Sunday, October 30, 2016

345. Fright

“Oh, you frightened me!”

“That’s what I’m supposed to do.”

“What kind of mask is that? And no, I’m not taking you ‘trick-or-treating.”

“It’s called ‘The Orange Man.’ It’s a new one this year. Frightening huh? And why ain't you taking me to scare people?”

“Because you’re an alien. That’s scary enough already.”

C.W. had taken the form he uses on many festive occasions, that of Little Ricky, the troublesome ten-year-old. I had to admit that he looked cute. I looked him over. “What’s that on your shirt?”

“I customized it myself,” he said. “It says ‘Grab or Treat’ Neat huh?”

I frowned. “The answer is still no.”


“Because I said so.”


“Remember what happened last year?”

“Why … I mean what?”

“Ask our neighbor. Her daughter still runs and hides under the bed when someone knocks on the door.”

“What?” he said. “I didn’t even wear a costume last year. I went as myself.”

“I think that was the problem,” I said.

“Jeesh. Your species sorely lacks a sense of humor.”

“I think we are all beginning to realize that,” I said. “And the answer is still no. But you are free to ask my wife to take you.”

“I already did.”

“What did she say?”

“I don’t know. I ducked and ran in here before I heard her say anything, but I expect you don’t want to know, what she said that is.”

“It’s a silly tradition anyway,” I said. “And, unlike yours, the costumes are not scary anymore. What evil spirit would think that a young princess, or a ballet dancer, or Spider-Man, was one of them?”

“Oh,” he said, “I think big business has gotten into the act, he said. It’s not ‘All-hallows-eve’ anymore. It’s more like ‘All-profits-ease.’ Did you know,” he said, “that your people spend six billion dollars annually on Halloween?”

“Is this conversation going somewhere? I’m really busy.”

“Doing what?”

“Give me a moment and I’ll think of something.”

“Just take me to Perry’s house. He’ll give me a treat.”

“He’ll invite you in to listen to his music.”

“That old big-band stuff?”

“It surely won’t be ‘Stinky Colin and the Gut Tracks.’ Is that still your favorite band?”

“I like The Gut Tracks,” he said. “They’re, like, awesome. Have you heard their new one, ‘I want to grab you like a steam shovel grabs a tunnel of coal.’ Neat.” He paused to savor the thought. “Now will you take me or not?”


“Why not?”

I thought. “Because the church doesn’t like it.”

“What church?”

“Oh, some church I read about said it was a pagan festival and any kid that dressed up like ghost, or monster, or alien and destroyed property would go to Hell.”

“Since when did you care what a church thought? And,” he said. “we don’t destroy property.”

That snapped my head around. “Oh? Would you like to ride over and take a look at Mr. McGee’s barn?”
Scary is as scary does, I say. - C.W.
“It just has the word ‘Brick’ painted on it.”

Yes, that’s what is says now. That’s not what it said originally.”

“Toady Carmichael did that.”

“That’s not what he says. And should we continue to Mrs. Patterson’s chicken house?”

He fidgeted. “There’s no chicken house on Mrs. Patterson’s place.”

“No,” I said. “Not now.”

“We were just carrying on a tradition established by your species. Harmless fun.”

“My wife has a photograph of an undergarment strapped around an oak tree,” I said. “Want to ask her to defined ‘harmless?’”

He began to look around, rather nervously I thought. The blond wig-hair fell across his orange face. He squirmed. “Just locker-room stuff," he said. He glanced toward the kitchen and squirmed again.

“You didn’t,” I said. “Tell me you didn’t.”

At this moment, a pot flew through the living room door and crashed against a wall. A voice shrieked, “Where is he?”

“Come on,” he said. “That woman is in a nasty mood. Let’s get out of here and let her cool off. Then we’ll come back and make this place great again.”

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