Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hot Excerpt: The Drag Queen of Elfland

The Drag Queen of Elfland and Other Stories
by Lawrence Schimel
ISBN: 978-1-61390-051-2
Word Count: 47,500
List Price: $5.99

As if eager for the sight of him naked, the fronds of Glenn’s potted palm poked around the shower curtain to drink in the splashed droplets as he shaved his legs beneath the warm spray. They drank in the timbre of his voice, a smoke-husky contralto splashing against the tiles in a cascade of notes:

I asked an old man, what is love…

Glenn paused suddenly, listening. He shook the water from his ears, and again listened for the strain of music he had just heard. He had thought, at first, that it was a melody running through his head, but he was certain now it had been coming from outside somewhere. He had never before heard the tune, and it ran counter to the song he’d just been singing; he’d never been able to summon a melody while singing or listening to another. Glenn cut the water and strained to hear the music again. Silence. No… there it was. Like a trill of flutes, or perhaps voices in falsetto. He listened to them for a moment, before they dropped away once more. Glenn wondered who might be singing or playing. He gave a mental shrug and turned the water on again. He began to sing once more, running the razor upward along his shin toward the knee. He wanted not to need to hurry. He had always hated needing to get dressed in a hurry; his transformation was a process that shouldn’t be rushed.

Glenn frowned at himself in the dressing room mirror and forced himself to yawn, trying to pop his ears. There’d been an almost-constant ringing in his ears since he sang his first set upstairs, a ringing that sounded just like that odd snatch of notes he’d heard at home when he was in the shower. Only it was no longer a melody, but a constant nagging whine. Glenn began to wonder if something were wrong with him. He hoped it wasn’t an ear infection; he didn’t feel any pain or dizziness, just heard flutes. He’d been perfectly fine until he began his first set. But by the end of the first song, the trill was there, distracting him–and now alarming him. He’d thought at first that he was again imagining that same song he’d earlier heard, or had thought he heard. Only it didn’t go away. Glenn stretched his jaws wide again and breathed through his nose. What if he--

There was a knock at the door, interrupting his train of thought.

“One moment,” Glenn called out. It was always best to make them wait, even if you were ready for them. He looked himself over in the mirror and pinched his cheeks to give them more color.

The door opened anyway, ignoring his command. Richard slipped in and crossed quickly to where Glenn sat.

“You were wonderful,” he whispered, nuzzling Glenn’s ear, one hand massaging either shoulder.

“Why, thank you. How sweet of you to say so.”

“No, it’s you who’s sweet.” Richard began to nibble his way down Glenn’s pale neck. He sucked the flesh where the muscle met the collarbone.

“Mmm. Don’t. You’ll leave a mark. I’ve got another set tonight.”

“I know. That’s why I came back. The Landis Project is due tomorrow and I’m afraid I’m going to have to run home now and get back to work on it.” He lightly kissed Glenn’s shoulder again, and looked up at him in the mirror. “But, save this for me for later?”

“Sure thing.” Glenn gave his boyfriend a peck on the cheek, leaving a perfect lipstick mark.

“I’ll never wash again!” Richard cried, cupping one hand over his cheek. Glenn swatted him on the ass with one elegantly gloved hand.

“It’s no fair. You get to leave a mark.” Richard crossed to the door. “Just you wait until later.” He disappeared into the hallway before Glenn had the chance to respond.


Glenn stared at his reflection again, wondering what to do? If you can’t beat ‘em, he reflected glumly, join ‘em. He began to hum, trying to match pitch with the noise in his ear.

Glenn shook his head vigorously, trying to dislodge the ringing in his ears. His wig began to slide off; he hadn’t bothered to change before leaving the club, wanting only to go home and sleep and hope the sound was gone in the morning. But he’d promised Richard he’d come over–which was why he was sitting on the steps of a brownstone, trying to get a better grip of himself before continuing on toward Varick Street. Glenn didn’t really feel like going to bed alone tonight, anyway. He was afraid he might need someone there, if something really were wrong with him. And he wanted someone to hold onto. Maybe sex would take his mind off those damned flutes. Or voices. Or whatever they were.

Glenn began to sing “I’m Nothing Without You,” hoping to drown out their constant ringing by concentrating on a different melody. It didn’t help. In fact, it made things worse. The ringing redoubled in volume. Glenn kept singing out of spite, refusing to let his body do this to him; his voice was his biggest comfort in life, not to mention how he earned a living these days. He would not let anything take that pleasure away from him.

And then Glenn was holding onto the song because he saw shadows approaching quickly from behind him. Fear made his stomach clench, ice-cold.

Don’t run, he told himself. It will only make things worse. If they thought he was a woman, they might want to rape him. If they knew he was a man, they were probably out fag-bashing. Or maybe they meant to rape him anyway, their irrational homophobia leading them, or giving them the excuse in their own minds, to perform those very acts they abhorred. Resolutely, Glenn kept singing, but he was alert and on edge, adrenaline racing through him.

Suddenly, they were around him. Tall. Aryan blond.

“The Queen is dead,” one said.

“You’re her heir,” another said.

There was nothing Glenn could do to stop them; they had him outnumbered, some sort of cult from the sound of it. He knew he should keep his mouth shut, but he couldn’t resist quipping to himself, “I’m certainly having a bad heir day.”

One of them grabbed him.

The ringing in his ears rose to a deafening pitch. Of all the times for his ear infection to act up! The world around him dissolved into vertigo; waves of black, then gray, then white.

Circlet Press digital titles are also available at the Amazon Kindle Store, B&, Smashwords, Kobo, Apple's iBookstore, Fictionwise, and many independent booksellers via Google ebooks, as well as specialty ebookstores like All Romance eBooks, Weightless Ebooks, Trapezium, and Rainbow eBooks, to name just a few! (Please let us know if your favorite source for digital books does not carry this title and you want them to.)

No comments:

Post a Comment