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A Halloween to surely forget

Spooked before November 7, 2021.

Last Sunday was Halloween. Next Sunday would not be Halloween, nor was this Sunday Halloween, but those facts are neither here nor there now. Continuing in a similar vein, the past week contained the wond’rous holidays of All Hallows’ Day, All Saints’ Day, the Feast of All Hallows, the Feast of All Saints, and even Hallowmas—but I later learned that those hallowed holidays are all the same thing and all took place on the same day. (Monday, if you must know.)

The Mexican Día de los Muertos was also observed this week, but since I’m not dead yet, I skipped that one. There will be plenty of time to celebrate it after I’m dead.

So, Sunday being Halloween—and Monday, despite being a plethora of other holy days, most assuredly not being Halloween—I donned the famously infamous chicken suit which I keep up in a tree, and then slathered as much Goth makeup on my face as I could without suffocating myself. Finally balancing my burnt-umber fez atop my curiously knobby head, I was ready to go amble around the Bouillabaisse Boulevard neighborhood and scare the children with all my ragged clucking and squawking.

It didn’t work. They just laughed at me and pelted me with the unwanted “treats” that Mrs. Farnston had given them this year. I shuffled home, forlorn and defeated, candied onions and broccoli stuck to my hen suit, and fell asleep in the freshly dug hole in my basement.

In my basement hole, it was dark. In my dreams, it was dark—very dark. Inky, octopus-like gloom surrounded me, so black it was veritably purple in its description. Not a single photon pierced the murk. I feared grues eating my face off in the dark. I feared ghouls digging up my dry bones and feasting upon their succulent marrow filling. I feared ghasts and gugs and glorgs and g’ghurrghs stalking me in my nightmares, following me into the waking world, and gnawing off all my cuticles. I wasn’t even dead yet, but I feared for my bones and my fingertips (and my toetips). And then when the ghouls began to mockingly invent new eldritch horrors with appellations all starting with g- and gh-, I just got so confused that my brain dribbled out of my brainpan through my nose.

As I awoke, something caught my eye sitting in the chair beside my hole: What looked like the vague silhouette of a cartoon vampire. Was it Dracula? Was it Count Chocula? But it couldn’t be… wasn’t Count Chocula busy sucking all the chocolate milk out of his defrigerator? At least that’s what I thought cartoon vampires do on Halloween.

I awoke fully then, yelping myself right out of my hole. I tumbled, weed-like, across the basement floor until I hit my head on an exposed iron pipe and bled to death. Rising from the dead, I grabbed my goat-wool jacket and ran hooting up my stairs and then down Bouillabaisse Boulevard. It was only nine o’clock—plenty of time to keep hooting, tooting, tricking, and/or treating. Despite my best efforts (and even better brain medications) another hyperactive hooting episode was inevitable today. I ran back to my yard—bloody, confused, and manically indecisive as ever—replaced my curly goat-wool jacket with my tattered chicken suit, and went cluck-cluck-clucking back down the same fish-laden road.

Costumed children and adults were still rambling about the neighborhood in search of free candy. It was, after all, only nine o’clock—many hours remained before any Langoliers happened by and gobbled up the day. Hordes of people dressed as gliksins, terts, terrans, big uglies, and even ugly bags of mostly water shuffled up and down the sidewalk. Some were truly frightening, and all were damned ugly. Hordes of children ambled down the street, tricking passers-by into smelling their feet. I tried to keep out of sight, but my rampant hooting soon gave me away.

And then, a revelation: Grues and ghasts and gugs and even glorgs and g’ghurrghs could be out and about, disguised as unassuming ugly bags of human flesh, as part of a nefarious plot to get close enough to me to eat my face off in the dark before I could defend myself. I fled, panic-stricken. I made it all the way to Uranium-238 Drive, and hid behind the Cthulomat until it was safe to come out again. I hadn’t seen that many bare feet in one place since the Discalceation of Prague. At least no one got thrown out a window this time.

Some hours passed. And then another few minutes passed. And then some seconds. Hallow “Een” was almost over, and Hallow “Mas” would soon begin. I breathed a sigh of relief—I had been outside the Cthulomat’s back-alley service door for some time, and had neither been accosted by grues nor seized and choked to death by any errant tentacles emerging from the eldritch restaurant itself. And then, with my cuticles burbling and my toenails gurgling, I emerged from my hiding place. This disorganized and inscrutable diarrhea–vomit of a blog post notwithstanding, I was off. Where I was off to was an open question. The next street over? The next town? Finland? Afghanistan? Tau Ceti? The vampire-ridden underworld underneath my front steps? The hole in my basement, where a cartoonish Count Chocula waited to suck my chocolatey blood? Only time would tell.

Time was playing its cards close to its chest again, and would tell me nothing—not even what time of day it currently was. Or maybe the battery in my wristwatch was just dead again. How the hecklegroober should I know?

An odor of burning umber began to fill the air. I wondered if the crayon factory was on fire—or was Mrs. Farnston just preparing a new batch of candied shoe leather for the next round of trick-or-treaters and smell-my-feeters to rap on her door?

“Grue and baleen!” I swore, full-throated. “Oh, pindleducks!”

My fez was on fire. Not since the U.S. Board of Geographic Names recognized the spelling of “Pittsburgh” with an H back in 1911 had I been filled with such consternation. I ran to the nearest drainage ditch and plunged in head-first, but not before the fire had engulfed my ratty chicken suit and the drier parts of my own bursiform integument.

“The worm in the sky keeps on turning,” I intoned. “I don’t know, I don’t—”

The worm turned, glared at me, and turned back. My consternation gave slowly way to constipation.

“Oh, how the worm has turned,” I stated firmly.

But no worm would be turning anywhere near me anytime soon. My fez had burnt up, my chicken suit was a total loss, and most of my skin had gone with it. And, to top it all off, the dreaded Sun was in the eastern sky—peeking over the horizon, sneering at me. I slunk home, past all the frightfully costumed humans still wandering up and down my street in the undead of night. Halloween was long over, but there they were still dressed like ugly, ugly humans. I wasn’t sure why they had to be so horrifying, but they were.

They were… the erstwhile dead.

One sidled up to me. “Trick or treat!” It burbled. “Trick or treat! Smell my—!” I ran like a bat out of the hell that is northern California.