“Who am I? Where am I? What am I?” I’m a big orange Pumpkin with little green legs kicking wildly as the chant of I love Lucy reverberates inside my brain. A coachman and two dancing mice are trying to pull me out of my pumpkin patch. Where am I? I’m on stage at the Palace, a Chinese movie theatre in San Francisco and Nixon is about to be evicted from the White House. I think that’s right. It’s October 1973 and a few minutes ago, or maybe it was a few hours ago, some stage hands were squeezing me into a hollowed- out orange bean bag that stretched over my green tights and leotard. I have a green curly wig on top of my head too and gigantic green false eyelashes. I remember that my freshly painted day glow orange bean bag is not completely dry yet, and feels tacky to my touch. The mice and coachman finally pry me loss and are dragging me across the wide stage and when I look behind me, I notice I’m leaving a long orange skid mark on the stage floor as I bounce along. That can’t be good. Now I’m on my feet and the mice and I are dancing a very complicated modern piece to a Tchaikovsky’s overture. I remember all the steps, I did this dance a hundred times during rehearsals, but I didn’t have the costume then. Yeah, the rehearsals when everything was going haywire because half the costumes were unfinished and Goldie Glitters, a 6 foot tall drag queen who is Cinderella is throwing a temper tantrum, and the director, who really is a choreographer, is having a near fatal heart attack. Or that’s what I thought when I saw the large veins in his neck popping out as Goldie blamed him for the screw ups. She kept yelling, “You have turned my dream into a nightmare,” and looked just like one of the Three Sisters in a Chekhov play who put her hair up in the first act, took it down in the second act and then pulled it out in the third. Or was that something Pristine told me Goldie did on the way here to the theatre. Pristine Condition is one of the ugly stepsisters. Now it’s all coming back. The events leading up to now started about 7pm when I read Viva a bedtime story before I told her she had to stay home with one of our friends where we are crashing on Castro Street. I usually never leave her but this night mama has a show to do and everybody is too busy to watch her while I go up on stage. Then I put the last touches of green glitter over my eye lids and Pristine, I call him Prissy for short, hands me a hit of window pane acid. I place the teeny brown celluloid strip on my tongue, and Prissy begins to tell me the story of his life. As the strip begins to melt, I feel a familiar tightness and tickle at the back of my throat as the drug makes its way to my stomach. Prissy was already toasted and in a hyper monologue, told me some gory details of his adolescence growing up in Texas where he witnessed both his parents’ suicides. It was Halloween so I thought he was just making up a scary story for my amusement. He said he got home from school and found his mother dead with her head in the oven and then he walked into his living room and caught his father pulling the trigger on a shotgun aimed at his own head. He described the gory details in such a funny detached way I was certain it was a Texan’s tall tale but he swore it was the truth. Once it sunk in, I began to feel ordinary in comparison to Prissy and that my life growing up in Jersey was almost normal. By the time, we left Castro Street I was pretty baked, but drove my VW bug anyway. I was feeling some remorse for leaving my three-year-old daughter behind but I knew it was best. Usually my little girl and I were attached at the hip but the show wasn’t starting until midnight, and I knew she’d get miserable way past her bed time. I have vague recall of the drive down Geary Street, to the Palace in North Beach and the quick stop off to catch one act of the Angeles of Light’s Halloween Horror Show. All I could see through my windshield were blurry wavy lights and cars making psychedelic patterns on the pavement before me. Tears kept falling from my eyes because Prissy was dishing the Angels and then turned on Goldie. Prissy said that I was the only new cast member that hadn’t given anyone a blow job to get my part and that Goldie cast her Prince Charming right off of Castro Street after he let her blow him in the bathroom of The Midnight Sun. By the time we reached the back stage entrance, my makeup was a wreck and I needed to re-glue the giant lashes that now stuck to my cheeks. Outside the Palace Theatre hundreds of costumed freaks lined the streets waiting for the Chinese patrons to vacate the movie theatre. The crowd looked like Times Square New Years Eve and everybody was dressed to the nines. A mushroom cloud of marijuana smoke hovered over the sea of people and drifted through the air all the way over to where I parked my bug in a back alley. Prissy and I chanted “nam myoho renge kyo” and tried to surround my bug with white light to deflect the police from noticing it was half way in the red zone. As we walked to the back stage door I noticed several guys and girls wearing nothing much but glitter barely covering their private parts. Some guys had glitter in their beards too. A street car stopped and dropped off a whole load of Judy Garland look-alikes and they ascended the bus singing, “Ding- ding- ding, goes the trolley,” as they made their way to the crowd. I was so thrilled because I was going to be on stage for the very first time with the famous Cockettes. When I got backstage, all the actors and crew were lined up waiting while a local doctor freely administered Vitamin B booster shots. I didn’t really understand why any of us needed the extra energy because I could tell that everyone had already taken one drug or another. Backstage the smell of pot was heavy but I supposed the vitamin B was to balance us out. Less than five minutes to show time, and everyone is frantic and rushing about getting ready for their entrance. Someone noticed that Prissy was missing so I volunteered to help look for her since I wasn’t due to go on until the second act. We found her outside the stage door rolling in the gutter in her drag-- a magnificent couture gown made with inverted bra cups to accentuate the idea that she was the flat chested sister. As her fans egged her on she lay on the ground, howling with laughter dishing her fellow Cockettes. Once we got her up she came in through the backstage door sneaking in about twenty-five or more of her closest friends and fans for a free show. My dance is reaching the finale now. Here come the leaps. What was that director thinking? He knows I’m an untrained dancer. Leap, leap, leap, oh this is a lot harder in this bean bag and here is goes, the giant cartwheel finish. I am so awkward but even if I hadn’t dropped that tab of acid, I would be thrown off balance. I’m on the floor now unable to get up flaying my short arms and legs. The audience is going wild and my number is much more hilarious then planned. Looks like I’m an overnight sensation. As the mice help me up to take our bows I see the audience now for the first time, packed to the rafters enjoying the mayhem. Looking out to the sea of cheering people, I think I'm inside the 40's French movie I just saw at the Castro Theater last week. I'm one of the players in “The Children of Paradise,” and rowdy patrons are screaming cat calls as they half hang off the balcony—joints are being passed down the rows--liquor bottles are rolling down the aisles and the walls of the theatre are pulsating with ecstasy and the whole crowd turns into one big living organism of joy and hedonism. As I take my final bow, I catch the eye of Divine, the famous underground movie star and she winks and looks up at me. I think she looks like my long lost alien mother, sitting in the front row laughing her ass off and cheering me on. Who am I? I’m a star too just like the others. Even Goldie’s trick, Prince Charming, out-shinned Cinderella tonight when she dropped her slipper, he picked it up and instead of chasing after her, took the moment to fit the slipper onto his own foot. My unscripted moment and others like his brought down the house and will probably send Goldie into an early retirement but for me, tonight is a dream come true. I just earned my place among the best of San Francisco’s underground stars. What am I? I’m the ugly duckling who found a new family and can now take my refuse at the side show among the queer swans. Where am I? I’m in heaven. What took me so long to get here?