Trick and Treat

Two years ago, the Martin Prosperity Institute released what it called its “annual survey” of Halloween in America. It was its third annual such survey and it has not produced a sequel to this seminal study of all things Halloween since. My hometown broke it, I guess.

The Institute’s work in the field of Halloween enjoyment, a study not seriously undertaken by most people older than eight, led in 2013 to many national news articles that expressed shock at its conclusion: that the best place for Halloween in the United States of America is Poughkeepsie, New York.
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‘Who Killed the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?’

In a couple of hours, we will be pumpkin hunting, my girlfriend and I. They call it “pumpkin picking” for some reason, but the only “picking” that will be happening will be me pointing at a nominee and my girlfriend either shaking her head no or collecting it for us.

Like many other activities, I have not gone pumpkin collecting since childhood, a period of my life that I mostly wasted in an 18-year-long wish for it to be over. (Instead, I lingered in it and it ended about five-and-a-half years ago.)

My girlfriend discovered last year that she has a talent for carving the jacks o’lantern. In a remarkable coincidence, I re-established at around the same hour that I possess no such talents, that the pumpkins and I have no rapport. My sole attempt last year, my one try at even producing a traditional (in America, in the 1970s) triangle-eyed and two-toothed smile (three teeth if ambitious; see above), was hindered by my lack of patience. I would have had more of what we like to call success if I’d set out from the beginning to carve the sucker with my two thumbnails and my deep need to weep at panic boredom.
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Candy Crisis 2014

As the 2014 candy shortage spread from city to city and finally house to house, the hoarders were found out. The police records from that autumn show a system overwhelmed by the sugar-starved criminal element. Pages upon pages detailing baroque crimes of candy hunger give way to long lists of numbers with no further details and then to blank pages, which speak volumes in their emptiness.

The shortage was blamed by politicians of one party on politicians of the other party. Banks blamed insurers and insurers blamed a system built to only anticipate the anticipatable. Leaders were few.

The more headline-devoted media outlets dubbed it the Candy Apocalypse but they were unready for the sudden absence of advertising revenue. The criminal element sent spokesmen to express shame that it was now connected to such bizarre crimes of hunger that even hardened criminals were abashed.

The Dadaists saved me. Surrealism only put off the candy-seeking hordes for a moment, long enough to shoo my family into a far room, but not long enough to protect my property. I dimly remembered a phrase, that drastic times called for something. It seemed that these were drastic times. “Drastic times call for … drastic leisure?” That did not ring a bell. “Drastic pleasure?” “Drastic times call for something really big,” I declared.

The doorbell rang that fitful Halloween night and I was prepared with my drastic big things to meet the drastic times; I prayed that confusion was my only chance to at bringing any sense to these fructose-enslaved zombies.

I was dressed as a sort of sorcerer, put a rug on my head to indicate fortune telling and oven mitts on my hands for claws. I spoke as slowly and as quickly as I could:

jolifanto bambla o falli bambla
großiga m’pfa habla horem
egiga goramen
higo bloiko russula huju
hollaka hollala
anlogo bung
blago bung blago bung
bosso fataka
ü üü ü
schampa wulla wussa olobo
hej tatta gorem
eschige zunbada
wulubu ssubudu uluwu ssubudu
kusa gauma













The stunt was a raging failure and tonight I am writing this on the road, leading the procession to the next neighborhood, hunting, forever hunting in a soul-less search for more candy, candy that will never more be found.

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A flash fiction for Halloween 2014. We have plenty of candy here. Boo.

The WordPress Daily Prompt for October 31 asks, “It’s Halloween, and you just ran out of candy. If the neighborhood kids (or anyone else, really) were to truly scare you, what trick would they have to subject you to?”

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