Shirley Bassey blared from the surrounding speakers as Stella held the audience in the palm of her hand. Diamonds are forever, Stella mimed. They all lapped it up as she masqueraded in the spotlight. They were both perfectly distracted.
She didn’t see her ex, Charlie, stroll in and take a seat by the bar. Stella didn’t see the weary expression on his face, either. She was entranced by her favourite singer, and it tormented him. The spotlight was her adversary, and her passion for music was his. Especially that song.
A half-drunk long island, with a toothpick umbrella resting uneasily on the rim, sat on the bartop. Charlie stared at it, measuring it up. Then he whisked his glance around the room, seeing dozens of eyes under the spell of Stella — including the bartender. It was now or never; the song was coming to an end.
He grasped the hard-plastic cocktail glass and flung it towards Stella. She was on the final high note, which would be her last.
The sun was casually taking a dive outside while Stanley Cartell — a.k.a. Stella Van-Cartier — painted on a drag face. The brush coursed along his cheekbone, contouring a fresh bruise. In front of him stood a mirror, illuminating his face, while below it’s stem were scattered cosmetics.
Shirley Bassey was belting out Goldfinger on his phone nearby. Then it went silent for a second. POP! The phone buzzed twice and Shirley came back on again. Stanley collected the phone and saw that Charlie had sent a Facebook message. He pursed his lips as he read it, then rolled his eyes when he finished. This is why you don’t date other drag queens, she thought.
Truth be told, Charlie Mackaney — a.k.a. Carmilla Von-Trapp— was an unashamed Dusty Springfield fan. Which was fine, but that’s all he’d perform. He’d never become famous like that. But Stanley dated him just the same because he was actually a really nice guy. After a month, though, Stanley ended it when he realised Charlie would never amount to much. So cliché for a story! Why he still talks to him, no-one knows. Not even Stanley.
“Will u b @ Castros?” the message read. The entire gay population of Wollongong knew that Stella would be at Castros, thanks to social media.
“Yep,” Stanley replied. The three dots danced for two seconds, then the letter K popped up.
He rested the phone down, allowing Shirley to get back to her singing, and he finished off Stella’s face.
Charlie looked at the word “yep” and scrunched his eyebrows. The cracked screen made half of the keyboard illegible, but he managed to press ‘K’ and send it back. It was only two weeks ago when Stella called off the whole relationship, and yet he could not get over her. He loved her power on the stage. He loved her attitude. He wanted her again. And him.
I wish I could ignore you like you ignore me, he thought as a tear trickled down his cheek. But he never would.
He wanted to try one more time. He wanted to show Stella what she really meant to him. And there was only one way he could think of.
Stella Van-Cartier ascended the stage, her silver sequin dress lightly slapping the stairs as she went. She felt the cool air in the Castros nightclub wisp along her naked back. Her feet — cupped in six-inch silver stilettos — knew every step. Her arms — draped with silver gloves — knew every movement. Her face was brilliant while her up-styled lace-front wig finished the façade.
Diamonds are definitely forever, she thought.
As the hard-plastic cocktail glass flew towards her face, it improvised a deadly manoeuvre. The glass flipped forward, flinging the toothpick umbrella off the rim and into the air. Its springiness brought the canopy down as it spun in the air like a lethal projectile. And as Stella dropped her face to end the final note, the toothpick umbrella was pushed into the side of her throat by the base of the hard-plastic cocktail glass. It’s precision pierced the artery.
Her eyes shot open, catching the final glimpse of Charlie getting up out of his seat. He pulled out a small box from his coat pocket and dropped it on the bar.
Inside was a diamond ring. But it wasn’t forever. Not to either of them.