It drizzled rain all night, so trick or treaters were sparse. I called upon my rights as a Phlegmsponge-American to pass on the fun this year. We kept the lights off in the front of the house and basked it the blue glow of scary movies.
I figured it would be a quiet evening and nobody was really missing out, so the guilt I'd experienced that morning for not setting up The Punkin Patch* pretty much went away. Around 6:45, O'Neill went a little bonkers. I knew the preteen across the street was going all out and figured he could hear them. When he kept barking I peeked out the front window to see two sets of parents and about five kids standing in my driveway. The parents were carrying those heavy-duty lanterns most people use for camping or power outages. I shrugged and went back into the living room, assuming they would eventually figure out that we weren't participating this year and move on to houses that were lit, decorated and had people standing on the porch with bowls of goodies.
You know what happens when people assume. A minute after I sat back down, everyone in the room jumped out of their skin as bright lights flashed into the living room windows and multiple fists banged on the locked storm door as all five of those kids screamed "Trick or Treat!" over and over. A quick straw poll by the BFF, his boyfriend and co-BFF, my mother and the dog concluded that since I was the sickest, sounded like Regan from "The Exorcist" and looked like Binkley from Bloom County, I was the best choice to go to the door.
I opened the wooden door, not wanting to open the glass door and thus spread my flu-cooties and the munchkins began pawing and clamoring. One of the dads pointed to the handle of the storm door and urged me to open it. I shook my head.
"I have the flu." I croaked. The fact is, I could have told him I was a pomegranate or that I was Inigo Montoya. It wouldn't have mattered. When you can't talk, people just parse whatever you struggle to utter into whatever it is they want to hear and move on.
"Aren't you going to decorate?" he bellowed at the door. We always take pictures of our kids here." He stared expectantly as the fruit of his loins and their little friends continued to mill around his legs and squeak their palms against the glass in vain hope that I would feed them.
I meant to tell him that I was really sorry, but I had the flu and given the wet, nasty state of things, it just wasn't happening this year. What he probably heard was: "Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya! You killed my father. Prepare to die!"
"Whut?" he bellowed.
"I'm sorry, I really need to go," I croaked.
"WHUT?" he bellowed again.
One of the smaller kids started licking the storm door where my dog's nose was pressed against it on the opposite side.
"Dude. When was the last time you fed your kids?"
I finally mimed and croaked, "I'm sorry. Cough cough sick here. Bye bye." and shut the door as a couple of kids hollered "Bye bye sick lady!"
They trooped away as Big Gay Kevin and my Mom helpfully sang "You're a Mean One, Mister Grinch".
I sank gratefully onto the couch and watched what was left of the movie. Thirty minutes later there was another knock at the door. It was a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses. I thanked them through the storm door and told them I was pretty happy with my own set of beliefs, but thanks for dropping by. One of the ladies leaned forward.
"Did you say you were Inigo Montoya?"
I sighed, waved bye and headed back to the couch. Before I could even sit down there was another knock at the door. It was someone from the local Seventh Day Adventist outreach group. They were canvassing the neighborhood to let everyone know about their open house/vegan workshop and taste-in. I thanked them and closed the door.
"There had better not be anyone else on this porch tonight", I said as I closed the door, forgetting to turn off the porch light. Unbeknownst to me, the porch stayed lit and not another soul knocked.
*The Punkin Patch is a tradition I've kept for quite a few years. I have approximately 55 of those fiberglass fake jack-o-lanterns that I've rescued from trash heaps, garage sales, thrift stores and the like and a number of other cute, tot-friendly decorations. My entire front yard is then covered in strings of green lights, jack-o-lanterns and other cute stuff. It was intended as a non-scary place for little kids to get bottles of bubble stuff and enjoy halloween. That way, parents could bypass the more nightmare-inducing yards featuring Jason, Freddy Krueger, etc and the older kids could have their fun with each other and everybody would be happy. Or something like that.
copyright 2006 Jas Faulkner