I’ve been at the neighborhood Halloween Party all night, so to heck with this.

Well, not entirely to heck with it. I had a great time – in fact I’m typing this between shifts, as I have to go back and help clean up. I hope other menfolk are likewise motivated.  Success has a thousand fathers; successful parties have one or two. Hard to type, though; hands seem to be inert flesh-wands, thanks to the cold. It wasn’t as bad as last year; there was a fierce chill in the air that made people huddle around the fires and take big slurps of Tangletown chili. As usual, there were three varieties – a mild white chili for the timid, a medium strength with a tomato flavor, and the classic bore-a-hole-in-your-innards variety made with Alien’s blood.

(G)Nat had a great time, but just said that she has to wait a whole year for it to come again. Ah to be young, when the interval of a year seems like a century – on the other hand, just because it seems like last year was last month, it doesn’t mean that every day wasn’t the usual ration with the usual rhythm. Even if it feels as if the boulder’s rolling faster down the hill, it still makes complete revolutions. He said, hopefully, putting a good spin on it all. Anyway, she had a great time – the neighbors have a big rope swing hanging from a tall tall tree, and all the kids took turns launching themselves into the shadows, high above the lights of the party down the hill. Happy, lucky, laughing kids.

I kept a close ear on the music, which I chose, and kept clicking through the obvious duds. Must have played “Do the Lurch” six times. No one gets tired of Lurch. Everyone loves Lurch.

Okay, I have to go back and help clean up; back in a while.

Back. Took longer than expected, mainly because the party wasn’t over. You can’t just walk over, note that the invitation said the party ended at 9:01 PM, and start knocking down tables. The adults were still sitting around the fires, and a few kids were scampering in the shadows; the pumpkins were still burning on the steps, and the inflatable Sam’s Club Haunted House was still issuing moans and shrieks from its hidden microchip. Well, take a seat at the fire, and talk to your neighbors. I decided that the night should last forever, if we all had our druthers, but druthers are hard to come by on weekends. But we could probably manage a druther between the lot of us.

It finally wound down, and we struck the set. I mean, the set: one of the neighbors is a movie electrician, and had lit the triangle with supplies I swore came from the East German Berlin Wall Guard Going-out-of-Business sale. It’s good to have a neighbor who can produce 16-outlet power strips on demand. I pocketed my Ipod, which was the signal for PAR=TAY music to be played, since  Halloween was now truly done and we could get back to the serious business of CLASSIC RAWK. 

When it was done I walked back up the street to Jasperwood. I had a small light in my pocket that made ghastly moans when the motion sensor was activated, one of those cheap Chinese devices that probably broadcasts lead through sound waves. It turned itself on as I walked home, and a thin weird howl came from my pocket. There’s always a moment on Halloween when you get a faint fast flash of what it was like to be six on the spooookiest of nights, when the dark and the breeze and the sudden silence – followed by a crowd of leaves fleeing down the street – reminds you what it was like, how delicious it felt to laugh at the things you feared. Even if you didn’t really fear them. Even if you didn’t know just what it was you feared.

Earlier that night I’d returned to the house to get something; (G)Nat and her friend had come back with my wife, and were just leaving. I heard them heading towards the gate, and hid in the shadows. Then I leaped out and screamed. They screamed and leaped up.

But they weren’t scared, they said quickly. They weren’t scared at all.

Now I’m going to watch a bad old 1930s horror movie I TiVo’d, because I ended up in a Halloween mood.  The Bleatchat will return, but I’ve had to disable it for a while – it made my browser consume 100 percent of my CPU periodically, which is bad for doing other things. I’ll get to some questions tomorrow.

See you at buzz.mn. And if you don't mind: buy the book. Please? Thanks!