Trick and Treat

My cat, Jacoby, ran into my cute neighbor's yard while I was mowing my front lawn. As I started to walk over to retrieve him and apologize, I saw Cute-Neighbor kick my cat. At that point, there was only one thing to be done: run across the street and punch him in the face.

Well, it was more his mouth, really. And I did feel a pang of guilt when he spat out a tooth, but mostly I was just surprised. I was from a small, small, small, small town in South Carolina- and no one there was very tough. The closest I'd ever come to punching anyone was when my younger brother stole my last French fry. I was eleven at the time.

So excuse me if I started laughing in surprise that I'd knocked out his tooth. It was an accomplishment! He looked at me with 'I'm going to eat your entrails' written all over his face, so I picked Jacoby up and darted back across the street, leaving my lawn mower outside. I wanted to keep my entrails (although I wasn't quite sure what they were, where they were, or what they did- they're just the sort of thing you want to keep), so I stayed inside and watched Will and Grace reruns for the rest of my Saturday. It was thrilling.

When I peeked out the window Sunday morning, my lawn mower seemed to have walked across the street and sat itself down on Cute-Neighbor's lawn, which was looking suspiciously neat. Neater than it had been yesterday, definitely. And when you steal someone's lawn mower, it's not like you go into the garage to get your own, and leave the stolen lawn mower to watch. Your lawn mower isn't the other mower's slave, dammit! You use the stolen one! I felt my face heat up with rage. I marched outside and found a paper on my porch. It said, "I dare you to TRY."

Well. That's scary. But apparently I could knock people's teeth out, so I started to head across the street, cautiously. When I was about to step onto the path up to his porch, the door flew open. There he stood, looking furious. Oh my. I froze with my foot in the air.

"You put one foot on my property, Cowboy, and I swear to the heavens above that I will hold you upside down and shake you until all the money to pay my dentist's bill falls out of your pockets. The lawn mower pays for about half of it. Thank you come again." The door shut.

Did I march up to the door, ring the bell, and punch him in the head again? No. Did I take my lawn mower back? No. Did I display any signs on masculinity at all? Nope. I ran across the street as fast as my too-skinny legs would take me.


Hi, I'm Treat. It's my real name, and I used to hate it, but now I don't. So don't make fun of it or I'll knock one of your front teeth out. I'm twenty-two. I moved to Oregon to go to college, and I liked it here, so I stayed. Yep. No deep thought processes there. I live with a cat. I would say I 'have' a cat, but I don't think that's entirely accurate. Jacoby certainly seems to think that he has me, not the other way around, and he's kinda right, so I don't disagree with him. (Ever.) I have my own house, and up until recently I had a lawn mower. Unfortunately, it was stolen by my cat-kicking, name-calling, baby-eating neighbor. Well, maybe he doesn't eat babies, but I haven't seen his kitchen.

After kicking Jacoby and stealing Stella (the aforementioned lawn mower), he seemingly made it his mission to make my life weird. It's like he never leaves his house. He put letters in my mailbox that said things like, 'My new lawn mower works great!' and 'My fake tooth didn't cost as much as I thought it would. You still owe me two hundred on top of the mower, though.' I was getting seriously creeped out after this had been going on for a month and a half- most people get over a punch in that amount of time. Not Cute-Neighbor. He wasn't letting it go.

A friend of mine from college came over one day. As she was petting Jacoby on the living room sofa, she looked across the street to see CN (as I had come to call him) getting into his car.

"DUDE!" she cried, startling my poor cat. "That guy is HOT! Oh, hey, I work with him! He's REALLY hot!"

"That's... nice, Becca."

"Are you jealous? Oh, don't worry, Treat, you're still my number-one lover."

"He's a creeper."

"He's a bit odd, yes. Do you know him, too?"

"Not really. But he kicked my cat and stole my lawn mower! And he leaves it on his porch! So I can see it! He's torturing me, Becca! I want Stella back!"

"Then why don't you go get her? Save the damsel in distress?" she looked at me, wide-eyed. Becca was a glamorous-artsy type; she had fake nails and smoked cigarettes and she never, ever questioned how weird anything was. Not even someone naming their lawn mower.

"Well... After he kicked Jacoby, I kind of... knocked one of his teeth out. And then I ran away. So he stole my lawn mower, and when I tried to get her back, he threatened me!"

"He's kinda skinny, Treat. It's not like he could beat you up. I think you're just intimidated by his astonishing good looks."


"Think about it. Tall, slender, shaggy hair, dusky eyes, fantastic fashion sense, did you see that scarf he was wearing just now?"

"I have actually noticed that. But I'm more afraid of him EATING ME ALIVE."

"Oh, please. Trick couldn't hurt a fly." She waved her hand dismissively.

Oh. My. God. "What did you say his name was?!"

"Trick? Oh, that's not his real name, his real name's Johnny. I just call him that because he's the only person I've ever known to actually use the phrase 'turn a trick'... Wait." She thought for a moment, and started laughing.

I covered my face in my hands. Nooooooo. CN's name can't be Trick! That would make us the cutest couple ever! Argh. This can't be happening!

"Stop your hysterics, woman! This is serious! I need help!" She stopped laughing, and looked at me, her face practically a question mark. She's a curious person. "He keeps putting stuff in my mail box! Saying I owe him money for his teeth! He could be part of the PORTLAND MOB or something!"

"Like I said, he's not going to do anything to you-"

"He's after my entrails, Becca! My entrails!" I need to expand my vocabulary in that area; 'entrails' isn't a very appealing word. I used to have a thesaurus somewhere, but I don't know where it is. I don't think I ever opened it, either.

"Honey pie," she said soothingly, still petting Jacoby. "I think you need to take a long, warm bath, listen to some Keane, their new album is very good, eat some chocolate, and chill."

"Tom Chaplin's angelic vocals will not save me now, Becca! It's past that point!"

She rolled her eyes.


The letters stopped coming for a while. However, Treat still had my Stella, and my lawn was getting out of hand. I was very resentful, and I refused to buy a new one.

My next direct encounter with him was when I was putting up my Halloween decorations. Call me a nerd, but I love Halloween. I give out candy and decorate, although I don't dress up anymore. (Senior year, Becca and I had dressed up as Raggedy Ann and Andy- I was Ann, she was Andy- and after we got absolutely HAMMERED drunk, the thought of wearing one of those stupid polyester things made me feel a bit queasy indide.)

I think he saw I was outside and decided to anger me. While I was carefully arranging the witch on her broom on the tree in my yard, the iridescent, flimsy fabric of her dress making things difficult, he came out and mowed his lawn. With Stella. I thought my head might explode. I ignored him, though. Becca's opinion aside, he scared me. Once he'd put my poor Stella back on his porch, he sat down on the curb and watched me, looking very pleased with himself. I continued ignoring him, although by this point I was feeling the extreme-creepy you feel while watching the murderer in a horror movie sneak up on the terrified cheerleader.

It was while I was hanging the felt-and-tinsel spider on the awning above my porch that he spoke. "Hey, Emorexia," he called. "You're putting a little too much effort into this decorating thing. It'd been an hour since you started."

"How do you know that, Creeper?" I called over my shoulder.

"I can see you out my window. Hey, know what? Your dedication has inspired me. I'm gonna put up my Halloween shit too." He walked inside his house, and a moment later I heard the garage door opening. He came out and started putting up his stuff.

"Betcha when I'm done, my house will look even better than yours," he called cheerfully.

"Oh, HELL no!" I yelled, only realizing how gay it sounded after it came out of my mouth. "Mine's better! By default! Because I live here and I don't stalk people! So you should just give up the ghost now!"

"Not a chance," he sang. I looked at my house. All my decorations were up, and they looked great, but I needed more. His house wouldn't be better than mine as long as I had breath in my body! I hopped into my Toyota Camry and drove to the Spirit store.

I stayed there for like an hour. I love it there. I like to look at the wide variety of women's costumes (skanky devil, skanky angel, skanky nurse, skanky punk, Madonna ((the 'skank' is assumed)), skanky vampire, skanky Strawberry Shortcake, etc.) and the men's costumes (cow, woman, and Spiderman). I even like the freaky masks. I spent about fifteen minutes in this novelty barrel, trying on Groucho glasses and eye patches, looking at pumpkin-shaped cookie cutters, examining a kaleidoscope that made pumpkin shapes, and trying the retractable fake knives. By the time I remembered to get stuff for my yard, I had to rush. I got like eight gravestones with horrible puns on them, a crystal ball with a green face for the table on my porch, five tiny skeletons to hang from my tree, and a bunch of fake webs to put around my door. I figured that would be enough. I spent more money right then than I usually spent on a week's worth of groceries, but I figured it was worth it. I hadn't counted up the price while I'd been shopping; I was no good at arithmetic, and it's not like it would have stopped me from buying everything in sight. Now it was a bit disheartening, but I ignored it.

I drove home and found Trick/Johnny drinking Peppermint Schnapps on his porch. What a manly drink. I didn't acknowledge him, and I started putting up my new stuff. When I was done, I turned to him and stuck out my tongue.

"My house's still better," he called, giggling a little. Guess he was buzzed.

"You only said that because right now you're feeling very small inside!" I retorted. "And I won't lie, I would, too, if I was you and my house looked this good! That's right! Drink away the misery of defeat!"


What ensued can only be described as a Decoration War. We were both regulars at the Spirit Store, and the employees started to laugh whenever they saw one of us. My house looked like a giant Tim Burton gingerbread house; his looked like a classic haunted mansion-type thing. By the time Halloween actually came around, I'd overheard some of our neighbors placing bets on which one of us would have spent the most money on decorating. At about noon, we were both outside, admiring my handiwork. Yes, MY handiwork. He came and stood next to me. It was scary. I was scared. And stuff. But not really. He is REALLY cute.

"Alright, I admit it," he sighed. "Yours is better. The seven-foot cardboard cutout of Jack Skellington really does it, I think."

"Well, thank you, Trick," I smirked.

"You're welcome. Do you want a prize?"

"Yes! My lawn mower! My Stella!" I cried, leaping at the chance. He rolled his dusky eyes and walked to his porch. He rolled her over to my lawn, and I practically exploded with excitement.

"Oh, Stella! ImissedyousomuchdidthemeanmanhurtyouohmyGAWDisthatascratchyoufiend!"

"You named... your lawn mower. Huh. And that scratch was there when I took it. You should be glad I gave it back!"

Oh, heck. He deserves some gratitude. I flung my arms around him in a hug, which revealed that I am in fact an elf, as my forehead almost hit his nose. And then we were kissing. I'm not entirely sure how that happens, but at the time I wasn't really considering it. In fact, my exact thoughts were, "mmppphhhhhhmmmmm."

"Yeah, um, okay," I said. "That works for me. I think I might be okay with it. Maybe. Perhaps."

"Well, you work that out. I'm going to buy candy so that all the trick-or-treaters," he snickered, "who expect greatness due to my fantastic decorating, don't eat me alive."

"Since I've already bought my candy, perhaps I could have another prize."

"Oh, but I can't kiss you again now! Not in front of Stella!"

"Shut up or I'll punch you..."


So. There it is. Ughhhh. It's kind of an epic PHAIL, but at least I tried! A for effort. Or maybe, C for effort. If I'm lucky...

Well, review anyway! Try to keep it nice, folks. I'll go on a downward spiral of depression if you don't. :P