Susan X Meagher
April and Beth stood outside the noisy, jammed nightclub, trying to shoulder their way to the front of the line of women trying to enter.
"I don't know if it was a good idea to arrange to meet Robin inside," April said, her anxiety not showing on her mask clad face.
Beth nodded, but instead of just her head moving her entire torso inclined a few inches. She was dressed as a Star Wars clone trooper and her costume held her at a rigid angle. "It's going to be a very bad idea if we can't get in."
"I'd call her, but I'm sure she'd never hear her cell phone."
“She’ll call you if she’s worried, right?”
“Yeah, she’ll try, but she wouldn’t be able to hear me.” April pulled her phone out and checked it. “I’m not sure how she handles things like this. I don’t know her well enough to know if she’ll be frustrated or worried.”
"You know, I didn't really like Robin at first, but she's grown on me."
April slapped lightly at her old friend. "I knew it! You kept saying you liked her, but I could tell you didn't."
"I didn't dislike her, I just didn't like her. But I do now."
"I'm not sure. I think it just took some time to get used to her sense of humor. At first I couldn't tell if she was kidding or not."
Grinning, April said, "She does have an odd sense of humor. I was attracted to it right away, but I can see that it's an acquired taste."
"The way she stays with the joke even if it's not going over well is kind of funny. In a weird way."
"Yeah, she is pretty weird. She really has the heart of an entertainer."
"Then she's in the right line of work."
"I think she'd rather be a performer, but being a costume designer gives her a more reliable income. If things work out between us I'm going to try to convince her to at least take some acting classes. I think she's a natural."
"Don't do too good a job, or she'll take off for Los Angeles."
"No, I don't think so. Pittsburgh's her home. She loves it here."
"I'd moved to Los Angeles in a second," Beth said. "But they don't seem to need many engineers who specialize in steel."
"You'd never leave," April scoffed. "You could be an engineer anywhere in the world, and you know it."
"Oh! Look! The bouncer's pointing at us. We're in!" Beth put her hands on the small of April's back and pushed her through the crowd. The bouncer waved them through the door, and they gratefully paid the $20 entrance fee. It took a few minutes for their eyes to adjust to the fluorescent lights and their ears to adjust to the pounding bass that reverberated through the large space.
"It was a great idea to use this old warehouse for a party," Beth said. "It's really huge!"
"It's too huge," April said. "All I know is that Robin's going to be here. I have no idea what costume she's going to wear."
"How are you supposed to find her?"
"I'm not. She's going to find me. How are you going to meet up with Dana?"
"She said she'd be in the southwest corner at 10 p.m."
"An engineer and an accountant. You two were made for each other," April teased.
"It's almost 10. I have to figure out which direction to go in. Wanna go with me?"
"No, I said I'd stay close to the bar. I just didn't realize there would be so many bars."
Beth jumped in the air to give herself a few more inches of height. "I can see four from here."
"I guess I'll stay near the door. If I stay in one place she'll find me eventually."
"Does she know what costume you're wearing?"
"Yeah. I had to tell her or we'd never find each other."
"You're probably the only Mary Cheney here." Beth shook her head, and her torso came along for the ride. "Your costume is ... I'm at a loss for words."
"It's a political statement."
"No one is going to know who the heck you are."
"Of course they will. A Dick Cheney mask, a blonde woman's wig and a baby who looks like a devil. It's a snap. Everyone will know."
"I'll give you 10 bucks for every person who comes up to you and guesses who you are. I trust you to keep track."
“Bring lots of money!" April shouted as Beth walked away to find her girlfriend.
As soon as Beth left a woman wearing a George Bush mask came up to April and said, "Lynne! I didn't know you and Dick had a new baby."
"I'm Mary," April explained. "My partner and I just had a baby and the baby looks like the devil because... oh, never mind." The president walked away, leaving April to try to get a drink at the busy bar. A space opened and she slid in and got a scotch on the rocks. She took her drink and stood at the corner of the bar, checking out every masked person who went by.
“Rosemary’s baby?” A ghoul asked.
“Nope,” April said, refusing to reveal her identity to people who weren’t willing to work to figure it out. She was scanning the room when a tall person made a beeline for her.
She was wearing a man's suit, sported a goatee and had her hair gelled to perfection. Dark glasses covered her eyes and, for some reason, she had a gift box attached to the front of her slacks. It took April a few seconds to decide, but by the time Robin reached her, she was sure it was her. "Who are you?" she asked.
The woman started to dance, and began to sing a song, a talent April didn’t know Robin had. "Hey girl, I got something real important to give you. So just sit down and listen. Girl, you know we've been together a long, long time, and now I'm ready to lay it on the line."
April was stunned and amazed. Robin’s costume had completely transformed her. Besides her excellent singing voice, she looked a little taller, a little broader in the shoulders. Even her face had slightly different angles because of the beautifully crafted beard. "Nice song," April giggled, feeling a little self-conscious because of the crowd that had gathered. Robin snapped her hips, the box shivering when she did. "Ohh, girl, you know it's true," Robin crooned. "It's my dick in a box, girl. Woo-hoo. Wee-hee."
"Your dick in a box? Who are you?" April demanded.
"She's Justin Timberlake," an onlooker said. "JT did a skit on Saturday Night Live last year with Andy Sandberg. Don't you watch You Tube?"
"No," April said, annoyed that she didn't recognize the costume. Looking at Robin again she said, "Come on, talk to me."
"My dick in the box tells the tale," she sang once again, smiling as she did a spin and executed a sexy move. "Take a look inside, you'll see that I'm male."
"You're not much of a poet," April chided. Nonetheless, she opened the top of the box and saw a very realistic looking rubber penis lying on some black tissue paper. "Pretty impressive." She put the top back on. "You won't ever put that monster in me, but impressive nonetheless."
"Come on girl, my dick is true. It's the one true gift for you."
April put her arm around and led her away from the small crowd that had gathered. "Come on, you nut." They huddled in the corner and April said, "Don't I get a kiss?"
"Wanna give you something from the heart, somethin' special girl," Robin sang softly, then pressed her lips to April's.
"Mmm," April batted her eyes. "You kiss well as a man. Do that again."
Robin put her arms around April and gently kissed her all around her face. The kisses were soft and tender, but had a forcefulness that made April's pulse start to race.
"Very nice," she murmured. "You're very good at this." She looked up into Robin's dark eyes only partly obscured by her sunglasses. "You have lots of good energy when you're dressed like a man. I like it."
Robin tightened her hold and started to kiss April in earnest. Robin's kisses were so intense that April found herself backing up. She felt the rough brick wall against her back and made a conscious decision to stand her ground and experience this fascinating and slightly frightening aspect of her new girlfriend. It wasn't that Robin was being too aggressive; this was just a side of her that April hadn't yet experienced. Wearing the costume and being committed to impersonating a man obviously freed up a part of her that she didn't usually reveal.
April put her hands on Robin's broad shoulders and pushed her back just an inch. "I like you like this," she purred. "No wonder Britney and Cameron and Jessica are all hot for you." She reached down and jiggled the decorated box. “This is getting in the way a little.”
Robin pulled the box off and April saw that it was just hooked onto the front of her trousers. “You'd think it would hurt, but I'll throw it in the dirt,” she sang, showing once again that her skills as a poet were a little thin.
Now nothing encumbered their closeness. Robin pressed her hips against April's, effectively pinning her against the wall. The place was so crowded that no one paid any attention to them, still, April was beginning to be uncomfortable at being so graphic in such a public place. But Robin seemed to get energy from the crowd. She was showering April with hungry kisses, and seemed quite content to stay just where they were. Given that Robin seemed nervous about holding hands in public, April had her hands full trying to make this new image fit with the old.
Rather than spending her energy on analyzing Robin, April decided to take full advantage. "Let's go to your apartment.”
Robin pulled back and stared at her for just a moment longer than expected. "Really?" she asked. This was the first word she had said rather than sang, and her voice was higher than normal.
“Yeah," April said. "I know you spent a lot of time on your costume, but I'd like to spend some time taking it off you.”
“I'll go get my truck. Meet you in front in 10 minutes." She gave April one last kiss and took off for the door.
Smiling, April went to find Beth to tell her she was leaving. She'd only gotten about 10 feet when she thought, Truck? She doesn’t have a truck. And then she saw her. Robin was standing by a bar in the far corner of the room. She was dressed in a costume that complimented April's perfectly. Dick Cheney mask, horns atop her head, an entire devil suit, including cloven hooves. She tossed her black cape over her shoulder and said, "My grandchild!”
Flabbergasted, April tried to speak, but only gibberish came out.
"Like my costume?” Robin asked.
"It's … it's great. I've been looking all over for you and now I have to go the bathroom,” she managed.
“I'll go with you.”
“No! I mean, no. Just get me a drink. I'll be back in a few minutes."
She took off, nearly running for the front door. A black truck was idling right in front of the entrance. April ran around at the driver's door and restrained her instinct to slap the driver. “Who in the heck are you? I thought you were my girlfriend!”
"I could be," the unrepentant woman said, smiling.
"You knew I thought you were somebody else, didn't you.”
“Kinda.” She smiled sweetly, showing dimples that should have been a dead giveaway.
“Well, I'm certainly not going with you, you little cheater.” April looked at the woman's crestfallen expression and said, "But give me your number and I might give you a call if things don't work out with my current girlfriend.”
“Ooo girl, you know you want me, it’s only a matter of time until you’re mine.”
“And stop with the improvised lyrics,” April teased as she accepted a slip of paper with Adrian’s number on it. “You’re a much better kisser than a lyricist.” She patted the woman’s cheek and watched her pull away, wondering if the trick would one day turn into a treat.