The agent changes costumes unexpectedly and arrives at his client’s Halloween bash. 2,492 words. Part One. Part Two. Part Four tomorrow. Illustration by Thomas Warming.
Later that evening, Casey drove his Lexus to his Brentwood home. “Lori,” the agent called out. There was no answer. “Lori? You up there?” he called again, mounting the stairs. “You’d better be dressed and ready to go, babe.” When he walked into their bedroom, Lori was sitting on the chaise wearing a robe. “Didn’t you hear me?” Casey asked.
“No,” Lori said, barely moving.
“I was calling you,” he said, loosening his tie. He tossed it on the bed and unbuttoned his shirt. “I need you to get your costume on right now. Seriously, Cheyne’s Halloween party is going to be a mob scene and the sooner we get there, the less time we waste waiting to get in.”
He threw his shirt on the bed. “Where’s the costume box?” he asked.
“There,” she said, pointing to the bathroom.
He went in. “What the hell is this?” he said, sounding as if he’d ordered a New York steak rare, and the waiter had brought him a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich.
Lori didn’t look up. She kept her gaze directed at the wall as if she were seeing something that wasn’t there.
Casey shot out of the bathroom and stopped a foot in front of her, holding a large plastic bag labeled: KAREN’S KOOKIE COSTUMES. “This. What the hell is this? Where’s my Samurai or your Geisha outfit?”
After some time Lori answered, “I returned them both and rented us different costumes.”
“I don’t know if it’s the juice fast that’s making your brain lose oxygen or what, but this is ridiculous. Why didn’t you call me before doing that?”
Lori stood up, looking at Casey for the first time since he’d walked in. Her eyes were puffy and red. “I returned them because I decided too many guys in this town have Asian fetishes.”
Casey stopped moving. Almost involuntarily, his head turned toward Lori. “What? Why are you saying that? What do you mean?” he asked, trying to keep his cool. He turned his back to Lori so she couldn’t see his shock.
She moved closer to him. “You don’t know that guys in this town have Asian fetishes? I hear it’s like a disease for them. I didn’t know that until today, but the woman at the costume place explained it to me.”
“Really?” Casey said.
“Yeah, she said it’s a real perverted sexual thing,” Lori replied, now sitting straight up and looking at him. “Some of them even go to Asian massage parlors and ask for a happy ending. That’s how sick they are.”
Casey froze, his face red-hot with shame. How could she have seen him there today? He thought of reminding his wife that he works alongside several Asian female agents at Global Talent Assets without any problems, but decided against it. “Okay, we’re now officially late to my most important client’s Halloween party, so let’s get this show on the road. You get dressed and I’ll get dressed,” he said, grabbing the costume bag and disappearing into the bathroom.
A minute later, he came out wearing a long black trench coat. “I don’t get it, Lori. What am I supposed to be? Neo, from The Matrix?”
“Nope,” Lori said, with a slight knowing smile.
Casey was confused. “Then what?” Lori got up off the bed and walked toward him, stopping only inches from his face. “You are a pervert,” she said very slowly and deliberately.
Casey let out a nervous laugh. “Well, I’m not wearing this. It’s ridiculous.”
“I had to drive three hours all the way to the Valley and back to return our old costumes and get these new ones. So, yes, you are going to wear it.”
Lori never talked defiantly to her husband like this. And he knew it. He also saw that her eyes were filled with hatred directed at him.
“But I’ll look like a complete idiot in this thing,” he complained.
“No, you won’t. It’s fits you perfectly” she said. “Do you want to stay here and keep whining about your costume? Or go to Cheyne’s?”
Casey had no idea what she knew about his Asian fetish but was scared to find out right then. “Stop acting weird. Get dressed. And let’s head out.”
Twenty-five minutes later, Lori was a sexy dominatrix, wearing thigh-high black stilettos and a fire engine-red skintight leather bodysuit that exposed her considerable cleavage. Her eyes were covered with a black mask. Across her lap was her prop for the night: a leather riding crop.
While his wife was getting ready, Casey realized his trench coat had the word "PERVERT" stenciled on the back in fluorescent orange. He wasn’t sure what had sent his wife into this quiet and terrifying rage. He racked his brain. Casey’s stomach tightened from the stress of it all. Lori knew something; there was no doubt about it. He prayed, really prayed. God, please, let get me out of this one. I’ll be good again. I promise.
Screenwriter Cheyne Gold’s home was just a few blocks from Griffith Park on a street peppered with other mansions. Casey and Lori sat in the Lexus waiting for the valet in the middle of a long line of cars. The cheap Toyota Corolla in front of them, the only vehicle worth less than 50 grand, had a bumper sticker that read: TRUMP, IN YOUR GUTS YOU KNOW HE’S NUTS.
“Asshole,” Casey muttered, despising Cheyne’s liberal friends. When the driver stepped out, he wore a black-and-white cow costume, complete with a long tail and floppy ears and rubber udders hanging above his crotch. He got down on all fours, mooing and crawling forward.
Lori laughed. “You just don’t like his bumper sticker.”
One of the valets knocked on Casey’s window. She was a twentysomething Asian beauty wearing nothing but bikini bottoms and body paint in the shape of fluorescent peace signs across her breasts. Casey’s eyes lingered a moment too long.
“You like her?” Lori asked with a sneer..
“No, of course not.”
“I can only imagine what you get up to when when I’m not around.”
Casey pretended he hadn’t heard her last comment. As the valet handed him a ticket, Casey tried not to stare at her tits. But he was thinking, she is so fucking hot. “What are you supposed to be?” he asked her.
“I’m Peace. That’s Prosperity,” she said, pointing to another valet who had dollar signs painted across her chest. “And that’s Happiness.” The third valet had smiley faces on her boobs. “We’re a throwback to what life was like under Clinton. The first one.”
“Got it,” Casey said, annoyed. Couldn’t Cheyne keep his idiotic left-wing politics out of tonight’s party? Lori stepped in between the Asian valet and Casey. “My husband is a pervert. He as an Asian fetish.”
Casey grabbed Lori’s hand and led her toward the party’s entry point. At the bottom of Cheyne’s driveway, a large crowd was trying to attract the attention of a woman who held the coveted guest list in one hand and the leash to a live orangutan in the other. The primate wore a red baseball cap with the campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” on it.
Casey pushed through the crowd. “Stay close,” he said to Lori, squeezing his wife’s hand tighter. He noticed that a number of guys were checking her out. And that she very obviously loved their attention.
“You people keep pushing and no one’s getting in,” the list holder warned. But guests kept pushing their way up to the front. She turned to the muscular bouncer and instructed, “Maurizio, they need to back up.”
Casey took that opportunity to get in the list holder’s face. “I’m Cheyne’s agent.” With that a guy dressed as a glam rocker called out, “I’m his business manager.” Casey snapped, “Let her find one name at a time.”
Casey was fuming at the delay. “Can you just do your job, please?” he told the list holder in a venomous voice. She looked through Casey as if he didn’t exist. “Hellooo,” he said, obnoxiously waving his hand in front of her eyes to get her attention. “Don’t you know who I am?”
The list holder glared at him for a few moments before speaking. “Okay, pervert, listen carefully. You are now in the penalty-box for ten minutes. Don’t speak to me until your time is up,” she said looking at her watch.
Casey started to make peace, “Okay, we got off on the wrong foot—”
“Now it’s twenty minutes,” the list holder said. The Trump orangutan made a strange sound and climbed up her arm and over her shoulder. “If you talk to me again, it’s going up to thirty.”
CaseyHe wanted to rip her a new asshole, but he fell quiet. The list holder called out to the crowd. “Now, I don’t care if you’re one of Cheyne’s agents, his business manager, his best friend, his mother, or even his coke dealer, if you’re not on this list,” she said holding up her clipboard, “then you’re not getting in.” She looked directly at Casey. “And if you act like a Hollywood turd, I don’t care who you are. You’re never getting in.”
Casey whispered to Lori so only she could hear, “Such a nasty woman.”
The list holder scanned the faces in front her. She pointed to the back. “You, in the cow suit. Let him through.” The crowd parted reluctantly, many shooting angry stares as the cow walked past. Oblivious to their hostility, he had a smile on his face.
“You’re fucking kidding me,” Casey griped to Lori.
Ten minutes later, Cheyne strolled down the driveway, flanked by three women all wearing nothing but body paint. He was dressed as Hugh Hefner, wearing a white wig and a pair of silk pajamas with the Playboy logo over the pocket, smoking a pipe filled with Humboldt County bud.
“Cheyne, over here!” “Buddy, it’s me!” “Cheyne, bro, can I get in?” The writer of Hollywood’s most successful and nonsensical action movies removed the pipe from his mouth and used it to point out whom the list holder should let into the party: a producer, a few actors, several female knockouts without dates. The bouncer opened the rope to let them go past. Then Cheyne turned and started back up the driveway.
“Cheyne, Cheyne!” Casey called out desperately. Cheyne looked back. “It’s Casey, your agent." Everyone’s eyes were on Casey now.
“Oh, shit, I didn’t recognize you in that getup,” Cheyne answered, then turned to the woman holding the list and decreed, “It’s cool. Let him in.”
The list holder unhooked the rope. Casey shot her a dirty look and she stuck her tongue out at him in return. Casey clenched his teeth.
Cheyne shrugged in a mock apology to Casey and motioned to the women to accompany him back to the party. He was speaking in a Southern accent, so Casey wondered if the scripter was pretending to be Bill Clinton. He was. “They’re a throwback to when I was in office,” Cheyne drawled.
Casey smirked and nodded. “Funny stuff.”
“It’s easy to forget how good this country had it. Before the reckless Republicans took over the White House. Isn’t it?” Cheyne asked.
“Yeah.” Casey hated himself for agreeing.
“I told you that you were gonna dig the theme tonight,” Cheyne added, pointing to a massive neon sign with a picture of Donald Trump’s face on it and a huge letter “L” for loser across the GOP presidential nominee’s orange face. It was under a banner: WELCOME TO THE DUMP TRUMP!
“It’s great,” Casey said, despising himself more by the minute.
Cheyne puffed on his pipe as he studied Casey’s costume. “What happened to the Asian theme? I thought you were going as a Samurai and your wife a Geisha.”
“We got these costumes instead,” Casey said quickly.
Cheyne appraised Lori in her dominatrix outfit. “Now I see why you went this way instead.” Lori walked past the two men and towards the house.
Casey whispered, “Sorry, man. Lori’s cleansing right now. She’s a little edgy drinking just juice.”
“Maybe she needs to whip the shit outta you,” Cheyne laughed, slapping Casey on the back and pushing him towards his mansion. “Have fun!”
Looking around the front door, Casey saw another banner: TRUMP HOUSE OF HORRORS — IF HE WINS, and a ten-foot paper mache statue of the candidate sitting on an all-gold throne with a crown atop his head. There were jail cells for Hispanics who screamed, “Let us out! We didn’t do anything!” They were guarded by brown-shirts with Trump armbands and billy clubs yelling, “Back in your cage, Mexicans!”
The next jail cell was filled with Muslims. A Trump guard grabbed a fire-house and started spraying. “Just doing some extreme vetting," The last jail cell contained a group of women trying to obtain abortions.
The last attraction was a Donald Trump lokalike holding a suitcase attached to his wrist. He pulled out a keyboard and typed in codes, looking more and more manic as he made the entries. “Thank you for voting for me,” a recording said. A red button on the side of the keyboard glowed. Then an ear-splitting boom sounded. Everything went black, and in the background were film shots of large mushroom clouds.
“Just one big lefty love fest,” Casey murmured.
Inside Cheyne’s sprawling three-story seven-bedroom abode, the dance floor was packed with sweaty guests. Music blasted from concert-sized speakers and a female DJ who was a deadringer for Monica Lewinsky, was spinning tunes from the Bill Clinton era. Go-go dancers, naked save for Trump’s face painted on their asses, gyrated on ten-foot high platforms scattered throughout. A Putin-masked man was slow dancing with a Trump doppelganger who was wearing women’s lingerie but his arms were reaching out and trying to grope anyone female.
Drinks and drugs flowed. Lori, who usually clung to Casey at most parties, was twenty feet away when he walked up behind her and slipped his arms around her waist, “I’m going to get a drink. You want an orange or cranberry juice?” Then, yelling above the music. “Or a cocktail?”
She undid his grip and announced, “Double vodka, no ice.”
The bar was so jam-packed that it took Casey fifteen minutes standing in line before he could even order. When he walked back to where Lori had been standing, she wasn’t there. Instead, she was shaking it up on the dance floor, waving her dominatrix riding crop in the air. A few guys were trying to move in on her, but she was in her own world. Casey squeezed through the crowd and handed her the vodka. She knocked it back in three gulps. And she kept dancing with her back to him.
This is an updated excerpt from the novel American Pride released under the author's pseudonym Michael Ker in 2015 by Publisher By The Seas.