The Perils of Petunia Pap Smear

The Tale of A Luxury Liner

The road to High Creek is fraught with danger and excitement.

Last month I sat stunned into a very rare silence,  riveted by the television, watching news reports of the luxury ocean liner Costa Concordia running aground in Italy and tipping over on her side.  My mind was flooded with emotional and terrifying images of other luxury liner disasters; Jack and Rose clinging to that deck chair in the freezing water beside the sinking RMS Titanic; Shelly Winters holding her breath and swimming underwater to save her shipmates only to suffer a fatal heart attack on the capsized USS Poseidon; Captain Stubing and cruise director Julie narrowly quelling a mutiny when Gopher misplaced the little drink umbrellas on The Love Boat. And the most horrifying of them all, the beginning of the demise of my own beloved personal luxury cruise liner, “Queertanic,” my 1975 Buick Electra land-yacht.

A few years ago Mr. Pap Smear and I were hosting a weekend camp-out in High Creek, Utah for the Cache Valley queens.  Since Mormon culture has been ingrained into my very DNA, I am constantly forced to travel with at least a two-year supply of makeup, heels, and ball gowns. Thus, it was necessary to organize a convoy, to carry it all, plus food and accessories to last three days.  I was driving “The Flaming Queen,” our 25-foot vintage Ute-Liner motor home, which caught on fire the day we purchased it.  Mr. Pap Smear was obediently following behind, driving Queertanic and pulling “The Short-Short Trailer” loaded to the hilt with wigs, feather boas, and bedazzled hunting vests.  I firmly believe that when not blinded by headlights, even deer enjoy viewing a sequin gown now and then.

We arrived at a particularly steep and narrow part of the canyon, a point of no return as it was, where there was absolutely no room to turn around.  I pulled over, concerned that Mr. Pap Smear might not be up for the task of negotiating Queertanic up this treacherous stretch of road because, in recent months, Queertanic had started to show some weaknesses in her advanced age.  She would often lose power when pulling a heavy load or climbing a hill and here we were expecting her to do both.  My confidence level was not very high as his response to any mechanical problem or noise in a car is to turn up the radio so he can’t hear it anymore and then drive faster.

I asked him to trade me vehicles. I deemed that the motor home was going to be the more reliable of the two.  Either the size of The Flaming Queen seemed too daunting for him or he feared that it would burst into flames again because he refused.  So I coached him on how to get a good run of speed before the steep parts, and what to do if he lost power.  I led the way as we started up the next five miles of the canyon.  I arrived at the designated campground and waited and waited.  No sign of an approaching Queertanic.  Finally, I drove The Flaming Queen back down the treacherous narrow road, and near the bottom, I went around a sharp corner, and there to my utmost horror, was Queertanic,  jackknifed against the Short-Short Trailer, blocking all passage up and down the canyon and putting a sickening crease in her rear quarter panel.  Mr. Pap Smear was sitting on the hood, trying his best to look like an innocent damsel in distress, cruising Exchange Place.  Little did he realize at that moment, how very close I had come to becoming “The Widow Pap Smear.”  I nearly burst a boob, trying not to scream “I told you so!”

It became obvious that The Flaming Queen would need to tow Queertanic, but the two behemoths were facing each other and there was no place to turn the motor home around.  Since the rear end of The Flaming Queen was pointed uphill, (usually a happy position for me) all I could see out the back window was blue sky. I had Mr. Pap Smear sit on the couch by the rear window and guide me as I ever so slowly backed the motor home up the steep, narrow, and winding road for about three miles until I could turn around, and then as I backed down the same three miles.  I used some feather boas as a cushion, as I laid down under the bumper and hooked a chain to the bow of Queertanic.

The resulting scene could best be described as a demented daisy chain from Mad Max.  Picture if you can, an ancient 40-year-old motor home, complete with crystal chandelier and a pink flamingo hood ornament, driven by a very distressed queen with an obviously frazzled beehive wig and soiled boa, pulling a 30-year-old Buick sporting a very fresh dent, towing a 45-year-old camping trailer with chintz curtains up a godforsaken stretch of Utah wilderness.   Fortunately for Mr. Pap Smear, other campers pulled in immediately after we arrived at the camping area, thus saving his life.  After a lovely weekend, we asked a friend with a truck to pull the Short-Short Trailer, and Queertanic was able to drive downhill under her own power.

Like always these events leave us with several eternal questions:

1.                   Does keeping a two-year supply of makeup qualify me for a temple recommend?

2.                   Does this mean that The Flaming Queen was the “top” in the vehicular relationship?

3.                   Would S&M chains be strong enough to pull a car?

4.                   If Mr. Pap Smear had been “snuffed out” would it have been considered justifiable homicide?

5.                   Could I have pleaded temporary insanity?

These and other important questions to be answered in future chapters of: The Perils of Petunia Pap Smear.

Petunia Pap Smear

Petunia Pap Smear was born a boy in a Mormon family in a small Idaho town in the year of the cock. No, really, look it up. As is LDS tradition, at a month old her father blessed the little Petunia in the ward house on the first Sunday in June. The very next day, they tore the church house down. Probably for good reason. Little did parents Jack and Orthea know that their little boy would grow up to be a full-fledged, rainbow flag-waving, high heel-wearing, sheep-tending “Ida-Homo.” The Perils of Petunia Pap Smear follows her life from the sheep-tending Boy Scout of her youth to the full-figured and brash queen she is today. Her adventures in the many Queer-Tanic trips, the Salt Lake Men's Choir, the Matrons of Mayhem, and Utah Prides and Lagoon Days have been canonized the past 15 years in a monthly column in QSaltLake Magazine, Utah's publication for the LGBTQ+ community. These tales and her words of wisdom were corralled into a 355-page book that will become the Quint to the Mormon Quad. See it at

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