Reaching for pulp in the pumpkin. Adults are huge with long arms and legs. Telling you what not to do. Tom and Jerry. Oriental rugs. Big painted doors and backlit doorbells. Holding sweaty hands. Candles in lanterns and long shadows cast by the moon. Itchy Fuzzy sweaters. Yelling Trick or Treat!
i had gone to the back of the room and left them telling their stories one by one with seldom an interruption. the voices gave warmth to a cool autumn morning while the delta breeze slid soundlessly across the train tracks and the torn upholstery of abandoned cars to the branches of the trees tapping on the glass all around us to get in.
i poured myself a mug of hot coffee and stirred in a bit of sugar, standing there with my back to them, listening half-heartedly and somewhere between consciousness and last night’s dream.
after a few hearty slugs of the black stuff my eyes woke up first and stared into a congregation of uneven framed black and white portraits from times before now. century old tired and long faces looked back at me and over my shoulder as if they were part of our gathering in this old meeting
hall, a former nondescript bar once with billiards for the truck drivers and laborers in the yards.
i felt a chill carry over the nape of my neck as i realized i had become some medium some conduit between my audience hung by nails alongside coffee mugs on the wall, and the living boisterous
true fellowship behind us. i stood perfectly still then
turned to see the speaker at the head of the table, an older gentleman with a way about him and expressions i would not forget to remember him by. as i turned slowly back my eyes getting larger to see, alighted on an old rusted peg, the visage of the living man! he was silent yearning to be free, framed right there before me… and in small white numerals in the corner of the photograph… i read in disbelief the year! it was 1923.
Some kinda store. Little Bit took off as much as she could chew. What was her purpose so to do. The red book back was broken and quite mostly paper-maiche. In look, not essence. Essentially a book and no longer readable. Tragic, were it not for the hope of recyclables. Postconsumer waste repurposed, like even after she got through mashin’ the shit out of it, too! Who? Little Bit, pumpkin shopping in September, true true.
Not only that, I had thrown a few egg rolls and a medley of frozen vegetables into the oven and was sitting down to dinner. Not only that, but the world series was on the radio and I was actually captivated, it was the bottom or top of the ninth inning, a couple of young studs on base, the closer on the mound, and electricity in the air or was that just static. Whatever the case, I had no mind to go answering the door for an entire schoolyard full of kids. All I had was ten bars, anyway. They were liable to ransack my place for more. Kids today do stuff like that. They’re exposed to all that stuff on the internet, blogs and stuff; they’re like little hardened pre-criminals just waiting for the crime!
My friend Rick told me there’s fight and there’s flight but they always leave out the other one, freeze. Well that’s what I did. I froze like candy bars. It was hopeless. I would have to work up a smile, and that alone would take minutes. So I missed it. Halloween passed me by. Again. Last year I didn’t get any kids (and thank god cause i didn’t have any candy), and this year I did, but I blew it. I really blew it.
Long after the kids left empty-handed, I felt so bad I went out to the street to see if I could fish any stragglers off the sidewalk, lure them to my place so I could give out a candy bar. But they were all gone, why? I went inside and looked at the clock. It was 4am. No wonder. Halloween was over. I was feelin’ pretty dismal, and went to the freezer for a candy bar. The chocolate started to cheer me up a little, and then some guy on the radio was kind enough to remind me to set my clock back. Wow! Time just slapped me an hour. The day after Halloween already was shaping up pretty well. Old man time must have felt bad for someone like me. There’s tons of stuff you can do in an hour. Hell, I just wrote you a letter and I still have a boatload of minutes to play with.
I will bet you a dollar you can make it from here to there
But I cannot make it I don’t think I can
I’ll bet you a buck you can
I was just as likely to devour the blinking ghosts before they turned solid and came after me. I really didn’t want to eat them at all, but if you don’t eat them I’m told they will wind you like a clock then disappear you. I’m not ready to disappear! Not at all.
You can come out of hiding
Really Show up if you can
We’ve all been dying to meet you
All we were was lost
Not faded. Something out there polished us
Now we are shiny and smooth
Not a statistic