Thus my response to the advertisement, ‘young male needed for a party, to appear as a canine, a Saturday afternoon, $50'. The numerals were in bold, which tends to catch the eye of starving students. And on any given Saturday, the typical freshman is either recovering from a party or lounging about planning the next. Therefore my thinking was to grab the promised fifty and have a blowout Saturday night in celebration of an easy afternoon’s work.
I envision the role to be similar to that of one of those team mascots seen in professional basketball and baseball, animatedly running about in some oversized furry covering. In place of spurring enthusiasm for the home team I am instead to be handing out party favors. Since I was a cheerleader in high school it initially seemed to be an easy task. I just assume I am not supposed to cheer...verbally.
The woman replies after a discernible pause, seeming to likewise be envisioning my function.
“Well, the girls can get frisky, Willie. Think of some of the bachelor parties you’ve attended, particularly where there is alcohol and entertainment.”
She gives the word ‘entertainment’ a peculiar inflection, slowing to accent each syllable. When juxtaposed with the term ‘bachelor party’, her suggestive observation serves to transform my envisioned performance of rambunctious mascot to something more akin to a skimpily clad girl jumping out of a cake.
She notices my reflective pause and uses it to fire personal questions; the answers to which one would normally avoid when more cognitively alert and prepared.
“You’re young and nicely trim, not much body hair I assume. You wouldn’t mind removing it totally? It will grow back...”
I am caught off guard with that. Can the dog covering be that hot to wear? It’s late October. It’s a yard party in Pennsylvania. How hot can it get? And why is she so concerned about my comfort? Yet, before I can formulate an acceptable negative reply there are others.
“And though it’s not essential, I assume you’re nicely hung? No problem with being overly modest? Some guys can get a little shy.
“Circumcised? Well scratch that one; it will be self evident.”
I am rather taken aback as one can imagine. But it appears a decision has been made and the job is mine. The $50 keeps flashing before me.
“I guess I can shave,” I meekly manage to respond. “But I don’t understand the relevance of your question about being ‘hung’,” I add with circumspection.
My interlocutor arises. I remain seated in the low coach, while she towers over me. My eyes fix on her smooth and rounded thighs, left totally uncovered by shorts, which have enticingly gathered at the seam of her crotch. She smiles knowingly and coyly hesitates in order to afford me a lengthy examination. Then nimble fingers work to draw down the white cotton.
“Let me show you your uniform, Willie. It will help explain.”
She steps away to open a drawer in a nearby armoire. For the first time I notice her backside. Large, but amazingly proportioned, the tight shorts perfectly outline her buttocks. Athletic yet most curvaceously feminine, at one time Lenore was obviously involved in sports.
“Chloe has a thing for Dalmatians,” she references the birthday girl as the drawer closes and she returns with paraphernalia in hand. “But she’s allergic to almost everything with fur. It’s left her with a lifetime of yearning. Therefore I thought a little doggie would be ideal for her birthday.”
I no longer take personally references to my stature. At five-foot-four, all sensitivity dissipated in my mid-teens when I became a proficient swimmer and a respectable gymnast. Sports became an equalizer. Not too many six foot guys performing on the rings and parallel bars.
My ‘uniform’ is presented...a rubber mask of large black circles on white with obligatory floppy ears and snout, a thick leather collar, a smooth but formidable chain of shining chrome and steel.
That is all!
“That’s it? Where’s the fur covering?”
Lenore smiles while shaking her head and suppressing laughter.
“One of the girls is a cosmetician. Has done some work in the Broadway theatre. The body paint will be most temporary and be easily removed. And it will further disguise your identity.”
I am perplexed to the point of consternation and cannot find words.
“Just get here thirty minutes early and come in the back door. There is a utility room off the kitchen where you can strip down and put on the mask. No one will see your face. Nancy will arrive, do the paint and collar you. Chloe and the guests will enter the back yard through the gate and at the appropriate moment when the gathering is assembled, I will slip into the utility room and lead you out.
“You can crawl?”
I nod, my mind still in confusion. Naked and painted to look like a dog, but in complete anonymity...and $50.