Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Ghoulish Hallowe'en
This post is chillingly dedicated to Dinah's friend T.M. in Toronto.

I decided to go out tonight as a salami. Hope you don't have a beef with that. I decided I needed a change from being, for example, a witch. Last Hallowe'en I went out as a witch and -- well, let's just say the evening was somewhat disastrous. You can read about it in my adventure, The Man in the Moonstone.

Anyhow, I'd had the salami-costume idea for a while, because I'm a singing salami on the radio. In commercials, I belt out tunes for Sol's Salami on W. 4th:

You'd have to be balmy
Not to love Sol's salami ...

That's the latest jingle. Sol writes 'em himself. I think he was in kind of a bad mood when he wrote that one. Oh, well. The jingle stuck in my head, so I decided a salami I would be.

It was almost the witching hour, or the trick or treating one, anyway, and I was swathed in a brown comforter with yellow scarves pinned along it. Mustard on a salami, get it? Plus, Madge had artistically twisted a brown scarf and sewed it to the top of a sunhat. When I put the hat-with-scarf on my head, it was supposed to be twisty-looking end of a salami. And she'd dangled a large price tag from the scarf. Pretty cool. And ... to make the costume even more effective, I was carrying a particularly garlicky salami in my treat bag. To give off an unforgettable aroma, if you smell what I mean.

Off I waddled on this moonless night, along with my buddies Pantelli and Talbot. Talbot started telling us the history of Hallowe'en. Talbot's into history the way I'm into -- well, the way I'm into Reese's Pieces, you might say.

"About 2,000 years ago, in Ireland, the Celts started their New Year November first," Talbot said, as we headed up the path to the Dubuques' house. "The Celts believed that on New Year's Eve, the dead came back. Sort of like a rerun. I mean, you think you've seen the last of Great-Aunt Hattie, and here she is again, though maybe without all of her flesh."

Pantelli and I laughed enjoyably at this image, though a little girl walking behind us with her dad burst into screams. I have to say this about Talbot: he really makes history come dead.

His costume was fun, too: he was the Headless Horseman from the story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving. Talbot wore an elongated collar painted a lovely rich shade of blood-red; his eyes peered out from holes in the collar.

Pantelli was, as usual, a tree. Pantelli's really into trees.

We reached the Dubuques' front door. Weird. No fake fog wisps attached to the door, no fake skeleton hanging from the outside light. Mrs. Dubuque was usually so into seasonal decorations, too.

Then Mr. Dubuque opened the door, snarled at us, and tossed a lone peanut into each of our bags. Whoa. His wife always shelled out tons of goodies. And remembered that I liked Reese's Pieces.

"Where's Mrs. D.?" I demanded. Maybe she was running a bit late this Hallowe'en.
"Gone," he barked -- and slammed the door.

Maybe it was Talbot's Headless Horseman, or the weird whooo-ing noises other kids were making on the sidewalk. But I thought of the way Mr. Dubuque had said "Gone," and of the strange digging he'd been doing lately, and --

I wondered if he meant that Mrs. Dubuque was gone ... for good.

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