Thursday, October 24, 2013

Zombies and Harlots: A Free Chapter of Horror

"Paige, I really feel like you picked hunting zombies over cleaning up after the kids a little too quickly. But, let's get a move on."
Morning Readers,

On a scale of "I just stuffed the baby's shoes full of marshmallows" and "I still haven't cleaned the pee off the play kitchen that was victimized last night," I'd say, this morning, the Kellermans are operating at about a...

"Why are you two kicking each other in the face again?"

Moving on.

Halloween's right around the corner, which means I'm about to bathe myself in Kit Kats. However, because I can't pull out that giant bag of chocolate, pretend it's for trick-or-treaters, and then eat it by myself in a closet just yet, I've decided to hand out something else instead.

"Is it a Halloween themed post on how to craft pumpkins from felt, Paige?"

Do I run six miles every morning?

So instead, please sit back and enjoy "Zombies and Harlots," chapter four of At Least My Belly Hides My Cankles: Mostly-True Tales of An Impending Miracle, and I'll see you all next week.

Lights, please...

                                 Chapter 4:
                          Zombies and Harlots

     When a woman’s pregnant, nothing makes itself more apparent to her than the un-tapped market. As I gazed at the rows of corsets, wigs, and stockings, I couldn’t help noticing the lack of attractive costumes for expectant mothers. There was a section fully stocked with everything one would need to parade down the street dressed as Moby Dick, the blurb on the plastic practically selling itself. “Are you looking to repel every man at the costume party? Complete with working spout!” But a Flirty Nurse or Dominatrix Debbie was out of the question.
Husband came up behind me and pointed to the picture of a saucy-looking bimbo in a “police uniform.”
     “How about that one? She looks comfortable.”
     “I’m pregnant.” Looking around the corner, I searched for a set of plastic handcuffs I could use to secure him to the rack of plastic axes and leave him there. “When was the last time you saw a pregnant police woman bust a crack house? I simply can’t count the times I’ve seen one break down a door and yell, ‘Drop the pipe or I’ll eat all your Oreos.’”
     He shrugged. “Suit yourself, but there has to be something here you want to dress up in.” He wiggled a plastic bag showing a picture of a skinny blond with a fire hose.
     Before my misguided soul mate could hold up another hermetically sealed package containing a corset and no self-esteem, I turned my bloated self around and marched towards the makeup section. It was the day before Halloween, and the costume shop was bustling with kids whose parents had just remembered it was their job to supply a Batman cape, teenage kids searching for a mask that would hide their identity as they left flaming poop on Mrs. Dinkmeyer’s doorstep, and, of course, herds of skinny twenty-somethings looking for the perfect harlot costume for the evening.
     A few feet away, a waif of a brunette slipped on a red wig and laughed at her friend, a petite blond trying to figure out if the fishnets or the five-inch spiked heels would make her look more like Amelia Earhart. They must’ve settled on going naked because after a few minutes of deliberation, they left the goods where they were and me standing by myself.
     Having gotten over my feud with every food known to man, the morning sickness had cleared, my belly had started protruding, and I was now the proud owner of a miniature shelf like a backwoods gas station attendant’s beer belly. I’d found myself having to resist the urge to shout, “Fill ’er up? I can do that. Carwash? Value pack of cigarette lighters? I got this stuffed Garfield that’d look great in your back winda’.” Another quick search of the pregnancy manuals had confirmed there wasn’t a section on “extreme muffin-top syndrome,” only pictures of twiggy women with bumps as adorable as baby bunnies stuck to the front of them. I was neither a bunny, nor cute.
     Belly resting on knees, I squatted and looked through the stacks of makeup and fake teeth. Maybe there was a three-step DIY bunny kit waiting to be snatched up. If I asked nicely, maybe Husband would ball up some toilet paper and Scotch tape it to my rear. I’d make the costume party a hit. “Who, me?” I’d fan my chest. “No, not a Playboy bunny, just your garden variety stewing rabbit. If you get me lemonade, I’ll give you my tail so you can TP the neighbor’s RV.”
     Hoisting myself up on a nearby rack of werewolf dentures, I’d all but given up the idea of celebrating Halloween when something caught my eye, and it was beautiful—shards of glass and all. The tagline made me want to shoplift it then and there: “Want to make your loved ones think you’ve been in a horrifying car accident?”
     “Have you ever wanted to look like the walking dead?”
     “Pregnant and no one’s looking your way this Halloween?”
     I hadn’t felt such an overwhelming love since the time I forgot my wedding vows but gave Husband a nod and a handshake that meant, “I do.” Holding the plastic package firmly against my chest, I skipped back around the gravestones, hanging skeletons, and his and hers Twinkie costumes, until I came upon my other half. “I found it.”
     He gave me a wink. “Must be the smallest French maid uniform known to man.”
     “I’m going to be a zombie.” I shuffled the first steps to “Thriller.”
     His face fell as I turned the package around. “A zombie? And apparently one that was in a hideous car accident. At least you’ll be coming home with me. You sure you don’t want a sexy costume?”
But I was already swiping my Visa and then headed to the car. Every Halloween before, I’d dressed as something sultry. This year I’d actually celebrate the holiday and do it the way it was supposed to be done, by becoming as craptastically ugly as I could muster. The world would have to wait another year for my “Amorous Anne Boleyn.” This year I was going to be the Undead Glass-Faced Prego from everyone’s nightmares, shambling about and moaning, “Piiiiiie. Piiiiie. Boston Cream Piiiiie. Excuse me, sir, after I eat your brain, I’d like some piiiiie.”
     The sun couldn’t go down fast enough. By the last light of day, I began crafting my masterpiece. Hair in a ponytail, shelf-belly covered by surgical scrubs I’d bought from Goodwill so I could be a “nurse” at my office’s half-assed celebration of a Halloween party, I grabbed a glob of white paint and spread it around with a sponge, careful to cover the bases of the “glass shards,” which turned out to be some sort of rubber from the deepest jungles of Glasstonia. Cheeks, neck, collarbone—a few seconds transformed me into a pregnant woman George A. Romero could take home to his mother.
     Shambling to the bedroom where Husband was napping, presumably to gain the strength to have me drive him around all night, I padded through the doorway and over to the lump under the quilt. “Well, hello there. See anything you like?” I poked the blanket. “Time to get ready to take me out on the town.”
     Two eyes reluctantly slid open. “Wow. You look…”
     “Like the woman you fell in love with? Yes, I know. Now let’s get you ready. This much sexy can’t go out without a date.”
     “Maybe it can. Has it given it the old college try yet?”
     “To the make-up chair.” My white hands dragged him to the bathroom, and with steady hand, applied the werewolf kit he’d picked out.
     “I think you got your fake blood on my snout.”
     “I think you got your snout in my fake blood. By the way, there’s no such thing as a Jamaican werewolf.” With that, I helped him slip on his Hawaiian-print shirt, grabbed the keys, and the Zombie and the Wolf Mon stepped out.
     Two parties later, my pregnant feet couldn’t take any more. Unfortunately, werewolves have an irritating ability to drink for hours on end. As I inched Husband closer to the door, I couldn’t help speculating that an impregnated Mrs. Van Helsing would’ve already scratched her stretch marks and put a silver bullet in this particular specimen. He nuzzled his snout in my shoulder.
     “Just one more party. A few of the guys are headed to a little get-together and want us to come. We’ll only stay for a little bit and then head home. I promise.”
     I shook my bottle of sparkling grape juice at him. “This pretend wine can only carry me so far.”
     “Can you pretend for a little longer?”
     “That I like you?”
     The night had been fairly fun. True, I’d been the only pregnant zombie at both parties, but there’d also been a welcome absence of busty, corseted costumes. Now, my internal clock was telling me it was time to go home, melt a batch of candy bars, apply a Snickers facial, and eat myself to sleep. But I wasn’t in an entirely horrid mood, so I said it. “Ok, we’ll stop by for a bit, but then we’re headed home.”
     Ten minutes later, Husband had come closer to extinction than an albino panda with five legs.
     “I’m going to leave you. So help me, I’ll eat your brains and take the house.”
     He patted my thigh. “Try to relax. I’m going to grab a drink and we’ll stay for five minutes.”
     “You do realize you should never tell a pregnant woman to ‘relax’ at a drunken party in full swing, correct? Never tell her to ‘relax,’ period. She doesn’t know what it means, and assumes the person addressing her is speaking a lost dialect of Swahili.”
     Actually, studies have shown that three out of four people who tell a woman to relax end up dead. Like a gazelle invited to a lion’s family reunion or a college student who stumbles into Nordstrom, the impregnated woman will always feel out of place where everyone’s inebriated and dressed like Twelfth Avenue hookers.
     What’d been sold to me as a “little get-together” was actually an all-inclusive gala sponsored by the local chapter of the Ladies of the Night and the Friends of the Clothes-less. Clinging to the un-painted doorway, I watched half-naked Mary Todd Lincolns dance on coffee tables, questionable Jackie Os swing from light fixtures, and Amelia Earhart saunter to the keg in her fishnets, blink until someone filled her pilot cap with Coors, and bend over so everyone could see her Bermuda Triangle. I’d tried as hard as I could to avoid them, but the harlots had still found me.
     “Oooh, you look so gross.”
     The sound of her voice made me turn.
     A bunny without pants shoved her finger in my face and poked at the glass shard sitting above my eye. “It just looks so real.”
“Hold on.”
     She cocked her head. “What are you doing?”
     Checking my pocket copy of The Big Book of Pregnancy Etiquette, I flipped through the pages.      “Ahh, just as I suspected, I’m not allowed to slap a ho, even if she’s just pretending for Halloween. Look, it says so right here in the index.” My pointer finger tapped the page. “Right there next to ‘Carrot juice helps with second trimester gas’.”
     Her boyfriend guided her away just as Husband returned, and before I could rip her tail off and stuff it in her ear. “How we doing?”
     “Great. Wishing I could join in.” I gestured to a girl using a Band-Aid as a skirt, who was shouting,  “Who wants to play Twister?” while standing on her head.
     Husband suddenly looked as frightened as he should’ve been the whole time. “You ready to go?”
     I shook my head. “No, we can’t leave now. I heard the group discussion on Thoreau’s effect on Transcendentalism starts at midnight. It’s my turn to bring the cookies. If I don’t show, they’ll never invite me back.”
     That night, as I lay under my Butterfinger facial, I swore vengeance on the Halloween harlots. Maybe the market for maternity costumes was sparse, but it didn’t matter. Next year I would get my abs back, dress as a ninja, and challenge every single one of them to a duel. And, if that failed, dressing as a cop and raiding crack houses didn’t sound that bad either. 
Until Next Time, Readers!
Oh, and if you liked what you read, you can buy the whole enchilada right here.