Well, I have been busy. I've been meeting with a writer's group every couple of weeks to go over Dark Carpentry chapter by chapter.
It's important to have others read and critique you writing. It's not always easy to have someone read your stuff and joining a local group has been humbling yet beneficial.
It teaches you to up your grammar and word choice game. It also forces you to stay on a sort of deadline since eventually the group members are going to get curious about your own work.
Critiquing is a skill in itself, especially when some of the writer's may be a bit more advanced then you. It can be hard to proofread and find mistakes by writers that have a better understanding of grammar and word choice. Eventually, it comes down to how you feel about their content.
My group of writers average 15-20 years older then me and have been doing it a bit longer.
Some have even been published or self published! That's a huge benefit alone to joining a group.
There's so much you can learn by have writers help you that have played the game and can give you great advice about publishing.
To be continued...
Monday, January 16, 2017
Sunday, December 25, 2016
While the overall premise and story is good, I think King could've done major edits here. There's a lot or time spent on things being done at the characters places of work and for some reason a sexual subplot that doesn't really seem to tie in with the main plot of a mad dog. Whenever the story is focused on Cujo and the people around him it's all good but when it strays by going too far into other characters lives it starts to drag, quite a bit. The momentum of the climax gets split up too much with other sideline characters when it needs to focused on what's happening with the lead protagonist.
The imagery and suspense created during the mad dog scenes are top notch though and makes me want to
re-watch the movie.
I like how King wraps up the end though and it can be worth reading/listening to during the Cujo parts that's why I gave it the rating I did.
I also got a kick from the female narrater describing the sexual lewdness and violent gory acts performed in this. She sounded like a school teacher reading for a class of 3rd graders.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
CHAPTER 8HALLOWEEN NIGHT
It was dark outside and swarms of people were grabbing costumes and trying them on right there in the store, a big no-no of store policy.
Somewhere between six and nine o’clock time seemed to slow down. This was the busiest time of the night. John handed plenty of lines from Ghostbusters out to the people. Lots of fake powdery smoke billowing out of his fake cigarette.
Sasha was never sexier with her red headband and leopard spotted bikini top and short skirt. John definitely had his eyes on her most of the night.
As much as he felt immense attraction and love for Laura he couldn’t help but feel lust for his female co-workers and various customers that entered the store, trying on skimpy colorful costumes. Sometimes it felt that his lower body was leading him every which way a short skirt was.
Sasha helped a couple find a male and female police costumes. She suddenly saw something in the corner of her eye. It was gone one minute, then gone the next. She moved around the isle. At first it looked like a man in a jester’s suit smiling, then it was a grinning man in a red devil costume motioning her to come his direction. Waving with his right hand to come towards the back of the store.
She felt somewhat aroused at the gesture and didn’t quite know why. She tried to shake it off as she put a costume in the tween section and dropped another bag on the floor. The devil man kept hooking his finger towards himself. She was mesmerized as she walked with her hips rhythmically moving in a wave motion almost like she was showing off while her enormous breasts bounced.
She peeked her head around the isle and spotted the satanic figure now donning a jester hat. He was drawing her in with his slow finger motion.
She then stretched her arms into the air and shook her hips as she strutted towards the mysterious figure. People seemed to get out of her way as she seemingly danced towards the back of the store. The figure seemed to float past the curtains that led past the boxed room and into the garage.
Right before went through the curtains a hand fell on her shoulder.
Sasha jumped and screamed, suddenly broken from her trance.
“Are you okay?” Andre asked. I called your name a few times, you seem in your own world.”
Sasha combed her long dark brown hair out of her face, somewhat disturbed at his question. “Yes! I’m fine.”
“Okay, just don’t wander off. Gary’s orders. Andre somewhat scolded her.
“I’m just going to ah, check um, check for a gorilla costume.” Said Sasha.
“So you’re gonna take a smoke break?” Andre asked.
“No! I really have to find it.” She scolded.
“I’ll stand guard and make sure no one kidnaps you.” Andre said, half serious.
“Whatever.” She seemed to say mechanically.
Sasha turned, opened the curtain and walked further down the room. No one was there. She smiled and opened the back door to the garage. She tried to open the door but it seemed to be stuck. She jiggled it more and more. Still nothing. She stopped. Frustrated, she laid against the door.
She heard some faint bells jiggling somewhere in the room behind the door, followed by some faint laughter. Sasha smiled and stepped back as the door opened slowly. She entered and the door closed.
* * *
More and more, people poured in. The store was probably at its busiest hour.
* * *
Sasha opened the door to darkness. She switched on the light. The Jester stood down below her, directly in the middle of the store looking up at her.
* * *
As John kept pointing the customers in the proper directions for their costumes his eyes locked once at the brunette, dark complected girl once again. John looked around to see if her mom was around. She was nowhere to be found. He swept in for the flirt kill. Time seemed to slow as she looked at John pretending not to care as she played with her hair. She was suited up in her Cinderella costume legs proudly showing. The blue skirt twirled as her white panties could be seen underneath.
John stepped up with his fake cigarette using his favorite number one ice-breaker. “Can I help you?…find something miss?”
“Um, yeah…can you help me find a basket?” Said the Cinderella girl biting her lower lip.
John felt a complete hinge to grab her ass and legs kissing her immediately. “I don’t think we do but follow me and maybe we can find one.” He smiled.
They walked up and down the isles John knew they didn’t have the basket so he used this time to flirt with her. “So, how does the short skirt Cinderella costume fit?” Asked John. “It’s a little tight.” Cinderella said.
“It looks great tight,” said John.
“Thank you, I like your Ghostbuster outfit.” She said.
“Thank you!” John smiled. “Who you gonna call?”
“I’d love to call you sometime.” Said Cinderella.
Andre spotted the flirting from across the store. He shook his head smiling.
John also spotted Laura walking towards the front of the store. She scanned the wall looking at costumes.
His guilt of flirting with someone else alerted his subconscious.It’s not like they were a couple yet, they hadn’t even properly been on first date, but somewhere in his soul he felt a connection.
“Does this look good on me?” Cinderella said, holding up a black thin lady vampire dress. She smiled and leaned to one side of her hip. John turned as if coming out of a trance.
“Huh?” John’s lust took over his lower body again. “Um, oh yeah. Fits just fine.” He smiled.
“Excuse me just a sec.” John walked over towards Laura.
“Hi!” John smiled at her, she smiled back.
* * *
Andre was cleaning up the floor which was currently covered with plastic bag with numerous costumes inside them. As he picked another one up he saw a costume come flying out of the black dressing room. Andre walked towards
The front of the closed room.
“Please, don’t throw the bags on the ground.” Scolded Andre.
Almost immediately, another bag shot out of the black curtain. A girls laughter was heard.
Andre picked up yet another bagged costume.
He heard more giggling. It sounded familiar this time though. He slowly stood up to witness a silhouette of a familiar girl inside the dressing room with the black doors.
“Jen?” Andre asked. The girl inside looked a lot like Jennifer. Long black hair, dark complexion, her smile shined bright in the dark.
“Jen?” Andre asked, surprised and amazed. Jen moved her index finger towards her face. Inviting Andre in. Andre still in shock over seeing his ex-coworker alive. There was something more though in her eyes that caused him to look into her gaze The pupils of her eyes seemed to turn blood red.
Andre didn’t seem to mind, even with her long fangs protruding from her mouth. She was always cute, he thought as he walked into the dressing room.
* * *
Later that night the crowd seemed to disperse a bit more.
Gary noticed the absent reps. He walked up to Megan who was dressed as a colorful clown with a huge circular waist with a hula-hoop like device causing its roundness. She also donned the big, red, shoes and crimson nose with round hat. The hat had a four leaf clover sticking out of it.
“Megan, um, I need you to watch the front of the store while I go check up on Sasha and Andre.
“Okay,” Megan replied, rolling her eyes. She was already covering the front of the store as it was.
She took a deep breath and backed into the huge zombie statue with arms outstretched behind her. She walked forward slightly relieved.
* * *
It was now late. About eleven-thirty five. Close to the witching hour.
Gary was now starting to panic. Two of his co-workers had gone missing or quit. This made him very nevous. They were now closed. It was hard to get Andre to stop talking and work in general. He checked what remained of the boxes. He opened the back door and peered in the dark garage, he flicked on the lights. Nothing, in fact the garage looked perfectly clean, too clean, as if no one had been in the garage for a few years. Gary’s subconscious was now blowing its horn. He felt a strange feeling. It was as if the store itself was covering someone or something up.
He immediately turned and exited the door, turned right, and walked down the hallway of mirrors.
The door at the end of the hallway was always shut. It didn’t really lead to anywhere. The spare room he heard, had been filled up with broken old pieces of 2x4’s. Ruins of an old office from before the turn of the century. He had heard about it, however, now the rumor seemed to be false because a green light that glowed all around the edges of the door. Gary shook his head assuming Andre and Sasha had been fooling around in there somehow he didn’t have time for it. They were on the clock. He approached the door and opened it.
* * *
Allen was putting away a mask while standing on a ladder. As he put a rubber Batman mask under the Richard Nixon mask, he witnessed the mask shaking. At first he thought it was a effect of the mask. He stared at it as it moved its mouth.
“Allen, I’m not a crook!” Brrr!” It spoke as it jumped off the wall and at Allen’s face.
Allen was absolutely terrified as he fought with the mask. He fell off the ladder and fell, butt first through the glass display case.
The mask wiggled grotesquely on his face like it was feasting. Allen’s body lied still.
* * *
Megan screamed as she witnessed the horrific accident. She sprinted for just a step before she was yanked back by the grotesque zombie statue. It grabbed onto her neck with its left hand and put its right arm around her waist, instantly snapping the green-checkered waist hoop.
She screamed as the zombie continued to hold her.
* * *
John heard Megan from the back of the store shortly after hearing the crash of glass breaking. He could hardly believe what she was seeing. Allen was seemingly knocked unconscious, sitting through the display case and someone in the zombie suit was trying to strangle Megan and bite her neck.
“Megan!” John yelled at her, warning her to stay out of the way. The best he could get out of her was a yelp and a wiggle. John took her wiggle to her right as his small window of opportunity to shoot long, wavy beams of light shot out of his plastic proton gun. Luckily, they hit the zombie directly in the chest. Its body exploded instantly. It’s body pieces scattered into the air. Megan ran and screamed instantaneously. She hugged John. “How did ya do that?”
“I figured since that thing came alive, why not my Ghostbuster proton gun?” Said John.
Megan continued to hug John. Little and big pieces of plastic and styrofoam were spread all over the ground. After a moment they walked over to Allen. He was perfectly still. They thought the worst. He shook violently as John and Megan jumped back. He almost did a perfect back-flip as he landed on his feet. The Richard Nixon mask seemed alive and well as it spasmed on his face. Allen threw both of his hands up. Two peace fingers up in both hands. “I’m not a crook!” Said a high pitched alien voice through a mask. John fired up his proton pack and the humming proceeded the blue, red and yellow light stream directly at the mask.
The mask gave off an unearthly scream and shattered into a hundred small pieces. Allen collapsed backwards and fell unto his hands. He shook his head. “What happened?”
“A mask fell on your head and it did an impression of you.” Said John patting his hand on Allen’s back.
Allen slowly got to his feet,”Thanks, I guess.”
“You alright?” John asked. “You took a bad spill into the glass case. I’m surprised you still have an ass.”
“Yeah, I’m a bit bruised.” Allen replied.
“Where’s Andre?” Allen asked.
“We don’t know,” Gary went to the back to go look for him. Maybe we should look for them too!” John replied.
* * *
Gary gazed into the green light and he became mesmerized. Somewhere in the green mist he thought he saw what resembled the figure of a court jester. He thought maybe a customer had wandered into the back for a minute. The figured seemed to smile. The next thing he remembered was that he was back in the hallway of mirrors again.
He walked down the hallway forgetting why he came there for. He opened the door immediately only to find the same hallway before him. He looked around to double check his surroundings. Maybe he didn’t get enough sleep last night. He jogged to the end of the hallway yet again. The same exact hallway was before him.
This time he could hear the bells from the jester’s hat, followed by faint laughter somewhere in the hallway.
* * *
John moved his head towards the door, “Have you guys tried the hallway yet?” Asked John.
“No.” Allen replied.
John slowly opened the door.
An old decayed body with long hair sat inside the door. It looked like it had been there for many years. It’s face looked up at John and its jaw dropped as if to say thank you. Megan screamed and hugged John.
“Let’s get out of here!” Shouted Allen.
They all headed for the front door. At this point, all of the masks on the wall had come to life, they were mumbling, biting and screaming. The werewolf one growled and snapped at John’s leg as the ran by. Plastic weapons floated in the air and came flying at them. They dodged a few of the flying projectiles. A couple of them stuck into the walls. One stuck into the head of lizard mask, black blood shot out of its head and spurted in the air and floor. Megan, received the the most goo as it shot all over her face with her mouth wide open. They might’ve looked plastic but they now had the sharpness of metal. John quickly looked at Megan, “Geez! It least it could’ve bought you dinner.”
Through the store’s front windows they could see the night sky, now turning blue as it slowly became dawn. Some sunlight was seen reflecting off the bookstore windows across the street. Had they been in the store the whole night? Time had mysteriously sped up for them, they all thought.
The entire store was now shaking as one entity.
“Let’s get outta here!” Said Allen raising his hands and waving them in the air. They made a mad dash for the front double doors. Fake cobwebs and mist from the fog machines filled the store, almost obscuring their vision.
A green glow moved from the back of the store.
John and Allen tried to open the doors but to no avail. The door were locked. Megan screamed as she spotted a humanoid-like form in a jester costume staring at them. It seemed to grin through it’s highly transparent human face revealing a bare skull underneath.
Allen quickly remembered that he locked the doors through the timed security box behind the counter.
“I have to enter the code to unlock it! Plus, we still have to lock up the store!” Said Allen.
“Who cares about locking up the stupid store!” Yelled John. “Let’s just get out of here before we become part of the scenery!”
Allen jumped and slid over part of the display case that wasn’t broken.
“Wow! You’re TJ Hooker!” Shouted John.
Allen narrowly avoided the masks snapping at him. The button chirping sound seemed to reverberate and echo in a unnatural way throughout the store.
The doors finally opened as John and Megan shot through. The wind almost knocked them over.
Allen was still messing with the button controls.
“Allen, c’mon!” Megan Yelled.
“I gotta lock up the store!” Allen replied as the green glow approached him through the mist. Allen finished the final number, launched himself over the display case again, landed and somersaulted onto the floor. John and Megan were surprised at home nimble the sixty something was. He instantly sprung to his feet almost doing a front forward flip like an expert martial artist. As soon as her moved forward green hands shot out of the mist surrounding him. They grabbed his shoulders and pulled him into the mist. All was quit for ten-seconds. John aimed his proton gun at the mist and pulled the plastic trigger. Nothing. It was just a plain old cheap plastic inflatable costume prop.
Sun seemed to fill the interior of the store.
Allen shot out of the last bit of mist before is dissipated. John looked at him in disbelief, “But you were, you jumped out of…”
“Who cares what happened,” let’s get out of here as he waved his hands in the air.
John and Megan were both relieved and shocked that he made it out alive. He quickly shut the doors. They all took a deep breath. No words could express all of their thoughts and feelings. Megan Hugged John but as the sunlight filled the store she screamed in terror as a skeleton with a jester’s hat leaned against the window with its mouth open, almost in a sinister laugh. The bones were fake plastic but still terrifying.
* * *
It was a bright gorgeous sunny day in Burbank.
John had to pick up what would possibly be his last paycheck, but first he had to have a pint of Guinness with Megan and Allen watch Laura play her many breathtaking folk songs.
He watched as her small fingers picked on the chords and followed her melodic Irish voice.
“I don’t know if I trust everything I saw with my eyes. Did it all really happen?” Megan asked John.
“You bet your Irish ass it did.” Said John taking a gulp of beer.
“Well, we’re down four floor reps and a manager so whether we want to admit it or not, it did!” Said Allen, trying to contain his hand gestures.
John put his hands to his face. “Everybody’s gone.” John said.
Laura stopped playing and spoke into the microphone. “Um, this song’s for my tree triends Megan, John and Allen. Tanks for comin, especially you John.” Laura gave a quick wink to John.
John’s sadness was instantly washed away. He smiled and raised his drink. Megan and Allen turned and followed suit.
Her song was sweet with a sense of remorse.
“To our fallen friends,” John raised his glass and clinked it with the both of them. Megan did the same with a slight tear in her eye. “And to my new ones that survived.”
They took bigger gulps then usual and they sat in silence.
* * *
John was really hesitant to enter The Halloween Store once more, even though there was still daylight out.
He paused in front of the door, then took a deep a breath. Exhaling, he opened the door. Andy stood at the counter with a huge grin. The whole store had converted back to a bookstore seemingly overnight.
“Hi John!” Said Andy with a huge smile.
John slowly approached. “Andy…did Allen tell you about last night?” John asked.
“I’m not worried about last night, look at the store now!” Andy continued to smile.
“You should be worried about last night. We almost died!” Said John, almost in disbelief.
“Ah, but you didn’t. You guys made it out just fine which is why I’m promoting you.” Said Andy.
“Um, promoting me?”
“Exactly, oh, I almost forgot, here’s your check. You sold the most costumes, so I threw in a little something extra,” Andy plunked down a king-sized chocolate candy bar on the counter.
John’s check was directly underneath. He quickly snatched the check underneath the bar.
He hesitated for a few brief seconds then grabbed the candy bar as well.
“The assistant manager job’s yours if you want it. How about it? Take a day off or two then come back. Work though next Halloween calling the shots assistant manager style! What do ya say?” Andy then crossed his hairy arms across his chest, still smiling.
John stood for almost thirty seconds contemplating his fateful decision. “You mean to tell me after all those deaths you expect me to work here? I almost died! We almost died!”
Andy answered by staying silent and smiling. That terrible, nasty smile John thought. He knew he needed the work.
John paused a few seconds more. “Ok.”
He turned and walked out of the store. Andy stood with exact same smile on his face then disappeared into thin air
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Gary and Allen rounded up the remaining crew. The sales reps sat next to each other on boxes. Allen had his arms crossed. John, Andre, Megan and Sasha sat Indian style on the floor.
“Look I know we’re only down to four people and Star might’ve just quit on us, but it’s our last night and we’ve got to pull it together as a team today. It’s our big day, which means we have to make sure we have as much product out on the floor as we can out of the boxes, the shelves with costumes in their proper places. If there’s no price on the costume, make sure you check the book for the correct price.
“What happened to Star?” Sasha blurted out.
“Look, I know we’ve lost some good people and we don’t know what fully happened last night. All we can say is that the police are looking into it. We have to finish the job for the rest of the holiday and for the rest of the time this building remains a Halloween Store. We have a job to finish and let’s do it well. John you’ll be in charge of managing the isles. He also deserves a congratulations, he’s sold the most Ghostbuster costumes this year.” Gary clapped.
“Thanks!” John said smiling, “And thanks for the promotion.”
Sasha rolled her eyes.
Gary clapped his hands together. “Right, it’s the biggest night of the year people! Biggest sales year for us. Let’s pull it together despite the losses and setbacks. No one walks the floor without a costume in your hands and let’s have fun. It’s Halloween!”
* * *
Tons of customers poured in through the doors sporadicly.
Gary approached John. “John, can you help Andy? With the rest of the candy and costumes outside? He has a lot to wheel in.”
“Sure, no problem.” John replied. He went outside from the front. He made it a point to stay away from the back portion of the store as much as he could.
He spotted Andy, a short balding man wheeling in boxes, candy bags and water. He looked like a lone food street vendor pulling a blue and green cart down the street.
John walked up to Andy. “Can I help you with that?” Asked John.
“Actually, I think I got it! Thanks.
I appreciate the help...you're John right?
"Yes sir," John replied eagerly.
"I heard you were looking at further employment." Andy said, looking over his right shoulder.
"Why yes sir, I am." Said John.
"Well, I heard you sold a lot of Ghostbuster uniforms."
"Yes sir." John replied.
"Well, keep it up and if you survive tonight heh, we'll see about giving you steady work.
"That would be great sir! I really need the work, I just moved here.” Said John walking along Andy’s side. They entered the front of the store a leaf or two blew with a gust of wind behind it.
Monday, October 24, 2016
THE WALL OF MASKS
(What happened later that night)
THE WALL OF MASKS
(What happened later that night)
Star had been helping girls in the dressing room for most of the day, guarding the black curtain room from various aged boys and men from peeking in.
Later, after John, Megan and Sasha left she found some time to put a few masks away. Looking at the wall of grotesque zombie masks with green and red flesh pimples, deformed teeth and cold silver metallic skull masks. The mask that seemed to stand out to her was an orange brown werewolf mask. It always seemed to be looking her way, grinning with its numerous somewhat broken and sharp teeth. It wasn’t the teeth that gave her waves of fear. It was its eyes. Within its dark pupils were orange spirals. The dark orbs seemed to turn and twist begging you to stare into them so it could jump right at you and rip your throat out.
She always tried to avoid looking at it and looked straight ahead. She swore that all the masks were facing forward just a few seconds ago. Before she turned her back and bent over to pick it up. She turned her head, all of the masks were now looking directly at her rear. She swore a brown happy mask was on the forth row up. Now it seemed to move down below her waist next to her rear. It still had its goofy lusty smile. She jumped around to her feet immediately even though she felt silly for doing it. She faced the masks once again.
Her head was playing tricks on her she thought. She was alone on the main floor. Allen had been taking out the garbage in the back of the store. She stretched her arms and body towards one of the top shelves she felt a nibble on her stomach. She quickly came back down with the costume bag over her stomach. She couldn’t quite process what was tickling or nibbling on her body.
Now the clown mask was looking up at her. Spooked and sensing something was wrong with the wall of masks she turned and started to walk forward. Immediately a red, pimply, rubber-like hand held the back of her head in a place, pulling her hair. As Star was about to scream another rubber hand and arm shot around her mouth. More arms wrapped around her waist and legs holding her in place. They Giggled and growled.
* * *
Allen was taking the freight elevator down in the back room garage. He heaved the heavy garbage bag over his shoulder and into the bin. He thought he heard something scream but maybe it was a car outside the garage. He mosied over to the metal, musty, grate elevator and hit the green button. The elevator slowly raised.
* * *
Star was quickly becoming a star on the wall of masks. The hand had unimaginable strength as they moved her twelve feet against the wall. She wiggled in place, struggling to be free of the hold. She was jerked left and right as more giggling was heard. Underneath all the sick laughter she heard a snarl and roar. She was what made her quiver the most. Various disembodied hands moved her around by the waist, legs and hair. Her screams were muffled as the moving rubber masks and arms fondled her breasts, ass and legs. She was suddenly spun around in circles, dropped upside down with her legs spread open in a Y exposing her white panties and skirt down over her waist.
* * *
Allen felt the inexplicable need to whistle as the huge metal elevator ascended halfway to walking platform.
* * *
Half of Star's clothes were now torn off. Somewhat scraped and bloody. Some of the ghoul and zombie masks bit into her shoulder and legs. A vampire mask bit deep into her neck. After sucking for about ten seconds Star was dropped down onto the floor. She was now very weak after being drained of so much blood. She held her wounded neck as she got to her knees. She heard growling. She turned her head to see the werewolf mask with its orange spiral eyes spinning almost hypnotizing her. The alive mask barked then sprang at her. Her mouth was wide open in shock.
* * *
Screaming-like laughter shot out from Megan and Laura. John and Andre were laughing pretty loud too but it was all in good fun. John had imitated Allen’s voice and arm wave pretty well. Laura handed John a glass of Guinness.“Thank you! You didn’t have to buy me a drink.” He replied grinning.
“Ah, shut up and drink.” She replied.
* * *
Allen finally walked through the back doors. He exhaled as if he’d just ran a sprint. He walked past the boxes and into the back of the main store lobby which was just past the hallway of mirrors.
As he walked into the main lobby he was absolutely horrified. A single bagged costume was about five feet from the wall of masks. How could Star be so careless? He thought to himself. Besides this small crime the store looked immaculate. All of the masks faced front as usual. They were almost perfectly spaced apart, none out of place or lopsided. She had really done a fantastic job he thought. Maybe she had to run off immediately after her closing duty. If so she still was supposed to tell him, it was the protocol. Did she really leave?
“Star?” Allen looked around.
The store was absolutely perfectly quite. No sound outside as well. This quietness seem to give out a bloodcurdling scream to Allen’s subconscious.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
CHAPTER 5THE FOLK SINGER
It was two weeks to go until Halloween and the amount of customers entering the store picked up. Andre kept whacking the newbies on the head with his rubber club as the corny, flute-filled Halloween music played on.
There were also healthy amounts of kids running around the store hitting each other with plastic swords and axes. John yelled at the them. “Hey, slow down! No hitting with the weapons, that’s how they break.”
One of the kids slowed down and John snatched the broken plastic sword away from him. John put the sword back with the other plastic weaponry. “Fifth one in the last three days.”
“We can’t have any more broken weapons gentlemen. They cost twenty to thirty a piece!” Said Gary appearing seemingly out of nowhere.
John instinctively looked to his left and spotted Megan talking to another brunette. She was short, around Megan’s height, milky white complexion. John wasn’t sure if some of it was make-up or her natural skin color. Her long raven-black her touched the top of her shoulders, she was slightly plump in her breasts and rear. As she walked towards the cobwebbed vampire section, he noticed her beautifully round face and smiling pink-red lips.
John wandered off but moved closer to her as he straightened the costumes on the shelf, not really fixing them but trying to straighten them out just for an excuse to be her line of sight.
As they talked, Megan introduced Laura to John.
“I like the suit. I love Ghostbusters!” Said Laura with her Irish inflection.
John smiled a bit, “Thanks, you’re not from around these parts are ya?” Asked John in a southern draw while raising his right eyebrow.
“How’d ya guess?” The smiling black-haired beauty replied.
John pulled a prop cigarette from his front pocket and puffed out the fake smoke away from her face. “Just a feeling, I’m kidding, I’m not from the south. I’m a transplant too, I’m from Michigan, very nice to meet you.”
Laura smiled. John was charmed way before her smile. There definitely weren’t any beautiful Irish girls from his native land. Why would there be? Sure there were plenty of American girls who’s ethnicity was Irish but an honest to God Irish beauty from the county with the accent and all. He never met one, until now.
Yes, the exotic girls from around the world came to Los Angeles. By now John had flirted with Russian women, Australian women and now a Irish woman.
“So what are you doing in LA? John asked.
“I’m a folk singer tryin’ to get picked up by a label.” She said smiling.
“Trust me, you don’t need a major label to pick you up when I can do it for free.” John said with a smile in the corner of his mouth.
Laura giggled and turned as her cheeks swelled red.
“What do ya wanna do after I get out Laura?” Megan walked around the isle towards them.
“I don’t know know, what time do ya get out?” Laura replied.
“At about tree.” Megan responded.
“Um, at about three,” Andre echoed while eavesdropping.
“Shut up Andre! Dat’s the time I get out.
“There’s a great little bar on the corner of San Fernando and Alameda called The Blue Room. “That sounds good! Well, since ya mentioned it, how about ya come?” Laura asked John, lifting her eyebrows with a slight smile.
“Um, yeah. I get out around eight?” John replied.
Andre smiled and smacked John on the arm with his club. “What? You’re not gonna invite me?
Tanks! Tanks a lot!”
“Why do ya have to be so racist towards us Irish girls Andre?” Said Megan.
“Because it’s fun,” Megan smacked Andre on the back of the head. ”Ouch! I am when people replace a plant with a number.” He rubbed the back of his head.
“Alright ladies, eight o’clock it tis.” John replied in his own Irish accent.
Just then, Allen showed up behind them. He shot his hands up in the air, waving them in his usual Nixon-like manor. “Get to work everybody!”
Andre shot into the back of the store. John put his plastic blaster on his shoulder. Laura smiled at him and giggled mouthing. “You better be there.”
John smiled as everybody dispersed. John strutted to the middle of the store, blaster over his shoulder. He took it off to quickly take it off and shot at a white cartoon-like ghost hanging from the ceiling. John smiled then walked down an isle. The ghost spun around.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
The Halloween Store
(c) 2016 Chris Calderon
THE NEXT DAY
The red and blue lights flickered on the cobwebbed pained glass door. Gary and Allen opened the door to greet the officers. John, Andre and the rest of the girls stood inside watching the two managers talk to the men in blue. They looked like two young kids trying to explain where their younger brother or sister went. Allen waved both arms and hands above his head in a Y. This always reminded John and a few others of Richard Nixon when he would put up his arms with two peace signs in both hands. Instead of peace, Allen’s gesture always signaled frustration. The girls whispered to each other wondering who was to blame.
Allen came back into the store and waving his arms once more, “Everybody, get back to work, c’mon!” He tossed out costumes to everyone, “C’mon, let’s get movin’.”
* * *
As it was getting closer to Halloween they gave the reps a chance to promote the store by recieving a free costume to wear while working. It was good for the store because the customers would see how the costumes fit on a real person as opposed to a picture. John wore a Ghostbuster costume. He had been an immense fan of the film ever since he was a kid. He knew just about every line from the comedy. He used this eccentricity to his advantage by always quoting various dialog from the movie. He donned an inflatable proton pack complete with the particle thrower.
Campy Halloween music played on repeat for the rest of the night. Campy kids, Halloween music to Micheal Jackson’s Thriller. To the crew, Thriller was definitely the best some of the bunch.
John put some of the cavemen costumes together. Andre donned a viking horned helmet and nudged John on the shoulder.
“Hey, take a look at those!” Said Andre pointing at Stacy donning a leopard spotted almost-a-bikini top. She also wore a matching headband around her dark black hair. Her brunette hair seemed to frame her huge round breasts. Their gaze fell upon her as she bent forward vacuuming back and forth. Andre chuckled as John continued to watch.
Andre hit him on the head with his squeaky rubber club and laughed. John shook his head and walked around the store.
* * *
More and more people started to file in. John, Andre, Stacy, Star and Jen kept helping the wandering customers. John couldn’t take his eyes off a beautiful brown-haired girl. She stood next to her mom. She was dressed in the popular Cinderella costume. The long curly brown hair fell down to her bare neck. He felt the urge to go and chat her up but the mother was a major obstacle to him.
* * *
Jennifer had to go into the back of the store wearing tons and piles of brown boxes which contained lots of back-up costumes for the front, most of them were not priced yet. Allen told her to check in the piles of boxes for a vampire costume. After opening several boxes and not finding any costume that even came close, she started checking the boxes in the back. She tripped and fell over the mound of brown cubes in the middle.
Soon, she found herself swimming in them. She couldn’t find her balance and footing. The boxes fell on top of her and became heavy almost to her as if they were pushing her down on purpose. Her body was fell towards the floor in a quicksand of large brown boxes. The only thing she could get out of the cardboard was her right hand. She seemed to descend for an absurd thirty seconds. This depth was way beyond the actual store floor. Time seem to slow like Alice falling through the rabbit hole.
As she slowed her hands and legs shot out in an inverted Y. Below her was a very old black wooden coffin. She panted as the door creaked open. There was nothing but darkness. Then a pale, finely clothed man opened his eyes, smiled, showing his long two-inch fangs. Jen screamed in terror.
Outside the mound of boxes just a mere muffle could be heard if someone was near that area.
“I heard you were looking for my clothes.” Said the ghoulish, red-eyed, vampire. Her scream slowly died into a whimper as she stared into his hypnotic eyes. Her mouth stayed open as she slowly descended into the pale man’s arms. His fangs plunged deep into her soft neck and the coffin lid fell over her. The coffin knocked just once at the last bit of struggle. The boxes fell back on top.
Meanwhile, Allen was still getting grief from an impatient customer. “Andre! I need you to check up on Jennifer and see if she found that Dracula costume yet, it’s been about five minutes.” He glanced at his watch.
“Yes sir,” Andre said saluting and smiling at him. He strutted down to the back of the store and to the storage room.
Allen raised his hands in the air and waved his hands. “Hurry up! Got customers waiting!”
Andre turned his head slowly, smiled, walked backwards, turned and kept strutting at his usual pace. When he finally arrived he opened the curtain to reveal the usual mountain of boxes, but to his surprise they had been perfectly stacked on top of each other so that they took up almost half of the room. Only one box remained on the top layer. Flabbergasted at the organization, since he only measured five foot three he took the top box just above his shoulders, and opened it using his box cutter. He saw the word Dracula and instantly snatched the first one without thinking to look at the rest of tge package. He jogged forward just a few seconds then went back into his usual slow strut. “Man, you were so quick!” Said Allen. “Lightning quick! I tell ya.”
Andre only cracked half a smile and held out the bagged plastic costume. The angry woman rapidly grabbed it from his hand. She gave it a glance and quickly slammed it on the counter “forget it!” She snapped and promptly left. Allen picked up the costume, shook his head. “Y’know you might want to read the whole title.” Said Allen as he held and showed Andre the costume. It read, “Bride of Dracula.” He threw the costume on the glass cashier table with plastic vampire teeth memorabilia under it. “Now go put it back were you found it and go get Jennifer. Wherever she is.”
“Right boss,” Andre replied.
* * *
The second time the police showed they thoroughly searched the store from front to back. No trace of blood was found to back room. No trace of blood was found or piece of clothing. They searched throughout the room throwing all the boxes aside only to reveal a regular light blue carpeted floor.
John and Megan watched Gary and Allen talk to the police once again with Gary cross armed and shaking his head while Allen hands predictably shot up into the air again. Megan was dressed as a clown with a huge round waist as big as a trampoline.
The yellow striped pants were followed by huge red shoes. “It’s so weird what’s been happenin’.”
“I know, it’s like their here one minute and then they’re gone.” John said while watching the police officers.
Andre had been looking around trying to stay busy. He grabbed the rejected costume from the glass display desk.
He looked down at the cover and gave a second look.
He walked up to John and Megan and handed them the costume. Megan looked down at it and screamed instantly dropping the plastic package to the ground. John picked it up instantly and turned pale.
The title was The Bride of Dracula. Jennifer pale and with two blood holes in the side of her neck stood in a long black outfit. They thought, either she had a twin as a model or somehow it was her.