A Decision, a Laugh, a Howl

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
Halloween Party Mishap

Halloween Party Mishap

Coming up with a Halloween costume has always been difficult for me. I don’t know how to sew and I don’t like the mass produces costumes available at the party stores or online, especially cause the ones for women are always so trashy looking, why be a nurse when you can be a slutty nurse? I don’t know. Anyway, I try really hard every year to come up with something different that I can piece together myself with thrift store finds or whatever I can cobble together from my own wardrobe and this year it was even more important to figure out something epic because I was going to a party.

I’ve been a gypsy a number of times until I realized how racist that is. I’m working on being woke and it’s amazing how many things I don’t know that I don’t know. So anyway, this year I knew I couldn’t fall back on that old standby and I started trying to figure out what I could be. I decided that if I could just get an electric guitar, I had everything I needed to be a Robert Palmer girl: red lipstick, gel for my hair, black heels, dark nylons, smokey eye makeup, and a little black dress.

Spoiler alert! There are no electric guitars for sale under $100. Not even ones that don’t work anymore. Not in thrift stores or garage sales or Facebook Marketplace. None. So I did what any girl with no money and a deadline would do, I made one. I got some cardboard and cut one out using a sharpie to color on some details. This was brilliant, way lighter than an actual guitar and much cheaper. I was all set.

The thing is, I was pretty proud of myself. I mean, how many people would even think of Robert Palmer not to mention that iconic video from before I was even born. So you can’t even begin to imagine my surprise when I got to the party and there was another chick dressed almost exactly like me. Only difference was she actually had an electric guitar, way rad. Luckily she was super cool about the whole thing. In fact, we made a killer duo as we stood side by side doing the whole sway back and forth thing that the girls in the video did, you know that like lean, pop, lean thing? We had it down! We totally exchanged deets so we could get together sometime and then she decided to go stow her guitar cause it was heavy and cumbersome, making me even more grateful I hadn’t spent money on one.

So anyway, there I was looking fantastic and having so much fun when some dude came up from behind me and grabbed my ass! I bellowed something like “what the hell?!” and when I turned around you could tell the guy was super shocked too and he said something like, “er not mahla?” before stumbling off in another direction.

Marla! He thought I was the other Robert Palmer girl. Oops. That was awkward. Oh well, no biggie. I mean, my butt was still stinging where he’d grabbed it, but I’d survive, nothing a little more Fireball and Red Bull couldn’t cure. I went in search of a top up and found the whiskey was out. I was grabbing a beer from the ice bucket when I heard “you bitch!” behind me. I turned to see what the hubbub was about and as I did so, a hand slapped across my cheek a bit of nail catching in a scratch.

“Ouch!” I exclaimed, putting my palm to my cheek and checking for blood.

“Oh my god! Oh my god, I’m so sorry! I thought you…oh geez, are you okay? Here lemme get you some ice.” The girl who’d just assaulted me was cute, in that way that all the beautiful girls wish they were cause they now their beauty will fade but the cute girl will always be cute. Her glare had been replaced with raised eyebrows and a lip trapped between her teeth as she rushed to put ice in a napkin and hold it to my face.

We stood there in stunned silence for a minute, well, I mean, we were silent, but the party was so loud you can’t even imagine. Someone had the bass up way too loud so it was impossible to say which song was playing, but whatever it was you could feel it in your bones. Finally I asked, “what’d Marla do?”

“You know her? Is this like a group costume?”

“Yeah, I mean no. I met her here, but we didn’t know each other before. Coincidence,” I stammered. “So, what’d she do?” I asked again.

“It’s a long story,” she looked me in the eyes and kind of shuddered before saying, “I should just let it go. She’s not worth it.”

“I could give you her number?” I said, remembering Marla’d given it to me earlier.

Now, the girl really smiled, a bashful and sweet and sincere smile, “that’s okay, really. I need to let it go. But thank you.” She came up beside me and reached down for two beers, opening one and handing it to me.

I’d forgotten all about getting a beer, the one I’d grabbed right before she hit me was broken and empty on the ground beside me. “Thanks,” I said.

“Cheers,” she tipped her beer towards mine.

Several beers later we were still hanging out. Turns out her name is Maya, same as me only pronounced different. We had the same taste in music and went to the same coffee shop, it was crazy we’d never run into each other, “drive thru!” we both said and laughed. By this time I was super drunk and I’d been mistaken for Marla a few more times but had the great good luck of Maya’s support and protection. We were sitting back to back on a fountains edge when she asked, “there’s something’s been bugging me all night, I gotta know, who are you?”

I turned my body round to face her, confusion written all over my face, “I’m Maya?”

“No, girl,” she snort laughed, “no, I mean, your costume. Who are you supposed to be anyway?”

I started laughing too, “that girl from the Arnold Palmer video!”

“Who’s Arnold Palmer? You mean like the lemonade guy?”

“No, no, no, from that old music video,” I stood up on shaky legs and started trying to do the lean-pivot-lean only it wasn’t coming out too great, “the lights are on, but you’re not home,” I sang loudly and off key.

We were both laughing so hard I thought I’d pee myself.

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

The Night It Happened

For the first time in a year they were getting together, for the first time since the night it happened. That was unusual for them, being such a good friends, such close friends. But true friends don’t need to see each other every day to have a solid friendship, and sometimes things bring us closer together and sometimes they drive us apart. Not that that’s what happened, they hadn’t been driven apart, they were still just as close, it’s just that it can be hard to be in someone’s company after something like that. It can be hard to face a person that was there, who saw, who knew, who had thoughts and opinions an and maybe even judgements.

Regardless, they were finally getting together in person after a year, and they were both giddy throughout the day, the anticipation of seeing their very best friend outweighed by any fears they had over the conversation turning towards the night it happened. It was their favorite time of year, fall, with a crispness to the air you could almost taste, and all their favorite things to do were on offer: haunted trails, haunted houses, haunted hayrides, and all things cider. In an effort to ignore the night it happened they’d chosen a haunted hayride followed by cider tasting, two things that would be crowded and lively and leave little availability for long or quiet conversation.

When Margot arrived, she took an extra minute in the parking lot to check her makeup in the vanity mirror. Pretending to search for something in her purse she also took a minute to breathe deeply and repeat to herself “this is not like the night it happened,” a few times. Once she felt calm she grabbed her things, locked the door, and headed towards the entrance, scanning the crowd for Lanie while simultaneously pulling up her text to send “I’m here.”

Lanie saw Margot arrive. She had debating calling the whole night off. It would be easy enough to do. “I have to work late tonight,” or “hey, can we reschedule I’ve had a long day,” or practically anything. Margot would understand. Not just because they were best friends but also because on some level Margot didn’t want to do this either, Lanie could tell, but it wasn’t til she watched Margot arrive that she knew just how much they were both forcing themselves to make this happen. It wasn’t til she saw for the first time in a year that it became obvious how badly they were both determined not to relive the night it happened.

Nothing for it now but to go. And as Lanie reached for her phone to send an “I’m here,” her phone pinged with Margot’s. She sent back a heart and tapped out “just pulled up. There in a min,” and sent it. She grabbed her things and headed towards the entrance and Margot all the while repeating in her mind, “this is nothing like the night it happened.”

The devil of it was, this was exactly like the night it happened. Halloween was only a couple weeks away, the air was full of promise and spice and the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot, the people all around them eager to be terrified, desperate for a thrill. Some people were in costume, determined to get their money’s worth or to nab a partner for the night. It was so entirely like the night it happened that many of the costumed people were quite literally the same costumed people, not that last years sexy nurse was this years sexy nurse, because she was actually this years sexy little red riding hood, but last years sexy German beermaid was now this years sexy nurse, and even though they’d come to a different venue, in a different town, the scenery was very much the same, the conversations floating through the air, the screams from people on the hayride, the background noises coming from speakers of an occasional scream or chains clinking or the creak of a door or coffin top, the sounds that must have been sold on tape then on CD and now available on an iMusic playlist that were so generic it was a wonder anyone was able to make any money from them. It was all the same.

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