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

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