What Are You?
Jennifer Pieroni

For the most part the Halloween party had turned into a pimps and ho’s. Our apartment filled with med students wearing scandals, dancing to Fatback. Though one man dressed as President. He came with fifteen Secret Service agents who spoke into walkie talkies. “Where is the bathroom?”—click—“Where is the keg?”—click.

I’d put more thought into decorating the apartment than my costume. At the last minute I’d bought an angel outfit and some fake tattoos. It was hard to explain who (or what) I was.

I noticed an instructor from the pharmacology program coming in with another Ho.

“What are you?” I asked him.

“A mad scientist,” he said, pulling a real syringe from his vest, spraying liquid that glowed in the black light. Someone tapped his shoulder, and he got engrossed in another conversation.

I’d met with him earlier in the week, considering making the switch to pharmacy. He was the advisor for incoming students into that program. He’d said I had some transferable credits, but not many. It would be almost like starting over.

I perched on the kitchen counter, by the sink, chatting with people mixing drinks there. “You live here?” “Nice party.” “What are you?” From there, I could see in to the living room. He was dancing on the periphery first and then moved into the middle of the crowd.

He raised his hand up out of the dancing throng and squirted. The bloom whooshed down onto the crowd, the substance glistening unnaturally on girls’ shoulders.

My roommate found me and said we had to do something about the syringe. I agreed. We went to him and I said, “Someone’s going to get stuck.”

“They won’t,” he said. He looked like he did pills, something my mother had warned me of. He had the intensity about him, but his skin seemed sick.

I told him we didn’t want anyone getting hurt and that we didn’t even know what that liquid was. A nearby man heard our conversation. The man had bongos attached to his shoulders, like massive pads. He said that if the instructor had a problem with it they should have a conversation on the deck.

One of my favorite songs started to play. The instructor said to me, “Hey, now I remember you.” Somebody blew Silly String.


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