First of all, I want to tell you that I hated Halloween! I hated it when I was younger and I still did at the time all of this took place. It wasn't always that way, but one year, when I was twelve, some badass teenagers beat me up and took the bag of goodies I had gathered after several hours of going from door to door in my neighborhood.
I can still remember the biggest of the teens yelling at me as I lay on someone's lawn, "Trick or treat, aye kid? Well this year it's TRICK!"
That was the last year I went trick-or-treating. I just stayed home, passed out candy and warned the little goblins about the bullies. My mom tried to make me go and drag my little brother, but I would always be sick on that evil day.
When I got to high school, there would be this party or that party to celebrate Halloween, but I never went to any of them, that is not until my senior year.
I was never a real popular guy in school. I didn't play sports, I didn't belong to any clubs, and as a result I didn't date. I never considered myself an ugly kid, I just wasn't all that handsome. I got fair grades and was never in any trouble. I guess I was what you'd call average. In fact, I was so average that if you looked 'average' up in the dictionary, my picture would be there.
The buzz around school that year was about Cindy Martin's upcoming Halloween party. The party promised to be the social event of the fall and most of the kids in my class were going.
Cindy was one of the more popular girls in school. She was real cute, wore the latest styles and only dated boys that played on the football team. Although she wasn't a cheerleader, she was allowed to be part of the in-crowd. There were rumors around school that Cindy had gone all the way with a couple of her dates, but you know how high school rumors are.
I had a math class with Cindy and she personally handed me my invitation to the party. I was polite, accepted the hand written invitation, and thanked her. Even though she held such a high status among the members of my class, she didn't intimidate me. To me she was just another student.
My best friend, Frank Thompson, asked me everyday if I was planning to attend and whom I was taking. My stock answer was, "I don't plan to go, I hate Halloween!"
"Awe come on, Ed," Frank would say. "You have to go. You must know some chick that will go out with you."
"Frank, even if I did, I don't want to go," I'd tell him.
My resistance was due, in great part, to the fact that I didn't know a girl that would consider going out with me. I was eighteen and had never been out with a girl. My sexual knowledge was obtained from men's magazines and cheap paperback novels. In my mind, I was a great lover, but in real life my right hand was my only lover.
It was a Saturday morning, one week before the party, that my mother told me that she wanted me to take Gail Johnson to the party. Gail was my father's business partner's daughter and she wanted to go the affair.
Gail didn't go to my school; she attended an all girls' school across town. Gail and I knew each other from parties and dinners our parents held, but we hadn't seen each other for a couple of years. She wasn't a dog, but she wasn't a beauty queen either. Whenever we met, Gail would be wearing clothing that seemed out of place. Everything she wore was baggy. I never saw her in tight jeans or tops like the other girls. If she wore a skirt or dress, they were long. If she wore pants, they always looked like they were a size too big. Her tops were also baggy and gave no indication to the size of her chest.
My mom pleaded with me to take Gail to the party and by the end of the weekend, I gave in. I didn't decide to go because of my mother's ability to persuade though. It was my father's threat of losing my car privileges that made me agree to go. I didn't own a car and depended on one of my parents' vehicles for transportation.
On Sunday night, I called Gail, at my parents' insistence, asked her to go to the party and listened to her talk for the next twenty minutes. She told my about school, her four point grade average and the college she would attend after graduation. I asked her what she was going to dress as, but she told me it would have to be a surprise. When I asked her what I should wear, she offered no help.
After I hung up the telephone, it dawned on me just what I had done. I was going to a Halloween party with a girl I barely knew and I had absolutely no idea what to wear.
I called on my mother to help me come up with a costume that wouldn't be too lame. She gave me several suggestions, all of them useless as far as I was concerned.
Frank hunted me down on Monday and once again started his relentless quest to get me to go to Cindy's party. I had a great day, telling him I wasn't going just like I had in the past. It wasn't until we met after school that I told him that I was going.
"No shit!" said Frank. "You're really going? Who are you going to take?"
"You don't know her," I said.
Frank asked repeatedly whom I was taking to the party, but I wouldn't tell him. It wasn't that I didn't want him to know; I just wasn't about to admit that my parents had forced me into the whole thing.
"I have no idea what to dress as," I told Frank. "Any ideas?"
Frank told me that he was going to dress as Frankenstein and I quickly told him that I couldn't do anything like that. Frank was over six feet tall, stocky and could get away with that kind of costume, but at five seven, I didn't think it would work for me.
I walked home with Frank and we went thorough a bevy of things I could go as. By the time we reached my house, I decided that a werewolf would be as good as anything.
I asked my mom about helping me with my costume, but she told me that it would be easier to rent one. We took off in her car and went to several costume shops in search of the outfit I would wear to the party. The search for a costume was fruitless. At this late date, the costume shops were out of anything I would even consider wearing.
During the ride home, my mom came up with an idea that I really liked. She told me that she would dig out my dad's old leather jacket, buy me a pair of tight black jeans. Combined with a white crewneck tee shirt, I would become a greaser out of the fifties.
The following Saturday afternoon, my mom helped me get ready for the party. By this time, my stomach was churning in anticipation of the evening's festivities. Like I said before, I'd never been to a party, let alone a Halloween party.
When my mom was finished with me, my medium length brown hair was black and slicked back on my head with some sort of grease she said all the boys used back then. The jeans she bought me were too tight and made it hard to move. I did like the tee shirt and black leather jacket though.
Before handing me the keys to his Lincoln, my dad told me to behave and treat Gail nice. He reminded me that she was his partner's daughter and there would be hell to pay if I messed up. After promising him I'd be a gentleman, he gave me the keys and I left to pick up my date.
I must have stood on Gail's front porch for ten minutes before I mustered up enough nerve to ring the doorbell. Mr. Johnson greeted me, invited me in and told me Gail would be downstairs in a few minutes.
My palms were wet with sweat and I fidgeted as I sat in the living room waiting for Gail. He father gave me a short speech about how he expected me to treat his daughter and told me to have her home by one.
"Yes sir," I choked out. "I'll be sure to be back on time."
I thought he was going to continue, but Gail and her mother came into the room and rescued me. She was wearing a beige trench coat that was buttoned to the neck, preventing me from seeing what she was wearing.
"Hi Ed," said Gail. "I really like your costume. I think the fifties look is cool."
Gail's face was made up to look like a cat and she wore a pair of velvet ears on her head. Her raven hair was pinned up and her fingernails were covered with black nail polish. My guess was she was wearing one of the many cat costumes, my mom and I had seen, under her coat.
After telling her parents goodbye, we left her house and went to my dad's car. I opened her door and she slid into the passenger's seat, holding her coat closed. I could see her legs were covered with black nylons, but only from mid-calf to the black shoes on her feet. She tossed the large purse she carried into the backseat and fastened her seatbelt.
Gail talked non-stop from her house to the party. She asked if I had a girlfriend and I shook my head no. When she asked if I had ever had a girlfriend, she grinned when I once again shook my head.
"I don't have a boyfriend, either," she said. "In fact this is my first real date. I've been out with a group of kids before, but never on a car date with a boy. I was so shocked when you asked me to the party and my dad said I could go."
Her last sentence set an alarm off in my head. I distinctly remembered my mom telling that Gail wanted to go to the party and I was to take her because of the relationship between our fathers.
"Wait a minute," I said, interrupting her babble. "I thought YOU wanted to go to Cindy's party."
"I have no idea who this Cindy is, Ed. I didn't know anything about the party until you called me last Saturday."
My mind went into overdrive. I tried to recall my mother's exact words and was sure she told me that it was Gail's idea. I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut and not let on that I'd been bamboozled, but vowed to confront my parents the minute I got home. I hated being tricked as much as I hated the holiday.
.... There is more of this story ...