Sunshine blankets West Hollywood where a construction worker drills into the ground with a hydraulic jackhammer. Without warning, a cascade of sparks reaching thirty feet in the air erupts. It’s as if he’s struck an underground cache’ of fireworks. He grabs a nearby shovel to uncover what he’s hit.
First attempts find a boa, with stubborn gold-tip edging still clinging on, then some costume jewelry, then at last, the source of the sparks: a tiara.
Tragically, a bit more digging uncovers the bodies of two drag queens.
Detectives Michael Dunbar and Jimmy Huffington are assigned to the case, with Dunbar as lead, which he is none too thrilled about. When he professes to not be “pressure-ready,” neither Sergeant Ronnie Wilcox (Ms.), nor any of the rest of us, believe that to be the reason.
Jimmy approaches life differently. He recently entered into his 14th marriage. He also claims that Arianna Huffington is his Mother
Before leaving the crime scene Detective Dunbar clasps his crucifix and bends down to say a prayer over the two dead bodies. He gets an answered prayer of sorts…a single gold sequin lying under a thin layer of dirt.
Sergeant Wilcox, has one directive for the detectives to follow. Keep the story away from the media. Unfortunately, no one told the media pit bulls this, including RuPaul Channel Ruporter, Akasha Fierce, nor the resilient Melissa Rivers.
More pressure to solve the case comes from the city of West Hollywood. In less than two weeks, one of the biggest tourist events of the year, the Queen of all Queens Pageant, is scheduled. With more than one hundred contestants and thousands of spectators from across the country, this is the preeminent drag event in the country. But this year in addition to asking who will be crowned the “Queen of all Queens”, they’re asking, “who’s killing the drag queens of Hollywood?”
“Keep looking for the killer, but don’t tell anybody when you catch him,” says the West Hollywood Mayor. Words to live by. Or not.
In a sign of times, when news of the murders gets out, our fame-obsessed culture reacts by filling the bars and clubs, where the murders are taking place, resulting in record sales. “Fame at any cost, even death” is the modern day mantra.
The investigation starts at the two rival drag bars: Cali-Mari’s and The Rhino. Both owners, the immensely popular Cali-Mari, and David Rahim Emmanuel AKA Ishtar, are suspects. Cali-Mari does have a few secrets and Emmanuel’s relationship with one of the victim’s provides motive.
The pressure to solve the case is not the only pressure facing Michael. His 55-year old mother, who tells everyone she’s 35, wants to be a grandmother. She wants him to get married so badly she stages an intervention. She invites and a gay man and a straight woman to dinner with Michael.
“It’s time to pick one Michael. I want grandchildren and my best grand-parenting years are already behind me.”
As with many interventions, a fight ensues that only adds to the stress Michael is facing.
What his Mother doesn’t know is that Michael has already chosen. He’s gay. After the fight he picks up a male stripper by the name of Jackson Hole. In a possible omen, Michael breaks his crucifix during sex.
This is why Michael didn’t want to be lead detective. He’s not ready to be gay. Or more accurately, he’s not ready to tell the world he’s gay.
Day two of the investigation has Michael and Jimmy running to all the drag haunts and shopping areas trying to find a match for the gold sequin found at the burial site.
They get good news from the Medical Examiner who has found a tiny piece of skin under the fake fingernail of one of the deceased. It appears that Staci Maxwell scratched her attacker before succumbing.
Meanwhile drag queens from across the country are on water and celery diets to squeeze into their gowns. Most are on their knees (a few are actually praying) to recruit the best dancers so that their talent number will soar above the rest. The competition will be fierce.
Favorites to win the pageant include Josie Foster, Amber LaVontasia, Pearl Onion, Broccoli Spears and Claire Voyant.
At the end of another long day, Michael stops by for a visit with his best friend, Dru. She’s gotten a surprise gift from her mother: a sequined dress. She couldn’t be less excited had the box contained a family of rattlesnakes. She insists Michael get rid of it. He does this by gently hanging it on the back of his bedroom door.
A night of police work results in Michael detaining Cali Mari, Broccoli Spears, Amber LaVontasia and Ishtar for questioning. Cali ends the night as the prime suspect, but in a tragic combination of dental floss, intense questioning and a parking ticket, Jimmy and Michael end up on opposite sides. Jimmy is convinced that Michael is hiding something and does not have his back.
While Cali is in custody, tragedy strikes again. The very talented Miss Ginger Snatch is the third victim of the serial killer. This one really shakes up the community and there is talk of cancelling the pageant.
Michael comes to a decision. Well two, actually. He has to stop at nothing to find the killer, and he must try on Dru’s sparkling dress that beckons him night after night.
Learning how to dress like a woman is no easy feat for a man who doesn’t want anyone to know. Where do you turn for answers to such questions as, how do you make the most realistic boobs? What’s the difference between panty hose and tights? And why are tights so shiny?
At last Michael finds answers to those questions. He also learns that dresses don’t have pockets. So he fills a Ziploc bag with keys, cash and is driver’s license, then stuffs that bag into his panty hose. He opens the door to feel his first brush of air on his drag self, only to find his mother standing outside. In typical fashion for his Mother, she’s more concerned with how he looks compared to her. Michael is mortified. He’s not ready.
Michael still goes out, but by the end of the night he will fight with Dru to add to his battle with Jimmy and his massive discomfort with his mother in making for one fine fucking day.
So will Michael get back on track with his mother, his best friend and his partner? Will he find the killer? When all hope looks lost, the single gold sequin will lead him to the killer. But that in turn, leads to his biggest shock in a week that has been full of them.
He is the toast of the town for catching the killer. Hollywood can now celebrate Queen of all Queens how it should celebrated…with screams and cheers and whistles oh my, for the incredible drag performances. So who will be crowned the Queen of all Queens? Amber, Josie, Pearl??