John and his parents had moved into a big, ranch rambler right across the street from Karla. He had asked if he could walk me home…I lived about six blocks away. Of course, I said yes.
“But first I want to show you my pet snake, Waldo.” said John. “He’s super friendly.”
I was not FOND of snakes but I thought John was a pretty good kisser…so I pretended…
We left Karla’s party a little early and walked over to his house.
His parents were playing cards with some of their friends in the living room.
They were all dressed up and soft music was playing in the background.
It looked very elegant…with drinks and snacks scattered around on little side tables. No one was in costume…
The front door opened right into the living room so when we walked in…everyone immediately looked over at us.
John introduced me. “Mom. Dad. This is Riley. She’s a friend I met at Karla’s party. I wanted her to meet Waldo and then I’m going to walk her home.”
His parents rose slightly from the table, as if they were going to come over to us but then sat back down.
I gave them all a friendly little wave and a smile
No one said a word. Not. One. Word. They just stared at us…mouths literally hanging open.
My hand slowly rose to my chest, just to make sure nothing was…you know…hanging out. Nope. I was good.
John’s father looked a bit upset…his face was quite red and John’s mom looked a little flustered as well.
Finally, one of the men…obviously more fortified with alcohol than the others…said a little too loudly…
“Well!! It looks like Johnny and Riley have been having fun tonight…”
John smiled politely at his father’s semi-drunken friend and looked down at me…I also smiled and looked at John…and then I really looked at John.
Most of my body powder…if not all…was now all over the front of John’s black Zorro costume.
It was on his arms. It was on his legs. His whole fucking body was covered in dark brown powder. Even his face was streaked with brown powder.
It was fairly obvious that Zorro had indeed been rolling around somewhere with the little Hawaiian girl…
John saw the look on my face and then looked down at the front of his costume.
He just grinned at me and chuckled…like it was no big deal…because…to John…it really wasn’t.
I, however, was so embarrassed. I pulled at his hand and quickly edged back toward the front door. There would be no “Waldo viewing” tonight.
I waved a polite good-bye to the adults…only one of whom waved back.
Through the years, as I got to know John, I was to learn that nothing ever really bothered him…which is why…I think…I came to like him so very, very much.
And…from that night on…we were each other’s best friend.
And…I was the only one who would call him…”Johnny”…