The Last Fagbash, and Other Stories from Provincetown
Text by Austin Dale Illustration by Francisco Hurtz On the night of the summer’s last Fagbash, I get very stoned. The boys I’m with have dressed me for the theme, and I change back into my clothes as soon as I arrive. I get in free; the door queen doesn’t charge the summer townies she likes, even if they didn’t shell out 50 dollars for the Fagbash commemorative season pass necklace.
“What are you overthinking now?” asks a boy I adore when he sees me staring with bloodshot eyes at nothing. I tell him I’m baked and avoiding the kids who covered me with glitter and fake flowers. I should leave, but Christeene is about to perform.
The dive underneath Governor Bradford’s is a flagrant fire code violation in a town of packed, sweaty basements. Wednesdays bring every townie boy, the leftist half of the Bulgarian students who staff the restaurants, and the tourists who aren’t easily offended. It is midnight already, and no one minds squeezing closer to make space for Christeene, a queen from Austin who raps about feces and fucking and looks like she lives in a dumpster. She pulls something from her ass, throws it into the crowd, and preaches.
“I was at the Burch House tonight and we were drinking white wine and red wine and rosé wine and talking ‘bout how you faggots need to come together and save that house, that history. You need to lay claim to that garden and make it grow. Faggots need their history and they need to take care of those ghosts in there and I went out into that Burch House backyard and pulled down my drawers and laid down some fertilizer for you faggots. Let that shit groooow. Now are you faggots all ready for a booty pageant?”
I arrive in Provincetown on May 16th with fantasies of writing in the sun, seeking inspiration and transformation and sex, not necessarily in that order. Out of these three, I mostly just get sex. I picture myself on the beach at Captain Jack’s where Tennessee Williams wrote and drank and fucked, until I later learn that Tennessee probably never wrote anything here. When they find out I write, people tell me, “I bet you’re so distracted!”
Summer never lasts as long as you hope it will. On Provincetown’s few streets, there are a shocking number of things one must do before autumn. The town’s temperament is rigged by collective libido. After dark, the boys prowl the street looking to