Busted Axle Road
Chapter 88

Copyright© 1993, 2001, 2010

It made Mark a little sad to look in the full length mirror in Mike and Kirsten's cottage.

It had been a lot of work to get the costume together. He did have on an Air Force flight jacket; he'd always wanted one, and that made the $89.95 a little more palatable. Over one breast, a blue name tag had "GRAVENGOOD" lettered on it in white letters; the silver leaves of a Lieutenant Colonel were on his shoulders. On the helmet, which had an oxygen mask dangling from one side, was lettered a fighter jock's nickname: "GRAVEDIGGER"

The toughest part had been the pants for the G-suit; Jackie had found a pair of women's spandex pants, died them olive drab, then with Kirsten's help had affixed grommets and lacing up the sides of the legs. If the light wasn't real good, it was hard to tell from the real thing.

If it weren't for the need of two lousy pieces of glass an inch and a half across, the rig he was wearing might not have had to have been a Halloween costume. It had been his greatest dream when he was young, and there was still a ring of it remaining. In the mirror, it looked like he was ready to hop in the cockpit of his F-15 and kick the living crap out of someone.

Well, the chance for that had slipped by long ago, and there was no use recriminating about it now. Mark shook his head, and headed for the living room of the cottage Mike had borrowed for the evening ... Kirsten and Jackie were waiting for him; apparently Mike wasn't ready yet. "Wow," Kirsten said, "You look like you just stepped out of 'The Right Stuff'. Mike'll be along in a minute. He had to winch me into this thing."

Mike smiled. "You look like you just stepped out of 'Gone With the Wind', Scarlett."

Kirsten's hoop skirt must have been close to six feet across; it arched up to a tiny waist, which was almost overwhelmed by Kirsten's large bosom almost popping out of the very low neckline. "I didn't know that was your dream," Jackie commented.

"Oh, it's not so much the antebellum south with the darkys running all around that was appealing," Kirsten said, the dark curls of the red wig wiggling beneath her bonnet, "As it was Scarlett's tiny waistline. After I was as big with Susan for as long as I was, having a tiny waist again seemed so wonderful, even if this damn corset feels like it's cutting me in half. I mean, the time I was pregnant with Henry, I went to the party dressed as the Goodyear blimp, since I felt like one."

Mike came out of his bedroom, dressed in a white suit, with a string tie, wide-brimmed felt hat and pencil mustache. "What's this? Riverboat gambler?" Mark asked.

"Hush yo' mouf'" Mike said. "Ah'm Rhett Butler, come to take Miss Scarlet to the party." He smiled and went on, "I mean, with that Scarlett O'Hara outfit, what else could I do?"

"You make a nice pair, even if you two don't look like Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh," Jackie said.

Mike reached in his pocket and pulled out an old-fashioned pocket watch. "We'd better be getting over to Commons. This is one party where it's kind of fun to be there a little early, before people get boozed up and the costumes get screwed up, just to see what people have come up with."

"Might as well check out the debauchery at this orgy," Jackie commented.

"Yeah, that makes me think," Mike said as he led the group toward the door. "We don't lock the doors, since if you come back blasted, you won't be able to fumble for a key. If you're too wasted to walk, the SADD kids have a golf cart, and they'll pour you into bed if you need it. The only thing is, try to check your bed before you get into it. People have come to in the morning with big heads and bedfellows they didn't expect, and sometimes a little confused over what they might have done. Sometimes, it's because the kids haven't gotten people to the right cabins, but sometimes not. There have been times that people have snuck out for a little horseplay with someone else's spouse, and woke up together in a cottage neither of them belonged at."

Kirsten laughed, "There's probably more extramarital horseplay at any one Halloween party out here than has gone on in forty years of summers."

Mike nodded. "Some of the best creative lying in the world has been done out here the morning after some creative laying at a Halloween party."

"I'm beginning to think maybe we'd better leave while we're ahead," Jackie said. "But I can't wait to see if it's as bad as you say."

It was a nice, warm night for late October as the four of them walked down the lakeshore road. Over the lake, the faintest sliver of a young moon was slipping into the last dregs of the sunset. In front of them, the huge log building of Commons was lit with an eerie orange glow, with flickering lights that almost made it seem as if the building were on fire. "Nice effect," Mark commented.

"Damn tough one," Mike replied. "But they keep spiffing it up. Wait until you see it inside."

The inside of Commons was right out of Charles Addams. There wasn't a lot of crepe paper used; some of the effects seemed horribly real. Kirsten led the group to the punch table, and loaded everyone up. "God, it feels good to be able to have a drink again," she said, downing hers rapidly.

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