The Return Of The Army Of Light – Excerpt – Inspired by The Varsity Drag

The main narrator, Lucas, and Robert have come to Prester Joe’s, a club in the Wellington CBD owned by Donna and Hada. Lucas is on a quest for clues on a mystery he has taken upon to solve.


At some point during my conversation with Hada, a tall attractive woman with long wavy black hair approached us. I was introduced to Donna whose attitude changed when she heard my name. Just as Hada had done, Donna gave me two kisses and hugged me. So far, I was feeling that both Hada and Donna, and to a certain degree Robert, were going out of their way to make me feel welcome.

A big vamp played by the orchestra interrupted the introductions. A searchlight moved around the club’s floor. Hada stood up.

“Hey everybody what’s going on here? We can’t let school get us depressed.” Hada loudly said.

“You gotta see this!” Robert excitedly told me while sitting next to me and shaking my knee.

“After all the reason we are in college is to have fun.” Hada continued.

Everybody in the place got excited; they ran to the dance floor while Hada climbed back onto the stage. She began to sing The Varsity Drag from Good News , the all- time college musical. The four boys who opened the show joined her on the stage while the rest of the patrons at the dance floor started doing the drag.

I had no option, Donna pulled me to the dance floor, a drag queen nearby grabbed Robert, and in a matter of seconds we were all down on our heels, and up on our toes, doing the varsity drag, the energetic dance from the 1920s. After being put through a series of steps and changing dance partners few times, I ended up back with Donna. It is very hard to try to talk while doing the drag; I was already out of breath.

“This is our club anthem.” Donna told me while still doing the drag. “Marc selected it for us.”

“Couldn’t he have chosen a slower one?” I said while trying not to lose my step.

It was obvious this was not the first time the patrons had done this dance. Most likely, they had been doing it since the late 1980s; they had all the steps down and knew exactly what to do and when to do it. After a quick change of partners in which I ended up with a drag king, I was back with Donna.

“So, Lucas.” Donna addressed me. “What’s your story?”

“What do you mean?”

“Where does it start? Where do you want it to end?” She quickly responded. “What are you looking for?”

I knew I had to answer those questions eventually, not only to anyone inquiring about my interest behind those two men kissing, but also to myself. Last thing I clearly remembered about my life was leaving the United States at the turn of the century. Since then, the years had been a blur; actually they have are more of a feeling than an actual memory.

Another change of dance partners, a few more steps, back with Donna.

“So, what do you want to know?”

“Who are these people? Gareth, Ulysses and Marc, are they for real?” I was not sure what to ask.

“Of course, as real as you and I.” Donna laughed. “We don’t see them anymore. We had to let go of them.”

“Who was the man kissed by a naked man in Cuba Mall?”

Another change of dance partners before she could give me an answer. It is not as if I expected any response, though. Few more steps; this time I ended up with Robert.

“What is the deal with Donna?” I quickly asked Robert “She seems to be speaking in code.”

“Don’t read too much into that. She loves to appear mysterious.” Robert told me. “Just make sure you ask the right question.”

Whatever was happening it had apparently caught up with Robert, I could not make sense of what he told me.

Another change of dance partners, few more steps, and I was back with Donna.

“What do you mean by letting go of them?” I asked Donna.

“Their time during this cycle was over.” Donna said with a sense of authority, and I thought that she was not making any sense before.

Another change of dance partners, few more steps, and this time I ended up with a tall drag queen.

“It is all a test.” The drag queen immediately said. “She is waiting for the right question.”

“What is the right question?” My frustration was starting to show. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Another change of dance partners, few more steps, and I was back with Donna.

“I’ve given you every chance, and yet, you have not asked the right question.” Donna said a little irritated as the Varsity Drag was finishing. “We’ll meet again.”

Donna gave me two kisses, and tenderly rubbed her right hand against my cheek before walking away. My confusion must have been noticeable; Robert approached me and put both his hands on my shoulders, and squeezed them.

“All’s good!” He said looking me in the eye and flashing a big smile.

The uncertainty of what had just happened made me uncomfortable, it made me anxious; I had to leave.


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