I woke up feeling less guilty than the previous mornings that kept my guts in a shameless tug-o-war. It is the eve of all eves. Halloween as what commercialism dictates. Tonight could be the beginning of a haunting nightmare or the end of this poor girl’s career. Or both. I am holding on to fate that the decision which I have made was wise enough to not let me down. Tonight I am the Devil Bunny.
Yes, these people can be that creative. I remember the first time that I walked into their inconspicuous office at Lavender. The long, narrow and steep flight of stairs allowed me to rethink my options whether to step back or just go with my guts. Inside, the two employees try to make themselves scarce by abusing MSN, pinging here and there like serious business. As soon as the adjacent door opened, I knew it was my turn. A lanky guy escaped the room with neither a telltale sign of excitement nor trauma. A lady soon emerged, waving towards my direction. Inhale, exhale.
“The idea that we have is similar to the movie “13 Ghosts”, she explains. At one point I got conscious for trying to resist the urge to gawk at her mouth, convincing myself that she’s not playing scare tactics on me by wearing corrugated and fanged dentures. “Throughout the night you guys will be moving around, slamming on glass walls and the like, and basically just hanging around to have your pictures taken with the guests…”
Sounds easy for a few hours of being a monster of sorts in exchange for a cool S$100. I am excited! No, scratch that, I am terrified! For how insane could I be for prioritizing this “sideline” over an important errand for our atelier’s fashion show?!
It’s 6:00pm. I am supposed to be staying on to help The Designer to load up the gowns inside the van that will transport all our fashion show paraphernalia to the hotel. But the 10:00pm schedule unexpectedly clashes with my pre-arranged “gig”. So instead of letting my laptop stay open for another 4 hours, I had to shut it down and leave. My apologies might have sounded like forlorn blah-blahs. My phone, which has been ringing repeatedly, only made it worse. I am running late.
I took a cab and headed to Holiday Inn near the CBD. Inside a hotel room, the “monsters” have already been made up save for myself. An auntie quickly ushered me inside the bathroom and handed me this black, faux leather ensemble that’s tight enough to make me look more famished than I already do. Only the white fur trim at the back reminded me that I am tonight’s resident Devil Bunny. Unfortunately, no amount of squishing and laying-on-your-back-as-you-wear-it tricks could make this hot pants possibly fit me. I mean, clearly, their peg is a size zero as evidenced by the cheerful other “monsters” that scramble inside the room. They are obviously in their mid- to late teens and I am at least a decade older than them. Geez.
The makeup team immediately got a hold of me as soon as I slipped into my own black hot pants (it pays to be prepared). A slather of eyeshadow over here, a tousling of the hair over there. Tease, Aqua Net. Tease, Aqua Net. I actually felt more glamourized compared to the others who were either lathered in white paste or murky green paint. On the downside, the long, red plastic glue-on nails added a hooker-ish feel to my evolving salacious look.
The Organizer, gathering his minions, announced a few reminders before leading us out to the streets. Being an ardent follower, I obliged. As we slowly tread the streets of Somerset, I began to realize how this glamourized makeup only does too little to conceal my true identity. While the other “monsters” go chanting and goofing around in their heavily made-up faces and eccentric costumes, I try to stay in the middle of the pack and hide. Not for the shy-type. Really.
Which is why I heaved a sigh of relief upon reaching Howl At The Moon. An appropriate name for a club during this time, I thought. It is 9:00pm. A comedic skit is still playing onstage. I can hear the boisterous laughter from the inside. Our dimly lit waiting area is comfortable enough to escape the spooky stares from passersby, yet not convenient enough to hide. Guests going in would arbitrarily pose with us and have their pictures taken. Thirty minutes passed and we’re still waiting for our turn. These “kids” must be having the time of their lives. One “monster” is gamely playing with his light saber while the other repeatedly shows-off his spring-activated wings. I eventually found myself chatting with Eve. With her dusky, youthful complexion I wouldn’t have thought that she is actually a pre-school teacher by profession. I wonder what's the background of the others. But one thing's for sure, we've all embraced monsterhood for fun and extra moolah.
Our casual conversation is interrupted by this petite “monster” wearing a rainbow-colored wig and an equally flamboyant outfit. It is amusing how she enjoys the role of a custodian, advising us on how we would choreograph our moves once we get inside. I have a feeling that
the end is near it is our turn.
My phone rings. I could be wanted by The Designer or The Boss. After 5 minutes of struggling how to fish it out, being encumbered by my 2-inch nails, I recognized that it is just my calendar alarm. It is 10:00pm. They must be loading up the stuff now. Guilt starts to creep in. Soon, whatever anxiety I have is quickly replaced by anticipation. The Organizer is already asking us to go in. The drifting cigarette smoke, raucous babble, intoxicating music and creepy, bloody costumes magnify the celebratory mood inside the club. A snapshot here, a snapshot there. I feel like Britney Spears under the influence, inebriated by the euphoria that is making me bored, awkward and oddly thrilled all at the same time. Gore runs aplenty. From the hackneyed blood-drenched duos and the predictable goth fleet to the villain-inspired folks and the Cosplay-adoring set. The kids of Twilight would have taken a backseat. It is starting to get fun until my feet started to send signals of pain and discomfort.
I am surrounded with strangers in this festive cauldron. On hindsight, I wish I did not decline the lady in a witch’s hat who kindly offered to get me a drink. That would have been handy.
Or pinched the biceps of a hunky guy dressed as The Terminator. For that would have made me more brazen in carrying out our impromptu 15-minute ordeal of dancing centerstage under the spotlight, pulling out random guests from the crowd and swaying to the beat of fear, gaucherie and mortification. If it were a generation earlier, I would expect crates of tomatoes being thrown out. Luckily they were a gracious bunch who enjoyed reveling in the moment. It was the longest fifteen minutes of my life. Whoever said that we all get our fair share of fifteen minutes of fame probably meant shame.
Now if only there is an easier way to remove these pesky glued-on fingernails.