I thought we would be Alligators plural. But you have taken a green sheet and some cardboard and stapled it together into a single costume and sharpied scales on it. It could be worse, like if your favorite team were the Heat or the Porcupines. If this is your vision for the best couple’s costume, I should be grateful that our first Halloween remains confined to your neighborhood.
Can you be the rear, I ask.
Do you even know where we’re going, you respond.
At least the crocodile’s backside has a hole to stick my head through to allow for eating and drinking. You insist my itchy face paint and green hair dye will keep us competitive, yet you are exempt from cosmetics. When we lower the alligator’s body into position, your head is encased in the crocodile’s head and long mouth with several cardboard teeth cut into points. Folding the lower jaw to a 60-degree angle gives you full access to your beer.
Upon arrival to the event that’s been elevated to legend over the past eight months, you steer us to the host, shimmering green gown and eye shadow beneath a crown fashioned with rubber snakes. Her costume allows for more independent movement, but there is only three feet of fabric between us, hindering my ability to stand next to you and join the conversation. Fabric twisted, I am pressed up against your side, like a barnacle. It turns out she is also a writer. As she shifts to the right so we can face each other, I begin to tell her about the novel I’m writing until I’m suddenly yanked away.
You need another drink. Along the way, a pregnant nun steps on our tail. We jerk to a halt and you bark my name.
The time comes for the costumed couples to be judged. A plug and socket and two unimaginative zombies line up. A young woman I noticed earlier with a large puzzle piece tied fastened to her black leotard appears with a counterpart. Three beers in and distracted by the competition, I’m not paying attention to my position.
You really want to win this thing, like all the other things. The audience of thirty can’t hear you sidemouth “I’m in front, idiot.” Your sudden reach back to shove me in place hits my lower belly, adding unbearable pressure to my already-full bladder.
When Medusa raises a hand over the zombies to gauge the applause, my head disappears into the crocodile’s body and I rip my green self out to freedom. In anticipation of finding you waiting for me outside the bathroom, I run out of the house and blend in with the bushes.
I never find out the winner, but if I were the judge it would be the puzzle pieces, the same size cut from the same cardboard, roaming around independently but snapping together effortlessly when the time is right.