Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Purse

I was talking with friends and we were swapping stories about P'town. It reminded me of what has always been one of the quintessential P'town experiences for me. I was spending the summer working there, this must have been '79 or '80. In tourist towns, if you work there, you tend to pick up casual friendships pretty easily which are tried on, worn for the season. So it wasn't surprising that I was with a large group of people when we went to the White Party at the Boatslip. I don't particularly remember the party. It was pretty much of a piece with the other blowouts of that time, and Provincetown was a much funkier place. After a lot of drinking and dancing and drugging, the party ended and people began the trek down Commercial Street, either off to Spiritus or to trysts at a guest house with the flavor of the evening. It was one of the summers where there had been a lot of trouble with the local teenage boys bashing gay men.

As we moved down the street, trying to decide whether to attend the fire sale at Spiritus, or just head off to our respective homes we were checking out the other people straggling on ahead of us. Directly in front of our group was a drag queen in full Diana Ross. Big johnny mop wig, green sequin mini dress, matching clutch bag and 3 inch heels, girlfriend was magnificent. Ahead of her were a couple of LaCoste queens, all summer slacks and polo shirts with upturned collars, holding hands.

Miss Ross was an object of much more fascinated interest to us and we were vowing that if she stopped for pizza that we were going to have to talk with her and pay homage to her fabulous ensemble.

A pick up truck that was cruising slowly up the street stopped just short of the LaCoste boys, and 4 teenage boys leapt out and attacked the LaCoste's. It was so sudden that for a moment we were frozen in out tracks. Not so Miss Ross. With a wild battle cry and an amazing turn of speed for someone in stilettos she began swinging her evening bag like some avenging fury, a battle crazed Walkure, and laid waste to the enemy downing them with blows to the head from her bag and then kicking seven kinds of shit out of them with her fabulous pumps!

By the time we made it there to offer any support, Miss Ross had already subdued the ruffians and the cops had, surprisingly, already shown up. The LaCoste's more shaken than injured were comforting each other, one of them crying and Miss Ross the avenging angel stood there eyes blazing, chest heaving as if waiting for anyone to challenge her. The cops had asked us all to stay, so that they could get everyone's version of what had transpired, so we stood there not knowing whether to laugh or cry. Finally, my pal Paul leaned forward and gently touched Miss Ross on the arm. "Honey, what ARE you carrying in that bag?", he asked timidly. "Baby", she said haughtily, "I got my brick in my purse. I'm from New York, and a girl does NOT leave the house unless she has a brick in her purse."