A mix of film/show verses.
"One word: glitter!" - The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
It was while they were on the way back to Sydney, with Adam driving Priscilla and singing along to another Kylie song while Benji bounced in time to the music, that Tick realised how much the two looked like each other.
They had the same dark hair and Benji's jaw was sure to become something like Adam's.
They also had the same juvenile sense of humour – Benj would laugh at every joke Adam made, even if he didn't understand half of what wasn't said and Adam actually thought Benji was hilarious.
"Are you sure he's your son?" He'd asked once, laughing at a joke about rabbits and nails, "Because he's funnier than both you and your wife!"
Yes, he was sure Benji was his son. That was his profile his son had. And his eyes. Not to mention the fact that Marion may be many different things, but first and foremost she was honest.
They got along really well, which was something Tick supposed he should be thankful for, otherwise this trip back would be even longer than the trip to get to Alice.
The tape ended and Benji turned to him.
"Tick, can we listen to Downtown again?"
Tick pretended to fiddle with the feathers on a dress that he had just sewn on, "Ask your uncle Felicia, she's the one driving."
Benji had become more talkative as he relaxed around Tick. He and Adam had hit it off right away, which (he wasn't proud to admit) had made him feel slightly jealous, but Benji still hugged Tock goodnight first and clearly saw him as the figure of authority. Him! A figure of authority, when he couldn't even get the drunkards at the bar to behave!
"Adam, can you put on Downtown again please?"
"Of course, my little darling, anything for you."
The trip had been uneventful so far, apart from the couple of pranks Adam and Benji had cooked up which meant that he now checked his bed before he went to sleep.
It was odd, but you could always tell the difference between Adam and Felicia.
Adam was a nice, if slightly effeminate, young man (who tended to shrink behind Felicia's overwhelming personality) with a somewhat odd sense of humour who sorted out practical things – like finding transport to take them to Alice and putting together costumes. Felicia was the ridiculously flashy drag queen (who decided that 'lavender' was the right colour to paint a bus) with a wit that could poison you and a sense of protection so fierce that she would verbally slit the throat of anyone threatening a drag queen – unless she was on drugs.
Tick frowned. He still hadn't forgiven her for that, but he had thrown the little bag of white powder away and had a discussion with her about doing drugs around Benji. She had agreed, which was new.
Felicia hummed along to the song as Benji sang the chorus bits.
"...forget all your cares, downtown!"
He hoped he would find things for Benj to do once they were back in Sydney. The part where he lived and the club was weren't exactly the safest areas of the city, but he'd never been harassed when not in drag, so maybe they would be alright.
They might have to go flat-hunting, in case there was one in a better area, maybe near a school, if Marion wanted Benji to stay with him more often.
Tick couldn't see Felicia's face, but he could hear the grin in her voice as she gave Benji advice.
"Let me tell you something, Benjamin, because I wish I'd known this when I was your age. The road of excess is the road of faboulesness!"
Yes, sometimes Felicia could be glaringly, flouncily, flamboyantly gay.
"Only the road of excess study and excess sequins!" He said, in a warning tone.
"Of course!" She replied, "Because drugs are bad. And no getting drunk, Benjamin, because it makes you do things you'll regret. This one time, when I was drunk, I agreed to-"
"dye someone's hair bright blue," interrupted Tick, "because the other person was drunk too."
Luckily, ever so often Adam made Felicia take the hint, "And I got blue dye everywhere. I could still find it in the crook of my arm about two weeks later."
An Abba song came on, and Felicia started on the wailing that she called singing.
Benji sang along to the bits he knew, dancing around – clearly something Adam had taught him, if the twirls were anything to go by.
Tick sang along too, pointing to Benji whenever the word 'you' cropped up, which made him giggle.
Benji laughed and made his way over to his father.
Oh, Frida, Agnetha, Kylie and Cher – his father. He would never get tired of saying that, not even if people started tormenting Mitzi for having a minor.
He could hear Miss Behaviour now, with all her bad jokes and barely-hidden glee at the discovery, not to mention the other dogs from the club as they laughed.
"Oh Mitz, doll, how did it happen? How did you end up with a wife? Wow, now I understand. Did it happen on the wedding night? I'm guessing she was the butch one of the relationship. No wonder your track record is so abysmal."
They could all go to hell as far as he cared, because he had this little miracle, which was something they would never have, even if they had kids.
Benji took out a fire-truck toy and started running it up and down the bus, making siren noises.
Tick pretended to panic and threw the dress to one side, "What's the emergency?"
"The casino's on fire!"
"No!" Shouted Felicia, "Someone save the showgirls on stage! They're still in the middle of their wonderful act!"
"The people are safe," said Benji, seriously, "they've been evacued."
"Evacuated?" Offered Tick.
He nodded, "Yes. But we still have to put the fire out."
It was a clever little toy, when Benji pushed a button, water would spurt out a hole in the front. Benji put out the fire of red and orange sequins and saved the masks from being burnt.
After that, he went back to rifling through his bag for a different toy.
Tick suddenly couldn't breathe. It was the first time Benji had called him that.
"Why don't you have a boyfriend?"
The bus went quiet. Felicia even turned the music down to add to the effect, the drama queen.
"I don't have a boyfriend at the moment."
"Will you have one soon?"
Benji sounded genuinely confused, so unlike all of the people who had previously asked him that question.
"I don't know, Benj. It depends who wants me."
Benjamin frowned and looked up from his toys, "Why wouldn't they want you?"
"Because I'm older than a lot of them. A little bit funny looking. And I'm show business – a lot of men don't like that."
"You're not as old as Bernadette and she has Bob," Benji pointed out, "and you're nice – that's more important than looks."
There were those morals Marion had been talking about. Maybe this parenting thing was easier when the kids were as amazing as Benji.
Felicia spoke up, "Yeah,and if people don't like your face, tell them to shut theirs, they'll never be as good a performer as Mitzi the Magnificent."
That was a compliment. A real, sincere compliment with no backstabby undertones.
He didn't know what to say to either of those things.
"Especially if it's a lesbian," she continued, "because she's just jealous you can pull off heels and a dress!"
And there was the Felicia they all knew and, presumably, loved.
"You're very welcome, my darling."
They stopped in a little town to get some petrol and some snacks – they hadn't opened the first aid 'kit' since getting to Alice and Tick had thought of getting rid of it, but it felt like he would betray Felicia and Bernadette if he did – and when they all went in to pay, the girl at the till stared at Adam with a dreamy look in her eyes.
"No, no I think that's everything."
Benji smiled at Tick as though he knew what was going on, but he was too young to understand.
"Are you sure? Can't I get you anything else? Like my number?"
Adam blinked rapidly, looked at Benji, at Tick, down at his brightly coloured shirt and back up to the cashier.
"Listen lady, let's get one thing straight – I'm not."
Tick paid for their things.
They were just leaving as the cashier sighed, "Pity. You look like you'd know your way with a whip."
Tick laughed and laughed. Benji ran back to Priscilla.
Felicia was back, "What's the matter with you, then?"
"A whip! Like in Venus."
Felicia giggled too, "I'd forgotten! I wonder if the boys miss me."
"Probably don't," said Tick, handing him a chocolate bar and climbing into the bus, "after all, Sydney is full of drag queens with a big mouth and a suitcase full of broken make-up."
Benji piped up from behind a pile of stockings, "Why are drag queens called queens?"
"Because princesses don't get enough respect." Said Tick, chucking the plastic bag with the rest of the shopping at him and sitting in the driver's seat.
"Yeah," agreed Felicia as the bus started to move, "'Drag queen' says to the world that you're so strong and tough that you can pull of showgirl feathers. What's not to love?"
Benji sat next to a feather boa, flicking at it with his fingers, staring around the bus at the various gowns and headdresses.
"And why do you love the clothes so much?"
Felicia pulled out a gown from one of the available suitcases and showed it off to Benji with a twirl.
"One word: glitter!"