A Drag

By Robert Russell

 

I’ve lived a double-life for as long as I can remember. Two sides of a torn piece of paper. One side tattered, burned, defiled. The other side, clean, new, awaiting experience.

           My insane mother tried to put me into an institution when I was just a boy. “Pray the gay away,” she would always say. I knew what I was early on, and I wasn’t afraid of that. I was miserable, yeah, that’s a fact, but I wasn’t afraid of what I was, who I was. I was afraid of her, not myself. I was only afraid of her, not even the animals. Hell, I was God to the animals.

            At seventeen, I snuck out to my first gay bar. Had the time of my life. I danced and danced under the flashing lights, bass blaring, rattling the walls. The air was a beautiful pungent and then, from the corner of my eye, I saw her.

            She graced the stage, conquering it in a show of robust glam. Her confidence filled me, singed my skin, and I saw my reflection in her. Her sharp yet fluid movements clad in fabulous garb, the distinct timbre of her voice, that shimmering flaxen hair, that was me. That was my true form.

 A year later, I left home and hit the road like a dragster, haha get it? I took life by the balls and never looked back. Finally, I was Liz.

            Each show was a rush, euphoric, almost orgasmic. The crowds clamoring, the lights blinding, the music thumping, I was a goddess. Born from the flame in my heart, the goddess I was always meant to be. The way people fawned over me was intoxicating, powerful. Finally, people loved me. I was the puppeteer, the crowd my marionettes.

            I rose to the top. Sold out gigs in every city by the age of twenty-one. I killed. Everybody wanted me. But, like the cancerous cyst that she was, my mother slowly came back to haunt me.

            I would hear her voice in the dressing rooms. See her face in the mirror. Hear that crack through the air, and I would shudder, anticipating that imminent lash. But she was not there. She was gone. I had won.

            The shows ensued, and soon I had needs. You know, those kind of needs. Luckily I found my relief in a roadie named Arthur. He was a beautiful lover, soft, smart, quick. I began to fall for him, as one is wont to do. We spent so much time together, it was bound to happen.

            But to my demise, one night after a performance I walked in on him with someone else. I don’t know what he was thinking, my dressing room. I was heartbroken. He pleaded and pleaded for weeks to me to take him back, and ultimately I caved. Out of pity of course.

            I pitied him because I had been plotting my course of comeuppance from the moment I walked in and saw them there. He should have locked that door.

            I slashed his throat open with an axe.  

            I peered into those eyes of terror staring back at me in muffled confusion, and I sat before him as a fountain of his warm blood bathed me, rejuvenating my skin. He choked and gagged in a symphony to my ears. It didn’t take long before the bedroom was coated in crimson and reeked of copper mixed with Daisy by Mark Jacobs.

            My mother spoke to me in adoring affectations. Probably for the first time. But her words quickly evaporated. She was gone. I had won.

            I had conquered her, just like Arthur, and those little animals back when I was a boy too. I had conquered them all like I had with the stage. I bathed and basked in their blood like glory. Liz is short for Elizabeth. Elizabeth Báthory.