"Danny, wait, I'm coming! Wait for me!" I heard my little sister squeal loudly in excitement as she burst out the front door. She leaped off the front stoop and landed running, dashing as fast as she could across the front yard in my direction.
"Sorry Sammie, but you were taking so long that I thought that you just didn't want to go trick-or-treating this year." I said solemnly, my face betraying nothing. "I would just have to keep all that candy for myself." I added in mock exasperation, with a sigh of resignation at the end.
Seeing as our Mom was suddenly and unexpectedly stuck in bed with the flu, and our older sister Mattie was away at college, the responsibility of chaperoning Sam while out trick-or-treating fell to either our Dad or yours truly. I fully expected him to take charge of the job, leaving me to man the front door, dolling out candy and chocolates to the oncoming juvenile horde, as well as guarding our home from the occasional toilet-paper and egg wielding prankster. But, to my surprise, when we were alone, Dad confided in me that he had got more than his fill of kid's Halloweens years ago and would much prefer to take it easy and stay home.
So, in exchange for a favor to be determined at a later date, I agreed to take the rug-rat out while he stayed behind.
It really wasn't that big of a sacrifice. I most likely would have done it anyway. Despite our age differences (me at nineteen and her at eight) I enjoyed spending time with my baby sis. She was a surprisingly smart and funny kid, who seemed to look upon her big brother as some sort of hero.
Go figure, right?
Ever since I had started working part time after graduating from high school, as well as taking classes at the local community college, I had less and less time to spend at home and with her. So, over the last several weeks, Sam had been making her unhappiness pretty obvious to the entire household. I was hoping that spending Halloween with her would at least in part make up for some of my unintentional fraternal neglect.
She slowed as she approached me, a vivid expression of surprised dismay on her face. It didn't last though. Either I was a really bad liar or she simply knew me too well. Her expression quickly shifted to one of amusement, with a bright and wide smile.
"No ... you wouldn't have left without me." Sam said and then giggled cutely.
"What? You don't think that I like candy more than I like you?" I asked gesturing emphatically with her empty orange plastic jack-o-lantern bucket in hand.
"I know you like me more." She replied with all the confidence in the world while still giggling. Grabbing my free hand, she then led me away down the sidewalk. "Come on; let's go before everybody runs out of the best candy!"
Ah, the annual hunt for the most and best Halloween haul. Good memories. Too bad that people frown on teenagers trick-or-treating.
The sun had just started setting and the early autumn evening was comfortably cool. It was a beautiful sight, the crisp clear contrast of color between the blue sky and the play of fading sunlight over the orange and red of the fall foliage. The street was alive with motion and sound, with several dozen costumed kids out and about, laughing and having a good time. In an hour, their numbers seemed to multiply exponentially – I had no idea that there were so many kids in our town, let alone our little neighborhood. I spotted a few princesses and fairytale characters, a small group of ninjas, some superheroes, pirates, cowboys, and the traditional assortment of ghosts, ghouls and monsters. Every once in a while, even one of their accompanying parents was costumed as well.
Sam stopped occasional to chat with other kids that she knew, talking about and complimenting each other's costumes and where the best candy was to be found.
As we walked door to door, we 'oohed' and 'ahhed' at the decorations people had put up around their homes. From traditional and sometimes elaborate jack-o-lanterns, to one house in particular that went all out, with ambient music and sound effects playing, strobe lights, a fog machine, fake tombstones and skeletons littering the front lawn, cotton cobwebs covering the windows, and a twitching zombie dummy set up on the front porch, connected to a motion sensor.
All in all, it was shaping up into a pretty fun night.
There's just something about Halloween. Ever since I was a little boy, it had been my very favorite holiday. More than Christmas and its gifts, Thanksgiving and its food, or Easter and its chocolate bunnies and eggs, Halloween was always first and foremost in my mind and heart.
In the beginning, it was, of course, all about the candy. The very concept of going up to random strangers' homes for free chocolates and sweets just blew my young mind.
It's still a pretty impressive concept to me.
Then, as I grew up and trick-or-treating became less age appropriate, Halloween became all about the spooky, supernatural and phantasmagorical. Let me tell you, I have one hell of a monster and horror movie and book collection. I even have a set of collector's edition classic movie monster action figures.
And of course, it was also about Devil's Night, a time to shed the shackles of rules and respectability and indulge in all matter of delinquent behavior.
I freely admit that there was a time in my life when I had a prominent hand in planning and putting into motion numerous pranks and acts of mischief around the neighborhood. Looking back now, there were one or two occasions when I was really lucky in not getting in serious trouble, or even arrested.
What can I say... ? I was a bit of a stupid and reckless teen. Thank God I eventually grew up and out of it.
But above and beyond it all, for some unknown reason, I've always loved dressing up in costumes. And I'm not talking about those cheap plastic masks and smocks that they sell at supermarkets. I mean real costumes, the more realistic and elaborate the better. Dressing up, imagining that I was someone or something else was one of the most enjoyable pastimes that I could think of. Over time, collecting and even making my own masks, costumes, and eventually special effects got to be something of a hobby of mine.
A hobby I actually honed and put to good use in the high school drama department. I was never an actor, but I was one hell of a stage hand and prop manager, occasionally dabbling in costumes, makeup and scenery.
Of course, I also used my knowledge and skills for fun!
This one time, I coordinated and carried out am elaborate John Woo style shootout at the school gym, while they were preparing for homecoming, with a half dozen of my friends. With some impressively well coordinated acrobatics, a handful of fake guns, and dozens of homemade squibs (exploding blood packs), it was a particularly bloody and action packed scene. There were quite a few screams of surprise amongst the student body, while others were left in slack jawed surprise and confusion. Happily I had thought ahead and spread the word amongst several people in the crowd in order to help keep the crowds calm. The last thing that we wanted was to have the cops show up, armed for bear, responding to a school shooting.
Don't worry, it was at the end of the school year, and I had got the principal's permission beforehand. He didn't exactly know what kind of "performance piece" we were going to perform, but then again, he didn't actually ask.
Tsk, tsk ... he really should have known better.
Still, we very luckily only got a slap on the wrist. I don't think that he wanted to explain what had happened to the school board. Oh, and we did have to clean the place up afterwards. The custodian staff was more than a bit pissed.
Amused, certainly, but still pissed.
Thank God I had somebody get it all on tape. It was awesome! You can probably find it on YouTube, if you want.
Anyways, my little sister Sam grew to share my love of Halloween. This year, she had chosen to dress up as David Tennant's Doctor Who.
Yes, to my immense pride and amusement, my little sis was a budding sci-fi and fantasy geek. On the other hand, Mattie and our mom were pretty exasperated and confused by her interests.
It took some time to scrounge up and alter the appropriate clothing, but I eventually made it just in time. With her shoulder length brown hair up in pigtails, she wore a blue four-buttoned suit, a white shirt, a red tie and a pair of running shoes, with a light brown overcoat. Finishing up the whole ensemble was a toy sonic screwdriver, which lit up and made a whirling sound when a button was pressed.
My parents thought that it was too much for a costume that she would only use once or twice. A part of me agreed with them - especially the part that was paying for it - but the smile on her face and her extreme excitement when I presented her with the outfit were compensation enough for the time and money spent.
Naturally, I was dressed up as well.
I had initially dressing to match her, maybe going as Captain Jack Harkness, but after taking care of Mattie's costume, I really didn't have the cash or time to spare. Instead, I was wearing a costume I already had prepped in my collection – a Marine Corps uniform in desert camouflage pattern, with Captain's rank insignias and the appropriate badges for an experienced, modern soldier. The whole outfit was as authentic as possible, except of course for the body armor (just a black, padded vest) and the weapon hanging over my shoulder.
Carrying around a realistic rifle around in public, even if it was made of plastic, wasn't really a very smart idea. Contrary to what some people might think, there was no way that I was going to do something that dumb. As an alternative, I simply pulled out an old Nerf gun that had been gathering dust in the garage and spray-painted it black, with some bright orange highlights.
With its exaggerated size and proportions, there was no way that it could be mistaken with a real weapon, no matter how dark it got outside.
It was getting late, with more and more teenagers walking the streets, and fewer kids around Sammie's age trick and treating. I'd already given her the "half hour" warning a few minutes ago, and her almost automatic protestations were pretty half-hearted. The night's excitement had clearly been wearing her down.
I was getting tiring of the experience as well. I now fully understood and commiserated with my dad's feelings on kiddy Halloween. The constant childish excitement, the exuberant laughter, the exaggerated screams of fright, they were all getting to me. Plus, I'd been regulated to "packhorse" status, lugging around two pillowcases full of candy.
Thankfully, I had something quite appealing to help pass the time...
A group of teenage girls caught my eye as they walked by me, dressed as sexy, downright slutty, versions of Disney characters. They were walking arm-in-arm down the sidewalk, talking and laughing enthusiastically.
Yet another reason I loved this holiday - Halloween was the day young women felt free, encouraged even, to dress as slutty as they wanted to, without judgment and repercussions. Believe me, no matter the mask or costume, somewhere out there, there is a sexy version of it, made of some skin tight or near transparent material, revealing plenty of leg and cleavage.
God bless America!
Each and every one of the girls was cute and pretty damned hot, but they were all also too young for me to seriously consider approaching. I doubted if any of them were even halfway through high school.
That didn't stop me from admiring and fantasizing though.
Seeing them whispering and giggling amongst themselves while shooting furtive glances in my direction hinted that they certainly didn't mind my attention. The pretty blonde, blue-eyed girl dressed as Tinkerbelle, in a short and skintight green dress, smiled widely as she neared and I winked at her in response. That just set off another giggling and whispering fit as they moved on, putting a nice extra sway in their hips as they did.
'Damn, do I need to find a girlfriend.' I mused to myself.
I was still busy admiring the girls' retreating figures and round backsides when I heard Sam call out to me.
"Danny! Danny! Look who it is! It's Amanda!"
I spun toward my little sister's excited voice so quickly that I actually got a bit dizzy. I just managed not to embarrass myself by swaying on my feet.
As my vision settled and my balance returned, I saw her, the reason for my sister's excitement. Standing there in the open doorway of the house Sam had just moments ago run up to, was Amanda Moore.
Amanda was one of those girls that just seem to have everything going for them. She was beautiful and popular, one of the school's top students, on the cheerleading squad, plus several other athletic, social and academic clubs. Some people would resent her for doing so much, so well, but you couldn't help but like Amanda after meeting her, and talking with her for just a few minutes. She was just so cheery, caring, and personable.
And I had been completely, hopelessly in love with her.
In high school, I couldn't have been more different than Amanda. Though I managed to scrape by with pretty decent grades, I was firmly entrenched in the burnout and stoner crowd. Just about the only after-school activity that I ever took regular part in was detention.
In other words, she was way out of my league.
Our paths crossed for the first time when we were paired as lab partners in biology. To my eternal surprise, we actually got along and worked well together, eventually becoming casual friends. After I got over my nervousness and started acting like an actual, intelligent person, that is. Over the next couple of years, besides occasionally working and studying together, as well as a couple of times in which she participated in some sort of school play or production I was involved in, we would casually meet up and talk just about every day. A few minutes here and there, to maybe a couple of hours on every couple of weekends.
Sam had met her during one of those rare times that Amanda had come over to our place to work on some sort of joint project and was almost immediately taken with her. Why wouldn't she, Amanda was an older, pretty, and smart young woman, and certainly not an annoying older sister, or bossy mother.
She might have been a great role model, but it got to be more than a bit annoying and awkward. Sam was always hovering around us when we were at our place, and pestering me to invite Amanda over again as soon as she left.
She even went so far as to insist that I ask her out, just so that she would be around more often. Thank God that she never said anything like that while Amanda was around to hear it! I would have been forced to murder the poor thing.
Tonight, Amanda was dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, in a dark red skirt which reached down just below her knees, and a white peasant blouse which complimented her smooth pale skin and abundant freckles nicely. Topping off the outfit, she was also wearing a long red cape tied around her neck with an attached hood. Her red hair was in a long, loose braid, hanging over one shoulder and she was carrying a large wicker basket in the crook of one arm, filled with assorted "fun-sized" chocolate bars for trick-or-treaters.
It was a conservative costume compared to what a lot of women choose to wear on Halloween, but she looked damn good in it.
No. She made it look good.
From one second to the next, I found myself mere feet from her, staring up into her sparkling crystal green eyes and long fluttering eyelashes as if I was in a trance. For the life of me, I couldn't remember walking up to her.
"Hey Danny." Just that wide, bright smile and the candid happiness at seeing me made my heart skip a beat.
'Dammit, it's just not fair! After all this time, I still have it bad.' I complained to myself, as I smiled back to her.
"Hey Amanda." I managed to say as I mindless climbed the three steps onto her front porch.
'Ok, greetings are done, so what's next? I know! Compliment her! Women always love that!'
"You're looking good."
'Whoa! Too much, too soon! Dial it back buddy.'
"Ahh ... I mean ... it's good to see you. After all this time."
'Real smooth idiot!' Just a few seconds in her presence and I was once again reduced to an awkward, bumbling teenager. Luckily, she just laughed, her bright green eyes twinkling happily.
I could always make her laugh. Boy did I love and miss that almost musical sound.
"It's nice to see you too Dan." I could tell that she really meant it. Wow. "And you're looking good as well."
I knew exactly what she was talking about, and I couldn't help but feel proud. Compared to when we had seen each other last year, I looked much more grown up now, and pretty damn good, if I say so myself. Thanks to my sister Mattie's grooming advice and fashion tips (which I'd finally agreed to listen to, after years of wheedling) my hair was no longer a shaggy mess and I no longer sported a healthy amount of facial stubble She wasn't the only one surprised by how handsome I could look, with a little bit of effort.
But my grooming and clothing wasn't the only thing that had I had improved – after graduating I finally decided to get off my ass and get into some semblance of shape. In high school I was somewhat soft and lazy, closely bordering at times on pudgy. Now though, I was fighting fit, steadily working my way toward muscular.
It was a bitch most of the time, but I kept with it, because I knew that it was the best for me and my health.
Ha, ha. Not really, no.
I actually decided to do it because I was tired of being alone. I wanted to date, and girls tend to prefer good looking, in shape guys.
Wait ... was that a flash of interest I just saw? Did she just check me out, her eyes travelling up and down my body, as she casually leaned against the door jamb? Was the slight blush in her cheeks from the cold autumn wind, or maybe something else?
The mere possibility, farfetched as it might have been, thrilled me.
"Oh, and of course, it's nice to see you too Sam!" She added hastily, suddenly remembering my baby sister standing silently between us, a huge, silly grin plastered on her face.
To be honest, I'd completely forgotten all about her too.
Don't look at me like that!
"So, what are you doing here?" As far as I knew, she lived at the opposite end of town.
"Oh, I'm here helping out my aunt. She broke her arm a few days ago and is not really up to handling the trick-or-treaters yet."
"Well, that's nice of you."
'Alright, I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel here ... what next?' I thought furiously.
A looong moment of silence followed, with me just sort of squirming slightly and looking at Amanda with what must have been a goofy smile on my face. I was desperately trying to think of something to say to restart the conversation, something smart and witty, but nothing near suitable came to mind.
Above all else, I really wanted to ask if she was single now, or still seeing her boyfriend Derek. I remembered him being a good looking older guy, already in College while we were in our senior year. I'd never actually met him in person, just seen him in a couple of photos, and knew what Amanda had told me. He seemed to embody the perfect mix between "worldly intellectual" and "strapping athlete", and I hated him with a white hot, burning passion. It was far from rational seeing as I didn't even know the guy.
But, he had Amanda. That was more than enough reason.
Just coming out and asking her wouldn't be all that subtle. Worse yet, if she happened to be single, I might actually impulsively confess my love and eternal devotion to her right there on the spot.
Obviously, that would not be a terribly smooth move.
The sound of Sam yawning theatrically broke me out of my semi-trance, and Amanda and I both looked down at the girl. I tell you, a kid that young should not have a shit-eating grin.
Well, if she wants it like that...
"It looks like we should be heading home. It's obviously getting a bit too late for Sam." My sister froze in shock as she realized what I had just said, then started to whine and protest. I just ignored her and continued speaking to Amanda, giving her a quick wink. "I really should have known. She's much too young for serious trick-or-treating."
Her mouth twitched, wanting to turn into a smile, but she controlled it. She saw what I was doing. Instead, she nodded solemnly and said, "I understand. Children today just can't keep up like we used to."
"I don't even think that she likes candy all that much." I finished with a disappointed sigh.
Sam let out an indignant and anguished cry, and I could no longer keep up the facade. I burst out laughing and Amanda followed right behind, letting out an occasional and very cute slight snort.
It took a while for my sister to realize that we were messing with her.
"You totally guys suck!" She stomped her foot and scowled at us both. Any anger that she felt though, was vastly overwhelmed by her relief, embarrassment, and recognition that she had been well and truly had.
I manage to spot a slight smile and a stifled chuckle break through her annoyed facade.
As a master prankster in her own right, she could appreciate being on the receiving end, every once in a while. Still, I knew that I would be paying for it later, when I least expected.
It was worth it.
Another short period of silence followed. This one much less uncomfortable.
I wanted to stay, to keep speaking with Amanda. I really felt like we had ... something going on. I don't know what, but it was stronger than the casual friendship that had been between us in high school. And it sure as hell wasn't a one way infatuation this time. It was clear to see that Amanda was just as into me as I was into her. But, I didn't want to try and pick her up while my little sister watched. I had to get her home eventually. Plus, there were still plenty of trick-or-treaters around, travelling door to door in small packs.
This just wasn't the time, or the place.
"Well, I guess we should get going."
"Alright." Amanda nodded in what seemed reluctant agreement. "But before you go Sam, why don't you take an extra piece of candy. Just as long as you don't tell anybody," she added in a conspiratorial whisper.
With those magic words, Sam cut off any complaints about how fair I was and instead started shifting through the proffered basket full of goodies, carefully searching for one, specific piece. In seconds, she had clearly found what she had been looking for, and I heard something drop into her half-filled bucket.
"What do you say?" I said in an almost parental reflex.
"Sorry," Sam answered contritely. She knew better than that. We were big on politeness and manners in our family. "Thank you very much Amanda!" she gushed, quickly wrapping the unsuspecting girl in an excited hug.
"You're very welcome sweetheart."
I wanted to ask for her number, maybe even for a date. But I didn't. I was just too chicken I guess.
In my mind, Amanda had always been the unobtainable ideal, the perfect woman, my fantasy mate, and despite how much I had improved and grown, a big part of me still felt like I was beneath her. Being shot down, no matter how politely, would hurt. It could even scar me for life!
So, I said nothing. I just said a quick goodbye, averted my gaze so she wouldn't see any longing there, took my sister's hand in mine, and turned to walk away.
I didn't get far.
"Dan! Wait a second!" I felt a hand grab onto my arm.
Amanda's hand. Small, soft, slender, long nails with clear polish.
She didn't let go right away as I turned back towards her. She seemed a bit embarrassed, but that didn't deter her any.
"Listen, I'm heading to a Halloween party with a couple of friends tonight. There's going to be a bunch of people from high school there. Are you ... doing anything?" I didn't fully grasp her meaning at first. It actually took a few beats to realize that she was actually inviting me along.
'Thank you God almighty!' I silently gave thanks. 'I knew that there's something between us!'
"At Jimmy Noble's place, right? Around midnight?" Of course I knew about it. Jimmy had sent me an e-vite a week ago.
Jimmy Noble was, in a word, rich. Ridiculously rich. Well, maybe he personally wasn't, but his family sure as hell was. He was a really nice guy though. He was in no way arrogant or conceited, like a lot of his peers were. Friendly to everybody and outgoing, never uptight or looking down at people, he had easily been one of the most popular people at our high school. Whenever he threw a party (which was at least several times a year), almost everybody was invited and welcome, no matter the clique or social standing, as long as they behaved themselves and kept their mouths shut.
Of course, maybe the fact that he was also the local pot dealer, who liberally sampled his own wares, helped his demeanor and popularity.
"I was thinking about going actually." That was a flat out lie - I'd never been much of a party guy before. Oh, I'd gone to Jimmy's parties before, but not many. This situation though, certainly called for an exemption.
"Great! I'll see you there!"
She actually seemed as happy and excited as I felt as she bid goodbye to me and Sam. We left just as a group of a half dozen children, herded by two obviously harried parents, walked up to her door and yelled as one, sugar-hungry entity, "TRICK OR TREAT."
On the way home, though skipping along happily and stifling giggles whenever she glanced over at me, Sam was suspiciously quiet. I eventually did notice that she was singing quietly to herself. Repeating some little ditty about two people sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g.
I admit, I wasn't paying much attention. I was just feeling so good that I tuned her out and just enjoyed the night air. Even the sight of a pair of gorgeous ladies wearing complimentary outfits of extremely revealing (seriously, they must have been freezing) and brightly colored rave wear, didn't arouse anything more than a casual glance. They must have been in their early to mid twenties, on their way to some party, but already a bit tipsy on their high-heeled feet, and I'm pretty sure that the petite Asian was purposely trying to attract my attention. I just gave her a smile and a nod.
All I could think about was Amanda.
It seemed like fate, crossing paths with my high school crush out of the blue like that. Plus, she now seemed interested in me, and not just in a friendly, "let's keep in touch through Facebook", kind of way. I didn't know if she was still dating what's his name, but I doubted it.
No matter what, there was no way in hell that I was going to waste this god sent opportunity.
I had been planning on spending the rest of the night relaxing, snacking on popcorn and watching horror movies (classics and moderns) until the early morning. It was sort of a personal Halloween tradition. Now though, I was determined to make Amanda Moore mine.
"So, how was the trick-or-treating?" Our dad asked as we entered the badly lit living room.
He didn't move or even turn to look at us. He just kept on staring blankly at the movie playing on TV.
'One of the Leprechaun films. Blah!'
"Great!" Sam happily exclaimed, followed immediately by a drawn out yawn.
Though still happy, her excitement from the beginning of the night was now obviously severely muffled by exhaustion.
Dad would let Sam go through her haul, dividing up all of the candies and sweets into different categories, and sneaking in an occasional taste or two. She probably wouldn't get to finish though. She would only manage to stay awake for another hour or two, tops. Then, from one moment to the next, she'll just lie down and fall asleep, no matter where she was or what she was doing. Halfway through sorting her loot she'd fall asleep, and dad would have to carry her up to bed.
Yup, I knew how this was all going to turn out. I should, as it had happened before, not only with Sam, but also with me and Mattie when we were younger.
I shuffled forward and dumped the two large pillowcases, filled near to bursting with candy, chocolate, and many other assorted sweets, onto the middle of the living room floor. Sam rushed on over, fell to her knees and got down to business, pausing just long enough to remove her coat and jacket.
"Remember our deal rug rat. I get everything with peanuts or peanut butter."
As luck would have it, while I loved peanuts, Sam was severely allergic, so our little arrangement worked out to the benefit of all.
"Agreed." She answered as she reached up and solemnly shook my hand.
Of course, she had to ruin the whole thing by giggling madly.
"How's mom?" I asked dad.
"A bit better. She's been out like a light for a while." Dad visibly shook off his stupor, levered himself up to his feet, and put on a happy expression for the benefit of his youngest.
He sounded and looked like he wanted nothing more than to go up and join his wife in bed. Well, he'd have to stay up for a few more hours.
"I'm going out tonight."
"What, no monster movie marathon?"
"Danny has a date with Amanda," Sam opined, with another cute, yet infuriating giggle.
"Really? Amanda Moore?" That little tidbit noticeably perked him up. My parents have too much of an interest in my love life for my comfort.
"It's not a date! We just happen to be going to the same party."
"Ahh. Completely different then." He hid his smirk, but I spotted it. Damn, do I have to move out soon. "Have fun and behave."
I didn't answer. I just hurried downstairs to the basement where my private bedroom, bathroom, and workshop was, and took a quick, but thorough shower.
Next, I thought about what I should wear. I discarded the idea of sticking with my soldier costume. I wanted to impress Amanda with my talent and ingenuity.
In a flash, it came to me. If Amanda was Red Riding Hood, I'd go as the Big Bad Wolf. As luck would have it, I was in the middle of putting together a killer werewolf costume for a student movie I was collaborating on.
I kept the cargo pants and boots from my soldier uniform, but on top I wore a skin tight, near see-through nylon shirt, with long sleeves. What really made it unique was that I had liberally covered it with a dark brown, almost black fur like material. It also had matching gloves, with thimbles in the interior of the fingers, keeping a set of dark claws firmly in place. I then slipped a liberally torn and bloodied t-shirt on top. I hadn't finished the headpiece yet - I was having trouble getting the animatronic muzzle to look and work right - so I had to do it the simple way. First, I messed up my hair, then I added some prosthetic pointed tips on my ears, slipped some fake porcelain fangs onto my upper and lower canines, held firmly in place by PoliGrip, and finally I whipped up a quick makeup job, based on some wolf reference photos.
I did decide to skip the golden tinted contact lenses. I simply hated wearing those things.
It was far from my best work. It was a rush job, under some strain, but still ended up looking half decent.
I made sure to take a couple of pictures for my portfolio.
Coming back upstairs, I came upon my father picking up an unconscious and lightly snoring Sam.
"Whoa. Nice work son." He whispered after spotting me, blinking through his tiredness.
"Thanks dad. Well, I'm off."
"You coming home tonight?"
After a pause of a few moments, I answered, "Don't wait up," and left.
I drove my van out towards Jimmy Noble's place, a little outside of town. I'd already been there before, for a few of his famous parties. Large, fun affairs, with liberal booze (despite our underage status), the occasional joint or bong, and lots of sex.
Or at least real heavy petting and dry humping.
As always, as I came into view the Noble home, I was impressed by what I saw. It was a sprawling ranch style affair surrounded by enough tree, grass, and garden covered land to make a city park feel inadequate. Seriously, their long, winding driveway even had a couple of deer crossing signs. Right now the whole exterior was well lit by an eclectic mix of, tiki torches, jack-o-lanterns, and multicolored, blinking Christmas lights. Some sort of club music that I couldn't recognize was playing loudly, making the windows of my car vibrate as I parked in a free spot several yards away from the front door. The noise would have certainly driven the neighbors to calling the cops, if there had been any nearby.
There were also several other buildings on the property. A large barn, which at one point housed horses, but was now a lavish apartment (where Jimmy lived) over a large garage, a pool house that was as big as my own home, and a small greenhouse were just the ones within easy walking distance and that I knew about.
I noticed a zombie wearing a red vest approaching my driver side window, so I stopped and lowered the window. Apparently, this event had valet parking. The zombie gave me a plastic token in exchange for my car keys and drove off with my van for parts unknown.
And that wasn't the last surprise. Standing at attention at the front door was a tall and wide man dressed as Frankenstein's monster, in a crisp black suit and mirror shades.
Back in high school, whenever Jimmy had a party, he'd pay a few football players and other tough guys to act as security. Making sure nobody gets too rowdy, causes any damage, hurts themselves, or someone else, and to kick out any party crashers. Now, it looked like he had professional muscle. He even had a "utility belt" hidden under his jacket, with a walkie-talkie, a can of pepper spray, and a compact breathalyzer.
After checking my ID against a list and "Frankie" waved me in.
Really surprising and impressive. Jimmy had always been clever and well prepared, but this was a whole new level.
As I passed the threshold, motions sensors set off some surprises. A few hanging ghosts made some creepy noises and started bouncing, a plastic skeleton waved its arms and groaned out "Happy Halloween", and some fake thunder and lightning boomed and flashed.
I smiled and kept walking. I just love cheesy Halloween stuff like that.
I paused just inside the main living room to take in my surroundings.
For some reason, the "Noble Manor" seemed bigger on the inside than it did on the outside. That made the fact that the place was full, but not particularly crowded, of costumed partygoers even more impressive. People were all over, dancing, talking, laughing, making out, getting high, and getting drunk. No matter their costume, it seemed like a lot of skin was being bared, and not all of it was female. There were numerous monsters and fantasy creatures, video game characters, a few internet memes, different kinds of uniforms, animal costumes, and a shitload of zombies.
I simply hate zombies. They're so unoriginal.
I saw a few more security Frankensteins loitering around, keeping their eyes open. The music was under the direction of an actual DJ, dressed as Spock of all things. There was a pair of bartenders doling out anything from beer to cocktails, for just a few bucks a cup. I knew that the kitchen would house an abundant supply of nonalcoholic drinks - bottled water, juice, and soda – along with some snacks and finger food. Also, if this party followed the form of others, there would be small bowls scattered around the house filled with joints and condoms.
Through the costumes, I recognized less than half of the partygoers. The ones I did ... well, I wasn't interested in mingling and chitchatting with former classmates. Hell, I'd only consider a mere handful of them as actual friends. The rest were acquaintances that barely deserved a hello.
"Danny boy! Long time no see!" A happy voice cut through the music and conversations.
And there was the man himself, outgoing and cheerful as always. Personal friend and confidant to all, middleman extraordinaire, and the eternal life of the party. Jimmy was dressed as Elvis (the young one, from Jailhouse Rock, I'm believe), which suited him, seeing as they were quite similar in appearance. Only he happened to be much shorter, barely passing most average guys' shoulders.
It didn't hinder his popularity any. He was presently flanked by two affectionate, gorgeous, and skimpily dressed women - one was an Indian maiden, the other a cowgirl.
I liked the symmetry, and wondered if it was planned.
"Fantastic costume buddy! But not exactly your best work is it? I've seen some real pieces of art on you website."
I was surprised, but I really shouldn't have been. Jimmy always seemed to know everything about everybody, coming across as a close personal friend, intimately integrated into their lives.
You should have seen him work the teachers at school.
"Hiya Jimmy. Thanks." I shrugged and smiled, accepting the praise and critique. "This was a rush job. I wasn't going to come until ... well I crossed paths with Amanda Moore, you see-"
"Ahh, say no more." He cut me off and gave me a sly, knowing grin.
Dammit, is there really nothing that the man doesn't know? It was a good thing that I was covered with my wolfman makeup, or it would be obvious that I was blushing.
"She's inside already." He pointed further inside with his chin. "Good luck Dan."
He gave me a companionable nod and turned away, to continue his mingling and schmoozing. As he did, I noticed that he was guiding his cheerful female escorts with his hands cupping their asses.
Lucky, charismatic bastard. You couldn't help but love 'em.
And so, I waded through the throngs of masked and debauched humanity on a quest for my would-be beloved. I ignored scantily clad women, lip-locked couples, and even a few lap dances in my dedicated search.
As I made my way through several crowded rooms, I did say hi to a few people I recognized, but I never stayed long to chat. The music was too loud for it anyway. A couple of others recognized and greeted me, though I'm not too sure who they were. I just gave out some growls and howls for fun's sake. I received a lot of praise for my costume, which did my professional ego some good.