Deck the halls, indeed. It looked like a secular Christian rendering of Lil John and the East Side Boyz’s seminal masterpiece, “Get Low.” The high concrete walls of the first-floor garage tumbled and plumed with crushed crimson velour, designed in a petroleum-grade herpes texture. Mistletoe hung by hundreds on fishing line descending from a sparkly netted canopy overhead. A red disco ball cast sniper rifle laser points on the dancers, wiggling like earthworms caught in a whirlwind of their sloshing liquor insides. Have yourself a merry little skeet-skeet, co-workers.
Servers dressed as Marys, Josephs, and Wise Men dodged and weaved through sycophantic, mutual accolades as they offered liverwurst-shaped babies on crackers with mustard halos.
The cranberry, vodka, and Red Bull mixers flowed like the eternal blood of Christ as the weasel-faced minions whaled in tone-deaf harmony to John Lennon’s Imagine, forcing an otherwise profound sentiment into the nihilistic backwash of hedonism. World peace is easy when you live a cross between The Wolf on Wall Street and Enron: The Wonder Years – stuck on infinite party mode. No one notices the global warming burn when they’re numb – if the present cohort, being a diversified portfolio of sweating human garbage, is any indication.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside sung by who cares and the mass choir of sing-a-long assholes made further mockery of the Florida-winter heat wave and the tooth decay of holiday cheer. And yet chestnuts were roasting on open fires in metal trash cans, adding a not so subtle end times vibe to the proceedings.
Mandatory parties are flavor-aid level assimilation ploys. Your life depended on the loyalty you and your peers displayed in the trust fall of near alcohol poisoning. Praise unto the glory that is us, says a party like this.
The DJ dressed as a BDSM Santa asked the Body-Snatched ex-persons if they were having fun and conditionally there was affirmation a little too exuberant to be genuine. Words stumbled from their numb, swollen cheeks in weird sea lion vowels as they yodeled to Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You.
Don’t worry, I just work here in a Freaks and Geeks sort of way in a packed house rave of elitist, gym-fit morons. I’m the contrast that ensures the frat house typecasting has their quiet, pecking order. If you were standing here, watching a grown man air-hump the Holy Ghost on the dance floor, as I was, you would want a Krampus / The Purge crossover and you, like me, would willingly die to watch them all obliterated from existence.
I walked concentrically along the wall avoiding the pit of infinite bad-touch that was the dance floor. I learned this over several attempts of avoiding conversation. If you keep moving, no drunkard will know you’re not enjoying yourself. It’s like reverse T-Rex rules. Stay still and they eat you. Eye contact, smile, keep moving. I am the Schrodinger’s Cat of social interaction. I am all the ghosts from A Christmas Carol on strike due to overwork.
The plan failed. I bumped into something bog-level hot and moist, which gave a literal form to their favorite word for anything, “dank.” The faucet-pored beef-mold picked up my purse he knocked to the ground and noticed a stray tampon by my feet. He held it with a grin and made a big show of handing it back to me with a crass joke about the size of flesh boat that could harbor in my tuna bay.
I kept walking through a wake of “this is fine because it’s normal” chuckles. Sexual harassment only occurs when they want to have sex with you and you turn them down.
A girl drooling what little left of her self-respect wrapped her salad-diet noodle arm around my neck, clutching my windpipe as she scream-belched lyrics about kings in Israel. Her voice was the shame of her siren, banshee ancestors. She doubled over, clutching her future, unexpected pregnancy to exhaust the twisted confines of her acid reflux all over my shoes. This is what complicity gets you. One woman vomiting, another woman accepting the ritual offering of the other’s puke, complaining to no one.
If I entered a transporter on the Enterprise right now, my DNA would mix tragically with the goop on my shoes. At least I could morph into the Blob and destroy all these people with my acid Jell-O inside / outside body.
Bits of gummy bear melted like T-1000s into the fibers of my socks. She cried. A lot. Unstoppably. Moaning about how her supervisor boyfriend wasn’t exclusive to her. “How could he not be, look at me,” she said with every “e” stretched out. Her Play-Doh breasts vibrated like a massage chair on my chests with every hiccup belching bleat of self-pity.
This woman, who on a good day acted like a skinny-bitch code enforcer, showed the darker roots of her fake blonde and the pale outline of her spray tan. She’d most likely be fired tomorrow because she broke the plausible deniability rule of pretending all of this isn’t bullshit. She collapsed/sat dragging me with her to the cold, oil-stained parking lot floor. She cradled me like a saliva-caked teddy bear from her childhood with my face smashed into the sacks of saline under her pointed-missile skin. Her tears leaking plow lines through my weak foundation so I looked like Heath Ledger’s Joker, but only on the left side. I knew there was no helping her so I said nothing. Thriving in this cesspool was what feminism meant to her. A deep voice gaffed at the lesbians in the corner. What was Fred supposed to think when Daphne caressed Velma like a golden retriever. Someone from the Barbie snot-face’s department pried her off of me as she blubbered, “who was that?”
I prayed, in the atheist emergency sort of way, that this would end soon. An unexpected meteor killed the dinosaurs after all.
When I realized I needed to pee, I also realized the only route to the restroom was through the minefield of mistletoe over the writhing Abercrombie Dementors as they latched onto each other like suffocating lamprey. Lone among them in the middle of the bacchanal was Beef Mold. He stared at me like I was the next receptacle for his prune juice as he curled a suggestive pair of fingers in my direction.
Whitney Hamrick is a staple of the Orlando literary scene with regular spots at local readings and events including There Will Be Words, The Drunken Odyssey with John King, and Loose Lips. Her work can be found in Ghost Parachute. You can witness more of her whatever on Instagram @whitney.p.awesome and Twitter @karmafishwrap.