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Sometimes When I Get Stressed Out, I Put on a Hot Dog Suit
by Jessie Keary

October 31st, 2005, a hot dog girl waved jazz hands on her neighbor’s porch, workin’ hard for a Reese’s. Ketchup and mustard back-up singers filled out a modified Oscar Mayer jingle. Three eleven-year-old girls, trick-or-treating with their fathers for the second-to-last time, they passed them the Almond Joys that got tossed into their pillowcases. In the school costume contest, they were winners of the third-place variety, awarded a fifteen-dollar Toys ‘R’ Us gift card never to be used, since recycled.

The hot dog suit now hangs on the back of her bedroom door in her first apartment, sixth grade a ways behind them. 2015, the tenth anniversary of their first Halloween together. She remembers the wind that whipped around suburban Missouri homes and how the foam bun worked to cut the October chill. The foam now flakes to the floor. But it still keeps her warm – an absurd security blanket. It makes her think of Halloweentown, rotting leaves, and candy hidden under her bed. It is impossible to take oneself too seriously when wearing a hot dog suit, and that’s why she keeps it around.

PHOTO: Jessie Keary as a hot dog and Lucy Keary as a chihuahua cowboy (Halloween, 2005).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jessie Keary is a writer and improv comic living in Chicago. She fosters an unhealthy obsession with Russian literature and spends her time loitering in cafes. Her recent work has appeared in Peaches Lit Mag and is forthcoming in NEAT. You can follow her on twitter @jessiekeary.