A Decision, a Laugh, a Howl

The best is when Halloween is on a Friday or a Saturday. I prefer Saturday, but Friday works, too. Everyone starts celebrating on Friday anyway, but if you go out to all the adult parties on Friday then you can sometimes stay home on Saturday and see all the kids in their costumes. That’s the best part. I always buy way too much candy and make sure my front door space is as decorated as possible and still be functional.

Anyway, Halloween is on Saturday this year, so I’m getting the adult party thing out of the way tonight. When I say it I realize just how much I’m not into the adult party. I love to dress up, don’t get me wrong, but the standing around as people get drunk all around me and the music and the laughter get louder and louder, as though a party that’s not visited by the cops isn’t a party worth having. I didn’t realize I sighed out loud, I thought the sigh was a mental one, but this Dracula guy next to me just looked up and smiled.

“Having a good time?” he asks, sarcasm and curiosity dripping from every word.

“Oh, well, no actually,” I’m surprised to hear myself telling the truth, I guess maybe because I know he doesn’t really care and is just being polite. I figure I can say anything, he’s going to grab a beer and move on. But he doesn’t. He’s standing there, beer in hand, waiting for me to continue. And he’s really good at making eye contact. The night is early, I remind myself, shaking it off, “how about you? Having a good time?”

“I just got here so I don’t really know yet. Good music though.”

He’s right. This is a good song. I hadn’t realized my feet were tapping. “So how do you know Jimmy?” I ask, figuring he’s one of my co-workers long time friends that he’s always going on and on about.

“Who’s Jimmy?” he asks.

I give him an assessing look and determine he’s serious. “If you don’t know Jimmy, how’d you get invited to the party?” I didn’t mean for this to sound quite so bitchy, but despite the fact that Jimmy’s a bit of a frat boy pain in my ass at work, he’s also got a big heart, and I find myself protective of his space.

“Oh, I live a couple doors down. Guy that lives here is always over at my place hitting on my roommate and he invited us. Guess he must be Jimmy, I’ve honestly never caught his name before, he’s not exactly there to see me.”

I cocked my head, a slight smile, that was definitely Jimmy, “so you’re only kind of a party crasher?” I teased.

“Definitely not a party crasher. Invited by default as part of an attempted hook up,” he smiled broadly then gestured toward me with his hand, “I like this. Where’d you get it?”

I look down at myself, remembering that this year I came as a wolf. I only have two costumes and I switch them every year, sometimes throwing in a different homemade costume if I can come up with one. The wolf is from when I volunteered at a nature center that ended up closing it’s doors. I still missed my time there, but man, the costume was hot and heavy. Thankfully the night was cool and foggy, a perfect Halloween Party night.

I start to explain but stop myself, “It’s a long story. I’m just glad I chose it. Aren’t you cold?” I ask.

“Nah, this cape is velvet, heavy. I was worried I was going to have to ditch it,” he said, tugging the cape around his shoulders a bit more and draping it in front of himself.

“I like that you didn’t do the bloody face makeup,” I said, gesturing towards his mouth, “People make it look like they’ve had a victim and then they have their first drink and it gets all smudged and then it just looks,” I gesture vaguely with my hands and shrug, “gross.”

He laughed, “I don’t like face paint either. Itchy,” he cocked his head and then smiled largely, “aren’t you going to join in?”

I was about to ask what he was talking about and then I hear the howling. I couldn’t help myself, I started laughing, “those are coyotes, so no.”

“How do you know that?” he asked, eyes widening.

“There are no wolves around here, only coyotes. I used to work at the nature center.”

“I didn’t even know we had a nature center.”

“Well, we don’t, and I should really get going,” I said, tossing my empty cup in the trash and rubbing my hands together.

“Do you live nearby? Can I walk you?” he asked.

“I drove,” I said, “but thank you.”

“You drove?” he asks, incredulous, “in that?” and he gestures at my costume, the long tail an obvious impairment to sitting, the perfect reason to wear it, and the perfect excuse to leave when I wanted to.

“Yes,” I laugh, “I have clothes on underneath, it just slips off. Have a good night,” I said, looking around for Jimmy.

“Let me at least walk you to your car then,” he said.

This #writethirtyminutes session was prompted very loosely from “A Year of Writing Prompts” by Writer’s Digest, available here

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