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I won't get political here, because I'm still in the midst of celebratory ignorance. Halloween, after all, has expanded into a five-day googolplex of abandon in these parts, and I've still got four until Kerry sweeps the White House and Edwards is my fun-loving bitch who calls me on my cell phone all the time just to see what I'm wearing and to let me know how worthy of his affections I am. Halloween is all about illusions, after all, right?


As it will turn out, this year's election will be, too: a rancid slab of redneck hangover whacked across gay and/or fully-operable heads in one last bullying rattle of reality's dull concussion. Sure, it will make the already difficult ruse of protracted personal overexposure virtually unbearable in just a few time-elapsed moments of costumed abandon. But now it's time to party (and maybe worry a little). Let's see, what have we got up our frilly sleeves for tonight? Hmm, this will do.

Television's Ed McMahon is hosting the Hard Rock Hotel's annual Halloween debacle, with performances from Tone-Loc and a member of Journey. Yikes! Can I get a Beetlejuice? Can I get a bucket of fake vomit? Possibly a shotgun? No, but I can get heckled on the way in.

"Ah, Kerry," a nauseating new-ager of stockbroking tendencies approaches. His name is David and he's been drinking all day over piles of speculative money with people who probably smoke cigars. Me, I'm smoking a cigarette outside with my Republican boyfriend, and I'm wearing a Kerry/Edwards button, pretending to be a Democratic Swift Boat operator, or a Navy-themed, though socially conscious, member of Duran Duran. Metaphors already too mixed, I pretend to ignore him. "I say Nader."

I say nothing.

"You know, because we all come from love … oh, and I like your hair," he frightens me worse than any of the arriving Hilton/Richie costumes populating the middle-aged martini set. And while typically this sort of novel flaky intrusion would simply blow away like so many dead leaves, David doesn't, deciding instead to stay and state his case at some length while I suck impending death out of my cancer stick. I try not to take notes in my head, but am left with a cottonmouthed, bilious aftertaste involving something like Kerry wanting to rule the whole world and Bush barely able to unzip his own fly. I smirk. He continues, rattling vainglories about how much fun it is to annoy people, at one point illustrating this by feigning severe drama to a member of the Local 6 news team, demanding that she call him back. I am unimpressed as I am not a fan of the Problem Solvers. Then things get worse.

"You know who they should get?" he quizzes, regarding the receding hairlines of the Velvet Sessions booking oeuvre. "Duran Duran!"

Thud. Now, forced to speak by the magic words of my own failing musical taste, I offer that the double of D is actually embarking on an arena tour, and, "hmmph." Naturally he offers to take me "all expense paid" on a trip to Atlanta to see them with him (and not his wife … and not my boyfriend) and I'm soon scraping my dignity into a tiny ruby slipper and running into the Hard Rock's front door for some tornadic Kansas escape. Sadly, Kansas are not playing tonight.

Tone-Loc is, though, and in order to avoid any more directives to "throw my hands in the ai-ah" to the extended mix of "Funky Cold Medina," I'm swift to boat my way out to the balcony and commiserate with my other half over little shrimp and crab concoctions … like we just don't cay-ah. Here we meet another personal-space intruder, this time a strappy-dressed New Yorker holed up at the hotel while her husband attends a local convention.

"I met Tone-Loc down in The Kitchen Restaurant tonight," she unwisely imparts. There, he apparently flirted with her and gave her a free pass to tonight's show (without her husband). She asks what I do. I offer some semblance of an explanation for the cocktail-sauce smudge that is this page within this misbegotten liberal leaflet.

"Oh, that must be fun," she walks away.

Yes. Yes, it is. But not as fun as when my favorite fan, an unspeakably handsome pile of Nordic man-muscle who has been previously known in one of my older columns as one-half of the perfect male Barbie Twins, sidles up with a prize-winning grin and tells me that he loves my writing so much, and that I deserve "national exposure." I try to think how far I would have to spread my legs for it to be considered "national" exposure, but realize that I've got my hubby in tow and John Edwards on the cell phone already. There's only so much exposure a girl can have.

"Let's get together later," he almost turns my knees to KY jelly. "We should do a shot."

No, we shouldn't. A little more wandering around produces the typical spinning disillusionment required for the sake of gravity in such a hobnobby situation as this, and eventually my roulette wheel hits pay dirt.

"Would you like to meet Ed McMahon?" smirks one of the Hard Rock folk who already knows me too well, and probably shouldn't go around waving such bait (and crabs … and shrimp …) in my face.

McMahon is sitting back in a private area, flanked by some touped representative type, who asks me my affiliation with a wooden grin. "Orlando Weekly," I offer, cautiously.

By the time I'm escorted to ol' Ed's countenance, something has already been lost in the translation.

"I met you once a couple of years ago," I drop my own name.

"Oh, uh, yeah!" he picks it back up. "You know, I love the Sentinel. You know how you just know when you love a paper … like the Philadelphia Inquirer? Yeah, the Sentinel's like that."

"Oh, uh, yeah." I stare directly through his translucent skin to the bottom of everything.

And, just now, the sound of the world ending begins – illusions shattering, Bush winning, drinks weakening – and me going wee, wee, wee all the way home, where this little piggy probably should have stayed.

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