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Drag Queens, Port Wine Stains & Not-So-Under Undercover Cops

UnknownI looked at Miss Gilpin’s lovely brown hair and resisted the urge to stroke the perfect flip grazing her shoulders, to bury my head on her shoulder and finger the silky polka dot scarf knotted around her neck.

She pointed at Uncle Chap’s face with a manicured finger and asked in a low voice, “Why did you color his face purple?”

Melanie Fisher, the dirty-necked girl who sat in front of me, turned around in her desk, waiting for my answer.

“Because it is,” I said.

Uncle Chap’s birthmark covered almost half his face. My brother Donnie thought it looked as if an evil villain had poured paint on his face while he slept. To me, it looked like lumpy grape jelly smeared out from his left ear, reaching up and circling his eye, spreading across his cheek, dripping down beneath the frayed collars of his khaki work shirts.

“God made him like that,” repeating to Miss Gilpin what my mother had told me, “he was born purple-faced.”

~Excerpt from a short-story-in-progress by Nancy Nygard

 

jayne_by_leee_childersI spiraled out of my living room into timelessness to meet him.

“Downtown Portraitist of the Demimonde” the obit called Leee. Unwieldy title, I thought. More details explained, “the photographer of Warholians, punk musicians, club kids, drag queens, and other denizens of late-night downtown life told an inside story of a vibrant musical era in New York City and elsewhere.” Two photographs, one of David Bowie looking out the window of the Trans-Siberian express in 1973 and the other of the drag queen Divine in 1974, illustrated Leee’s art.

Born poor, working class and southern, Leee always wanted more. The obit gave a story he had provided in an interview. He told Warhol he wanted to be a photographer; in that case Warhol told him, he should just call himself one. “Say you’re a photographer, and you’re a photographer.” Warhol pointed across the room to Candy Darling, a great drag queen, and said, “Look at her. She says she’s a woman. She is.” That’s how Leee made his start.

~Excerpt from personal essay-in-progress by Ruth Roberts 

 

poolhall SNIT was the Shoshone Narcotics Intervention Team. They were a multidisciplinary troupe of cops, probation officers, and malcontents who foraged pool halls, bars and softball teams for anyone with excess energy. They usually caught meth heads because, for one thing, everyone knew what everyone else did in Shoshone County, so they really didn’t need a special squad to catch drug users. But they also had a grant to comply with, and boxes of SNIT baseball caps that they wore all over town. It was not a secret who the undercover cops were.

~Excerpt from “Methodology”, a short-story-in-progress by Mark Radoff 

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