Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Dear Diary: Hallowed Be Thy ‘Ween

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dear Diary:

The day began like too many others, which is to say the morning prior.  I had not slept since awakening Friday morning with a glimmer of hope in my eye and a Hall & Oates tune haunting my thoughts.  (“Private Eyes”.  It was the song “Private Eyes”.)  Per usual Hall & Oates provided a welcome respite from the fog I had been in since learning I wasn’t adopted.  Did this mean that I was stuck with these people?  That I was their “keeper”?  That I may, one day, have to “keeper” one or more of them?  Are there no prisons?!?  Are there no work houses?!?  Relax, Damion.  That’s what “retirement communities” are for.

It was going to be a busy weekend, but worth it.  Not only was it Halloween; it was the 1st Annual McCloud Cousins Reunion.  If there’s anything more difficult than getting McClouds to agree on getting together at a certain date and location, it was getting them to follow through on that commitment.  (McClouds: We Would, But...)  What would we doing?  Who knew?  Who would be in attendance?  Couldn’t tell you.  When would the festivities kick-off?  Your guess is as good as mine.  For you see, the only thing more unpredictable than Colored People Time is McCloud Time.  (McCloud Time: It’ll Be There When We Get There.) 

But more importantly, it was Halloween, which is my Christmas.  (That makes Christmas my Martin Luther King, Jr Day, and Martin Luther King, Jr Day my Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Man deserves two days.  Suck it, Arizona!  Suck it.)  Since I was staying at a hotel – I had spent the previous weekend at my sister’s house, and, honestly, there is a thing as too much family time. – I had packed several cans of Coke Zero and bottled water in a cooler, because Damion McCloud doesn’t pay hotel prices for refreshments.  (I also packed tights, make-up, a wig, a studded choker, and my Halloween costume.)

I stopped off at a Rest Area to rest my areas and open the pressure valve on my bladder.  As I headed to my car after successfully “venting my frustrations”, I noticed a young man rapidly approaching me.  This unnatural (and undesired) behavior made me uneasy.  Turns out, his battery had died and he needed a jump.  After unsuccessfully trying to use my portable charger (I really need to read the instructions), I got him up and running using the traditional car-to-car method.  I didn’t even have to move my car, because “Steph’s” battery is in the trunk.  I called my sister to let her know I would be arriving later than expected.

Me: “I gave someone a jump at the rest stop.  So, I will be a bit delayed.”

Sis: “What did she look like?”

Me: “Like she was a he.”

Sis: “What did the girl in the car look like?”

Me: “There was no one else in the car.”

Sis: “What did the woman in the vicinity that you were trying to impress look like?”

Me: “There were no cute girls in the vicinity.  It’s a little thing I like to call ‘The Golden Rule’.”

Sis: “I’m impressed.  Wait, what ‘Golden Rule’?”

Me: “You don’t know what ‘The Golden Rule’ is?”

Sis: “Oh, I know what it is.  Just wondering what YOU think it is.”

Me: “Everyone has at least one hot friend.”

Sis: “Ummm…No.  How ‘bout ‘Do unto others’?”

Me: “Yeah…’Do unto others, because everyone has at least one hot friend who, one day, may be looking for a long-term relationship, or who just got out of a relationship and is looking for revenge sex and / or a weekend of drunken regrets.’ –Galatians 12:32.”

Sis: “Why do you think everything’s in Galatians?”

Me: “Leviticus?

Sis: “Nope.”

Me: “Well, I know it isn’t Ezekiel…Is it Ezekiel?...It’s Ezekiel isn’t it?...Yeah, it’s Ezekiel…”

Sis: “When are you getting here?”

Me: “I don’t know. I’m not there, yet.”

I then placed a call to my brother.

Bruh: “Hello.”

Me: “Gonna be a bit late.  Helped a dude at a rest area get his car started.”

Bruh: “Golden Rule?”

Me: “Yep.”

Bruh: “Whelp, everyone has one.  Gotta love Isaiah.

Me: “Isaiah!”

I made it to the hotel without incident or further acts of kindness.  When I arrived at the hotel, I parked in the pay-to-park lot next to the hotel.  Did the hotel not offer parking services?  As was the case with most bourq-tique hotels, yes, it did.  However, as is also the case with most hotels of this nature, it only offered valet parking.  Anyone who knows me knows there to be two self-evident truths:  First of all, I’m pretty in the face (aka “face-pretty”); secondly, I don’t valet.  (I’ll pay for a valet-only spot and have the attendant tell me which spot to pull into, but I don’t valet.)
I made it up to the room, “made light my burden”, caught up with my brother, headed to my sister’s place to catch up with family; after which, I headed back to the hotel to get ready, because…Christmas.  (I’d write more about the Cousins Reunion, but this is about me…and Halloween.  The siblings made a cameo.  Not by name, but…you get it.)

I made it back to the hotel, “fired in the hole”, lit a match, and started getting ready for the weekend I, and numerous others, had worked for.  As I was putting the final touches on my makeup, I received a text from an acquaintance informing me that there was a costume contest in Charlotte.  I already made plans to attend the “Beer and Fear Bash” at Castle McCulloch an hour or so away in Greensboro, but made note of the event and headed out.  I freaked a couple of people out in the elevator (guess they weren’t expecting to see a guy in Gene Simmons KISS makeup when the doors opened) and the parking lot before going to make the rounds. 

Before heading to Castle McCulloch, I headed to Twin Peaks to fill my belly with sustenance and my face with cleavage.  (Twin Peaks, because who doesn’t like to peek at twins?)  After getting dressed in the parking lot, something I had done numerous times for Halloween, for Comic-Cons, and for…kicks; I was approached by several Asian women wanting to take pictures.  LOTS of pictures.  I happily obliged, because ‘twas the season.  Besides, how can I say “No” to a group of cute, Asian women? [Editor’s Note: Or a group of cute women of ANY ethnic group?  …or a cute individual woman?  …or a guy whose cute girlfriend is taking the picture?  …or a guy within eyeshot of a poster of a cute woman?  Sorry, hadn’t commented to this point and didn’t know when I’d get another chance.]  After fulfilling my noblesse oblige, I made my way to the entrance.  As I grabbed for the handle, the door swung open, and a young woman screamed.

“Jesus Christ!” she screamed.

“Not quite,” I responded. (Yes, I know that was a quote befitting one of my other costumes [Pinhead], but it seemed to fit the occasion.)

“You scared the hell outta me!  Can I get a picture?”  A sentiment that would be expressed numerous times throughout the night.

“Of course.  Can I get a picture, as well?”

“Hellz yeah!”

She asked if she could see the picture taken with my phone.

“I like that better.  Can you send it to me?”

“I don’t have your number.”

(Grabs my phone) “Here ya go.”  Never got her name, because she looked about 19 on a good day, and I needed plausible deniability for the judge and / or “48 Hours” special.

After taking pictures with the other two hostesses and several customers, I placed a To-Go order.  Posing for pics had taken more time than I estimated, and it was getting late, especially if I was going to make it to Greensboro and back in time for the costume contest.  (Not that I knew what time it started.)  I headed to the bar to await my order.  The problem with waiting at a bar is…drunks.  The problem with waiting at a bar on Halloween is…really drunks, especially when Halloween falls on a weekend.  They got nowhere to be in the morning.  Following is part of a conversation I had with one of them (This is all true):

Drunk: “Jeezus, man!  You’re a big dude!  Great costume!”

Me: “Thanks.”

Drunk: “What size shoes you wear, man?”

Me: “14.”

Drunk: “14!  Damn, man.  Like a baby’s arm down there.  Am I right?” He says while gripping his elbow and swinging his forearm.

Me: {smiled politely?  I ask, because I never know if I’m smiling.}

Drunk: “I’m a size 10.  I’m okay, but…DAMN!  14?!?” He appeared much more comfortable talking about my penis than I was about having him talk about it.  “Have you taken a picture with [name withheld to protect the innocent…and, because it escapes me at the moment]?  She’s hot!”

Me: “Yeah?”

Drunk: “Man, she’s so hot, I’d [I’m gonna leave that part out, because it’s worse than anything you’re imagining at the moment.  Well, most of you.  Some of you have a…’gift’?  You know what?  I’m gunna finish.  We’re all adults here…God, I hope we’re all adults here…else. Where was I?  Oh, yeah…] I’d lick her asshole after letting her take a dump on my chest.”  [Now that I see it, I should’ve gone with my initial instinct. Whelp!  Hindsight…Am I right?]  “My man,” he says hitting his buddy on the shoulder. “You get me, right?”

Drunk adjacent: “Don’t pull me into your sickness.”

Drunk: “Hey,” he says motioning to one of the waitresses. “this guy wears a size 14!” (…and we’re back to my penis.)

Waitress (looks me up and down): “Yeah?  I can see that.”

Drunk: “Like a baby’s arm…” Again, with the elbow.

Waitress: “Just how big are the babies you hang out with?!?” she asked pointing out that any baby with an arm the length of a grown man’s forearm from elbow to fingertips, would be a very large baby.

Me: “He won’t stop talking about my penis.”

Waitress: “Don’t mind him.  Love your costume, by the way.  Do you have the rest of the group with you, or are you alone?”

Me: “It’s just me.”

Waitress: “Well, it works.  Some guys came in earlier trying to be Mötley Crüe.  Totally didn’t work.  Yours works.”

Me: “Thank you.  I like your outfit, as well." I tried to say that in the least lecherous way possible (i.e. while trying to not look down her top, which was not easy at this height.)

When my food came out, one of the bartenders, who was all of 5-feet tall (in heels) and dressed as a sexy cop, asked if she could take a picture with me.  Again, nobility knows no end.

Cop: “Can I take pic with me handcuffing you?”

Me (looking away to no one in particular and, yet, to everyone): “Here or…?”

Cop: “Here.”

Me: “Sure(?)”

Cop: “I’m so short compared to you!”

Me: “Well, I AM wearing 3-inch heels.  So…”

Cop: “But, you’re taller than me even when I’m standing on this stool!”

Me: “Well, you’re a lot cuter than I am.”

Cop: {death stare.}

It was at that moment that I realized grown women (grown in age, not height, because…you get it) don’t really like being called “cute”.

Me: “Prettier?  Should I have said ‘prettier’?  I should’ve said ‘prettier’ shouldn’t I?  Yep.  Well, you are…prettier, that is.”  Whelp, there would be no number from this particular woman…nor further use of those handcuffs.

I paid for my order, took a few more pictures with customers and waitresses, and headed to Castle McCulloch.  I had planned to make a stop down the road to Hooters, but time was of the essence.  The drive to Greensboro was uneventful.  Until I arrived at the turn off, that is.  I was looking forward to a night of grown-up fun.  I learned about the “Beer and Fear Bash” the prior year when my Halloween plans had fallen through at the last minute.  I was unaware that there was a castle in Greensboro, much less a Halloween party.  This was not a party for drunken teenagers to act a fool and ruin everyone’s night.  This was for the grown and sexy.  You had to be at least 21 to attend, tickets were $50 a piece, and that only covered admission.  It did not cover food or drink.  There were fire performers, live bands, DJs, blood wrestlers, artists doing body painting, exotic dancers, and women dressed in outfits that still bring me comfort on sleepless nights.  They even had a tent for spankings.  (“Oh, you’d better believe that’s a paddlin’!)  Last year, I was in sensory overload and remained in the shadows.  This year, I was ready to take more than just a peek behind the curtain.  I had my freak flag ironed (presentation is everything), and it was ready to fly.  You only live once.  Unless, of course, zombies.

When I got to the exit, I turned off my navigation system (1st mistake) and followed the line of cars (2nd mistake).  After awhile, I began to wonder if I was in the correct line.  Things did not look familiar. 

“You have only been here once, and you drove in broad daylight.  They said they made changes to parking based on feedback.  You’re fine,” I said in an attempt to reassure myself.  “Besides, what are the odds that there’s another large event in the same area?”

Turns out, the odds were great, but more about that later.  The line was moving incredibly slow.  Doubt kept creeping in my head.  “Doesn’t seem right.”  Then, I’d see something that calmed me: people (men and women) getting out of their cars to pee in the woods, people (again, both sexes) getting out of their cars to pee in someone’s yard, etc.  I began to get frustrated with how long it was taking to get to the parking lot, but I couldn’t turn around.  Not only was I driving ‘Steph” whose length made turning around impossible, but I was also on a trail in the woods praying that “Steph” would not get stuck.  After being in line for 45 minutes, I started to calculate the odds of me  being able to do both this event and the costume contest.  Remember, Charlotte was an hour away.  By the time I arrived at the gate, I had been in my car for an hour.  Still waiting to park.  I rolled my window down and received a warm reception from the officer.

“KISS!  Yes!!!  Favorite costume I’ve seen all night!” the officer exclaimed.

“Thank you,” I said.

“Hey, man, is your tongue as long as his?”

“I don’t think so.”

“C’mon, man, let me see it.  Show me your tongue.”

First, some guy talks about my penis.  Then, an officer insists on seeing my tongue.  Not wanting to be detained, or shot, I obliged.

“Nope. His is longer,” he says turning to his buddies.  “The guy from KISS has like a 9-inch tongue.  You should see that thing!”  If this were the only time I was asked to show my tongue tonight, I would be disappointed.  However, my hope was that the next such request would be made by a woman.

Finally, I was able to park and start getting dressed.  My confidence that the line to get in was strong, but not as strong as my sense of denial.  (A sense aided by the fact that I still hadn’t slept since Friday morning before work.)  There were multiple signs that I was in the wrong place.  I was approached for pictures several times before getting in line.  One time, a girl who looked to be 12 asked for a pic. 

“This is supposed to be a 21 and up event,” the voice in my head stated. “Why is she here?”

“Midget,” I told myself.

When I was in line with what appeared to be a man with his granddaughters, doubt crept in again.  That doubt went away when I saw a plume of fire in the near distance followed by an even larger plume.  “Fire dancers!” I thought to myself. “Right place.”  It wasn’t until I was almost at the front of the line and saw prices for zip lines and hay rides, as well as prices for children versus adults.  It was settled, I was in the wrong place.  Now, how to get out of here without looking like a complete idiot.  I grabbed the cellphone from my pocket and acted as though I was receiving a call.  That got me out of line.  Seeing how I was dressed and from where I was coming, the ticket takers let me in without asking to see a ticket.  They simply asked for a picture, told me not to scare the children too badly, and let me in.

The more I walked around, the more I realized the depth of my mistake.  There were fun house mirrors, crafts, hay rides, and cheesy Halloween scare tactics.  How did this happen?  The area had been broken into two main parts: One was an adults-only den of debauchery and shame; the other, Nickelodeon, and I was about to be slimed…and not in way I had hoped.

“Why do you hate me, Jesus?”

“I can’t take credit for this,” a voice said from on high. “Too bad, because this…is…EPIC!  Can’t wait to tell the others.”

Just as I was about to cry myself into a sinkhole, a little girl tapped me on the leg, showed me her guitar, and asked if I would take a picture with her.  Behind her, a line had formed.  They all wanted pictures and thought I had been hired by the proprietors.  They were willing to pay.  I, strangely, was not willing to charge.  (At $5 a pic, I could’ve cleaned up.)  Parents told me stories about how much they loved KISS; kids told me about going to concerts with their parent(s); and kids who were initially hesitant had big smiles.  This was why I loved Halloween.  This was why I put so much time into making costumes.  Not to win money or get phone numbers.  This was the reason for the season.

“Thanks, God,” I said while looking to the sky.  “I needed that.”

I walked back to my car, got undressed, and set the nav system to Charlotte.  Upon leaving the parking lot, I saw a sign that read “Beer and Fear Bash”.  I had a decision to make: debauchery or costume contest.  There was no way to do both.  It was already after 11:00 and there would undoubtedly be another line for both parking and entrance.  I decided on Charlotte.  I might not get there in time to enter the competition, but maybe, I’d get there in time to see it.

I was in Charlotte and dressed by midnight.  The contest wasn’t starting until 12:30.  The costume was well received from the outset.  I took a lot of pictures and made promises to several waitresses and bartenders that I would take more after the contest.  But all was not unicorns and rainbows.  There was a troll in our midst.  This dude came up to me, started talking, and would not leave me alone for the entire night.  He was one of those people who you wanted to tell off, but also didn’t want to engage.  So, I was politely rude.  While he was talking to me, several women came up, complimented me on my costume, and asked for a pic.

“You know why all these women are coming up to you instead of me don’t you?” he asked.


“C’mon, you know.  You seem like a smart guy…It’s, because you’re big.”


“Look, I’m sure you’re an okay looking guy under that makeup, but look at me.  I’m a great-looking guy.  If I had your height…”


“They also know you’re black.  You’re big and black.  Probably have a big penis.  Me, not so much.”  This made the second guy who made reference to my penis, and two guys talking about my penis is 40 guys too many.

I was saved, albeit briefly, by the contest…which I lost.  After the Best Costume: Female was over (winner: Poison Ivy; real name: April) the DJ asked me to come back onstage, and announced that I was getting $100, because there was a large sentiment that I should’ve won the $500 for Best Costume: Male.

Tiny Tim continued his monologue.  “Look, I know I’m not supposed to say this, but I’m the smartest guy in the room.  Not supposed to say it, but it’s true.  I know people.“ 

“Don’t engage,” I kept telling myself.  Fortunately, our “conversation” was interrupted by April who had come to speak with me.

“I’m glad to hear you got some money.  You deserved to win.”

“Thank you.  Judging by audience applause is always sketchy.  Money isn’t important.  Just glad people seem to enjoy the costume.”

“Did you make it yourself?”

“I designed it and put it together,” I said before telling her how I did everything.

“I like creative guys.  Can I get a picture?”


When she asked my shadow to take it, his response was infuriating, “I don’t know if I want to take it.  Hey, man, you want me to take this picture?”

“That’s the reason women talk to me and not you.  Not, because I’m big, but, because you’re an asshat.  You’d know that if you were as smart as you think you are.  Now, take the friggin’ picture and go back to the Shire!” Is what I desperately wanted to say, but that kind of talk is wasted on arrogant douchebags, especially intoxicated ones.  So, instead, I simply said, “Yes.”

Thankfully, my little buddy decided it was time to head home lest goats cross his bridge unimpeded.  
That’s when I saw her.  Her name was Lindsey.  She was gorgeous -- long legs, strawberry blonde hair, yellow cat eyes (contacts) – and smelled like buttermilk and hope.  [Ed’s Note: That’s right on the border of paying a compliment and serial-killery.]  She also had a long neck, which, though had a pronounced slit from which blood flowed into her cleavage, was still enchanting.  [Just crossed the border.]

“Who did your makeup?”

“I did.”

“I like a guy who can do his own makeup.  What’s your name?”

“Real or stage?”


“Damion, but I also go by ‘Black Silk’.”

“I like it.”

“Can I get your number?”

“And how many numbers have you gotten with that costume tonight?”
I hesitated, because I didn’t know if the number I had gotten earlier that night counted since I didn’t ask for it…and I can’t lie to women.  Fortunately, she continued before I could answer.

“No matter, I don’t give my number out on the first date.”

“How do I get a second date?”

“That’s for you to figure out…’Black Silk’,” she smiled then walked away.

“I love that woman…”

Another woman approached me.

“Please tell me you have a job that allows you to use your creativity,” she said.

“I work for a bank.”

“That’s a shame.  By the way, she didn’t want me to tell you, but April is the one who gave you the $100.  She gave it out of her winnings, because she thought you deserved something.  Just thought you should know.”


I walked around for a bit taking pics with bartenders and waitresses.  Another woman came up to me.

“Hi, it’s your friend from earlier.  I changed out of my costume,” April said.

“Hey.  Congratulations again.”

“Thanks.  Can I buy you breakfast?”

“Depends.  What’s on the menu?”


“Yeah?  You want some cheese on those eggs?  Some cheese and sausage?”

“I’d definitely like some cheese on these eggs?  And I LOVE sausage!”

“I love eggs…The eggs in your Fallopians…Got milk?”

“Oh, I gots milk…Take me!”

Obviously, everything following her offer to buy me breakfast was made up.  Sometimes, breakfast is just breakfast…idiots.  Having been up since Friday morning and in makeup for over 8hrs --not to mention the fact that I had just asked out one of her co-workers, a co-worker who was mad at her, because she had been told that employees could not enter the costume contest-- I politely declined and headed back to the hotel.

Once I arrived, I headed upstairs, "let slip the dogs of war", took off my makeup (those poor hotel washcloths), lied down on the sofa, and settled in for a brief Autumn’s nap.

“Pri-i-vate eyes are watching you…”

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