Subject: Happy Holloween!

Date: Sat, 13 Sep 1997 16:49:35 -0700

From: "Dr. Hieronymous Zinn" <ruthy2425@asu.campus.mci.net>

Organization: CampusMCI

Newsgroups: alt.slack

 

My favorite Holloween

Dr. Hieronymous Zinn

I find Holloween to be a marvelous American custom.

But you do it all wrong.

When I look at Holloween, I see the quaint tradition, like in

other countries, of ritually terrifying small children so that

they will obey their elders; and yet it has somehow been subverted

into just another excuse for capitalist excess.

 

"Have a Happy Holloween!" to me contains the glee of a random

inebriated piss in someone's back yard you just happen to now

discover was on the grave of a hated enemy in a cemetery, and my,

wasn't I drunk, officer!

 

"Have a gut-wrenching, terrifying life-or-death struggle!" is

more to the point.

Take for example in some parts of Germany, (where I'll admit it's

a KrisKringle(tm), and thus Christmas, rather than Holloween

event), we have the tradition of the Straw Men!, who after the

jolly old expression of pagan lust goes by, showering petty

treats to the little children, and thus luring them forward like

some murderous schoolyard pedophile, they are turned over to

the monsters-dressed-in-straw who offer to do truly HORRIBLE

things to their little bodies. And all the while, their own,

laughing parents shove the little tykes forward as offerings

to the unworldly deamons.

 

And thus the nightmarish fears are passed on to yet another

generation, as it has been for a millennium.

 

Ahh, tradition.

 

Which brings me to mine own retchid excess...

 

A lovely, cool evening, when children go from door-to-door,

their little masked faces all aglow with greed, with their

greatest of fears the receipt of a small cellophane packet of

hard candy rather than a big, gooey, Snickers(tm) bar.

And yet, something is amiss. From the end of the block, in

the distance, they can see a figure. Perhaps it is by the

third dwelling that their vision has become clear, but they

are still confused by what they see.

 

For lying slumped in an old chair is something, perhaps

similar to a human being in appearance, but oddly dressed. By

the fifth home, in their ordered progression down the street,

they can see it clearly now, illuminated as it is by a half-

melted K-Mart plastic pumpkin.

 

In truth, the thing slumped on the chair is wearing a rubber

tap suit, of the kind that workers in chemical plants don, it's

face is covered by an odd-looking protective mask, it's hair

by a sleeping bag hood. It wears combat boots and old yellow

work gloves on it's hands.

 

By the time they have arrived at THAT HOUSE, their confusion

and fear are starting to mount, BUT ONLY THEN do they notice

that at the feet of "the thing" lies a large bowl, perhaps

containing the goodies their avaricious little hearts crave.

And now it is a time for contemplation...

 

Standing on the sidewalk are four young boys peering at me.

Their brows are knit in rapt attention, as if watching the

chess game in Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal." But instead

of a contest between some Swedish guy and Death, it is a bitter

duel between their very Potential Manhood Itself and Death, in

this case most likely quick, painful, and with long pointy

teeth.

 

Needless to say, while intensely looking for signs of

animation in the figure, they are in no great hurry. But they

see no movement.

 

Finally, one of the older boys, more experienced in the ways

of treachery, turns to the smallest of the four, and berates

him: Prove you're a man! Go there and get us all some candy!

Of course the other two gladly join in, until the smallest

is browbeat into the dare.

 

Apprehensive, he approaches. Leaning away, his toes pointed

in the direction of the street, he treads softly across the

rock yard backwards, with outstretched hand clutching again

and again at the object of his passionate desire. For in that

bowl is no longer candy, but his very self-esteem and future.

His eyes are fixated on the lenses of my mask, for he cannot

see my eyes.

 

Bravely, his friends man the sidewalk with baited breath.

And then, just when he has reached his goal, for an instant

his eyes dart downward.

 

My right hand twitches.

 

"AAAAIIIIEEEEGGGGHHHH!" scream his friends, as they run in

abject terror down the block. But they small boy cannot get

traction in the rocks of the yard for a while. His heart

pounding--every milligram of adrenaline his pancreas can

produce rushing into his bloodstream--he makes a Herculean

effort and makes it to the sidewalk.

 

The little fella beats them to the end of the block.

***

Some time later, comes down the street a father with his

small son...

In due course, they too stand before me.

The father, concerned, but with too much reverence for the

tradition of the holiday, looks down and says to the boy,

"O.K., go get yourself some candy."

 

"NoooIdon'twantto!" whines the boy, his bag of candy

clutched protectively to his little face. He remains fixed,

despite further pleas from his father.

 

And then his father says the thing which is an essential

plot device to about half of the horror movies ever made:

"O.K., you wait here, AND I'LL GO GET SOME."

 

Rarely have I seen such a look as was in the face of the

boy. Wide-eyed, trembling, almost indescribable.

"Noooooooooooooooooo!" he squeals, his face contorted.

 

Even father is apprehensive by this point--but feels he

must do the 'dad' thing, and carefully he advances.

(I will confess some feelings of guilt as he approached,

but they were quickly filed in my rather overburdened

"bad conscience" repository. Moderation is for monks.)

And he, as before, glanced down at the bowl for a second

and I twitched my hand.

 

It is said that it is impossible for a person to do a

standing jump any higher than their own knees, but to my

experience this is no longer a rule, but more of a guideline.

As for the shrieks of the boy, they faded out sometime

after the two had left the block, reverberating in the

distance. But such become the happy reminiscences of

childhood.

***

The following day, I received a call from a man, who I

would like to believe was the boys' father. Rather aggrieved,

he demanded to know who or what was in front of the house

the previous night.

 

To this I responded with curiousity, and I said that I

had been far away, and had only returned this very morning

on an early flight. Otherwise, the house had been empty.

The phone went silent for about 10 seconds before he

wordlessly hung up.

 

HAPPY HOLLOWEEN!

*************

> Reginald was no racist, for people, be they white, black,

> brown, red or yellow, he preferred to think of in his own

> space-alien terms: as either "crunchy" or "chewy".

-Dr. Zinn, from the novel