Monday, October 26, 2009

Party Pooper at the Monster Mash

Jeff had never willingly signed up for this. Public relations was supposed to involve some miracle-working, sure. But the whole reason he’d signed on for some of the older clientele was to avoid all the drama and Hollywood bullshit that the divas and A-listers and other wanna-be stars tended to throw at their representatives. He didn’t want to handle press releases about drug overdoses and break-up rumors and other crap, he just wanted to manage schedules, send out replies and help out those that had paid their dues to the industry. Dracula seemed like an obvious choice, having retired from pictures decades ago and now doing nothing more than consulting on re-makes and speaking at specialty film festivals. The one exception was his annual Halloween party which, unfortunately, got bigger every year.

The guest list was more complicated than he would have thought. All the oldies were there- the werewolf, the mummy, Frankenstein, Stephen King. But Drac had a penchant for bringing “new blood” into the mix by inviting the lesser-known stars from new releases. A whole crew from Japan flew over ever year to shuffle around. There were always a host of zombies on hand- new stars from whatever adaptation had been filmed that year. He would even invite the new horror-film directors and novelists that were starting to get talked about in the public domain. To say it was a circus was like calling the Oscars a typical awards show.

Security, surprisingly, was not the biggest issue. There was more muscle in Hollywood than at most body-building competitions and it was easy to find a company that wanted their name on the event. The catering tended to be a little tricky as the menu had to be incredibly diverse while maintaining elegance. But luckily chocolate fountains handled blood very well and this particular company had an agreement with a local cattle factory for bundles of spare parts at a killer price. The decorations were easiest to come by, people would actually compete for the opportunity to showcase their new take on horror chic hoping to get credit in the pictures from the event.

No, none of that was an issue. The issue was the old, reliable guests. After Frankenstein’s newest bride found him canoodling with one of the stars from Quarantine last year and made a scene truly worthy of the “Hell hath no fury” adage he actually contemplated bringing in police to oversee the event. But Drac was whole-heartedly against it and instead the security was outfitted with tranquilizer guns. But still, Jeff worried.

He held his breath every time a new guest entered at the front gate, squinting to see through the mob of paparazzi parked outside and make out who was in the car to prepare the security team. He camped out at the door having his assistant grab and direct people as soon as they were greeted by their host. He had activities going in every room and enough booze, food and other accoutrements to keep people occupied for a year. And the staff were well equipped to direct the problem guests away from each other and keep them busy. All seemed to be going well until a growl like nothing Jeff had ever heard came from the main dining area.

Jeff ran faster than he would have thought physically possible, his adrenaline skyrocketing and propelling him with the speed of a demon. He found the huge, ornate table smashed at one end by what he recognized as the spinach monster from Six String Samurai who Drac had invited after befriending him at a film festival exploring the genre of live-action anime. He grabbed a random party guest who was bolting out of the room and asked what happened.

“I don’t know, I don’t even know what that thing is!” she shrieked. “All I did was comment on how good the spinach dip is!”

Jeff had to hire an industrial cleaning crew and a host of contractors to clear out and rebuild the dining room. The catering company, needless to say, was never called for another party. After concluding the business and referring Drac to his asshole competitor, Jeff retired from public relations.

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