My Online Prose Portfolio

"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer


Published in Black Petals Magazine
October, 1998

Trick or Treat

The doorbell rang.

Again.

With a heavy sigh, I grabbed a little Snickers bar, struggled out of the sagging, creaking couch, and shuffled to the front door.

A miserable little puke dressed in a Power Rangers costume thrust his candy bag at me. “Trick or treat!”

I looked around. No parent was waiting on the sidewalk. Figured. “How old are you, kid?”

“Twelve,” he replied. “Give me candy, old man. You remember what happened last year, don’t you?”

I nodded and tossed the candy bar into his bag. “Now get lost.”

“Wow, one whole piece. You suck, Bricker.” He skipped away to beg at the next house.

Twelve years old and using words like ‘suck.’ I shook my head, closed the door, returned to my comfortable couch, focused again on the movie and-

The doorbell rang.

Again.

I hated Halloween.

I pushed off the couch, snagged a Snickers, and staggered to the front door.

This time, a prissy little snot dressed like a ballerina was loitering on my front porch. She shoved her candy bag into my face. “Gimme!”

I sighed and dropped the Snickers into her bulging bag. “Eat too much candy and you’ll get fat.”

“How’s your puppy dog doing, Bricker?” She smirked and tip-toed away.

Wasn’t I great with kids?

I closed the door and fled toward the couch.

The doorbell rang.

Again.

I opened the door. “Let me guess.”

A scruffy little punk nodded his mummy-wrapped head. “Candy,” it grunted.

“Hold on.” I closed the door, walked back to the coffee table, got a Snickers, walked back to the front door and opened it. “Here, you greedy little zit.”

“Go die.” The cretin turned and slouched toward the next house.

I closed the door and parked it on the couch.

Why didn’t I just turn off the porch light and refuse to answer the door? I had tried that last year. The next morning, my entire lawn – shrubs, trees, and rose bushes – was doused, caked, and plastered with mounds of ketchup and mustard-soaked toilet paper. My car had been buried under an avalanche of shaving cream so thick I couldn’t even see the rough outline of the vehicle, just an humongous gob of white goo. Hanging from my front porch had been the gutted, disemboweled carcass of Danny, a golden retriever who had been my sole companion for ten years. A hockey mask had been nailed to his skull.

So I had learned my lesson. I had also started saving my pennies so I could move across town and escape this neighborhood filled with evil little slimeballs masquerading as children.

The doorbell rang.

Again.

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