Like so many bad ideas, this one started out innocently enough. All I wanted was something original for a Halloween costume. Something a bit different from the run of the mill zombies, vampires, Gangnam Style singers, football stars, and the like.
This was the last year Mom was letting me go out trick-or-treating. She said next year, when I was fourteen, I'd be too old. Tim and I wanted to really get our money's worth this year, and score as much candy as humanly possible.
The problem was, I'd put it off too late. I was so intent on finding the perfect costume, rejecting every idea anyone suggested, that by the time Tim got to my place after supper on Halloween I still didn't know what I was going to wear.
I had just got out of the shower and was still drying my hair when I walked back into my room. Tim was lying on my bed looking impatient, dressed in his own costume. “C'mon Lance, get your costume on already. The sooner we get out there the more candy we'll get.” He looked me up and down, “Unless you're planning on wearing that!” He laughed as I looked down at the towel around my waist and a second one around my shoulders.
I glared at him. Then I mentally shrugged. “Okay.”
He stopped laughing, “Okay, what?”
“Uh, Lance? What are you talking about?”
“You were right. This is my costume. What do you think?”
He gaped, “You're not serious?!”
I thought about it and shrugged visibly this time, “Well, I wasn't actually. But why not? It covers more than a lot of costumes I've seen. I could put some boxers on underneath, you know, just in case, pin the towels tight with safety pins, and then another towel in my hair. I'll go as a guy who just got out of the shower.”
“That's....either really stupid or really brilliant. I don't know which yet.”
I dropped the wet towels, pulled on a clean pair of boxers and went to the closet to find two of the biggest clean, dry towels I could. Then I went into the bathroom and found a handful of safety pins.
I brought all of this back into my room. “Okay, Tim. Help me out here. Time's a wasting.”
Between the two of us, we managed to get things pinned up tightly. The towel on my waist was a huge one, so it encircled me almost twice and hung down well past my knees. I decided I'd wear a pair of flip-flops over my bare feet. Another large towel was wrapped around my shoulders, covering my chest and stomach and pinned at the side. A smaller third towel was wrapped around my head and tucked in tightly.
“Let's go,” I said, faking the confidence I really didn't feel. Good thing it was a warm evening.
Tim was looking at me grinning. “Well, if nothing else, this is going to be interesting. Okay, let's hit the road.”
And off we went. I yelled a bye to Mom as we slipped out the kitchen door quickly before she could see my costume.
The first problem cropped up after only two blocks. Despite the pins, the towel around my waist kept slipping south. My constant yanking it upwards was getting old, and when one of the pins popped open, poking me in the side I had to stop and make some adjustments.
Despite all the little issues though, it was fun. People's reactions ranged from surprise to amusement to shock. Most people thought it was hilarious. The kids we knew from school laughed the hardest.
After another three blocks my bag was getting heavy. I kept switching it from hand to hand to as they got tired. Despite my adjustments earlier, I was having to pull up my towel every ten seconds or so, and it was getting a bit frustrating.
“Tim, walk behind me, Close.” I said, after one particularly large adjustment.
“Because I can keep one hand on the front and hold it up, and if it slips down a bit on the back and shows the top of my butt you'll be in the way. Nobody will see anything.”
Tim giggled. “Okay.”
That worked out pretty well for another twenty minutes, but I'd pretty much had enough. My Halloween bag was getting heavy enough that I needed two hands to hold it comfortably, meaning I was back to frequent quick yanks on the towel instead of being able to hold it. I knew it was hanging a bit low at the back. I could feel the cool air on the very top of my butt crack.
Tim was walking close enough by now, trying to hide my backside from view, that he kept bumping into me. Which brought another realization, much to my shock and amazement.
“Uh, Tim?” I finally had to say.
“Uh, what?” he answered, pretending to not know what I was asking about. He sounded embarrassed.
I kind of felt bad for him. Though at the same time I was wondering what had caused the reaction. But, he sounded so embarrassed I just couldn't follow it up. “Nothing,” I said, and started walking again.
He started walking too, and bumped me again. A bit harder this time.
Something else was starting to be a bit of an issue, too.
His bumps, and the realization of exactly what was going on back there, and my stupid raging hormones, were contriving to cause a bit of my own reaction.
Not the best thing to happen when your only wearing loose boxers and a towel. Fortunately, we were almost at the end of the block. “Listen, Tim, my Halloween bag is full, and I'm getting tired. Let's do this house and then go back to my place, okay?” I was pointing at the last house on the block.
He almost sounded relieved. “Okay, Lance.”
So, we walked up the sidewalk. My towel had slipped a wee bit lower, I think. Tim's bumps were becoming distinctly less like bumps and distinctly more like grinds.
I kept my Halloween bag firmly in front of me.
We got up to the porch just as another group was leaving. A bunch of older kids who probably were too old to be out trick-or-treating. They looked at my costume and laughed. Not an amused laugh, but the derisive, insulting kind of laugh.
I ignored them and reached up and rang the doorbell.
Just as the door opened I realized, too late, that I shouldn't have been ignoring those older kids after all.
The taller one grabbed the towel around my shoulders and yanked. The pins popped and away it went. Simultaneously, one of the others grabbed the towel around my waist and pulled downwards hard. My hands, both holding my heavy Halloween bag, tried and failed to stop them.
During one of our frequent stops to re-pin my towels, I had unknowingly managed to put a couple of pins through my boxers.
So yeah. What you think happened is exactly what happened.
At the same moment, of course, I dropped my heavy Halloween bag in a fruitless attempt to rescue my dignity. The older kids ran off laughing. And there I was, as the door finished opening, standing there in nothing but my birthday suit and a hormone-induced state of attention, not helped at all by Tim's attempt to hide me from view from the street, this time with two fewer layers of terrycloth between my bare butt and his own hormone induced anatomy.
And there, standing grinning in the doorway staring at me, was the cutest, friendliest, nicest kid in our whole grade, Brandon Delaney.
My blush did nothing to soften my demeanor. If anything, perversely, I think I was pointing somewhere in the region of his chin by then.
Tim wiggled a bit behind me. I could see the reflection of his face in the window beside the door. Some pained combination of embarrassment and, yes, excitement.
Brandon's grin just got wider.
“Uhh... No!” I tried to protest, “It's not.... I mean.... My costume.... I....,” I was blubbering and desperately trying to point at the kids running down the street. With my finger I mean.
“I know,” said Brandon, whose grin didn't diminish in the least, “I saw. Still, awfully cute costume there Lance. Did you, uh, maybe get it for your birthday?” His grin widened further.
I couldn't help it. I chortled. Tim, still behind me, guffawed. Each guffaw bumping me from behind. In both senses of the word.
Just then, I heard another group of trick-or-treaters down on the street, still hidden by the hedge, but getting close.
“Uh, Help!?” I asked Brandon plaintively.
He laughed and moved out of the doorway. “Hurry. In here.” He was pointing through another door. I ran into the room, my towels still on the porch behind me, bouncing with each step.
Tim ran in behind me, grinning manically. I heard the front door close, the porch light click off, and then a grinning Brandon joined us.
“Well. Now what?” he asked.
As it turned out in the end, my bad idea turned out to be one of my best. Though that's another story. And yes, it's awfully complicated.
Like most authors, I enjoy feedback. Tell me what you think by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org