Here’s a little story I wrote:
The new kid went trick-or-treating with us. He had done a good job of makeup and totally looked pale and insubstantial, and I told him so.
“Thanks,” he said, simply, and we walked to the next house together, maybe in the middle of the general queue. People were mingling a little and the shape of the line varied. I tried to keep my place so as not to miss any houses or double-dip.
It was one of those really clear and cool evenings in a midwestern late October.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Ed,” I was told.
“Trick or treat!” we said as the door opened.
A tall woman with a gray bun and lots of smile lines gave us each a handful of dubble bubbles in fruity flavors and we trotted to the next porch.
“Ed Coffin,” he finished.
“Good to meetcha, Ed. I’m Danielle. Danielle Canaday.”
I hitched up my skirts a little to ascend the stairs. I fluttered my parasol.
The line had clustered a little and the first group were just leaving. They smiled at us and nodded that this was a good place. Chanterelle Gibson blew Ed a kiss.
He didn’t blush. I gave him credit for that.
The queue kept moving. There was a two-block stretch, from the strip mall to the graveyard, that was prime territory and we meant to hit each house and then head for home.
“What’s that costume?” Ed asked. “It could be a lot of things …”
“Yes. I am a wicked stepsister.”
I laughed. “Actually, yes. That’s my stepbrother over there …” I waved at Kevin, in all of his football-hero finery. “The quarterback.”
“I see,” he said, gravely. “It must be tough, living with someone like that. Just living is hard enough.”
That was a little strange but somehow charming? At least I leaned that way. Ed was a tall guy but skinny. Very pale even under the makeup. He didn’t look well.
I wondered things. I kept them to myself.
“You’re new here.”
“Yes. We just got our plot last week and moved right in after that. The building was already up.”
That sounded strange too. But I didn’t understand. Yet.
“So when do you turn into a pumpkin? Or was it only Cinderella? I never understood,” he said and we laughed.
“I just turn directly into pie,” I answered. “Cutie pie.”
“You are too. Funny-looking.”
“I know you are, but what am I?”
Oh I know … so twelve. But hey! I’m twelve!
We were maybe three-four houses from the end of the route, having already done the other side of the street.
Leaves crunched underfoot, and I wrapped my cloak a little closer, feeling a chill.
“Just a couple more places,” I said. “Then some hot chocolate and maybe some of that cutie pie.”
“I’m for a long nap,” Ed said.”The longer the better.”
Kevin was behind us by then.
“You’ll get your wish,” he announced. “If you get any closer to my sis.”
“Oh god. Shut up, Kevin. We’re just talking.”
We proceeded in silence, to the next house.
“Leave us alone, Kevin,” I said.
Two more to go.
The penultimate home had whole Snickers bars. I smiled a real smile at them and filed away a mental note.
The last house we all knew. It was the Applemans, who gave out little pumpkins full of assorted loot. Foreign coins, rabbits’ feet in little sealed bags, tiny black and royal blue pouches sometimes, with green folding money in them, and other things …
They were LEGENDARY. That was WHY they were the LAST HOUSE.
One approached that place with some damn respect.
I curtsied in my head and we moved up the walk. The line was murmuring happily in their dayglo finery and all-black ensembles as they left.
Ed and I got our offerings. Kevin had no attention span and lots of greed and had gone on ahead. He looked at me sharply as he passed.
“Ed, you can come have hot chocolate with me if you like,” I said as we neared the cemetery gates.
“That is very kind of you, Danielle. But I am already home and I am late. Thanks for a lovely time.”
And he passed between the bars, leaving his bag behind.
I was shocked, of course. But I grabbed the bag, and so doing, noticed the rather new tomb.
I had to go inside, to confirm my suspicions.
“Coffin.” said the nameplate.
“Okay, so I’m necrophiliac” I said to the air. “I have a future as a mortician.”
And I went home and didn’t say a damn thing to anybody, ever. I ignored Keven when he asked about my ‘boyfriend’.
Short and — sweet? No, short and to the point. Just what’s needed now. Enjoyed it!
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