What happens when the world comes to an end, the dead are walking around stinking up the place, and all you’ve known is over? There isn’t much use for your 60 words per minute or your excellent research skills. But, if you happen to be drag queens and burlesque performers, perhaps you do have some skills that won’t go to waste after the apocalypse. After all, everyone needs a bit of entertainment.
Follow the tales of Monkey and her friends as they get on with life in a corpse ridden world. After all, the show must go on.
The joke where the golf club represents a phallus
Lots of people complain all the time about how weird things are. “It’s so alien to me, getting my water from a well”, “I feel like I’m in a nightmare and I want to wake up”, “Can things get any weirder? The dead are walking around for crying out loud!”.
Thing is, apart from the undead walking around bit, my life was already a little weird by some people’s standards anyway. My good friends and colleagues were drag queens and strippers, we were always surrounded by laughing girls pretending their crystals were diamonds and their lambrini was champagne. God I miss lambrini. There was always someone choking us up with glitter body spray and hardly anyone ever remembered to bring tit tape. All of us had at least one routine related to our university degrees, and few of us wore safety thongs. Every day was drama, every show a high.
So actually, life didn’t change all that much for us in the weird stakes. We still wanted to make people laugh, we wanted to move people. We wanted to do what we had always done – “celebrate sexuality, sensuality, body positivity and joyous creative expression” as Ms Phlegm always said. So, y’know, we did. We did it to it. We got it done. Everyone loved us.
I remember this one time, we were holed up in this village for a good year and a half. We’d had to leave the city, it was completely overrun with the corpses and smaller places were safer, always fewer of those stinking buggers. It was such a nice place, really lovely people. They laughed when we arrived in our little bus. We were an absurdity beyond absurd. Feathers, thongs, Ms Phlegm’s ridiculous platform shoes that took her to a good 7 feet tall. And then there was me, 5 foot nothing and previously rotund, now in the most ill-fitting clown-like clothes thanks to the forced “apocalyptic diet”. Bourbon Street Betty’s leather jacket had seen better days and people were kinda creeped out by the small bones she had threaded through the left arm of it, trophies – her corpse kills from when it all started, strange how decorative an ulna can be. And of course the beautiful Kitty Kat and Baby Blue turned heads immediately. We were a breath of the ridiculous through their dire lives, and that was before we even did anything, like y’know, perform.
So our shows went over really well. Just what the doctor ordered. Some of the locals helped us clear out the village hall. It was completely torn down at one end so we fenced it off real good, leaving the staging area outside. People could crowd around, it was nice. We didn’t charge much, some people paid cash most paid with food, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, stuff like that. They were considerate people. Our shows always drew them out. It also drew the corpses out, which actually was a pretty good idea – they’d all be there huddled against the fence, so after the show we could all go out and just smash their heads in. Productive and cathartic.
The night I’m recalling now, was the one with the golf clubs. We had been there maybe a year, some of the locals had even joined in doing skits and stuff. It wasn’t just a travelling burlesque show any more – we had musical recitals, book readings, comedy. Whatever the locals wanted to try their hands at, we had room on our bill. By this time though, the car battery we had had our tinny, only-one-speaker-working, boom box wired up to, gave out. We had thought of replacing it, but batteries were more of a priority for cars, so this local guy, insisting we call him “Honkytonk” dragged the piano from the back of the hall and set it up next to the stage. You haven’t heard awesome until you’ve heard the theme from True Blood played on an out of tune piano with 1/5 the keys missing. Honkytonk did love to play that tune.
I was on the door that night, a mixed bag of making sure patrons dropped some payment into the box, whilst keeping the corpses from getting too close with the sharpened pool cue that came in handy for poking through their eyes. Blam, squish. The audience were filling the room about an hour before the show, grabbing the distilled nastiness that passed as hooch and finding the good seats, whilst Phlegm warmed them up with funny tales and a couple of show tunes.
I was just basking in the glow of self-satisfaction after managing to get two stinkers right through the face in one punt (to be fair to them the one in front was fairly decomposed so it kinda just slid home), when Betty came to grab me. “Leave that to Kitty” she said grabbing the cue and pushing it into Kitty’s waiting hands. “We’ve got a job to do.”
There was that grin on her face which she usually gets when creating a new routine or killing corpses. I was a little worried.
“Phlegm is going to do that golf club bit.” She said dragging me out the door. She slammed her knife into a couple of passing skulls as we made our way to the market place. Sun was near going down so it would all be closing up soon. I kept watch for and trailing corpses whilst Betty perused the assortment of oddities at ‘Friendly Jack’s’ stall. A couple of machetes, but mostly weapons made of random objects – a whole rack of sharped pool cues and some polished cake tins intended as a projectile weapon. There was a golf club on a small rack, which Betty grabbed and looked over.
“Meh.” She commented. I looked over. “It won’t do.” I saw what she meant – the club end had been removed and sharpened, so it wouldn’t really look too much like a golf club if you were at the back of the audience. It was an ex-golf club. “You got any real ones?” She asked. Jack thought it over and went into the shed at the back of his stall, finally dragging out a golf bag full of clubs. “Haven’t converted these yet.” There were maybe six clubs, all kinds. Y’know big clubby ones, thin sorta ones – I don’t know golf clubs. “Excellent, we’ll take one”. Betty told him.
A really creepy, wide smile spread across Jack’s face. “£200” he told us. Betty swore and glared at him. I raised an eyebrow, this man was always such a dick. “Ok, you can hire it – £150 for an hour. Unless…” he licked his lips and trailed off. I shuddered. Creep.
“Ok”, Betty nodded. She had that grin she gets when she kills corpses…
“Monkey, get yourself back to the show and tell Phlegm to go ahead, I’ll be right there.” Sometimes her grins scared me. I made my way back, blammoed a couple of corpses on the way, they were mostly all gathered to watch the show now that Honkytonk had started to play. I got to back of the hall and gave Phlegm a nod. The audience quietened down straight away as she started to address them. “A drag queen, a stripper and a priest go to the golf course…”
Betty arrived not a few minutes later, her arms loaded with the golf clubs. “Here, hand these around”. I took a really pretty one, as far as golf clubs go, and passed some on to Kitty and Baby. We made our way to the open end of the hall, through the audience, that at this point was hooting with laughter. “So… Jack?” I asked Betty quietly. Her grin was wide and terrifying. “He’ll live.” Which he did, and he seemed considerably less creepy from then on. Never underestimate a badass stripper who knows how to use a knife better than you do.
We got to the stage with perfect timing. I handed a club up to Phlegm just as she reached the end of the story “… and they’re also great for killing corpses!” The audience howled with laughter. We laughed too as we took our golf clubs and smashed the skulls of the closest corpses the other side of the fence. Phlegm, with the height advantage of platforms and a stage, managed to swing and swipe a head clean off whilst shouting “Fore!”. Fun times.
These characters are based, very vaguely, on real life performers Tiger Tiger (Monkey), Tuesday Laveau (Bourbon Street Betty), Dis Charge (Ms Phlegm), and Ally Katte (Kitty Kat). Story not based on real events… yet.
“The Day we Played Queen” and “Supermarket Sweep”