“Heyy fuck boysss.”
She slurred her speech as she stumbled towards the gazebo in front of our dorm, leaning on her friend for support. Both of them wore cat ears that were sliding off the sides of their heads, black booty shorts with tails attached, black tube tops, black eyeliner, and thick, black lipstick. She half sat, half fell next to me on the bench, where my pledge brother James and I were waiting for a ride to the Halloween party.
“What’rr YOU s’posta be, huh?” she said, dragging her black fingernails down my chest.
“I’m a babysitter, see?”
I stood up and showed her the baby doll I had duct taped to my ass. I did a little twerking maneuver that made it look like it was dancing.
“HAHA thass funny you’re funny,” she said, slapping the doll.
I noticed James had a long white glove around the shoulder of the friend (the brothers assigned him a Princess Peach costume), so I tried to keep the conversation going.
“So, what are you?”
Dumb question. That was a dumb question.
“Imma cat, see?”
She leaned in and licked the side of my face.
“Wow! You’re a friendly cat, aren’t you?”
Weird. That was a fucking weird thing to say. Weirdo.
She meowed, straddled my lap, puckered her black painted lips and went to town on my face. Purring. Licking. Biting. Kissing it all over. Then I felt someone drag her off me.
“Come on, Claire. Time to go.”
Her friend pulled her by the arm towards the dorm. James called after them.
“Where y’all going? Wanna come to a Halloween party?”
It was too late. The front door had closed behind them, and after Claire got her tail unstuck from the door, the pair was gone. James shrugged.
“Huh. Guess she didn’t like my Thailand ping pong ball story.”
He turned and looked at me for a moment, then pointed and laughed.
“What’s so funny?”
He let out a few more chuckles before collecting himself.
Someone honked from behind us.
“Don’t you honk at me you little bitch!” James answered.
He lifted up his pink dress and sprinted at the pickup truck, slid across the hood Dukes of Hazzard style, and climbed into the passenger seat. I hustled into the back.
“Man, I ain’t your bitch,” said the driver, our pledge brother Nick.
“When you sleep through morning clean up and get stuck with the Halloween driving shift, that makes you my bitch for the night. Bitch.” James said.
In one swift motion, Nick jabbed him in the balls and put the truck in drive. As we pulled away from the dorm, he noticed me in the rearview mirror.
“Jesus, Boosh. That’s an aggressive costume.”
“I guess?” I said.
The babysitter costume was different, sure. But it certainly wasn’t something I would consider aggressive.
We pulled up to our off-campus fraternity house and hopped out of the truck.
“Later, bitch!” James called as Nick pulled away.
We jogged up the steps of the porch. From the front yard, you couldn’t even tell there was a party. The lawn was devoid of people. Black tarps covered the windows. The only clue was the gentle bump of music only audible from the precipice of the old, white house.
“Those soundproof panels were a solid investment,” James said.
I rapped my knuckles on the front door. A voice from inside answered.
“Go around back, assholes.”
“Oh, right,” I said to James. “Still getting used to that rule.”
We slid around back where throngs of people stood smoking cigarettes. Each brother we walked by brought two fingers to his lips and held out a hand. My pack was half empty by the time we opened the back door.
The inside was filled with lights and music and cleavage and the entire spectrum of 2011 pop culture references. Zombie Steve Jobs. Chuck Testa complete with a stuffed deer head under his arm. A honey badger. Iron Man. Sexy Iron Woman.
As I made my way through the party towards the coolers filled with punch, I sensed an uneasiness around me. I made eye contact with a Harry Potter in a push-up bra who immediately crinkled her nose in disgust and diverted her gaze. Same reaction from the Spongebob in a push up bra. And the slice of pizza in a push up bra.
I finally reached the cooler and threw back a cup as fast as I could. I needed something to drown the feeling of rejection swelling in my stomach. As I scooped another cup, a super country brother who usually gave pledges the cold shoulder threw me a “Yeee atta boy!” and a high five, which I thought was odd.
I looked out at the sea of people when I saw a gorgeous redhead in a skimpy Pocahontas costume. I took another gulp and walked up to her.
“Hey what’s up?”
“Are you fucking serious?”
She slapped me across the face and stormed off. Half the room was staring at me now. I just stood there confused and embarrassed with my hand on my cheek. When I took my hand off my face, I noticed a black smudge on my palm. I hurried to the bathroom.
I looked at my reflection and gasped. My chin, cheeks, forehead, everything, was covered in black paint.
I turned to look at James standing in the doorway.
“I meant to tell you earlier, that girl got a little lipstick on you.”