By: David Stokes

The other night, I attended the birthday party of a friend’s brother. I arrived after work and didn’t realize the theme of the night – “Slut Carnival” – and so did not dress appropriately.

The host suggested I unbutton my shirt. Actually he just unbuttoned it.

I grabbed a beer from the kegger just in time before the drag show started in the front yard of the house. People passing by on the street gathered to watch. The event was gaining spectators at about four times the rate Barbie Jo Bontemps was losing her clothes. One spectator commented: “Bringing the Village to ‘Blandsdowne.’ I love it.” Harder to say what the opinion was of another spectator, a slightly more distant one: the neighbor across the street. He and his wife stood on their front stoop, staring, cell phones in hand. “He’s probably calling the cops.” “Unless he’s calling his relatives in India.” All the while, from the kitchen window, their pre-teen son stared at the festivities, an obvious fan. A TV was on and forgotten behind him. “He can’t really complain…weird people come to that house at all hours. It’s odd, frankly.” The police never came. After much merriment, the show ended, and much of the cheering throng, plus a few new additions, decamped to the adjacent alleyway. Nicknamed “Lesbians Alley” for that word being graffitied on the wall with great poise and a heart for the dot on the i, this spot soon becomes the life of the party. Another neighbor has decided to join, and hands me a bottle of wild turkey. A short older man, he looked a bit like David Lynch. He took stock of his surroundings. “This place used to be very hard. I saw people shoot up here. Police busted here regularly. But that was a long while ago, now.”

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