Halloween County

It was well-known through out Halloween County. If you became sick, you were going to Dr. D’s hospital and eventually would end up in Dr. F’s mortuary. So the people of the County went on strike and refused to get sick. Unless it was absolutely necessary.

At that point, the EMTs delivered the person to the Emergency Room at Dr. D’s. Before they left home, it was “Goodbye, Uncle Osar” or “It’s been nice knowing you, Aunt Agnes.”

So the people of Halloween County did not get sick. It just wasn’t done. Or if they did, they acted like they were still well.

Before you could say, “I want to bite you on the neck,” Wellness Clinics sprang up around the County. Pretty soon they were like the churches. There was one on every corner.

One of the Clinics advocated exercise. Another gave out herbs. If the acupuncture treatments didn’t work, there was the Pyramid Spa. There you spent a day in the crystal construction. When you left, your pores were cleaned and your eyes saw through walls. At the Om Clinic, you did here an Om, there an Om and everywhere an Om-Om-Om. On every corner, there was an acapella group singing, “Om on the Range.”

Some of the residents didn’t trust the fancy-dancy new treatments. They went home remedy all the way. Maude Hickenbottom’s was the most popular. She recommended that  folks drink a thimble of bleach at midnight of a full moon. So every full moon you could hear the howls on the other side of the State.

And mothers were constantly urging their kids to take their vitamins. “But what kind of vitamin is it?” Junior asked. “I don’t know. Take them anyway.” Then mom added a threat that went all the way back to Hansel and Gretel, “Or you end up at Dr. D’s.”

This led to some good news and some bad news. The good news was all the residents of the County were healthy as horses and nobody ever went to the hospital. There was a Halloweeni woman who was a 137 years old and ran three miles a day. “I’m going to run till I drop” was her motto. As everybody knew, she never dropped.

The bad news was that Dr. D’s and Dr. F’s business had run out of customers. Being resourceful, the two of them brought in a team of experts.

For months, the team went through the County, examining each of the residents and studying their lifestyle. During the exam, one of the team would attach a whatchamacallit to a thingamajig and jot down the readings. Then they would ask a series of questions that would drive an advanced degree in physics student up the wall.

Finally the head of the team, Dr. Hypochondriactus, met with Dr. D and Dr. F. “There’s only one conclusion we’ve come up with.”

Dr. D was white as a sheep and had been unable to get a good day’s sleep in his coffin despite drinking a whole cellar full of Transylvania Kola. He leaned forward and demanded, “What?”

Dr. F joined Dr. D in his “What.”

“There is nothing wrong with these folks. They don’t have any special immunities or extra special genes to enable them to fight off sickness. There’s only one thing they all have in common. And it’s the one thing that prevents them from visiting your establishments.”

“And what’s that?”

“Fear.”

“Fear?”

“That and they drink a lot.”

Munsters: A Horrible Little Comedy

A little unusual for me to post on this blog a smattering of a play but here’s the beginning of a musical comedy. The characters will be all the creatures from those old movies you know and love. So here goes.

Narrator: These stories always begin the same way. It was a dark and stormy night. Well, it was. Lightning flashed, revealing a castle standing on a mountain in the darkness. Deep in the recesses of the castle is a large, wooden door. Sparks can be seen coming from behind the door. Then a voice:

Dr. Frankenstein: I’ve done it, I’ve really done it this time.

Narrator: The door opens. A white-haired man in a white laboratory coat leans over a large male body. The body is connected to electrical wires. Sparks slowly dying are coming from the body. He seems to be asleep. Then he begins to stir.

Dr. Frankenstein sings lovingly to the body the song, “Got a Blind Date and Ain’t Got Nothing to Wear Blues”:

I’ll be your Hannibal Lector, you’ll be my fava beans.

When you come to dinner, there’ll be lots of screams.

First I’ll cook up the liver, so tender and nice;

Then a kidney pie, I’ll cut you out a slice. 

Fee fee fie fie fo fo fum

I smell the blood of everyone.

I’ll be your Jack the Ripper, you’ll be my London girl.

You’re, oh, such a cut-up, the best in all the world.

From London to Paris and all points beyond;

Such a crazy pair, we’re having globs of fun.

Fee fee fie fie fo fo fum

I wanna taste the blood of everyone

You’ll be my Dr. Jekyll, I’ll be your Mr. Hyde.

Walking hand in hand, we’ll walk side by side.

The thrill of it all, just the two of you and me.

Just call me Mr. Multiple Personality.

Fee fee fie fie fo fo fum

I’m gonna suck the blood from everyone.

I just got bit by rabies, rabies in my drawers,

As I walked my bloodhound way out on the moors.

If I were Bing Crosby, I’d surely wanna croon;

Me, I’m really hungry, so I’ll howl at the moon.

Fee fee fie fie fo fo fum

There’s no blood in anyone

And we’re having oodles and oodles of fun.

Narrator: The large body rises and jerks the electric wires from his body. He is monstrous-looking but charming in a lost kind of way. He looks at the doctor, then he looks at a large pinup of a woman in a bathing suit nailed to the wall. He walks slowly over to the pinup and sings “Virgin Blues”:

When I was in school

We said it was cool

To be a virgin

We laughed at those

Who were not supposed

To be virgins

Sweet sweet virginity

Like some disease

Got stuck to me

When I got out

I roamed about

Still a virgin

Now in my older days

I’d like to dump the ways

Of being virgin

Sweet sweet virginity

Like some disease

Got stuck to me

Narrator: In the kitchen upstairs a small man, Igor, finishes preparing dinner for the doctor and his patient. He loads it all on a tray and takes the food downstairs, singing:

I likes them flies

when they dives

them flies

them flies

I likes them dried

peppered and spiced

and toads

big and growed

make the grade

for my lemonade

When all is said and done

lunch will be fun

and I can’t wait

for supper to animate

I catch me roaches

as they approaches

me roaches

me roaches

I likes them fried

strung up and dried

and snakes

is all it takes

to make a stew

good and grue—

some.

Narrator: Igor opens the door to the laboratory.

Igor: Room service.

Narrator: He takes lunch over to a table and uncovers it. As he does, he smells something odd. An odor. He looks over at the large fellow in love with the pin-up. He walks over and pulls the monster’s coattails.

Igor: Fellow, you are not going to get a girl, smelling like that.

Igor sings “Feed your feet”:

You can dress ‘em up just like Christmas      

In flip-flops or sandal ware                            

Loafers, brogans or cowboy boots                 

I really couldn’t care                                      

But I want you to understand                                   

What’s been since time began                        

That nothing can make a bod compleat         

If that body don’t feed his feet                     

Feed your feet, feed your feet               

For if you don’t, they’re sure gonna stink     

So feed those dogs or I can tell you well      

If you don’t, they’re gonna smell                  

Many’s the time I heard the shout

“What’s that odor? Get it out!”

Neither Mom nor wife would allow

That kinda small anyhow

Now I want you to understand

What’s been since time began

That nothing can make a bod compleat

If that body don’t feed his feet

Feed your feet, feed your feet           

For if you don’t, they’re sure gonna stink     

So feed those dogs or I can tell you well      

If you don’t, they’re gonna smell

Narrator: Igor leads the monster over to the bed, sits him down, pulls off his shoes and sprays his feet with Ye Olde Foot Spray.

Narrator: Meanwhile in the village below the mountain, a criminal is prowling the streets.

Narrator sings:

Oh, what do you know about Jack?
He had a mighty good knack
So let me give you the facts
He was needing
He was pleading
“Just give me a midnight snack.”

Oh, she made her way about town
Just a girl making her rounds
A bride in search of a gown
“I shall not tarry
Soon I’ll marry
A lord I think is a clown.”

Oh, why would she marry this guy?
He couldn’t even zip up his fly
No matter how hard he did try
He’d heave the ho
Give it a go
But the zipper had gone and died.

Said she was out for the money
Just a girl who’d never had any
And the lord had more than plenty
“Marry for love
You’ll grovel for grub”
That’s why her name was Penny

Well, she was out roaming the streets
Shopping for all kinds of treats
When it was the Ripper she meets
Her bodice did fall
Her bosoms enthralled
That night Jack fell off his feet

Soon Jack the Ripper was gone
He gave up ripping alone
These two are ripping real strong
Fast as they go
They doe-si-doe
Now they’ve got two ripplets at home.

The play does not end here. There’s more but where it is, it’s anybody’s guess.

Dark Shadows

A Halloween Story

Think about it. There are shadows, and then there are shadows. Each man, each woman, each child has their shadow, must have their shadow, must carry it with forbearance, with patience, without complaint. They are our companions whether we like it or not. And whether they like it or not.

You see, shadows are lost souls who serve time for past evils. They are chained to our bodies with invisible links. But there are those who resist their punishment, their purgatory. They are the restless ones. Shadows who won’t follow the rules. Shadows who won’t behave. Shadows who will do evil. And some of these shadows with sheer willpower break their chains and escape to go hunting.

Now I am not one to say that you have one of those shadows. But have you asked yourself, what is your shadow up to when it disappears? I don’t want to unnerve you, the Reader, but think about it. And keep watch. Keep very very close watch.

William Clarence Monroe had not thought much about his shadow. Though he had spent forty years, bearing the thing  around. Then he came to reside in the House.

William Clarence Monroe was a parapsychologist out to prove that the supernatural, that evil, that the occult did not exist. He was certain his investigations of the House would finally correct that misconception. When he told his colleagues of his plan, they urged him to stay away from the place. From the stories they had heard, it sent shivers down their spines. It had a history, a reputation for evil occurrences. No amount of pleading would stop William. He had a mission. He had a calling.

He would prove that things that go bump in the night are simply things that go bump in the night. There are no monsters under our beds, simply wooly boogers that make their way like tumbleweeds across a room and under the bed. They were not things to fear, rather things to laugh at. William never came across a thing or an event that could not be explained as a natural phenomenon. There was a logical explanation for the stories about the House.

The House stood on Spectre Hill, had stood there for over one hundred and fifty years. Some said it was cursed. All, who came to sleep within its walls, never left. At least, not alive. It was a dark and lonely house with vines and overgrowth covering its walls and hiding it from the road. Where there was not black, there was gray or a dark sickly green. It had no neighbors. It stood alone on that hill.

From time to time, people aways off in the town nearby would hear screams emanating from its halls. Some suggested that the House be torn down. Others said that it be best to leave well enough alone. Besides no one knew who owned the House. Perhaps the invisible inhabitants of the House were the proprietors.

William Clarence Monroe arrived at the front gate of the house early in the morning. The front door was unlocked. When he went to open it, he saw the head of Anubis, the Jackal God, carved into its wood. He stopped for a moment to study the carving and acknowledged that it was incredibly detailed.

He unloaded his equipment in the ballroom-sized room on the other side of the front door. He stood in the middle of the room and surveyed his surroundings. There were several sets of stairs leading to a second and a third story. From the ballroom, there were also three halls leading deeper into the House.

“Yes,” he said and smiled. “This should do. This should prove my premise. When I get through, maybe we can turn this place into a theme park. People do love scary things.”

He went to work wiring his wires. He plugged things into his generator that plug into generators. He set up his instruments. And he got ready for the night. He unpacked his food and ate his first day’s ration. He planned to stay for three days just to get a measure of the place.

Once he finished eating, William Clarence Monroe started exploring. He found a huge dining room, then a kitchen that was right out of the nineteenth century. Next he discovered a library with thousands of dusty volumes, tomes from bygone days that no longer existed anywhere else as far as William could tell. Some were books on the occult but not more than a small percentage. Many were books of biological science. Some works of cosmology. Nothing to make one suspect that the former residents were particularly interested in the occult or witchcraft or unlawful practices. Then he moved on to the second and third floor, counting fourteen bedrooms. Nothing out of the ordinary.

William made himself a large pot of coffee and settled in to wait through the night. The first night and the second day went by without incident. He monitored his instruments, taking the readings at random once an hour. All was quiet. All seemed peaceful, calm. Then he noticed that his shadow had disappeared. “Funny,” he said out loud, then went on to monitoring his instruments. The second night passed. He got his forty winks from time to time, then went back to his routine. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Early on the third day, William Clarence Monroe’s shadow returned. His instruments, at first, took notice, making small movements. Then other shadows. With each new shadow, the instruments moved a little more, then a little more. By dusk on the third day, the House was filled with dark silhouettes. The instruments were jumping. It was as if a seismograph was registering a ten-point earthquake. One instrument after another shut down from overload. William hurried from room to room, each room overflowing with shadows.

As he hurried, first his shadow, then the others made their way toward him, threatening. Then his hurrying turned into running. They were chasing him. Desperately he made for the front door. He turned the knob but the door wouldn’t open.  The shadows pushed him toward the Jackal head, carved into the wood of the door. The Jackal opened its mouth.

In the town nearby, they heard a scream. The scream sent shivers down the townies’ spines. The pastor of the First Church dropped to his knees, supplicating his God to save him from the hell he knew he deserved. The mayor of the town turned to his son and said, “Oh, it’s just the House. Never go near it. As long as you stay within the borders of the town, you will be safe.” Parents hushed their children and told them that it was the Boogeyman. “Be good or he will get you.” Some of the older folks recalled the last scream they heard.

A uniformed police officer daily passed the green Ford parked on the street in front of the House. One Wednesday afternoon he pulled up behind the car. He had not noticed before that there was no tag on the Ford. He got out and checked out the car. The car had not moved for some time. He radioed in for a tow truck to haul the vehicle away. Several months later, it went on auction to raise money for the elementary school.

William Clarence Monroe was not missed. None of his colleagues seemed to recall where he had gone. He had no close friends, and he was without family. In his fanaticism for his mission to disprove ghosts and the occult, he kept others at a distance. When he didn’t show up for his next round of classes, his department head at the college decided that, for whatever reason, Professor Monroe would not return to teach.

Think about it. There are your shadows, and then there are your shadows.

Where nightmares come from

The nightmares came slowly, subtly. Working their way through the mist of his sleep, the dreams came. They came and they would not stop.

They got so bad that he resisted sleep. After two or three days in the ring of resistance with a punch of coffee, a jab of no-doze, he found himself on the ropes. Then he was down and asleep, and the nightmares were back. He asked several of his friends to keep him awake. They tried their best, slapping him awake, even used him as a punching bag from time to time. This worked for about a week. Then he fell flat on his face. He was down and out.

The day he fell asleep at the wheel of his BMW, he crashed into a tree. His car was totaled, and he went into in a coma.

That’s when the gods really got active. Hephaestus forged more nightmares, hammering them into hard, steel swords.

Several days later Hermes came to the Swordmaker’s furnace. “I’m here for the swords,” he said to the Swordmaker.

Hephaestus took each of the ten swords, admired his work, then passed them on to the Messenger. Hermes turned and jumped. His winged boots lifted him into the air and to the River Styx, that dark, dank cesspool which flows out of the Underworld. Chiron was there to meet him with his ferry.

The Boatman drove his barge uphill toward the Halls of Olympus. The river slowly cleared of its puss and soon they were at the foot of the home of the gods.

Hermes flipped a coin to Chiron. Otherwise he could not get off the barge. Even gods have to pay the piper. He arrived at the Halls of Olympus and Hera stepped from behind a curtain.

“Are these them?” she asked, realizing that they were.

“Good,” she said, lifting the swords into her arms.

She took them and made the ten thousand miles to the Dream Room with three steps. As she did, she thought, “This will teach that son of a bitch not to choose me.”

The nightmare-laden man lay in his coma while the swords dropped one by one into his subconscious. They came fast and furious. One after another, they came.

His body jerked, then shook.

“Call the doctor, stat,” the nurse called out from his room. She grabbed the paddles from the defibrillator and placed them on his chest, trying to jumpstart his heart. A doctor in his green scrubs rushed into the room. He did a quick take of the situation, then stopped the nurse. He realized that the man’s body was dead.

He turned the cleaning-up over to the nurse and walked out of the hospital room and into the waiting room.

“I’m afraid Paris is dead, Miss Troy,” he said to the tall, blue-eyed blonde Amazon before him.

Near 500 words: The Monsters Are Coming To Get You

The Boo Alarm went off twenty minutes before the midnight of October 31st, alerting the residents of Poeville. The monsters from Halloweeny Town were on their way. Dr. Van Helsing had warned this would happen. Fortunately, the mayor and the town council heeded his call for action. Thus, the Boo Alarm.

At nineteen minutes before midnight, the townsfolk ran to and fro to the soft thump of feet marching, marching, marching in the distance.

Fighting off the terror coursing through his body, Mayor Hershey ran through the streets, urging the citizens to prepare their defenses for the invasion.

Mrs. Joy gathered the women of Poeville at their designated meeting place in the Town Hall. The sound of hundreds of feet filled the air. Only fifteen minutes to go before the terror struck. And strike it would.

Mr. Joy led the men of the town to roll out the wagons. They pulled them across the center of Main Street.

At ten minutes before midnight, the women climbed the stairs with buckets of hot chocolate to throw onto the monsters when they arrived.

From behind the wagons, Mr. Joy directed the men to pull catapults to face the monsters, then loaded them with large bags of stuffing.

It was five minutes before midnight when J. B. rode into town, imitating Paul Revere with his “the monsters are coming, the monsters are coming.”

The sound of marching feet was deafening. As they marched, the monsters sang, “Trick or treat, smell our feet, give us something good to eat.”

Many of the townsfolk thought it might be time to vacate the premises, urged on by the Airhead twins.

Mayor Hershey exhorted them to stand their ground. “Remember the Alamo,” they yelled.

Unfortunately there were those who wanted to know, “What the heck is an alamo?” But the encouragement was enough to keep everybody in place and ready to put up a fight against the monsters like Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett and Col. Travis did in San Antonio.

One minute till midnight, and there the marchers were, coming down the middle of Main. They were ghosts and goblins, witches and warlocks, dragons and grim reapers, zombies and vampires, werewolves and mummies. They had looks of determination on their faces.

Mayor Hershey took one look at the horde and decided there was nothing that could stop them. Not catapults, not sling shots, not hot chocolate. Nothing. Nada.

Mrs. Joy and her husband, Almond, were the first to break for it. Right behind them was Jelly Bean on his horse, followed by Gummy Bear and Chocolate Drop.

The Marshmallow Treats were the first to be captured along with Peppermint Patty and her sidekick, the Gobstopper. Next were the M & Ms. Morton and Marsha had never been fast runners.

The children in the monster costumes were not to be denied this Halloween night. It was midnight and the Candied Citizens of Poeville had lost another battle with the Mad Trick-or-Treaters of Halloweeny Town.

After the siege had ended and everything quieted down, Mayor Hershey crawled out from under his hiding place, surveyed the damage, sat down in the Mounds Bar, and thought, “Perhaps next year will be different.”

One can always hope, can’t one?