Meet Queensie the resident manager, who decorated Screaming Mimi’s Café with a Spanish flair matching his Carmen Miranda alter-ego.
The Ruby Red Slipper Retirement Home for Aging Drag Queens was located in Savoie,
Louisiana (population 783). It was imperative that aging drag queens counted on sustenance and continuous noshes in a most pleasant and appetizing surrounding. Queensie, resident manager, decorated Screaming Mimi’s Café with a Spanish flair matching his Carmen Miranda alter-ego. Inside the dining room, things not real were real. A large dining room had dimmer switches — (“makes everyone look pretty, ya know”) — and bright white stars hand-painted on the dark blue ceiling. Spanish shawls draped over fake balconies that Queensie built himself with leftover plywood from his favorite Homo Depot store. His resident girls fantasized they were dining inside a Spanish palace in Madrid. Murals of nude male flamenco dancers were painted on dark, crimson red walls while salsa melodies played in the background. This was not just about digesting three meals a day; it was a glamorous place for retired drag folk who savored civilized Southern dining. And the food was “slap-yo-mama’s-ass” good!
Queensie wanted familiar Southern food for his hefty ladies —waffles with fried
chicken, fried plantains, lox and bagels for the Jewish gays, and strong chicory coffee and
Beignets for the Catholics gays. However, on special occasions, he made creative cocktails and penis cakes while offering lap dances to residents in his Carmen Miranda outfit. Lunch and dinner depended on the day of the week. Mondays was red beans and rice since the gays had to do their laundry all day; Tuesdays was spaghetti and meatballs; Wednesdays was fried chicken; Thursdays was meatloaf and mashed potatoes; and Fridays always a seafood dish plucked fresh out of Lake Pontchartrain.
Two waitresses worked the restaurant. Stella Mae owned the mornings and Hairy Mary
was the evening shift. Both were over six-foot four, a forty-six-inch pant size, with puffy auburn wigs, flip flops, white nurses’ dresses and matching vintage nursing caps. Hairy Mary was known for his hairy toes and flip-flops and prepared you for a buzz-kill appetite. They both loved the perk of free food and as much as the whalebones in their girdles could handle.
“Where y’at dawlin’?” Stella Mae and Hairy Mary announced, taking orders.
“You want yer seafood in batta, dawlin’?” Hairy Mary mumbled with pen in hand. “You
want yer ersters dressed wit lots of mayo and a red drink?” She knew exactly how to work the room and what each resident wanted every day of the week.
Awright, heart, gib me some of dem shrimps wit lots of mayo! An trow in one a dem alligator pears” (New Orleans avocados), a diner announced across the room.
“Whatever you ax for, sweet potato.”
If a resident had a birthday, Hairy Mary and Stella Mae slammed through the double
chrome kitchen doors carrying the biggest sheet cake shaped pyramid. Chocolate with caramel icing, a dozen blond Ken dolls dressed in long, red, sequined dresses perched in a circle on top of the cake. Each wore a rhinestone tiara attached on their heads with the word “QUEEN” mounted just perfectly. Mary and Stella knew that if they dropped that damn cake, some hormonally- imbalanced drag queen would take hot candelabra candles from the table and gouge out eyeballs.
Cake or death? Queensie knew that damn sheet cake would arrive fluffy and fresh, with no debauchery allowed.
Following each decadent meal, the girls flowed into the “dance galley” for a little twist-
and-shakin’-a-booty. Short, stout Bang Bang had a tiny fashion emergency when he twisted his ankle sliding into his long-lined girdle before dinner one evening. No time for an E.R. visit. Problem solved. He wrapped his foot in an Ace bandage, covered it in foil paper, scrunched the ends while hot-gluing black lace and pink bows on top. His leg was propped on an arm chair at the dining table and became an exquisite sculpture for the evening. Bang Bang received so much attention and, most important, he didn’t feel cheap and poor.
One of Queensie’s best friends, Edna Earl, smashed on copious amounts of Dirty
Martinis, had a chard of steak relocate inside his throat. All hell broke loose and Queensie
remained calm. He sashayed behind Edna’s chair, wrapped his huge burly arms around said sequined dress and pushed. Out flung the charred piece of steak across the table! Edna Earl, most relieved, took a wee sip of martini (just to flush any remnants down), straightened his jewelry, and cleared his voice while dancing resumed.
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph, sweetie, I thought I was going on to my sweet rewards. I need
to give big money to Saint Jude tomorrow,” said Edna Earl with relief. After all, he was a devout Catholic, attended Our Lady of Lourdes Church each morning of his life, and drank like a fish. “Enough already with the Saint Jude. Look, bitch, hang on to your money; there’s lots of shopping in our future!” demanded Queensie.
Queensie decided to make a speech after saving Edna’s life on that particular Saturday night. It calmed the girls’ last nerves.
Queensie then toasted the crowd with his crystal goblet, and the residents cheered. He
wanted to blow out the candles quickly on the cake and have everybody get the hell out. In his mind, when the party was over, enough was enough. Queensie, always nervous and on high alert, wanted to be home at the Ruby Red Retirement Home on his Temperpedic mattress with a good book of porn and a vodka tonic. He believed it safest being in bed smoking a Viceroy along with a hand mirror, probing facial pimples.
As dinner ended, the girls dove into the cake with one last finger lick, smacked their lips
and were as content as fat cats on a porch in summer. Eventually, all the retirees were in a sugar coma. It was time to return back to their rooms, slap wigs off sweaty scalps, unsnap bustiers, kick off stilettos, and fall into bed.
Just another evening of fine dining at the Ruby Red Retirement Home.
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