“Silver Pumps and a Loose Nut” by J.R. Greenwell from Saints and Sinners 2013: New Fiction from the Festival (Bold Strokes Books).

Full disclosure: I have a story in this anthology.

How can you not like a “drag queen avenger, out to conquer any evil or hostility that would threaten the peaceful world of the domestic gay man”? Stella has won competitions for years; she’s a legend. At the start of the story she’s in Daytona, Florida on a road trip to attend a competition at Club Diva. She’s accompanied by her boyfriend Sam and her protégé Daphne. While Stella is the one referred to above, it’s really Daphne’s story we’re being told.

Daphne idolizes Stella, who took first place in the Club Diva event. Daphne came in third and there were only four contestants. She’s feeling pretty low when she’s hit on by a guy named Chuck; because of this she agrees to go home with him. As you might expect things go from bad to worse. Even when she manages to get back to the motel things don’t improve, for she finds Stella getting into a sticky situation of her own. That’s when Daphne finds out what she’s really made of.

It’s a charming take on the student becoming the master. It also brought to mind a short story I read many years ago, in which—in a Stonewall-esque scene—some homophobic cretins lay siege to a gay bar and learn very quickly that you should never attack drag queens. I loved that story and I love this one. Go Daphne, go.

The author also has a story in this year’s Saints and Sinners anthology. Look for those reviews beginning Monday.