Fiction Funny Teens & Young Adult

           One of the most daunting tasks I faced when my mother died in 2020 was emptying the family home of more than 50 years of memories.

           While tossing aside, books, tools, and broken exercise equipment like a deadly scythe, I came across the remnants of my Tin Man outfit from the early seventies. I was immediately transported back to when I was eighteen, had a full head of hair, weighed eighty pounds less., and dated a girl I swore I’d marry.

           My Tin Man outfit was the real deal, an exact replica of the outfit Jack Haley had worn in the “Wizard of Oz.” While it was impressive to look at - especially after I’d applied silver makeup to my face – it was also heavy and cumbersome to move around in. Accessories included an ax sharp enough to cut a watermelon (which I had demonstrated at several parties), a funnel cap that was proved so difficult to keep on my generous bushy head of hair that I had to have it pinned on, and a button on the side of the suit that produced smoke. (Actually, it was talcum powder.)

           The outfit was such a hit at Halloween bashes that I wore it three years in a row. The third time it inspired my girlfriend, Lara Parker, to dress up like Glinda the Good Witch, an appropriate costume given her quiet, lady-like nature. Her twin sister, Margo, embraced the “Wizard of Oz” theme, dressing as The Wicked Witch of the West. The raven-haired, unbridled extrovert was far too pretty to look completely ugly, but Margo had Margret Hamilton’s unnerving cackle and diabolical tone down pat. Her boyfriend and my best friend, the severely macho Frank McErlane, acquiesced to dressing up as a flying monkey.

           Despite our eye-catching outfits, the talk on the way to the Bennett’s annual Halloween blowout was our friend Joey Comer’s absence.

           “Where is he? I need a second flying monkey,” Margo complained.

           “You know Joey, he likes to be mysterious,” I offered.

           “It’s that Comanche blood of his,” Frank said.

           “I thought he was a Seneca Indian,” Lara added.

           “Last week he said he was a Mohawk,” Margo said. “It doesn’t matter. He picked a bad time to break up with Evie.”

           Evie Parker was one of Lara and Margo’s older sisters, Like Lara, she was shy and retrospective, but she also had a hint of Margo’s trigger temper. Frank and I often kidded Joey that the only reason he dated Evie was that we were with Lara and Margo. The night before he had admitted we were right and unceremoniously dumped Evie, earning the twin’s ire.

           “I swear I’ll kill him if he shows up at the Bennett’s,” Margo snarled. “I know Evie’s not the easiest girl to get along with, but he just said, ‘I’m done’ to her and walked out on her.”

           “Your sister’s a pretty girl,” Frank commented. “She’ll snag somebody in no time.”

           “She’s not outgoing me like or classy like Lara.”

           “But she’s still a Parker,” I replied. “One of the prettiest girls in Putnam County.”

           Lara reached out, taking my hand. “Charmer.”

           I don’t know why I did it, other than to show off, but I pressed the smoke button on my suit. It sounded with a happy Toot! Toot! Unfortunately, I had overloaded the talcum powder. When I pressed the button, a large glob of it hit the ceiling. The car was suddenly engulfed in a cloud of white smoke.

           Seated in the front passenger’s seat next to Frank, Margo turned around, narrowing her eyes. A dusting of powder was on her hat, and the green paint on her face was dotted white.

           “I’ll get you for this, my pretty.”

           I turned to Lara, who looked as if she had stepped out of a blizzard. She sneezed, her crown slipping over her eyes. A small cloud formed in front of her face.

           Since I could barely bend my knees, negotiating my way into the car had been tricky. Getting out proved nearly impossible. Frank grabbed both my arms to pull me out. Not realizing how strong he was, Frank pulled too hard. My feet clanked as I slid across the pavement pushing Frank, whose eyes were getting bigger the more he back-peddled. I skidded onto the grass, landing on top of Frank, my ax digging into the ground next to his head.

           Nearly getting whacked in the head by an ax didn’t faze Frank as much as having a man on top of him breathing heavily in his face.

           “Get off of me, you talking garbage can!”

           Lara grabbed one arm and Margo the other, managing to pull me up. Cleaning up, we entered the party to applause.

           “Guess we’re a shoo-in for the best costume award. Three hundred bucks!” Frank bragged.

           Bird-dogging the well-stocked liquor table, Margo asked, “You boys want a couple of vodka tonics?”

           Margo and Lara took on the task of securing drinks.

           Making sure the girls were out of earshot, Frank said salaciously, “Check out that beauty dead ahead.”

           A statuesque brunette dressed like a police officer was standing in the center of the room. She was fit, with long legs, ruby lips, generous eyelashes, inviting, suggestive violet eyes, and an exotic, flawless complexion.

           Turning toward us, she winked.

           “She just winked at me,” Frank and I said simultaneously.

           Lara and I were having a discussion with a couple dressed as Yogi and Boo-Boo Bear when the inevitable happened. Frank took offense to some comments made by two wise-mouthed waifs and was eager to pound both like railroad ties. Despite being twenty-one, and supposedly more mature than us eighteen-year-olds, Frank had a volatile streak of jealously, especially when he was drunk.

           Muscular, and an imposing 6. 2”, Frank’s prowess as a fighter was legendary – I had once seen him clear a barroom by punching his way to the door, knocking out three guys in the process, and battering three more. We had met at a party when Frank mistook my playful rips at Margo as insults. He came at me when I said that Margo had driven so many of her boyfriends crazy that she had season tickets to the asylum, a comment Frank took to heart. I broke a chair over his head in an attempt to halt his advance. The last thing I remember was seeing him pick up one of the chair’s broken legs. When I came around, Frank helped me up off the floor, congratulating me for my ingenuity,

           When Frank was sober, he was mischievous and surprisingly thoughtful. But he drank vodka like most people take air, and when his eyes went glassy, he blacked out, becoming a vicious bully spoiling for a fight.

           When I got to his side, Frank and his two sloshed opponents were still in the insult stage.

           “I never touched her,” said the wiry blonde-haired dude appropriately dressed as a caveman. “Your girl came on to me. I can’t help it if she’d rather be with me than you.”

           His dark-haired, squat friend, dressed as the Cat in the Hat, joined in. “Yeah, your witch is a slut.”

           I looked over at Frank. His eyes were glazed over. His brain was strolling down Main Street, heading toward blackout city.

           Frank was breathing like a steam engine, his fists curled, ready to strike. I knew one more insult and it would be go time.

           “You take the cat,” Frank snarled.

           “C’mon, McErlane,” the caveman teased. “C’mon, you big monkey.”

           That was it. From the corner of my eye, I could see Frank pull back his sledgehammer fist and bash the caveman square in his face.

           Frank would later ask Margo whose teeth were embedded in his hand.

           The Cat in the Hat took a step toward me, ready to throw a haymaker.

           Lowering my head, I pressed the button on the side of my suit.

           Toot! Toot!

           A large deposit of talcum powder blasted the Cat in the Hat in his face. He gagged, spitting powder, and blinking sporadically, unable to see. Stumbling backward, he fell over a hassock, crashing against a bookcase. Three volumes of “The History of the World” bounced off his head one by one.

           Frank slapped me on the back. “Pretty neat trick. You beat him without throwing a punch.”

           Margo appeared, frowning, her hands on her hips.

           “My hero… Do you always have to prove what a brute you are?”

           Frank’s reply was to reach for the pint of vodka he’d been hiding in his suit. Downing it, he stomped off.

           “I dropped a house on the last jealous fool who treated me like this,” Margo complained, following him. At least she was staying in character.

           “Why does your sister test Frank all the time?” I asked Lara.

           “He’s like the guy who’s the fastest gun in the west,” Lara replied. “One day Frank’s going to meet someone stronger, and he’ll finally lose a fight. Margo wants to be the one he runs to when he does.”

           “But right now, she thinks he doesn’t pay enough attention to her,” I said.

           “Exactly. Are you taking notes?” Lara replied, sneaking a supportive arm around my waist.

           Margo took a break from haranguing Frank when she caught the eye of a zit-faced kid with a hollowed-out Sylvania television on his head. Margo may have been hasty in her choice of a new suitor. Every time zit face turned his head, Margo got smacked by the television set.

           I noticed Frank spent his Margo-free minutes trying to seduce the enticing woman dressed as a cop. A tap on Frank’s shoulder from an irate Margo ended their conversation.

           I could sense we were about to face our next crisis when Margo breezed toward us so quickly that I thought she was riding a broom.

           “Did you have any of the punch?”

           Lara and I looked down at the glasses of punch in our hands.

           “I hear it’s spiked,” Margo said.

           “Is that Grateful Dead spiked or Janis Joplin spiked?” I asked.

           “I think your funnel’s on too tight. It’s cutting off the oxygen to your brain,” Margo shot back. “What’s the difference?”

           “Grateful Dead punch is spiked with acid, which means we’ll soon be seeing pretty colors, and be awake for days, but we won’t be able to operate a motor vehicle. Janis Joplin spiked punch means somebody added hundred proof liquor to the hundred proof booze already in the punch. It means we’re going to be blackout drunk, stumble around, and throw up.”

           “Well then, call me Jerry Garcia,” Margo replied.

           Margo and Lara felt the urge to evaluate their condition in the bathroom.

           “Time for a bracer,” Frank announced.

           “You’re going to have more punch?”

           “What’s the matter?” Have you lost your sense of adventure?” Frank asked, genuinely surprised.

           “I’m getting peer pressure from a flying monkey.”

           “Oh, yeah? How long do you stay fresh in that can, Confucius?”

           “All right, fine, more punch. If you’re going to the rubber room, you’ll need company.”

           Frank bounded off. I turned away, shocked to find the female cop standing next to me. Her gleaming smile and piercing eyes struck me dumb.

           Although she was pretty much covered from head to toe, up close, her physical attributes seemed to multiply.

           “How…How are you?” I finally managed to say.

           She gave me another blinding smile, nodding.

           “Are you a friend of April or Cyril Bennett?”

           “…Cyril…,” she replied in a slow, sexy whisper.

           “Are you from around here?”


           “Then you must be from heaven because you’re an angel.”

           I couldn’t believe I’d said something so trite and stupid, but my body was racing well ahead of my mind. Fortunately, she was a fan of classic pick-up lines. She let out a breathy, sensual giggle.

           She glanced around the room as if she knew all eyes were on her. They were.

           She noticed Lara and Margo coming toward me. Hastily whispering, “…See you soon…lover,” she left.

           Lara and Margo watched her sashay away.

           Lara’s icy tone promised danger ahead. “Okay, lover, who was that?”

           “I don’t know.”

           “Keep it that way.”

           Not content to drink the Bennett’s dry, the crowd shifted into the destructive phase of the party. Another fight broke out. The melee eventually involved half a dozen booze-fueled bikers and their hair-pulling harem against some equally belligerent jocks. At one point they rolled by us like a beach ball of human flesh. The Bennett’s furniture was turned to kindling and the contents of the contaminated punch bowl wound up on their polished floor.

           Although the pool was supposed to be off-limits, dozens of kids started doing poorly executed dives. They tracked chlorine into the house and soiled the Bennett’s towels. Bodies began falling where they passed out, and the tables, desks, and other antique furniture that wasn’t already broken became repositories for empty beer cans and smoldering cigarette butts.

           Restored to being a mischievous drunk, Frank badgered M. David Vale for the use of his Harley. Although Vale was a vested local biker, he was only 5’ 4”, and was deathly afraid of Frank.

           “You’re not gonna wreck it are ya? I just paid it off,” Vale whined.

           “Of course not, Davey. I just want to jump the pool. You know, do an Evil Knievel. Don’t you think it’ll be cool?”

           “You do realize that Evil Knievel crashed nearly every time,” the Sylvania TV kid reminded him.

           Feeling equally venturesome, Margo hopped on the back of the bike.

           “Be careful, Margo,” Lara cautioned. “You may be dressed like a witch, and you may act like one, but you can’t fly.”

           “And remember what happened to the Wicked Witch of the West when she got wet,” I added as a subtle reminder to Margo that she couldn’t swim.

           “I’ll show you, my pretty,” Margo replied.

           Frankie revved up the motorcycle. It raced across the yard, churning up the Bennett’s manicured grass.

           Margo let out a triumphant Margret Hamilton cackle, yelling, “Fly, my pretty! Fly!” as Frankie pulled a wheelie, launching the bike in the air.

           “They’re gonna make it!” Vale exclaimed.

           Our confidence faded when the front of the bike began to sag, and Frank let out a steady stream of obscenities.

           The bike splashed down in the middle of the pool, scattering the swimmers.

           Staying in character, Margo wailed, “I’m melting! What a world, what a world!” before Frank grabbed her by the nape of her neck pulling her to the side of the pool.

           Gurgling, the Harley sank to the bottom of the pool.

           I continued to sneak looks at the beautiful female cop, who would wink and smile back and me.

           “If you look at her one more time, you’re both going to need police protection,” Lara threatened. “Honestly, what’s so great about her? Her legs are too muscular, and she’s piled on the mascara.”

           Margo added her thoughts. “Yeah, she looks like a hooker. And a cheap one at that.”

           Frank chose a bad time to smile at her.

           “It’s like she’s got you hypnotized. You want to fly over and talk to your tramp, Frank?”

           Frank seized upon the moment to tease Margo. “Don’t try holding a discussion with a monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.”

           A few minutes later, the grandfather at the other end of the room struck twelve, a signal for everyone that it was okay to take off their costumes and reveal their identities.

           Standing in the center of the room, the female cop took off her long raven wig, revealing a distinctly short, boyish hairdo. She discarded her high heels, pulled off her eyelashes, wiped off makeup, and took off her blouse, revealing that her captivating bustline was courtesy of padding.

           We quickly realized who the female cop was.

           “JOEY!” Frank shouted.

           Laughing hysterically, Joey opened his arms as if he wanted to give Frank a hug.

           “I’ll never be able to look at you the same way again,” Frank said, backing away.

           “Me neither,” Joe replied. “Especially after what you said you’d do to me.”

           Lara nudged me. “Close your mouth.”

           “And you,” Joey continued, pointing at me, “You need a new pick-up line.”

           “No, he doesn’t,” Lara said.

           “I blame it on the punch. I’m hallucinating,” I offered. “Dressing like a woman seems to come naturally to you, Joey. You may have some inner conflict going on.”

           “I don’t know how you girls do it,” Joey said. “Plucking, combing, shaving everything. And those heels… pure torture.”

           “Boy, this is really going to upset Evie,” Margo noted.

           “So, which one of you guys am I going out with first?” Joey joked. “You know the best part? I won three hundred dollars for best costume.”

May 12, 2022 17:24

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Remy Miles
10:58 Apr 22, 2023

I liked your story (:


18:50 Apr 22, 2023

Thank you!


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