Mud Puddle Girl

nov2107bw4 010

So. 

Got a bit of a…punch in the face, followed up by a rusty dull knife stabbed with a slow precise cruelty into my still-beating heart. It concerns writing. And being an author and…uh huh. I won’t get specific. Because I am determined to be a happy little butterfly who delights my three readers with butterfly-like insouciance. 

As downer sorts get treated like dog shit. Or ignored so thoroughly they bleed in public  and nobody notices.

Smile, god-fucking-dammit!!–the world demands. 

I have to wait and see. That’s all this is. I have to be patient and calm, neither of which a hateful God or a loving Reptilian Overlord imbued me with. I should look at this setback as some sort of life lesson, amen. It’s all going to turn out great and then we can all hold hands and skip! Sarcasm is my best friend. My only friend, at times. 

So, I don’t wish to sit there like a lump during Thanksgiving this Thursday. And just nod along when those around me take glee in the absolute misfortune and suffering of others. As they will. Do they think all the harmful and foul things being done…won’t touch their lives? I think they actually do think that. Sighs forthcoming. I don’t want to explain that I’m not John Grisham or JK Rowling, that it takes a long time to develop an audience for your body of work…that lightning doesn’t hit just because you wrote a…ugh. Fuck. I just can’t dredge up my thick rhino skin armor right now. I just fucking can’t do it. 

Forgive me. This is a vague rambling ode to nonsense and self-pity and bitterness that yet again I have made the worst decisions possible and expected better outcomes. 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

DRAGONS FOR HIRE

Picturechina 295
I knew taking all this pics in Shenyang, China would eventually be useful for something! Dragon!

 

Now, I received a rejection for, gulp, five poems. From a place that claims it’s a feminist haven for all things feminist. That might just be me adding zest to a dry story. M’kay. Normally, I react to rejections with tears, sobbing, why me o God screamings and a cross-country search for that perfect goat to sacrifice to Satan so I can cross that little threshold from unknown, obscure, nobody reads her shit writer to WRITER WHO DOESN’T GET THE FORM REJECTION LETTERS GOD FUCKING DAMN IT ALL TO HELL AND BACK ###$$$$$%^%^^^^^77&&*^%$&.

And then. I calm down about five minutes after that, ‘get over it’ and then cross that submission off in my book o’submissions. I keep a log of what I sent where because…I can’t recall why at this point, other than it seemed important to see all the rejections gathered in one place with the one or two YES THEY PICKED ME YES entries. I’m not a bookkeeper of any kind. I can screw up filling out forms faster than a jack rabbit on a date. Ha ha, shout out to Christmas Story.

“They” are doing a LIVE VERSION of this…with brand new actors. I. Wah. Why?? WHY HAS GOD DESERTED THE ENTIRE PLANET? Why would anyone think this was a good idea?? Just make a new Christmas movie! Hallmark does. Sure, their movies all seem like the same movie, but Hallmark is too smart to take on actual Christmas icons that should never ever be tampered with. That goes for that Jim Carrey travesty of the Grinch, too. WTF?? My eyeballs have never recovered. Hallmark, now…I’ll give them props for not milking the Christmas Story goat. [That was for you, Satan]

Yes, I am watching the Hallmark sugar-heavy fare. Shut up. You are, too. It’s like downing those Peep things. It’s the same thing. I don’t have to explain that, do I? You don’t even have to chew. Hallmark Christmas movies are like Peeps– no chewing involved. I should work in advertising. Go me!

Also–that super-feminist site found my stuff not feminist enough? What the…? I’m going to start writing characters that are…well, some vague threat about labeling my characters in the newest fashions and then actually writing about nice virgingals getting with shiny werewolves. Who brood. With nice hair. They brood and have nice hair. The girl/s fall down a lot and don’t think they’re pretty until the shiny werewolf fella…

617141fd1f77d0549fd732b807a8ca5b--alpha-male-werewolf

Because that shit sells. Yeah. Because it’s a familiar tale and the reading public really seems to like familiar tales, no matter what bullshit they quiver out about wanting something ‘original’. Bwhaha ha ha!!! As if!!

Where was I before I jumped into a lake of utter self-loathing full of sarcastic catfish?

Novel. Ah. My novel is nearly finished for that November challenge thingie. I have about two more chapters, I reckon. I have NO IDEA WHAT THE ENDING IS and my inner lit professors tut at me and make those faces lit profs make. You know that face. That one.

It’s roughly forty thou words.

Which is good! I, of course, have let it ‘rest’ a couple days. I started a short story called the Antifa are Due on Maple Street, which is, yes, a shout sent toward the Twilight Zone zone. If you have no idea what I mean, then you probably need to stop being in a feminist mist all the time and watch a television show older than 2017. It’s a famous ep of a famous ole show– the Monsters are Due on Maple Street. It echoes very well the paranoia and fear of the ‘other’ that so infected American society so long ago. It’s just so quaint now!

Yes, I’m done being a sarcastic catfish. Now…catfish has some sort of meaning, too. I’m not that kind of catfish. I mean an actual catfish swimming around near the bottom of a murky river being snarky. Rather like Spongebob if written as a George Costanza or a Chandler Bing. [I’ll be there for yo–ooo—uuu….!]

I should delve into the political shitshow that has become ‘murica. I just start writing curse words. I see where people are ‘jokingly’ looking into building guillotines. You know, so the American peasants can chop off the aristocratic DC heads. We’re waiting for that whole checks and balances stuff to save us from Rapey McPussyhands and company. Yeah, except…those in power have to respect and actually follow those checks and balances for those to work effectively. So far, we’ve [also known as The Resistance] have a few marches and posted some memes. I think America, to get America back, is gonna have to take it to the next step.

Dragons.

We’re gonna have to get some dragons.

We’re also gonna have to overhaul poor ole Jesus. Maybe even invent a new, improved savior of America. Jesus is pretty malleable when it comes to makeovers, sure. But. I think we Americans can invent some sort of truly American Jesus that will unite us all when we have to band together to go after those dragons we foolishly brought in to rid us of some other stuff.

Jesus fighting dragons…that is so my next BIG WRITING PROJECT. Maybe in between the Hallmark fare and the hatewatching of the live Christmas Cash Cow AKA Christmas Story…I’ll begin an epic tale of Jesus versus dragons. Maybe a children’s story. A cute, non-threatening Jesus and cute, big-eyed, cuddly, non-threatening baby dragons that decide to not fight and have cookies instead in a show of fellowship, diversity, love and some other virtues that seem popular right now. Popular but not practiced.

 

 

 

Dreams and Dreamy Updates

pictorial-travel-map-of-oregon world maps
from World Maps. Note that Vale to Cottage Grove would…well. Mm.

Hey and hello. Rainy here. Rain rain rain. Rainy!

I am up around thirty thousand plus words. Whee and squee and so forth. I also managed to get some rather important and insanely detailed paperwork almost done. Almost. I just need to go back over it and write stuff in that needs to be written in. How’s that for vague?? Is it good for you, too?

All right. Here’s actually why I deigned to write a blog post today.

I had a dream.

A rather unsettling little dream of a dream.

Where I attended, with my family, including, yes, my mother, a showcase of works. The middle section featured, yes, a short play by me. Now, in my dream, I watched the rehearsal. It went smashingly! The song–I don’t write music but I am, ha ha, a poet. So my brain married song and poetry just for the purposes of that dream last night…okay, back to WHAT HAPPENED–

The song, in the rehearsal portion of said dream, went swimmingly. Gorgeous! With, as I remember it…an all-female chorus or perhaps mostly females singing it. Directed by a woman, as was my short play. It was well done and I liked the efforts. Okay! Switch to the showcase evening actual debut.

We all, me and the fam, sit through the first offering and it’s okay. It’s a very casual setting, in my dream. We’re all on folding chairs in a big lobby, watching amateurs take on this, that, the other. Okay! You’ve gone to those…right? Okay!

My mother gets up and is wandering back and forth because she needs the bathroom. I tell her, no, this is my stuff coming up and she sits down again.

Moms, amirite? They’d sit through a three-hour retelling of something from My Little Pony as told by a four-year old while experiencing the onset of explosive diarrhea without a change of pleasant expression and ‘listening face’. 

Oh dear. Because my dream…oh yes, still on the dream bit here…goes south in a hurry. I don’t know why going south would be considered, well, going south. Mm. Anyway!

Everything I saw in rehearsal has been changed. The song and short play are now being performed by high school boys who clearly have no wish to be performing. It’s painfully obvious they’d rather be elsewhere doing anything else. Also, the director of my song and play has changed. It’s now a very defensive man who keeps showing up to yell at all of us watching that we ‘don’t get it’ and then he stomped around, making the debacle we watched that much worse.

I tried to smile and pretend everything was fine, because actors and audience alike kept glancing at me for my reactions…

My family tried to say how much they liked it but the pity! Oh!

It was then I heard the tiny steady pitter of rain, and realized I was awake. And not stuck in some Eugene O’Neill-lite nightmare. 

Why am I burdening my two or so readers with tales from my truly naughty night brain’s shift on the job? Mostly because I can. And something about sharing. Mostly some stuff about sorting through the piffle to find pearls of wisdom that will guide me in the darkness of a world gone mad.

Okay!

As this is novel month and not OMG WHAT IS WRONG WITH AMERICA month…I’ll write a bit about the actual rough little novel that’s shaping itself as I type along.

I am now in the road trip portion of my story. In case you forgot the title: NAKED FARMERS OF THE APOCALYPSE

I might change this to Candelight’s Awakening. So that people think it’s a romance novel, buy it and then scream when they find out it’s just another tale of almost-teen adventures with…ummm. As long as they buy it and leave scathing reviews. You have to make lemonade out of the  buffalo shit or something.

Road trip portion now reached, must stop veering off!

If nothing else, my dream taught me to stay on track. Or not invite family to my stuff. Maybe both?

I am having a good time tracing a slight actual journey from Vale over to Cottage Grove [that would be Oregon, in case no one got I write, a lot, about my home state…] during a spring storm. To bring granny and the stray baby home. It’s Candle and her dad. There’s some uncomfortable real life schtuff they both don’t want to face and…uh huh.

I also found myself including current political schisms and thrusts, because it’s right there.

So.

To sum up– I had a somewhat unsettling little dream and I am chugging along in the write a novel November challenge.

Thank you, as always, for glancing at this and hey, buy some of my books. Give them away as [holiday here] presents! Use them to line bird cages. What do I care what you do with them after you buy them? On that note!

nov2107bw3 005.jpg
An actual November storm pic, taken this past week. Oak tree and bare hills and dark sky. Someone should write a poem. Smiley face!

 

 

Delicious Smelly Cookies

molasses-cookies-yum-kevin lee jacobs
from Kevin Lee James

Update alert– there are roughly about twenty-two thousand words in my November novel challenge. Naked Farmers of the Apocalypse jets along like a jet! So. That’s good. That’s…yeah.

The Dollar Store, where everything is a dollar, hence the name, has molasses in stock right now. Molasses. My tastes are very frontier pioneer chic. Molasses ranks right up there with things that taste good to me. Another would be coffee. Yet another would be lime.

So today I’ll make cookies. Because is there anything better than a molasses cookie? Other than a giant mountain of money and a bathtub full of fuzzy ducklings? Exactly. Because baby ducks are cute, in case you were wondering about that second thing.

My head aches and my tooth insists on insisting it hurts. I blame millenials, of course. It’s de rigueur to blame them for all ills, so there ya go.

My genial goals for this day are to add some more words to my total, fill out some paperwork and bake delicious smelly cookies. Possibly look into a, yes, gingerbread recipe or two. Fall baking stenches are truly some of my favorite. Cinnamon and ginger, oh my! Allspice and cloves, oh yes! Nutmeg and…uh…um…crap, can’t think of another autumn-ish spice to complete my yammering list.

So, here’s to delicious smelly cookies!

 

11,000 Plus Words

05om07july oxford mail
Mr. July. From the Oxford Mail. It’s amazing what you can find when you type in ‘naked farmers’. Amazing.

I have somehow managed to actually compose eleven thousand plus words for the Naked Farmers of the Apocalypse.

I am also channeling my inner Judy Blume apparently, which is fine. Sometimes one needs their inner Blume and she’s sold how many books so far? A LOT. You might have even read a few of them, dear darlings.

Before I step too far into pseudo-smarmy land, let me say it’s raining today and snow might be coming. Which makes me cheerful as a mouse in a wall. Perhaps as cheerful and industrious as the mouse in my wall this morning. I went from page fifteen or so to page twenty something. I’ll write more later today or not.

My tale is crafting itself.

I step out of its way and it kindly meanders as it wills for right now. I have no finale or overall theme planned at this time.

The rich rotting earth of American politics undermines my Judy Blume-ish wafflings. Hey, to ignore politics is to ignore the nose on your face, after all. No matter what ‘side’ you’re on.

FUCKING DEMOCRATS, PULL IT TOGETHER. Okay, done. Whee. Back now. If you’re not Americans, that means nothing to you or maybe it does. Maybe you’re breathlessly following America’s leap into the abyss. [Yeah, I said it. Someone had to.]

Back to Naked Farmers of the Apocalypse.

I invented a pop band of that name that Our Heroine, Candle Santiago, adores. Bands do, on occasion, have silly names only the kiddies can love. Death Cab for Cutie. The Clits. The Butthole Surfers. Puddle of Mudd. Bumsnogger. Aborted Hitler Cock. [I did not make that up, sadly.] Evil Edna’s Horror Toilet.  The Child Molesters. [An actual band. I know. It’s okay. Go to your safe place. It’s okay.] 

Everyone back now? 

I bet you’re a fan of silly-named musicians either truly bubble gum lite or so serious they poop save the world slogans instead of actual poop. [Poop is natural, pooping out slogans is not…was my labored point here.]

Anyway, where was I…

Ah yes. So! I also invented an anime show, called Piko’s Planet, with a hot anime dude that the tweens go squee for…and will no doubt ‘disguise’ current political, entertainment and other wise famous or not figures for my own fun and hardly any profit. Because, let’s face the music and dance, it’s fun.

And isn’t writing, other than being about changing the very warp and weft of society itself, supposed to be fun? Yes. Yes, it is, in case you were not sure.

An excerpt?? Not yet. I’ll tease you all a bit and wait until the end of November. I’ll copy and paste something near the end of this jam-packed and turkey-flavored month, where I’ll, no doubt and is that not a silly name for a band, hello…where I’ll no doubt delve into the journey my heroine has had to take.

So, I’m not only tapping into my inner Blume, I’m scraping the hero’s journey barrel. I have many inner rooms, apparently. What a cheerful realization.

 

71ba639fed440e2e2979e5a71cc90222--secondsofsummer-sleeping-with-sirens.jpg
from Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHALLENGES CHALLENGES

oct201HALLOWEEN 015

O hello, November! It’s write a novel month. Or maybe it’s think about writing a novel month. Where you write about twenty thousand words and then have to steel yourself for Family FREAKING Holidays. Where you gargle turkey and listen to talk about…well, you know. Most of you have families. And those that don’t, well. 

Hallmark started their syrupy parade of holiday movie treats October 27th. How do I know?? Ah, because I’ve been viewing those holiday treats, unable to help myself. I do feel a bit ashamed as I scarf down Halloween candy…I really do. 

Okay!

I did start a new novel. And it’s titled Naked Farmers of the Apocalypse. 

What’s it about? 

No idea. So far, there’s two teen girls, Candle and Tiff, near a tiny river, who find an abandoned newborn. The two take this baby home and Candle’s grandmother, Esme, decides she’s keeping it. So far, no zombies or weird people who live in the walls. And that click-baity title will be the name of Candle’s favorite band. Because kids have shitty taste in music, come on. 

I’m just writing it. I haven’t mapped out the chapters or story in any way. I’m going on a very much ‘what comes next’ basis here. Which seems to work for my latest form of writing novels. I’m doing that for, yes, my zombies run the world novel, so far called Aftermath. 

Oh. Yeah. New York City. Terror attack. We don’t have any ‘answers’ after Vegas but we can ban…fuckadoodle doo. Christmas movies, Halloween candy! “We mustn’t give in to fear!” Uh, we always give in to fear here in ‘murica. Christmas movies and Halloween candy will take that edge off that one…

That’s as political as I’ll get right now before I go off into Scream With Words land. 

So!! 

NAKED FARMERS OF THE APOCALYPSE is on the front burner. I really like what’s pouring out. I really enjoy revisiting my main character, who lives in such interesting times.

Yes, I’m mining the rich tapestry of bullshit, lies, fake news, the deep state, Hilary is the devil, Obama works with the Illuminati, white people are the real victims of racism, liberals want to erase Christmas, Christians in America are the most persecuted group, Hilary Hilary Hilary, some more Hilary, uh being mad at God for making you a sexual predator [Bile O’Reilly– not a typo] and…yeah.

It’s fun here in ‘murica! It’s gonna inspire our own Kafkas and those Russian writers no one outside of elitist, out of touch colleges read. 

22894197_1074678012668405_3664480479026126929_n.png
I don’t know who made this but I like it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Little Visitors

oct201HALLOWEEN 040

 

Gather round. Turn the lights off. It’s time for a story…

 

 

THE LITTLE VISITORS

Halloween comes around once a year, of course. When the trees turn into dying torches and the nights fill with hollow sighs. I waited in my small living room in my small rented house on Garwood Avenue, in a small neighborhood full of mostly working moms and divorced dads. The house next door has been divided into three small apartments and students rent those, from the nearby small college. Everything here seems small and dingy, from the houses to the college. Someone is trying to change that college into a university, as being called a university seems much more legitimate these funny times we live in, but that is years in the future. A knock sounded on my door. The knock of a child. I grasped my bowl of Dollar Store candy and stood, with my elderly television on mute. I had chosen to watch Cat People, for some reason, perhaps because it was on one of the old movie channels. Val Lewton and shadows.

Standing on my cement step, on my brown and yellow welcome mat, is a small girl dressed as a princess, in a frilly, too-pink dress, with ugly garish plastic and tin foil jewelry and a carrot-red wig that tilts on her head and a cheap-looking tiara that someone should banish to the outer realms. “Trickrtreat,” she whispers, perhaps no more than seven. I see her mother or older sister sitting in the car, clearly wishing this night over and done with. This tiny fake princess holds up a plastic bucket shaped like a pumpkin where candy already waits for her to gobble down in about an hour or so, if not sooner. Tiny miniature candy bars, Tootsie Rolls, lollipops. All store-bought, safe candy for these troubling modern times we live in! She had giant brown eyes someone had lined with black and someone had painted the small lips with bright cherry red.

“Don’t you look great,” I told the girl, who smiled slightly, more a grimace than a smile. She had not quite caught on that she should perform like a trained lab animal to earn her treats. Give some buck for the bang. I drop three eyeballs into her pumpkin, badly wrapped solid chocolate balls. I also gave her four or five hard candies and the princess in training looked at my offering, then at me, then whispered, “Can I have another eye?” I gave her one and she nodded with a solemn resignation that of course she deserved a bit more candy from the skinny little man who had such a messy house. She trotted off, then stopped, at something her mother or sister shouted at her. The princess turned and waved at me and I waved back. She got into the car and they drove to the end of the street. I was their last house here. Off the car went, into the October night. I saw another costumed child slowly walking toward my house, dressed as a cowboy. Right down to the small dingy cowboy hat perched to one side on his head.

I knew him. I had seen him before.

The small cowboy walked slowly, in real cowboy boots, carrying a small pail, a miniature bucket. The wind kicked up, swirling dead leaves from the elm further along, further along. “Tricks or treats,” the small cowboy said, holding out his bucket, meeting my eyes. His eyes never blinked or looked away from me. He wore a leather vest, real leather, and a red shirt tucked into jeans, with small chaps tied just so about his skinny little boy thighs. A smudge of dirt on his pale cheek. And his smell, like just gone over milk. That faint sour smell of corruption.

“Who are you supposed to be?” I asked and the boy never looked away from me with his steady blue-green eyes.

“I’m Little Joe,” the boy said. “He’s my favorite. Do you have any popcorn balls?”

“No, I’m sorry, I don’t. You mean Little Joe from Bonanza?’ I place some hard candies and two of the wrapped eyeballs in his pail. Mine seems to be the only candy he had managed to collect so far and it’s already seven thirty or so. Rather late to still be out.

“Bonanza. That’s it, mister. I really wanted a popcorn ball,” the boy peered down at the piddling Halloween offering, his hair cut brutally short, a near military-like cutting of that stark black hair. This was not a pretty child that would grow up to be a handsome man. Just an ordinary boy with freckles on his rather large nose. Not a sideshow freak kind of big nose, just a nose the kid would have to grow into. A nose with character, as my dad used to say. “Thank you.” And this boy had manners. Someone had taken some trouble to teach him some pleasing ways. I noticed, as I had every time he came to visit me, that the longer he stood there, the more I could see through him. He seemed to dissolve. As if the night slowly devoured him and I was not supposed to notice.

“You’re welcome.”

Little Joe wandered off, toward the main street and then he was just gone. My candy lay on the sidewalk and I fetched it, noting the hard candies and balls of wrapped chocolate had been frozen. They burned my skin a bit, being so cold. I stood and looked here and there, but the boy had gone back to wherever he came from.

Back to my house I walked. I waited for more knocks. Someone rapped on my door and my heart beat so hard, so hard. Up I got, and went to answer, finding a tall girl dressed like something out of a Robin Hood movie. She wore green tights, a long green jaunty shirt, and the cap with the feather. She had her hair swept up atop her head and blood trickled down the left side of her face, from a massive wound to her temple. “Hi! Trick or treat!” A big smile, her front teeth snapped off, and I could see the bones of her jaw from yet another wound that had opened the side of her face. She held out a paper sack, such as one might get from a grocery store. There was nothing in it. I dropped my offerings in and she gazed down at the five hard candies and two eyeballs with real dismay, then dredged up a smile, somehow, somehow smiling with her jaw bone exposed. “Gee, mister. You don’t have any apples or cookies?”

Apples or cookies. When no one gave those away these days. No one. “No. Sorry. I can give you some more candy.”

“Sure.” A big smile, her blood-filled eyes sparkling at me. I drop more candy in and she beams down politely, then thanks me and floats off into the night. I clearly hear that candy I gave her spatter on the pavement. Where she has gone, the candy cannot go. They want the good treats they had in their day. Where people baked homemade cookies and shaped popcorn into sticky balls and bought lots of apples to give away to the visiting little goblins each year. They had not lived through the stories of razor blades in apples or the poisoned cookies or that people poisoned their homemade treats…there were stories galore but no actual real proof that a swathe of the adult population were in fact out to kill all children at Halloween. Fear, however, runs the lives of Americans, not facts or logic.

A car cruises slowly about five houses down. The last stragglers of this year’s candy festival. I close my door, wondering how many more other little visitors I’ll get tonight. They don’t seem to visit anyone else. I am not great friends or that friendly with my neighbors; we generally genially ignore each other and nod at each other if we make eye contact. I keep to myself and I work. As the neighbors do. We keep our heads down and hope our cars keep running and we don’t get cancer. We vote once in a while and moan a lot. I occasionally head off to the Long Horn, a small dive bar where I can get a beer somewhat cheaply and get my ear talked off by the lonely old veteran who seems to think no one is any good anymore. There’s no goodness left in the world, none, he says to me over and over and over. I watch my muted television set as the woman who turns into a leopard struggles to fight her actual nature.

I wait for them to come to my door.

I heard the rustle of a costume and the whispers of a mother telling the child to knock, go ahead, like the others. I sigh, my air pushed out of me by my exhausted lungs. Surely they’re tired of sour air and contracting over and over and over. Bang bang bang.

A small boy dressed as a vampire, with a cape and fake teeth that keep slipping. “Twick treat,” the boy barked like a seal at me and I smiled, his mother just behind him wearing a black sweater infected with cheerful flat pumpkins. Her eyes held a tiredness all our eyes seem to hold now. The vampire held up a plastic green bucket three-fourths full of candy.

“Great costume, sir,” I said and the boy, with giant dark eyes, makes a face at this stranger trying to be funny. I’m not funny so my efforts in comedy should never be encouraged. “Here ya go!” I give him the remaining chocolate eyeballs and two hard candies. He grins.

“Look, mom! Eyes! Cool!” So the kids these days are still using phrases from the Fifties. Cool.

“I see that, dear,” the mom said with that perfect tired mom voice, that managed to be both nice and exhausted. She probably had to go home and get ready for a graveyard shift somewhere cleaning something or watching over old people or the disabled. “What do you say, Wyatt?”

A vampire named Wyatt? Oh no no. I bit at my lips to stop myself giving a truly foul giggle. Wyatt looked at me. He smelled like soap and cheap candy. “Thanks, mister!”

“You’re welcome, Wyatt.” I told him and his mother in her infected sweater. Had anyone told her pumpkins were catching? They both nodded at me and both turned to go to her elderly pickup. A big dent in the driver’s side. Off she drove, no doubt heading off for their home, probably a small apartment she could barely make rent on.

I went back in, shut my door. I only had hard candies left for any latecomers to the Halloween festivities. The wind made the leaves noisy. I sat in my easy chair with the sound very low, most of my lights turned off, waiting perhaps for zombies to try and get in. I had watched Night of the Living Dead near Halloween one year and had actually managed to give myself the willies. All of the lights turned off, a windy night. I heard zombies all night. Sometimes my imagination is not my friend. Perhaps that’s all this was. The strange yearly visitors. Just me perhaps having some sort of mental breakdown right on cue around the end of October. After all, ghosts were not real.

An hour, the movie ended with the lady who turned into a giant cat dead. Next came the sequel, which I’d never seen and had never heard of. Revenge of the Cat People. I waited.

A knock at my door.

I could hear a bit of rain now, on the windows that let out so much heat. Who was out so late on a rainy Halloween night? I had the notion to just let them knock and knock until they got tired and went away. My seven or so remaining hard candies huddled in the bottom of my white plastic bowl.

Twin clowns gazed up at me, through garish, too-bright greasy makeup. Both wore rainbow-hued wigs. The girl wore a big purple suit with a fake plastic pink flower on her breast. The boy wore a plaid hobo outfit. They wordlessly held up their little bags, paper sacks with Harbottle’s stamped on them. That store had gone out of business over thirty years ago. I had gone there with my own mother who had liked to finger their selection of fabrics whenever she got a notion to sew something. Both sacks held nothing but some traces of dirt. I smiled and dropped my remaining sad remnants into their bags. These two never spoke, a brother and sister who seemed stamped from the same twin factory. The boy’s face sometimes showed bone and torn away cheek, the girl’s sometimes showed her head caved in. Tonight they were just twin clowns. They solemnly looked down into their bags, with actual disappointment and then looked at me, with actual sorrow.

“A minute. I might have something else. Just a minute.” I got my bag of cheap Oreo knockoffs I’d gotten at the Dollar Store and when I came back to my open door, the two were still there. I had expected them to vanish. “You can share these.” I had not opened the package. I put them in the little girl clown’s bag. Both regarded my offering of cookies and then me, their eyes the same flat blue. Both nodded, waved at me and then turned to return to wherever they had come from. No car, or pickup, no waiting parent or elder brother or sister or aunt or grandparent. Just the slightly rainy night, the chill of the season trying to get ready for winter. I watched them walk off into the dark and wondered who watched over them and who had let them wander about, alone.

I wondered who had let dead children come trick or treating. I wondered that a lot.

oct.2017spider 003.jpg