Wednesday, October 31, 2012
A Halloween Tale
One Halloween, Frederick wanted nothing more than to go trick-or-treating as a werewolf. When or how the vision came into his head is uncertain, but the apparent lack of any concrete origin - either through advertisements, films or television - did not diminish the power, the frightful vividness with which he was determined to become a werewolf, out of the blue as it seemed.
"Ah-roooooooooooh!" he howled in wolfish rebellion at his mother who had been making other suggestions to him: Why not as Harry Potter? Why not as SpongeBob? Why not as Barack Obama? Why not as a marshmallow? Oh pumpkin, a marshmallow would be so cute!
"Oh mommy, those are all so stupid! I want to go as a werewolf! Ah-rooooooooooh!"
His face was thrust up at her and ravenous with an appetite that would not be dissuaded. Frederick's mother simply had to give in. "Alright pumpkin," she said. And they searched together for a costume that very day and eventually found one at a Halloween specialty store called "Spirit Halloween".
The costume was very wolf-like and just Frederick's size. They did not need to search for long in the store, as it seemed to be put there in the open just for Frederick, like the very materialization of his vision, down to every tuft of wild, dark brown fur. He was fitted into it. It had padding inside that increased Frederick's volume, but not too much. When the wolf head - frightfully snouted with white fangs like ivory and pointy ears with hair spilling out of them like tumbleweeds - was placed over Frederick's, he became deeply excited.
"See mommy! Werewolves never need to get cold at night! Ah-roooooooooh!"
The saleslady who had helped them thought it was perfect. "Oh, how scary you are!" she said. To which Frederick made slashing actions with his clawed paws towards her while spontaneous snarling noises - new to Frederick - issued from the snout. "Oh, it's just perfect!" she said.
Then he finished by howling, "Ah-roooooooooohhh!"
"Oh pumpkin, you're so darling cute!" Frederick's mother said. "But don't go howling too much, pumpkin; you might hurt your voice."
"Ah-ROOOOOOOOOH!!!" Frederick belted back to his mother's suggestion to not howl too much.
The night before Halloween, Fredrick's mother had her girlfriends over, and they all sat in the living room discussing an episode of The View they had all watched in the morning. They were talking just like the women in The View. Frederick had just come down the stairs from his bedroom and at the living room entrance made his way quickly past like he was avoiding the piercing of horrible scanners, like he was avoiding The View. There were eight of them in The View, which was presently radioactive with a blistering feminine core. And sixteen eyes were set within The View, turning this way and that. One either avoided it or needed a radiation suit to live within its precincts - or a wolf suit.
Frederick was at the end of the hall going just into the kitchen, and was thinking of his wolf skin, up in his bedroom, where he had felt so comfortable, lying in bed reading, with the wolf skin just across from him.
Frederick's mother called to him. Frederick gave out in dread; he summoned his powers and squashed every molecule of his being into an invisible iron ball in the small pit of his stomach so as to endure The View. All the women's faces turned towards Frederick when he came to the living room entrance, that just a second ago he had slid past as a flitting shadow. And all eyes in The View had seen the shadow flit past.
There at the entrance he materialized and became immaterial at the same time. His mother asked him questions about school, about homework, about chores - and then about his wolf costume, which made his face burn red.
"Oh, you should have seen him in the store when he first put it on, howling this and that; he certainly likes being a werewolf! Maybe he'll put it on and scare us."
Frederick went up the stairs to his bedroom in a cloud of humiliation. When he came back downstairs to the living room entrance, the women were immersed again in The View, and were not quite prepared for what they saw. For Frederick came downstairs without the costume on, but just the wolf head enclosing his head. This effect, clashing against his normal clothes, was strangely creepy. He stood there.
"This is my wolf mask", he said. His head inside of it was a blazing hot pink thing.
"I hope this werewolf doesn't get shot with a silver bullet!" said one of the women in The View. "Where's the rest of it? Or are you in the middle of transforming? It is after all a full moon tonight!"
"Oh, it is too!" said another of the women in The View.
Frederick became excited. "And then I'll come back down here in all my hair and gobble you all up, you pack of witches! Ar, ar, ar, ah-rooooooooooooohhh!"
The night of Halloween came. School that day was tingling with excitement and anticipation and a crisp blue sky. The winds were blowing through town, and increasing as day wore on. No rain was expected. The first of sundown spilled about. Leaves blew along the streets; as evening came down and families had finished their suppers, jack-o-lanterns were lit in front of doorways and bowls of candies were got ready.
The streets received the outfitted children and their parents. There were Spider-men and Bat-men; Han-Solo appeared, and his enemy Greedo - who in the film Star Wars Han Solo shot dead without Greedo ever shooting first. Princesses of many types went out into the night. Frodo came with the Ring; Gandalf also. One lanky high-schooler was wrapped in toilet paper, head to toe. Many, many, many zombies lolled about with little imagination. Abraham Lincoln came forth with a hammer and stake and a distinguished stovepipe hat; southern Gothic vampires in league with the national bankers fled from him and his powerful, stable, efficacious Greenbacks. That night, in the midst of all, there was one werewolf, prowling. Always the wildest among the wild: the Werewolf, lone as the solitary mad moon.
Frederick never said, "Trick-or-treat" when people opened their doors. He always unleashed a rousing, "Ah-roooooooooohhh!" instead, without thinking about it. His excitement drove him on and on, from house to house, his mother always some ways behind with her girlfriends some ways behind their own children.
Then Frederick approached one primly kept house with a neat solitary jack-o-lantern, warmly lit: a frightened cat with erect, electrified tail, was carved into it. The little Wolf-man rang the bell. A sturdy old lady opened the door immediately, and Frederick howled before her with his sack already three-quarters filled, opened up to receive more goodies.
The old lady was calm and steady, and she could see through masks. Her eye was not sharp and keen - only steady. She said, "Now, I thought you were supposed to say 'trick-or-treat!' young boy. That's the only way you get candy on Halloween."
Something about her slow steadiness irritated the little Wolf-man. That, plus she did not give vocal attention to his costume, which so many others that night had complimented through many a 'Ooohh, ahhh! A wild werewolf is on the loose!'
Frederick reared and howled some more. Then he growled fiercely as only a Wolf-man knows how.
"Now surely a good dog can say 'trick-or-treat' on Halloween night", said the old lady.
"I'm the Werewolf of the night and I want candy or I'll blow your house down!"
"But this is made with bricks! Now only say, 'trick-or-treat!'"
"Ah, shaddup you old bag!"
And with that, Frederick put his foot through the face of her jack-o-lantern, then pulling it out he brought it smashing down on top, extinguishing the flame inside, stomping and stomping the pumpkin in a kind of dance, with an insane giggling laughter; then he madly ran off down her driveway with his wolf face thrust up towards the moon, howling, "Ah-rooooooooooooooooohhh!!!"
Unfortunately, at that moment, a silver Mercedes was coasting at a fair speed down the road, and Frederick, his head turned up to the moon, ran to meet the car: issuing out of the driveway's end Frederick did not know what the blow was, what struck him. For all he knew, some monstrosity from behind the night appeared and grabbed and hurled him and his "ah-roooooooooohh", which, being caught dead, was brought to a sudden stop. He flew through the air. And only this did his mother just see, starting in her periphery as she talked with the neighbour ladies: a car screeching and a lorn wolf shape. Then she saw all of it. His body struck the pavement like a canvas sack filled with porcelain plates. His candy was scattered.
An instant of night quiet hung over the street, into which suddenly burst his mother screaming, "FREDERICK!"
When the ambulance came, two latex gloved lady paramedics were stealthy in getting the broken werewolf into the vehicle that had set the street dancing with red lights. It wasn't there for more than a few minutes.
As the ambulance drove away, the old lady came out from her house and gathered up Frederick's scattered candy.
Fortunately, the medium padding within Frederick's costume, in the end, saved him, though only just. Even all that hair went into saving his life. If he had dressed up as Harry Potter or as Barack Obama, it would've been game-over for Frederick.
"And if you had dressed up as a marshmallow, everything would have been A-okay, wouldn't it pumpkin!" Frederick's mother was beside the hospital bed in which he lay, bound in various bone-healing structures.
"Some more candy mommy!" said Frederick. The old lady had managed to get Frederick's candy bag to his mother at the hospital. His mother had been bringing out candies every now and again for him to eat.
"Oh, here's a tootsie-roll, pumpkin."
"Gimme a tootsie-roll, mommy." Frederick thought about this for a moment, then he added, "Give me a tootsie-roll, Toots."
"Now pumpkin, you shouldn't call your mother 'Toots'. It's not appropriate." She held aloft the tootsie-roll.
"Tootsie-roll, tootsie-roll, tootsie-roll! Gimme, gimme, gimme!"
"Alright pumpkin, here you go."
She unwrapped it and fed it to Frederick. After chewing on it, he opened his mouth saying, "Gaaaawww - look mommy - a turd! In my mouth! Gaaawwww!"
"Ugh! Pumpkin, that's so naughty!" she said. And she started tickling him, saying, "Tickle, tickle tickle tickle!!!"
"Stop it mommy, that hurts, that hurts, that hurts!!!"
"Oh, yes, sorry pumpkin."
"What other candies are there mommy?"
"Well, here's some Sweet Tarts."
"Sweet Tarts, sweet tarts, sweet tarts! Gimme, gimme, gimme!"
Frederick's mother held it aloft like a carrot before a donkey, and said by way of extortion, "And what are you going to dress up as next year?"
"A marshmallow! Ah-roooooooooooohhh!!!"