: “Ladies, Gentlemen, and...well, the rest of you know what you’re called these days,” quips Princess Stephaney to a modicum of laughter. “Get ready for our main event. You’ve seen her at OZ, the Golden Lantern, and right here at MAGS. So pull your hands out of wherever they may be and put ‘em together for The! Ambrosia! Delight!!!”
All around Bruce Halloran, sitting alone right next to the stage, the crowd erupts in adoration for their newest fixation. The flavor of the month. Whilst the masses cheer, a distinctly Broadway staccato rhythm belches out through the speakers. In five notes, he knows what it is and his eyes roll around in his head. Is she kidding? Jerry Herman? In this day and age? He takes up his cocktail just as Ambrosia Delight appears onstage in perfect time. She brings along a microphone and an old suitcase, the kind they called a valise in the day. She looks as if she’s standing in the middle of her wardrobe. She drops the valise on the stage, where it opens automatically. She sings.
“I gotta give my life some sparkle and fizz
And think a thought that isn't wrapped up in his
The place that I consider paradise is
Wherever he ain't! Wherever he ain't!”
Belting it out, she proceeds to defiantly strip away the extra clothing, tossing it into the open valise.
“No more to wither when he's grouchy and gruff
No more to listen to him bellow and bluff
Tomorrow morning I'll be strutting my stuff
Wherever he ain't! Wherever he ain't!”
She fairly growls the song in places, but she’s filling the room. Looking around, Bruce sees all eyes on the stage. Even in the very back they’re paying attention. He turns to see Ambrosia getting down to the bottom of her costume rack. Yet, even as she sheds away what has to be the most interesting thing about her, the intensity of her performance is...well, it’s just so...no. He can’t think it...it’s so out of character…
“My little love nest was a terrible trap
With me behaving like a simpering sap
And so I'm looking for a spot on the map
If he's going south--”
She rips away the last of the facade, revealing a form-fitting unitard in her exact skin tone, covered in a sheen of aurora borealis rhinestones and sequins. The lights seem to instantly grow brighter. Every breath creates a light show all over the room, preparing them all for her to blow the roof off the joint.
“I'm going north
If he's going back
I'm going forth--”
Ambrosia takes in a huge breath to finish off the song just as she lays eyes on her worst nightmare. Sitting six feet away from her was the fat, doughy, pasty-pink, face of Bruce Halloran. Without thinking she lets go every awful, horrible, dreadful thought she’s ever had concerning him.
“Wherever heeeeeeeeeeeee aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin't!”
The force of her voice blows Halloran’s eyelashes back and for a brief, precious moment makes him look 10 years younger. The collective eyes of the audience widen to capacity before giving way to tumultuous applause, wolf whistles, and the pounding fists out front and backstage. Onstage, Ambrosia Delight begins to feel a little faint. She loves the applause, but...Halloran. Oh dear God. Halloran! Before she can gather herself, she rushes off.
In the audience, Halloran still can’t believe what he’s seen. He refuses to call it “talent.” At least, not right now. Not until he’s seen more. Besides, what else is there to do? It’s not like he has a schedule for a while. But if he did, first thing on the agenda would be getting another cocktail.
Backstage, Ambrosia has left and only Avalena in some very uncomfortable clothing is left. The older queens congratulate her and go about their business, while the younger ones are less impressed but congenial. It doesn’t matter. Avalena needs to get out of here. If that sonofabitch Halloran recognized her, it’s all over. And she’s not strong enough to survive that. Not after...not after what that other sonofabitch Gary Pitts did all those years ago.
She has to get out. Now! Grabbing her things and shoving them into her bag, she pushes past Tammi Tarmac with a hollered “sorry Tammi” and rushes out the side door just as Princess Stephaney emerges from the hallway curtain. Seeing Ambrosia rushing off, Stephaney follows her down the alleyway, calling out,
“‘Brosia honey. What happened? Where are you going? You’ve got two more numbers to--”
The slamming of the metal gate cuts her off cold. Left in the mid-evening August heat, she turns back towards the bleach-scented, air conditioned air inside the bar. As she enters and closes the door behind her, she announces to the room,
“Morganza Spillway. Congratulations, you’ve got another two numbers tonight. Hope you're prepared.”At the very end of the makeup counter, a young, lithe boy with dark chocolate skin and childbearing lips stares back at the Princess through the mirror. Naked from the waist up, the waist down is pink lame and organza ballgown with matching satin mules...This Is My New Orleans.