Halloween was a special time of the year, but for different reasons depending on the age of the people celebrating it. For the young in body, and the young at heart, there is nothing more exciting that an evening spent trick or treating, whether they preferred the treats, or just wanted an excuse to play drinks. For the more mature, it is a time to give your children something to be scared on, to pass on a little terror, but mostly to just make sure that they have fun enough to pass on the tradition.
For those in-between, it is a chance to get drunk.
The John Walker hall had been decorated to look as though the prince of darkness himself would have been welcome there. The usual shining pumpkins and glow in the dark skeletons held sway in the corridors and at the entrance, while streamers, bamboo plants dressed to look like bones and joints and even a blood fountain made the assorted tables and chairs in the main function room look a little more fitting. Fake cobwebs had been hung between the lights, and they trailed down to tickle the heads of the people passing beneath. Some of them had thick, black spiders stuck to their tips, and these elicited the occasional scream. It was quite funny.
Red filters had been put over each light, so that there was a constant crimson glow bathing all people there and, though this made it difficult to read the nametags, it very much added to the aura. Whoever had bothered to go to all the work of putting this stuff up must have worked very hard.
The final, and most vital part of any Halloween party was the costumes of course. The ghosts and mummies were textbook, as were the wookies and the multiple Jokers making grimaces and asking people why they were so serious about the drinks, the costumes or, in fact, anything that they could think of. One or two had chosen to be a little more inventive. The Egyptian pharaoh and queen pair were an interesting sight, though the gold theme was somewhat moot because of the lighting. Henry had chosen to go a little Kingdom Hearts. This meant dying his hair black, and a little grey, sticking little black bat wings to his shoulders, and slipping in blue contact lenses. He'd also put a bat on his shoulder, though that made him feel more like a pirate with a parrot than a particularly Halloween based game character.
Completing the outfit was his nametag. Always a major piece of information for any meeting of UK Ultimate-Guitar members, Henry's read: 'TheOtherBoob'. He didn't know anybody, but his mother had been kind enough to make him peanut butter sandwiches which were currently nestled safely in his bag.
'WhaleWales'' band was playing on the stage, though it was still early, so not many people were here. WhaleWales was a fairly well known face in The Pit, but apparently he did actually play guitar, which came as a shock to Henry. Even though they trolled in the same crowds, he was obviously very busy, so Henry decided to leave him be and look for people he knew.
The first person that he encountered and knew, dressed as a bog standard pirate, was 'Jewmail'. Jewmail was a fourteen year old boy with dreadlocks and a Slipknot obsession. The source of his username had come out after several bannings for racism. The day that he had joined UG, he had received a letter demanding an apology for certain horrendously insulting activities towards certain Jewish children and their families. No apology had ever been given. Jewmail was quite simply the least tolerant person in the world. This included being an incredible homophobe, unquestionably sexist and, because of this, a troll whose talents were beyond words.
He opened with a clear example of this. "Hey c--t," he snarled at Henry as he approached. "You old enough to get served at the bar?"
"No," answered Henry. He looked older than he was, but Henry was still only sixteen, and unlikely to try and get hold of alcohol at an all ages meet that was taking place at five in the afternoon.
"Well that don't matter," continued Jewmail with a wide and intense smile. "You look like it. I bet they won't ID you. Come on dude, don't be a little bitch like always."
"Er" began Henry, but he didn't get the chance to finish. A moment later, Jewmail's face lit up as he recalled something.
"Have you seen Pokeherface yet?" the pirate asked, bouncing on the balls of his feet. "You're gonna love this. It's awesome in, like, every way. Come on," he continued, beckoning Henry towards one of the tables in the far corner of the hall.
Pokeherface wasn't the most inventive of people from the website, but three things stood out beyond all other users. Firstly, Pokeherface was female. Secondly, Pokeherface was a lesbian, and gladly talked about experiences like those that had crafted her username whenever somebody asked about it. Lastly, she played Poker for a living. Combined, this made her one of the most popular people on the internet.
Right now, she was holding court amongst her fan club. Several people, obviously those who knew her from online, had gathered around, eager to see her in action. Pokeherface had gone for the vampiric look. A red trickle left a mark from her lips to her chin and even left a thin trail right down to her cleavage. She wore fangs, and had numerous purple and electric blue streaks running through her dark hair, but it was her choice of crimson and black corset and ankle length skirt that truly drew the air. Henry worked out her reasoning immediately. Anybody who wasn't looking at her breasts obviously had something to hide. She was playing poker for money; this stuff was worth knowing.
Henry caught her in the midst of shuffling the deck. Her stack of money was already quite sizeable, but that was sure to grow in time.
"You boys think you're a match for my queen of hearts?" she asked Henry and Jewmail with a smile and a smug wink. Henry had spotted, on the two, that three of the eight seats around her table were available.
"I think we can handle a girl," announced Jewmail. "You can do all the playing you want, but you're still flawed. You can't hide the truth from a guy. You've got all these stupid emotions and shit. I'll put you down like a dog with s--t legs."
There was a scatter of laughter from the table, but not from the poker queen herself. She merely gestured to one of the available seats, and Jewmail took it up happily. Pokeherface made the same gesture to Henry, but he shook his head slowly. He would watch how things progressed, and he felt certain that she understood that.
The next twenty minutes or so were immensely comical. Jewmail was beaten embarrassingly on all counts by everybody at the table, and came up with excuse after excuse and insult and insult for why he was doing so very poorly. He whined about the lighting, luck, people who he thought were watching his cards, the wind, even though he was inside-it was a never-ending stream of abuse seeping from his lips in a torrent. To her credit, Pokeherface was completely unaffected by a single word that came out of his mouth, but this might also have been something to do with the amount of money she had thus far beaten out of him.
The lure of poker wasn't all that strong, so when WhaleWales appeared nearby, still sweating from his performance, Henry found the distraction welcome. Jewmail had wandered down the route of mother jokes anyway, and Henry wasn't all that interested in that.
WhaleWales was one of the older teenagers in attendance and, as such, he was one of the only ones with any alcohol. He was well built, with short hair. The effort of gelling it up had been defeated by the exhaustion of making music. He was much taller than Henry, but he was also unseasonably nice a person for The Pit. This was the beauty of a UG meet; all of the different people coming together. WhaleWales was also holding a drink ready for Henry.
"I got you a bit of vodka, boob," he explained in his deep and oddly patient voice. "Get it down you and we'll find something interesting to do. Who's the girl?"
"That's Pokeherface," answered Henry quickly.
"Yeah. I think she's boosted 'em a bit."
"Don't care; I'd garlic her nipples any day."
There was a card or two dropped during Pokeherface's shuffle upon hearing this. WhaleWales' voice was so deep that it carried much farther than most people expected, through all of the music and conversation. Otherwise, she made no sign of being even slightly affected.
A drink or two was just what Henry was after, so he emptied the offered glass quickly and put it down on the table next to the poker table. Jewmail had just launched into a tirade on Japanese people, and this was another thing that he didn't much want to hear.
"Where's your costume?" he asked WhaleWales.
When recounting this tale later, this would be the part that Henry forgot completely due to the general boredom of it. A few things stood out, such as Jewmail making a shy little girl his age cry by continually mocking her very chances of ever being capable of playing a musical instrument. There was also the point when Jewmail finally got punched by Pokeherface, and nobody actually cared apart from Pokeherface herself, who complained for a while about how bad her hand hurt because of Jewmail's jaw. There was also considerably more alcohol, providing with his own money, but by his two friends. This, as he would later believe, was the main reason for his lack of memory.
Then came the dancing, with a belly full of alcohol and extremely blurred vision. The four of them stuck mostly to their group, bouncing around like utter maniacs and exchanging hugs as though they'd known each other for years. WhaleWales had changed into a rather simple costume that added an Alien chest-burster to his belly. They had all been jabbed by that several times during their hugging, and now it was rather squashed and pathetic looking.
It was about here that something very strange happened. Later, Henry would put it down to Absinthe, but at the time it made perfect sense when the plastic bat on his shoulder turned it's head towards him and said: "We should go trick or treating."
Quite the party followed.