Bobby made his apologies to Steve and eventually all was forgiven.
Paul told Bobby that he was proud of him and there were no more discussions of full-time jobs for the rest of that Summer.
Soon it was November and Bobby’s 19th Birthday.
Bobby and a group of other ‘radical’ queers got loaded and decided that the drag queens of Charleston had to go.
They broke into the theatrical supplies room of the local bar and wrecked the stereo equipment.
A busted stereo was like a bad case of laryngitis for a drag queen.
The next morning Bobby woke up with regret and a hangover.
Paul had invented a game when Bobby was 16.
Paul called it “Holding Court.”
It was designed to teach Bobby the proper way to speak English by speaking
as if one had a role in a royal court.
Paul’s character was Paulina Elizabeth Alexis de la Calle, the Regent of South Carolina.
Bobby’s was Lilith Asherah, the High Priestess of Judea and all things digressive.
Maurice was simply the Duchess of Northwoods. (mall)
“Ahhh, High Priestess!” said Paul, as Bobby stumbled through the door, “We understand that you are declared anathema by the Nuns of The Realm.
“Yes, your many several selves; we are null, void and anathema.”
Paul sipped a mostly Bourbon and water, “Our most adored consort, Joe, has acquired a concubine from Michigan. She calls herself San-dy…Sandy: as in grit. Are there beaches in Michigan, High Priestess?”
Bobby lit a cigarette, “I think they got a lake, Paul,” then he grinned with joy, “Gee, I’m sorry to hear Joe done you like this!…I guess that’s the end of him!”
Paul flashed a scheming look: “Not at all High Priestess! I’ve invited Joe and ‘Sandy’ to dinner this evening. The High Priestess is a required guest!”
Paul rose and crossed to the stereo: “A little Mozart, High Priestess?”
Bobby nodded and asked to read the album cover.
Bobby read everything.
“The Duchess of Northwoods!” announced Paul, and Maurice sashayed into the room.
“Well if it ain’t the Hah Priestess of Jew-dea! Honey, your name is filth in THIS city!!”
“Now now,” said Paul, “don’t be too hard on the High Priestess. She thought it was an exorcism. ”
Maurice laughed. “The Drag Queens of Charleston are possessed and gunnin for ya, Miss Bobby.
“Maurice crossed one long leg primly over the other: ”Dwight said last night that I was standin’ between HIM an’ TRUE happiness! He didn’t know what happiness was till HE met ME!!!”
Dwight was the on again off again, sometimes straight but always married with children, boyfriend that Maurice had dated for over a year.
Bobby got into character: “Dwight was indeed MIZ-rable before the Lord God and the Lord God in HIS infinite mercy didst send you Dwight that he may know you and thus know joy! “
Bobby joined the Crucifix with the Star of David and gestured at Maurice.
Paul took a long sad gulp of his drink: “It IS indeed a miserable world. And you never what life’s tides might “drag” ashore: sometimes it’s sand and sometimes it’s Sandy!”
Maurice scowled: “You still chasin’ that tacky little Sailor? Has he put out yet?
Paul gave Maurice a curt little smile:
“We do not chase and we do not expect the people we chase to ‘put out’. We have invited Joe and Sandy to attend court this evening and will serve them our specialty: Coq au Vin. YOU are invited too—given your fondness for things French.”
Paul referred to the fact that Maurice had named his room, Le Petit Versailles.
John giggled: “You’re up to something, ain’t you Paul. You and that fugitive from the projects ovuh there!”
The Regent Mixed herself another Bourbon and Water and smiled mysteriously.