This is my favorite time of year.
Cooler weather. Great movie releases. Baked apples, cinnamon sticks, carving pumpkins, hot buttered rum and freakishly scary shit for 30 days straight!
Halloween is my favorite holiday.
My bucket list includes working at a haunted house.
Scaring the shit out of people.
I’m not fussy. I’ll hide in boxes, behind doors, leap out of trash cans, grab your leg from under the bed or drop from the top of the fridge…just let me scare the pants off you.
I dress up as the same thing every year. Wanna guess what it is?
Wood nymph with wings?
Sexy Bond Girl?
Naughty French Maid?
Vampire? Flapper? Nurse? Cave girl? Marilyn Monroe?
No. No. No. No. No.
I always dress up as the same thing: a dead person.
Dirty, grungy clothing, pale and bloody face. Matted hair — sometimes long and sometimes short. Vacant stare. I love playing the creepy dead girl with bleeding wounds and oozing flesh. LOVE IT!
When I moved to Florida, honestly, one of the first things I did was search about a job at a haunted house. Granted people I spoke to were like….the local ones aren’t REALLY good haunted houses….you need to go to Orlando for those. That’s okay, compared to what we had back in Juneau, Alaska – the local houses here are going to be AWESOME!
Lucky for me, there is a haunted house right up the road from our house. However, unlike the weekend run in Juneau for the haunted house, this one operates for over a month – multiple nights during the week. Not to mention it stays open long enough for the Vampires to get in a full 8 hours of frightening work before turning in for the morning. True. These hours didn’t work for me and my serious adult job.
Not to worry – I will get to work in a haunted mansion at some point in my career. I simply must. How do I know this? No is not an option.
Eric and I spent the most amazing Halloween in Salem, MA a few years back.
With 60,000 of our closest friends.
It was unreal and oddly enough, even though I hate crowds, we can’t wait to go back. It starts first thing in the morning and goes until late at night. The costumes are astonishing. WOW. Live bands out on the streets, haunted houses, ghost walks and so much more. Helicopters overhead and police everywhere: on horses, bikes, feet and those two-wheeler things…
That same year we also stayed at the Lizzie Borden house – and sat on the couch where she gave her dad 41 whacks with the ax. Twisted. Haunted walks and ghost adventures – sign me up!
Historically, we decorate our house and our garage to scare the neighborhood kids on Halloween. Nothing makes us happier than to hear someone say, “You guys have the best house!” Rock on – turn up the fog machine and que the clanging chains and moaning beasts.
This is my favorite time of year.
However, some frightful things, which shouldn’t necessarily be so frightful scare the living bejeezits out of me.
Every morning is routine for me. You know the main character on the show: The Big Bang Theory? Sheldon Cooper? Yeah, well guess what? I have Sheldon moments. No, I am not going to bore you with the details about the latest research on how Matrix mechanics are being called the first conceptually autonomous and logically consistent formulation of quantum mechanics. Did you know it extended the Bohr Model by describing how the quantum jumps occur? Seriously, I’m not kidding. It’s hard to believe but, it did so by interpreting the physical properties of particles as matrices that evolve in time. Think of it, as being equivalent to the Schrödinger wave formulation of quantum mechanics as well as being the basis of Dirac’s bra-ket notation for the wave function.
Are you kidding, me? I have no idea what the hell any of that means. How many of you just read that twice? I’m more like Penny – duh. Blah, blah, blah chicken.
However, every morning it’s the same.
Prior to the front door being painted a lovely shade of river mud brown, it wasn’t uncommon for me to open the front door and have a lizard stuck to it or the molding – waiting to dash inside. Okay, whatever just don’t harass the cat!
Every morning I open the door and check the door.
Check the welcome mat for creepy crawlers a.k.a. “beetles” which in regular non-dreamer terms means ROACH.
I scan the first landing and if all looks clear, I proceed outside. Lock the door and scan the second landing and two steps. If all clear, proceed to car.
Today I open the door to depart for work at 7:15AM.
I approach the top of the first of two steps and look down to the next landing. There’s a “beetle” on it’s back. Dead.
That’s right you MOFO – you better be on your back! Dead. Legs curled in and dead like a crispy little leaf off a tree. That’s why we exterminate your ass.
D. E. A. D.
Regardless, I still give it a wide berth – respect for the newly departed and all. I make a giant left bank to avoid the carcass. Suddenly as I am passing by the high noon mark on the lifeless shell it suddenly flips over and starts to run.
My heart rate goes from a calm 60 bpm to nearly 175 bpm as I nearly climb the 100 foot palm tree in an effort to get out of this thing’s way. I’m slightly dumbfounded at what is happening. It was dead. On it’s back. Maybe I’m imagining this. I didn’t sleep well and I didn’t get to juice my fresh fruits and veggies. Maybe it’s a hallucination. I pause and turn around.
This beetle, I kid you not, is as big as my thumb.
In length and width.
It’s antenna where so big, they were only good for two things:
1. Being used as a car jack. Need to change your tire? No troubles, let me get my thumb size roach out one moment please. Just call him Arnold: “I’ll be baacck.”
2. Bringing in Radio Tokyo with perfect clarity.
And it’s running! With 12 pairs of the latest Nike Air shoes on – I swear.
I’ve never seen a beetle this enormous except for those you see in Natural History Museums to explain about the prehistoric creatures and what scientists unearthed in long forgotten caves under the earth’s crusty surface.
Not only was it wearing the latest Nikes but it had a matching head band to keep the sweat out of it’s eyes and an iPod tucked into it’s right wing shield.
Not only do they play dead. They fly. When I realized this I nearly broke the windshield trying to get into Norman as I was certain it was making it’s way towards me.
I feel faint. Turn the air on. Put the seat back. Head between my knees. OMG it nearly killed me.
………………8 hours later……………
I arrive back to the scene of the crime.
No pools of blood and gore on the landing, no half eaten chickens in the yard. The beast must have gotten away.
I get out of the car and immediately start stomping my feet. There I am in my dress and end of day ballet flats (yeah, well you try wearing heels for 8 hours and see what your feet tell you.) Anyone looking out their windows would have thought I was doing some sort of Indian Rain Dance minus the ornate Shaman staff and speaking in tongues.
I walk back to the trunk and then it happens. Noises. I hear a noise in the shrubs.
Sweet Jesus it’s back!
What do I do?
Stomp harder, hopping one foot to the other, all the while muttering: fuck, fuck, fuck.
I slam the trunk shut and stomp and dance my way up to the front door, eyeballing every dead leaf to make sure it’s actually a dead leaf and not a beetle playing dead.
This is ridiculous, however when you’re dealing with a beetle that is big enough to feed a starving family for 2 days, and comes with it’s own saddle, spurs and lasso, you have to take precautions.
I get inside the house, slam the door and peer out the peep hole.
Only then do I realize the rustling in the shrubbery was nothing other than a stupid ass squirrel.
I thought it had me.