There’ve been moments on this trip when Mitzi wished he’d never suggested it.
Drag queens are rarely the most restful souls to be around. There’s something in the sequins, in the glitter and feathers and paint that leads to dramatics.
Sometimes he’s wondered if it’s not the makeup that creates the urge to be shrill and occasional dreadful, like an asbestos-based compound that brings out the queen in them all. But looking at his travelling companions in the mirror, he concedes it’s certainly the person beneath the paint – Bernadette goes through enough lipstick in a year to keep Maybelline afloat, and she’s calm as a sunny sea, complete with the currents roiling beneath.
Felicia, on the other hand, is a bitch and a half – or would be if he were female. As a drag queen, he’s more than enough of a prick for anyone to handle – he wouldn’t be half so likeable as a woman. In the last few days, Mitzi has wondered if he likes Felicia a bit too much. He may not know what he is, but he fucking well knows what he’d fuck, no strings attached.
As people go, Felicia is all strings.
And these are his travelling companions on the way to the woman Anthony Belrose left behind. Who was, by the bye, if not perfectly happy to be left behind, at least moderately resigned to the fact that her husband was never going to be the kind who went down for a pint of Tooheys at the pub after clocking off and came back sometime after the chips and gravy had gone down with no stomach for rissoles.
Then again, Marion preferred the woman Anthony Belrose left her for – Mitzi Del Bra – to Anthony. Anthony might have been respectable, she said, but Mitzi was much more fun.
No wonder Mitzi was fucked in the head.
At this precise moment, Mitzi was thinking he was seriously fucked in ways other than the head or the arse. The first was unfortunately unavoidable, the second would have been preferable, but the actual situation was essentially Felicia getting bored on the road from mile after dusty red mile boring his eyeballs until they were ‘dry as an orgy without the Vaseline’.
"I don’t think I can take any more stories about your high school days," Bernadette said as she laid on her bed her eyes fixed on the ceiling. Why she’d chosen the bus over Bob and his Ute was beyond Mitzi’s comprehension.
"Darling, more assholes than Homophobes ‘R Us. But I was thinking, to pass the time, we’ll get a little activity going."
Mitzi’s groan wasn’t quite as loud as Bernadette’s. "No! No more of your games."
"Just one, then we’re done. Promise. Cross my heart and hope to die."
"I hope you’ll die," said Bernadette with not quite as much viciousness as she would have mustered before the attack in Coober Pedy. "In fact, I’ve been praying every night to the God of Drag—"
"—That Felicia will die and I’ll never have to listen to ABBA again."
"Until we get back to Sydney," Mitzi offered.
"Those pricks I can deal with," said Bernadette, her reflection sitting up in the rear-view mirror.
"I’m just too big a prick, I guess! But no ABBA ever again? Hellish thought," shuddered Felicia dramatically, angling one hip on the barrier between the cabin and the stairs. "But, no, we’re on the last leg of our trip – the all-important third leg," he leered, "and I’d like to call in a favour."
Mitzi snorted. "After nearly getting spread against a garage door last night, you’ve got no fucking favours to call in."
"That’s why I’m calling in this favour."
The slow curve of the wide corner – more of a highway curve – took no effort to navigate. After two weeks, Mitzi had the wheel and the familiarity of the bus’ weight and pull, to keep them along the road. He looked up, met Bernadette’s gaze in the long rear-view mirror, and rolled his eyes, ignoring Felicia standing just on the edge of his sight, snake-hipped and built like a young god.
"What’s the favour?"
"Well," purred Felicia. "There’s a reason I got called Felicia Jollygoodfellow, after all." The statement came with a wriggle of the hips and a pout of the lips.
Mitzi nearly spat his ciggie, while Bernadette made a noise somewhere between a choke and a splutter. "What? No! You’re fucking kidding."
"I never kid about fucking. Two weeks travelling," Felicia sang, giving Mitzi a squeeze of the shoulder that twitched his shoulder blades like static run down the spine. "Two weeks and not a wood in sight – other than the one Jesus was lying on back in Broken Hill."
"Mate, you’re not using my wood."
"Payback’s a bitch." Felicia licked her lips. "And didn’t Bernie just say yesterday, you can’t keep a good bitch down?"
"No." It wasn’t entirely a token protest. Mitzi was driving, giving his attention to the road. Sort of. And not thinking about Felicia’s head in his lap, tonguing his dick.
Shit. He twitched at the thought, a faint involuntary movement.
Felicia might have been stupid as only the young could be, but he wasn’t blind. "The spirit is unwilling but the flesh is weak."
"You know, Felicia as a Catholic altar boy explains his shit," mused Bernadette, standing up and swaying gently down the aisle to the drinks fridge, now denuded of all but a bottle of Stoli. "Don’t let me stand in your way, Mitzi."
"You’re not suggesting…?"
"Get it out of the system," Bernadette poured herself a tumbler. "Refresh. Or some shit like that."
Whatever she and Bob had been up to last night, Mitzi reflect, it had clearly worn out Bob and mellowed Bernadette. Even with Trumpet, Bernadette had been edgy – then again, Trumpet had been a good fifteen years younger than Bernadette – even younger than Felicia.
Mitzi couldn’t believe he was even contemplating this. "Shit."
"No, darling. Other hole. Although we could arrange something if you really want me to dip in your cocoa. Might be a bit difficult to drive while bending over, though."
And that was an image he really didn’t need right now. "Shut up!"
"I could always use my tongue another way. You’ve only to ask."
No. No. No. You’ve got to be fucking kidding—No. No. No. "All right."
"Choice!" Felicia leaned over him and – oh god – Mitzi could smell the aftershave like a knife in his gut. He had wood even before the hands ran down his chest – a caress he didn’t need.
Blue eyes twinkled in the chiselled face. Youth and beauty and a goddamn sharp tongue, and goddamn clever fingers that had somehow started easing him out of his shorts even without Mitzi’s careful gripping of the wheel and lifting of his hips to assist in getting the waistband down.
Then there were hot lips on him, and god, yes, Felicia Jollygoodfellow fellated like a fucking awesome fellow.
One hand came off the wheel, not to grab Felicia’s neck, but to try to worm its way under muscled shoulder and arm, down to the bulge that protruded between the other man’s legs, while still keeping an eye – and the bus – on the road.
"Oh, for fuck’s sake," muttered Bernadette, growing larger in the rear-view. "Keep your hands on the fucking wheel, Tick. Keep your teeth off his dick, Felicia. If we’re going to do this, then you can do it tastefully and with class."
"Easy to talk about class when it’s not your face in someone’s else’s arse," drawled Felicia.
Mitzi was seeing the road – sort of – but not really paying attention to it. Still, from the corner of his eye, he saw Bernadette’s hand snake around Felicia’s hip, and when Felicia moaned, Mitzi met Bernadette’s eyes in the mirror and grinned at the wicked gleam in the faded eyes, half-panting, even as he struggled to keep the bus on the road.
Later that evening, when they stop for a bite to eat, Bob mumbled something about his food giving him weird dreams, and blushed when Felicia began quizzing him about exactly what kind of weird.
Once again, he met Bernadette’s knowing eye across the table, the Mona Lisa smile.
It was, Mitzi thought, a good end to the first half of their road trip.