(2017 Halloween Edition)
Do you know what I discovered this week about myself? I hope there is a Hell. I know I shouldn’t wish anybody goes to Hell if I want to be a good person, but I’ve had it. Nothing is seemingly being done to stop the horror of the man in the White House by God at this moment (although I’m still holding out for a Pharaoh-like deliverance). Therefore, it sure would be encouraging if I knew certain elements would not get away with their deplorable actions here on Earth and, thus, fry in the afterlife due to a gigantic bitch-slap from karma. I need to know that justice is coming at some point.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week. If there is a Hell, I would nominate two categories to start with: hypocrites and spiders. Especially Huntsman spiders. They act all cool and nonchalant—all Charlotte Webby and shit—but they don’t talk to you or weave webs that say “nice Negro” like Charlotte did to keep you from getting taken to the slaughter house like Wilbur, the pig. They actually have the ability to move at the speed of lightning and aggressively jump at you if you encounter them during your travels in Latin America, South America or Australia, and their bite can be vicious.
Hypocrites are like that. They make you think they represent one thing, say—the Christian Church, compassion, truth, honesty, empathy, morality, and godliness (like the Voters Value Summit on October 13th, who hosted Trump as their main speaker, and welcomed him as a conquering hero), while they sell their souls to a man who is vainglorious, boasts of grabbing women by their genitals, boasts that the best way to treat women is like shit, bullies any and every one, lies through his teeth, and must be the most spiteful, insensitive human being alive. Yep, Hell sounds like a pretty good landing place for Trump and all the Trump diehards—people who refuse to see the truth about him no matter what he does. Come to think of it, maybe Hell is too good a place for hypocrites such as these.
As I wrestled with my fantasy about zapping deplorable people and spiders into Hell, I came across a Halloween story that dealt with all three. It was such a timely story that I had to share it with my readers. Enjoy!
NOTHING TO FEAR, BUT. . .
The older couple should have known that something was afoot. They’d been married for more years than they could remember, and the patterns were always the same a couple days before All Hallows Eve every year: The day would somehow go off the rails—as if pushed off the tracks by ghosts and goblins just to underscore that they were in charge for Halloween.
This couple loved Halloween, but as they progressed in years, both were finding it increasingly hard to come up with Halloween costumes they hadn’t previously featured. They weren’t amateurs when it came to figuring out unusual costumes. No sexy nurse or Freddy Krueger costumes for them. No siree! At one Halloween party for couples before they were married, the man went as Frédéric Chopin, and the woman dressed as Chopin’s lover, George Sand (the notorious female, cigar smoking, trouser-wearing novelist). In the midst of that Halloween party of yore, where there were three sets of bacon and eggs, two devils, five witches, four zombies, and six astronauts, they easily took the first place prize. But after 45 years of knowing each other, they were stumped as to what to wear to the upcoming Halloween party with their friends that weekend.
You’d think that with all their previous Halloween experience they should have seen the signs of demons afoot.
As the couple barreled down the highway in their minivan to do their monthly Costco shopping, they both noticed how stormy the weather was. It hadn’t even been raining when they left home, and there had been no rain in the forecast, but all of a sudden the sky darkened and it opened up with such fury, it was as if the Devil had called forth all his handymen to have a party at the expense of the sons of men. (SCARY SIGN #1)
HER: This is just awful. Do you think we should turn back? I can barely see the road.
HIM: Of course not. We’re almost there. Besides, we promised we’d bring fruit platters enough for fifty people and the only place we can get that much fruit without breaking the bank is at Costco. We’re retired, remember. Income fixed—fixed income. Anyway you say it, it all means the same: limited income for extravagance. Let’s talk about other things so that we don’t think about lashing rains and flooding roads. Have you come up with a Halloween costume yet? The theme of this year’s party is: things that scare the shit out of you.
HER: Yes, I have. I’m going as Donald Trump holding the red button that launches our nuclear bombs.
HIM: Good one! Simple. Not much needed: orange wig, white face makeup, one of my suits, and a red button box made out of cardboard. Within budget. That costume should be easily understandable to just about everyone except a Trump supporter. Unfortunately, I haven’t come up with a thing I haven’t done before. I’m not like you—I’m not afraid of much. I’ve been chased by the KGB in my youth, shot at in Beirut, survived a bombing of my business by terrorists in the Middle East, and married you. Do you know what cojones it took to marry you?
HER: Oh really, old man. You’re really pissing me off right now. Not afraid of much, huh? How about going as a spider, and not just any ol’ spider, but a big, juicy, gargantuan spider—if your bowels can handle it. It won’t take much: put a black stocking over your face, sew on two balled up black socks as eyes, put you in your black diving suit, and attach eight elongated blackened tubes made out of thousands of intertwined and connected pipe cleaners to your body, and voila! There you have it. Easy, cheap, and scary. Then we’ll see just how much you’re NOT afraid of anything. So nani-nani-boo-boo!
As the perturbed old woman watched her man’s face turn ashen and his knuckles grip the steering wheel (as if trying to hang on for dear life), she instantly regretted her spider taunt and realized she might have crossed the line. In the stony silence that ensued, she remembered a horror story he had experienced from their salad days that she had forgotten in her old age.
Many years ago, the man had temporarily rented a room in the home of a couple and their two sons in a city where he was starting a new job. He had moved to the city ahead of his family until they could sell their old home, while he established himself in his new job. He knew the couple but had never realized what poor housekeepers they were. To say that the couple’s home was a pigsty was an understatement. Roaches weaved in and out of an incessant trail of ants who were constantly holding house parties in the weeks’ old spills all over the counters, stove, and floors. The smell of months’ old urine caked on the toilet bowls gagged the uninitiated at the entry of every bathroom door and took second place only to the months-long litter box pea-and-poop collection of the two cats. What made it worse was that the family reveled in their filth. The consistent rallying cry among them was: “Who is our friend? DUST is our friend!”
But the man reasoned that one can put up with anything if one knows the end date. At least that was his motto until the morning he woke up with his scalp feeling as if it were on fire. When he rushed to the bathroom and looked in the mirror, swirling in the blood on his head were hundreds of tiny baby spiders who were feasting on his scalp and dangling from his hair follicles into his eyes and ears. As he frantically scrubbed his scalp with anything he could find and screamed in bloody terror, the family’s initial response was: “We told you that dust is our friend. I guess spiders are our friends too!” Although the man stayed in the home another week or two, and scrubbed the mattress with a gallon of bleach, he never fully slept again until he rejoined his family.
HER: I’m so sorry, Honey. I’d forgotten that you have arachnophobia for a reason. Forget what I said. We’ll think of something else. Okay. Look, we’re at the Costco parking lot. See. You love Costco. You can turn off the car now . . . Just put one foot in front of the other—baby steps. I promise, I’ll never tease you about spiders again. I was being totally obnoxious. (SCARY SIGN #2)
The old couple became engulfed in Costco, and the man soon forgot his episode in the car. Like most couples, the old man and woman went into Costco to spend $100 but arrived at the cashier’s station having spent more like $600. The cashier made a snarky remark about the abundance of their purchases (everybody’s a critic!) and offered to provide boxes for all their items, especially the copious fruits for the party. (SCARY SIGN #3)
By the time the old couple left Costco, the rain had stopped, but it was still gloomy and cloudy. The man was totally back to normal as he and the old woman remarked on how wonderful it was to be part of a global market where one could have the best fruits and vegetables all year round, whether they were in season or not. When they returned home and unpacked their goodies, they made a game of noting where each box had originated: grapes, bananas, and mangos from Latin America, Mexico, and South America—oh my! As the old couple emptied each box, they threw them into the garage at the foot of the stairs, and proceeded to make their dinner.
Like most couples they had their unspoken duties as husband and wife. Most of the time, the wife would cook, they’d clean up the kitchen together, and now that the kids were grown and gone, the old man would take out the garbage each night and put it in the industrial garbage can in the garage. But for some reason that night the old man got distracted by the storm that had picked up again and had gone to check on a noise he heard in the basement, so the old woman (still feeling horribly guilty for the spider tease that had traumatized her man) decided to be especially kind and take out the garbage.
The minute the old woman turned on the garage light, she saw it at the foot of the stairs by the Costco boxes. She froze. It froze. Her mind couldn’t fathom what she was seeing. It was not from her realm of knowledge. It was not from North America. It was the size of her hand. Big. Black. Eight legged. Beady eyed. Menacing.
The old woman knew she needed two things: shoes on her bare feet and a weapon. She stealthily backed up the stairs (never taking her eyes off the creature), quietly put on her husband’s house slippers, and grabbed the most dangerous weapon in the house—a can of hornet’s spray. She would have given anything to be a card-carrying, pistol-packing member of the NRA right about then, but…oh well.
Her eyes locked with the eyes of the alien creature, and they stayed frozen in position for what seemed like an eternity as they sized each other up and down. The old woman would later swear that at that exact moment she heard the theme song to the western: “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”
The old man’s wife reasoned that it had to be a spider because of its eight legs, but its body was so big that four legs jutted off to the left and four to the right giving it the ability to zig and zag. She also reasoned that she’d only have one shot at destroying this demonic creature before the old man saw it. He’d survived many things, as he had said in the car, but there would be no way he’d survive the sight of this creature. Talk about a widow maker.
The wife positioned the long-shot hornet’s spray at what she hoped was the perfect angle and pressed the button with all her might. It was Armageddon at warp speed! No matter how much she sprayed the goddamn creature, the faster he moved—TOWARDS HER! The creature chased her, she chased him, paint cans crashed to the floor, ladders crashed to the ground, garden tools slammed against the cars, and the garage floor was awash in toxic bug spray. Just as the old woman shot out her last stream of killer spray and was about to faint from the fumes, the massive spider tried to make a run for one of the Costco boxes from whence he had come. “Oh, Hell to the no!” screamed the old woman as she lifted up her leg as high as she could and slammed it down on the massive spider with all her might. She not only stomped on it, but ground it into the pavement a dozen times or so to make sure the execution was complete. The old woman would later swear that she heard the screams of a million Huntsman spider babies descending into Hell. Because that is what the creature was: the biggest Huntsman spider ever, from either Latin or South America that had made the journey across the border in a Costco shipping box to the home of the most arachnophobic man on the planet—just in time for Halloween. THE END
THOUGHT YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW: Although the conversation between the “old man” and the “old woman” are embellished, both spider stories, including the showdown in the garage, actually happened to my husband and me. His arachnid story happened many years ago and was as horrifying as recounted, and my confrontation of the Huntsman spider happened this past weekend after a trip to Costco. To say I lost my shit in the garage over the encounter with the biggest spider I’ve ever seen in my life would be putting it mildly—but to conclude that I’m seriously wondering if our earthly creatures are a new ISIS terrorist strategy, then you wouldn’t be too far off the mark. Also, my husband has refused to wear the murder weapon (his house shoes) ever again—even though I washed them.
Happy Halloween! May God bless you, may God bless these United States of America (and the Earth) by saving and delivering us from the madman in the White House, just as I saved my husband from the attack of the Huntsman spider, before every day in America becomes a “dark and stormy night.”
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE ABOUT SPIDERS
“From everything I can read about Aussie spiders, it seems like all they really like doing is hiding in your house or garden or car until you ‘accidentally’ disturb them – probably by doing something crazy like putting on the shoe they are lurking in – and they can officially bite you to pieces.”—John Niven
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WANT TO HEAR THE AUTHOR’S LATEST INTERVIEW? Check out the podcast interview with Leo Brown: http://breadboxmedia.podbean.com/e/what-if-it-is-true-can-you-find-faith-in-darkness/
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