Drama at the Cos­tume Party

The Borneo Post - Good English - - Short Story Section - by Kate­lyn Terry

IT WAS Oc­to­ber and my friend, Lance, had in­vited me to a cos­tume party in the ritzy part of Bos­ton that a friend of his friend was host­ing.

Of course I was ex­cited, but po­litely de­clined when I saw the en­try fee of one hun­dred fifty dol­lars. How­ever, Lance was de­ter­mined to go and begged me to join him. He used every form of bribery there was be­gin­ning with stat­ing there was a cash prize of $10,000 for the most au­then­tic and re­al­is­tic cos­tume and end­ing with his of­fer to pay for me to go. He should have started by wav­ing my fee be­cause the mo­ment he did I was in.

Know­ing that there were large cash prizes at stake I quickly be­gan plan­ning my cos­tume. I scoured Pin­ter­est for “orig­i­nal cos­tume ideas” which ac­tu­ally re­ally de­feats the pur­pose so I switched to “semio­rig­i­nal cos­tume ideas” and even­tu­ally found a win­ner. Af­ter scrolling through images of trolls, aliens, and girls dressed as nerds I fi­nally found a cos­tume that spoke to my true iden­tity. I wanted to be a giant green pickle. I could al­ready imag­ine be­ing called to cen­ter stage, the lights glis­ten­ing of my slightly sweat­ing green form as I ac­cepted a giant check made out to Pickle Girl.

The en­tire month any free time I had was spent get­ting sup­plies or fash­ion­ing my cos­tume out of card­board, green plas­tics and paint, but it was all time well spent be­cause the mo­ment I fin­ished I had the most re­al­is­tic look­ing pickle cos­tume the world would ever see. I was fifty shades of green, glis­ten­ing and juicy. Mas­ter­ing the art of hot glue I was able to fake a “right out of the jar” look topped with a pickle scented per­fume to re­ally seal the deal. For the fi­nal week lead­ing up to the party I soaked my­self in a salty brine every night be­fore bed to truly un­der­stand what it was like to be a pickle. I was go­ing to win $10,000 no mat­ter what it took.

Oc­to­ber 30th rolled around and it was fi­nally the night of the party. With the di­rec­tions typed into google maps I got into the car and drove through an hour of traf­fic in a clammy pickle cos­tume to the lo­ca­tion of the party. From the out­side the build­ing was glo­ri­ous. The front stairs were cov­ered in an el­e­gant red car­pet and out­side the door were two royal look­ing house guards like you see in all of those princess movies.

Ones with giant plumage stick­ing out of their royal bee­hive pow­dered wig hair. Hoist­ing up the bot­tom of my pickle suit I as­cended the steps slowly, my eyes glued on each stair be­fore me so that if I had slipped I’d be able to catch my­self in­stead of rolling back into the street. I was not go­ing to be the front head­line of the news the fol­low­ing morn­ing to for­ever be known as the giant rolling pickle that caused a three car pile up in Bos­ton.

Once I ar­rived at the front door one of the guards scoffed at me. The guard on the left had a fake snooty Bri­tish roy­alty ac­cent as he spoke con­de­scend­ingly to me.

“Ex­cuse me sir, or ma’am… but you need a ticket to get into the party.”

“I do have a ticket.”

I pulled out a large on­line printed ticket Lance had given me, with VIP ac­cess since I was a friend of a friend’s friend who hosted the whole shindig. The guard snatched my ticket and looked at me with con­fu­sion.

“And that’s pickle to you.” I quickly added to as­sert my au­thor­ity.

Hand­ing the ticket back he gave a short hes­i­tant nod to the guard op­po­site him and the two reached for the giant door­knobs pulling the mas­sive wooden doors apart. It was when the doors opened that I no­ticed some­thing was slightly off.

The room was made of deca­dence char­ac­terised by or­nate high ceil­ings painted in gold, turn of the cen­tury vases, and paint­ings painted by the gods them­selves. Ev­ery­where around me were hoop skirts, feath­ers, large fif­teen pound wigs and porce­lain masks. While my eyes were drawn to the sheer opu­lence of the room while every­one else’s were drawn to my less lav­ish and drippy pickle body. I saw Lance in the crowd be­side me, but of course I couldn’t tell un­til he low­ered his mask where I saw that same look of dis­ap­point­ment, shock, and em­bar­rass­ment you might get if you worked re­ally hard on a pickle cos­tume and then showed up to the Hal­loween cos­tume party to re­alise it’s not a Hal­loween cos­tume party at all, but a mas­quer­ade ball.

Lance quickly ush­ered me to a coat room at the back of the party hall.

“What are you do­ing? Wha-what is this?” he whis­per shouted at me.

“Well, I think it’s quite clear that I’m a pickle, Lance.”

He slapped his palms to his face and slowly slid them down the side of his cheeks mak­ing him­self look like the one of those folks in an ex­pres­sion­ist paint­ing with the long con­torted al­most melt­ing faces.

“Oh my god.” He had reached a loss of words. He be­gan pac­ing back and forth in the tiny broom cup­board be­fore he came up with a slightly rea­son­able idea for what to do with me.

“Come with me” he ag­gres­sively whis­pered as he grabbed my wrist and dragged me out of the closet and into the kitchen.

I stood in the kitchen alone for about twenty min­utes while Lance talked with the cater­ers. Dur­ing that time I ad­mired my­self in a mir­ror by the front door that the servers used to touch up their ap­pear­ance be­fore they hit the event floor. My cos­tume was re­ally well done, I couldn’t deny that. When Lance re­turned to me he was hold­ing a large sil­ver plat­ter lined with lit­tle white cups. He in­structed me that there were spicy dill pickle pop­pers.

I roamed around the party for the re­main­der of the night car­ry­ing the plat­ter of pickle ap­pe­tis­ers in one hand and a stack of nap­kins in the other. Thank­fully the pick­les were de­li­cious and every guest I vis­ited com­mented hap­pily about my cos­tume mar­veling over how re­al­is­tic or creative it was. Fi­nally, the night reached its end and the cos­tume awards were to be an­nounced. Lance’s friend of a friend stood at cen­tre stage with a mi­cro­phone and a giant cheque made out for $10,000. I waited pa­tiently hop­ing that by some chance I’d win first place in this mas­quer­ade cos­tume con­test.

“First place goes to Marcy Davis for her out­stand­ing repli­ca­tion of Queen El­iz­a­beth II’s royal ball gown.” The crowd cheered as Marcy care­fully made her way up the stage in her giant wob­bly chicken wire pet­ti­coat.

I can’t say I was heart­bro­ken be­cause I knew I wasn’t go­ing to win, but the night was still filled with a bit of dis­ap­point­ment un­til Lance’s friend of a friend got back on the mi­cro­phone.

“Al­though it’s the end of the night I just want to give a spe­cial shout of to the chefs for the amaz­ing meals they pro­vided for us tonight.” The au­di­ence be­gan ap­plaud­ing be­fore he could fin­ish.

“And-and… I want to com­mend them for the lengths they went to with that fan­tas­tic pickle cos­tume. Every­one give that pickle waiter a round of ap­plause!”

The crowd cheered for me. I fi­nally got that mo­ment of ap­pre­ci­a­tion I craved, though not how I had orig­i­nally dreamed it would hap­pen. I stood by the punch ta­ble with my sil­ver pickle plat­ter held high and I owned the mo­ment. That night proved to be one of the worst ex­pe­ri­ences I had ever had, but ended on an up­swing when I re­ceived the recog­ni­tion I truly de­served. I even made out with a lit­tle ex­tra cash when the cater­ing com­pany asked to buy the cos­tume from me for a cou­ple hun­dred bucks.

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