April Showers pressed her face inches from the mirror, her generous plum-colored lips flattened to receive the “Friar Friar Your Pants Are on Fire” lipstick. It was her favorite color for performances. Her good-luck color. The first time she’d worn it, a customer had slipped her a fifty. A drag queen her age didn’t get that kind of tip as often as the 20 something, long and leggy, April Showers once did.
Her hair was in a huge Diana Ross afro and she wore the same long sleeved white dress, the one with the plunging neckline, that Ross made famous — the look really more than the dress. Diana Ross was a great fit for April as her body was lithe, nearly free of body fat and boyish even at this age. She looked the part. Ross was her “go to” drag without question.
Tonight she was singing “God Bless the Child,” rather than the more rambunctious and predictable “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” She felt the slower songs demanded more skill and precision than the love anthems. Of course, she dedicated the same time and practice to the easier-to-perform songs as she did the tough stuff. Both types of performances were equally important to her in her assumed role as ambassador to the world. She truly believed she represented all queens to the rest of humankind and she took the job seriously. She spent hours on her outfits and in rehearsals while pulling it all together.
Never did she take the stage without having every word to every verse memorized. No mumbling for her. It all counted. Every lash, every nail — every tuck of the tail — she attended religiously to each and every detail. And it showed. April Showers was big, as big as they get in her world of Kissimmee, Florida. And now, with only moments until showtime, her hand shook with excitement as she drug the lipstick across her luscious lower lip.