October 14th, 2006


Halloween Story

It was one of the last years when I would go trick-or-treating. The neighborhood where we lived was rural and the houses too far apart so it was decided that I would instead go across town to join up with the twins, Betsy and Peggy and their friend Karen. We walked along the pavement and between the hedges and gardens with the few lingering autumn leaves rustling in the grass and gutters. Crossing a yard to a well lit house with a wide white porch, a dark shadow darted across our path.
"A black cat!" I pointed.
"Is it real?" One of the others asked.
"Very halloween!" Said the girls as they ran along to the house, laughing.
"Isn't it," I thought to myself. Having recently read a book on superstitions I knew what to do. As instructed, I took 9 steps backwards. Then, to be polite, I went over to the cat, who was politely waiting, and said my hellos.
"Come on!" My friends shouted from the porch. They'd already gotten their candy and any delay cuts into the profit margin as we all know. Up I went and got my turn. By the time I joined them in the street again they were all standing together, shaking their flashlights with very puzzled looks. None of the flashlights would work.
"They were working just a minute ago."
"These are fresh batteries!"
I laughed. "It's the black cat!" And I waved my functioning flashlight. "You have to take 9 steps backwards."
After a little convincing Betsy took 9 steps backwards. When she tried her flashlight it shone with a warm light. Amazed, Peggy took 9 steps backwards. *click* Light in the darkness.
"No! I don't believe in bad luck and curses." She fought with her flashlight. She reloaded the batteries. She shook it furiously. She banged it on her other hand. *click click click* Darkness. Finally she began to walk backwards. But she stopped after a few steps. *click click* No light.
"I don't believe in this!" She shouted into the night.
We counted out the steps. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9
Light. A bright beam of light. She stomped her feet in frustration. The twins, however, were very excited.
"What else was in that book??"
I told them a few things I remembered, but I have to admit that they were so excited I couldn't resist the temptation to...elaborate.
"See that? That swirl of dust? That's a spirit. You have to put your left hand on each others head and hop 3 times." *hop hop hop* (Hee!) "Me? Oh I just turned my pockets inside out. I'm fine." (Hee!)
"See that? The ring around the moon? You have to give a gift to someone while the moon is still up. I'll take a Baby Ruth, thanks."

It really happened.

Cross Your Fingers, Spit In Your Hat.