”

“You still seeing that guy?”

“Yeah, what about you?”

I sigh. “I got a long-distance thing going on. We haven’t met yet.”

“You haven’t met him yet?”

“No, soon. Very soon. We met through my writing. He does his own art. He likes my writing.”

“Your ex didn’t get your writing, did he? I remember you saying that.”

“Right.”

“I still believe you and I would be together if you hadn’t been with him.”

I smile. Whatever. “Right,” I say.

“I lost my friend, I gotta find him,” he says. He pats my knee, leaves without saying goodbye to Prometheus.

“Who was that?” my friend asks.

“Trouble from my past,” I say. “He’s uh…he’s very much a Type A.”

“Yeah, I got that.”

I stare out at the boys walking past.

“Everything looks different when someone’s in your head,” I tell him.

“You must get tired explaining.”

“I do. You can’t. How do you say it?”

He nods. “Shall we go?”

“Yeah.”

A line of boys wait out front. We’re leaving at the peak of the night. Perfect timing. The cool night air against my wet shirt. “Thanks for coming out tonight,” Prometheus says. My jeans are hanging low. I pull at the damp waistband. Three blocks to the car.

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