I'm on vaycay for the next week! I'll be posting all of chapter 9.
The room was swathed in the cold glow of fluorescent white light, making the white brick walls stand out against the people who heralded in through the blue double-doors. Their sneakers and high heels clicked and clacked against the green-gray linoleum floor, the door slamming loudly with each new arrival. The ‘chicken dance’ boomed from the speakers.
Mr.Handson stood by the door next to the other literature teachers, grinning in his wizard’s outfit and hitting his staff against the floor, “Here here, welcome ye to the Literature Ball! Refreshments are to be placed on the table.”
Gentry eyeballed him, holding a small marzipan cake in the shape of a pig’s head.
“Oh, good to see you here…” Mr.Handson stroked his fake wizard’s beard, trying to hide that he didn’t know which of his students he was talking to, “I, the Great Merlin, welcome---- what are you, exactly?”
He comically cocked his head at the costume, a white bed sheet with two eyeholes cut out.
“The ghost of Hamlet’s father.”
“Ah, and so you are! And my, what an interesting cake. I see you did it in the theme of Lord of the Flies. That’s quite disturbing. Did you make it yourself?”
“Yes.” Of course he did. He did the same every year, and this one was no different. He didn’t have a home, but he’d be damned if anyone would be able to tell. Appearances needed to be kept up, life went on.
“Good job, Gentry! Now, just put it on the table over there, next to the Wuthering Brownies and Hamlet Sandwiches.”
Feeling very much like a dog that had been diminutively patted on the head, Gentry drudged towards the food table. He carefully maneuvered around Casey and selected members of the swim team to avoid being caught up in conversation, but soon found there was no need. This costume hid him perfectly!
With painfully precise slowness, Gentry eased the cake towards the same place he put it every year: the center of the table. It felt heavy in his hands, like some sacrificial offering to a primitive God.
He was too old for this bullshit. Everyone here was. Yet here they were, as they were every year, just to remind their teachers of how important their grade was to them. This was a costume party, all right, even faces weren’t faces, but grinning, squinty-eyed masks. Gentry wondered what would happen if he jumped on the table and kicked everything to the ground. Revolt!