The wind blew cold that Halloween night. As I stood alone on my stump, I began to hear ghostly murmurs wafting from the junior high school. I thought it must be all of the souls that had been sucked out of their bodies by the terrible place. (It turned out to be some punks with spray cans and bad spelling skills.)
One by one, my disciples materialized out of the darkness and slid through the trees towards me. It was very Blair Witch of them. Sammy led the line dressed as King David, wearing nothing but a plastic crown and a white sheet draped in toga fashion. His pale, scrawny Jew legs stuck out the bottom like toothpicks sticking out of a used tissue. That's basically what he looked like.
"Nice turban," he said. "Who are you supposed to be?"
Eager to answer that question all night, I treated him to a particularly manic grin.
Sammy didn't respond. He was shell-shocked. But if he did say anything, I guessed the first words out of his mouth would be 'Oy vey'.
Mabel Ogden followed in a full suit of armor, and not the cheap kind, either. Parts of it were made of actual metal. I envied her meaty allowance. She yanked off her helmet and shook her ponytailed head.
"Jesus, it's sweaty in there."
"And who might you be, fair maiden?" I said with a smirk. 'Fair' and 'maiden' were titles reserved for frillier women.
"Joan of Arc." She hawked and spat. "What's it to ya?"
If anyone ever tried to burn Mabel at the stake, the fire would probably shrink into an ember, whimper like a puppy and disappear.
Then came the Lockhart sisters. Linda was dressed as an angel and her older sister as a devil. Typical, slutty Halloween costumes. I rolled my eyes.
"Is that really the best you could do?"
Linda just blushed, stealing a glance in Sammy's direction. She twirled around, giving her feathered wings a shake. The boy looked like he'd just downed some Red Bull and sprouted wings himself, giving an all new meaning to "touched by an angel". Lana, on the other hand, managed to surprise me.
"Hold your tongue before I rip it out by the root, mortal slave!" she shrieked. "You shall all kneel before the Prince of Darkness."
"Ozzy Osbourne?" Mabel chimed in.
"No, silly. Satan."
With all of those beautiful women around me, I was getting a little anxious. Where was my Jane? I didn't want to start my stump speech without her.
Finally, after pacing around a very small circle, she turned up...on the arm of another man! I hoped I was just seeing double from the dizziness. I didn't want to believe my eyes. But then he spoke, and I had to believe my ears. Also my nose, which detected a trace of marijuana on him.
"Todd, dude, how's it hangin'?" he said, fearlessly sauntering up to me and shaking my hand. He was dressed as none other but Jesus Christ. I supposed, once you already looked like a long-haired, hippie stoner, there wasn't much to do but throw on a nightgown and some sandals. I wanted to laugh at the observation, but the tightness in my stomach wouldn't let me.
"It's...it's hangin', alright."
All I could dwell on was how I had shot myself in the foot by staying away from Jane too long. Now she was all over Shaggy there, and what's more, she didn't even have the decency to show up in costume. She was wearing her usual Awesomeist attire. Just a bathrobe, sombrero and sunglasses.
She walked into my sphere of angst as if she'd done nothing wrong, and asked, very sweetly,
"What do you think?"
"What do I think?" I spluttered, my anger getting the best of me. Jane looked hurt and confused. "What did you expect me to think? You're not even trying to hide it!"
"Well, no," she said, gaining bite to her tone. "Why should I?"
By now Jesus had backed off and everyone else was pretending there was nothing going on. Standard protocol for couples' spats. They turned to chatter amongst themselves.
"Who the hell is this loser, anyway?" I barked, pointing an accusatory finger at the intruder. Jane balled her fists. If I had been in a state of reason, I would have taken this as a sign not to push her further.
"This 'loser' is a bloody good mate of mine, so I wish you wouldn't call him that. His name's Pothead Ted. He's new to the fold."
"Ted, huh? Sounds an awful lot like Todd," I snarled. "I guess we're all interchangeable to you."
"Oh, so I'm not allowed to have friends now?" She raised her fists. I was dead certain she was going to knock my lights out until her anger reached its peak and dissolved into moody disappointment. She clawed at her own forehead and groaned. "This is unbelievable, Todd. Way to ruin the funnest night of the year."
She threw her sacred sombrero at the base of the stump and stormed off. Her sister pierced me with a look of a thousand pointy spears, a look that said "I've got unfinished business with you in an abandoned warehouse on the bad side of town", before trotting after her. Jesus, or Ted, was busy counting stars and humming to himself. He didn't go with them.
It was only then, too late, that I realized, Jane wasn't having an affair with that burnout. What an absurd, retarded idea. Jane hadn't been disloyal at all! Quite the opposite, in fact. I had told her to come dressed as her favorite religious leader, and she had come dressed as...me.
I hopped down from the stump, picked up the sombrero and dusted it off with a sigh.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, everybody, but I've got damage control to run."