A great time was had at Drag Queen Bingo at the Kilted Mermaid

By Sam Ekren

I’ve seen drag shows but have never been to Drag Queen Bingo. The Kilted Mermaid was packed when I arrived, the tables long filled, and the Bingo cards sold out minutes after I bought mine. I got a beer from a bartender in drag – a drag King, with painted sideburns and chin scruff. The whole staff dressed up for the night’s theme.

It’s new for me to see a Queen perform outside of a gay bar, pride event, or YouTube and new for much of this Vero crowd too, the excitement apparent but hesitant and unsure of what to expect. We were all all curious.

Kelly announced herself from an isle behind the bar, charging through the thick crowd to an opening number to “Touch Me Like You Do”, looping the tightly packed tables, brushing giant breasts against a few men on the barstools in passing. She loves to claw at the crowd, the straight men (seemingly brought by wive’s and girlfriend the bunt of jokes)

Kelly orders a drink from the bar over the microphone and says, “No I want him to bring it too me” pointing at the man handing trying to hand it off to another. “You’d recognize me if I took this wig off,” she says. “I know my truck stops.” It’s a shellfire of jokes that go there—and beyond — and refreshing as hell to laugh out loud so much.

The event is so packed that the tables outside are filled as well with the outdoor speakers going out periodically and causing a stir of bangs on the window. This is a brilliant comedic accident for us inside as Kelly says they should’ve come earlier, labels them “The Trailer Park” and pantomimes sexual gestures at them through the broad zoo-like window adjacent to the corner stage. Anything goes but the scales rebalance when a woman from “The Trailer Park” who had flashed her bra back at Kelly won a Bingo and came inside to claim her prize.

Kelly has a sharp bite, performing anthems between Bingo games gliding through the bar, and sometimes crashing into the Kilted’s low hanging lights and decorations calling the place “a mess”. The final round, playing for a blackout card, had two simultaneous winners and while I sighed from my (now gotten table seat) and my one-away card, our table all checked in with each other for “Was O54 called?” and such and when it came to mine sure enough my table mates said YES, my one-away had been called. I joined the three up front and claimed one of three final prizes. Two $45 Pride tickets, dinner for two at Waldo’s, condoms, nail polish, sugar tattoos, a Princess bracelet, and penis-shaped sequins. Before I got back to my seat, someone offered to buy the Pride tickets off me and since I’ll be on a trip that week I struck a deal.

At the end of the night, I waited in line for one of the bathrooms. One marked as “Kelly’s dressing room” — a man came out and assured me I could still use it. Kelly’s suitcase of gown changes was tucked in the corner across from the toilet. “If I’d known it was You in there, you could’ve left the door open” said Kelly waiting outside the door on my way out.

I told her she was amazing and I had an amazing night. She pulled me in for a kiss on the cheek and I left with a smear of make-up across my cheek.