Monthly Archives: October 2012

A Pirate Raccoon, The Halloween Story – 2012

A Pirate Raccoon

Part 1

No. 216

October 11, 2012

“I don’t want to wear it,” said Riley
His mom turned from the bowl of candy she was preparing. “You don’t want to wear the dinosaur costume I made for you?”
“Nope,” said Riley with his arms crossed firmly.
Mom sighed. “I spent a month on this. Why didn’t you tell me that you didn’t like it before?”
Riley shrugged. “Dunno.”
“What do you want, then?”
Riley didn’t hesitate to answer. “I want to be a pirate raccoon,” he said with a decided finality.
“What?”
“A pirate raccoon.”
Mom’s perplexed look turned into something more annoyed. “You’ve already got a costume and I don’t even know what a pirate raccoon is.” She picked up the unwanted suit and examined it. Perhaps she could solve this problem.
She softened her stance. “I guess I can turn it into a lizard, or if I work really fast, maybe a turtle.”
“Pirate raccoon,” Riley demanded, stamping his feet for emphasis.
This was when Mom made her stand. “That’s just not going to happen. Come on, if we’re going to go out tonight you’re going to have to choose something I can make. Or be a tyrannosaurus. You’ve got two minutes to make up your mind or nobody goes trick-or-treating.”
Part 2

No. 230

October 31, 2012

Riley hit the floor and went limp in protest.
“Fine,” said Mom. “If that’s how you’re going to act, I’ll leave without you. I won’t share my candy, either.”
One of Riley’s eyes opened.
Mom threw on her coat and stepped toward the door.
Riley’s other eye opened. They were both very wide, now, but he didn’t get up yet. Maybe there was still a chance his mom was bluffing.
She on her boots and put her hand on the doorknob. “Goodnight, Riley,” she said as she began to turn it.
Riley recovered quickly. “I can be a dinosaur,” he said, his demeanor suddenly cheery.  
“Good,” said Mom. “Because that’s the costume you’ve got.”
She helped her son into the green jumpsuit, complete with stuffed head and tail. His face peered out from behind large, felt teeth. “I’m ready,” he declared.
“Are you sure?” Mom asked him. “You aren’t forgetting anything? Maybe your treat-bag?”
“Oh yeah!” he exclaimed.
“Here you go,” said Mom as she handed it over.
Riley was all set to go out and seemed to have forgotten that he hadn’t wanted to be a t-rex. Now he waited impatiently in the entry way for Mom to put the finishing touches on her costume. When she was done, they left the house together.
As they joined the stream of ghosts, goblins, princesses, and superheroes who were already on the sidewalk, Riley turned to his mom and asked her an important question.
“Can I be a pirate raccoon next year?”
Mom smiled. “Yes, you can. As long as you don’t change your mind.”

No. 230 – A Pirate Raccoon Part 2

Riley hit the floor and went limp in protest.
“Fine,” said Mom. “If that’s how you’re going to act, I’ll leave without you. I won’t share my candy, either.”
One of Riley’s eyes opened.
Mom threw on her coat and stepped toward the door.
Riley’s other eye opened. They were both very wide, now, but he didn’t get up yet. Maybe there was still a chance his mom was bluffing.
She on her boots and put her hand on the doorknob. “Goodnight, Riley,” she said as she began to turn it.
Riley recovered quickly. “I can be a dinosaur,” he said, his demeanor suddenly cheery.  
“Good,” said Mom. “Because that’s the costume you’ve got.”
She helped her son into the green jumpsuit, complete with stuffed head and tail. His face peered out from behind large, felt teeth. “I’m ready,” he declared.
“Are you sure?” Mom asked him. “You aren’t forgetting anything? Maybe your treat-bag?”
“Oh yeah!” he exclaimed.
“Here you go,” said Mom as she handed it over.
Riley was all set to go out and seemed to have forgotten that he hadn’t wanted to be a t-rex. Now he waited impatiently in the entry way for Mom to put the finishing touches on her costume. When she was done, they left the house together.
As they joined the stream of ghosts, goblins, princesses, and superheroes who were already on the sidewalk, Riley turned to his mom and asked her an important question.
“Can I be a pirate raccoon next year?”
Mom smiled. “Yes, you can. As long as you don’t change your mind.”

No. 229

Sally’s red belt was special. When she wore it, for as long as she was wearing it, she’d be grown-up. She’d be 10 years older, to be precise.
She’d tried it twice, so far, and didn’t want to put it on again. Being an adult was nothing like she’d expected. The belt stayed hidden in the bottom of Sally’s sock drawer for a long time.
Then her friend Reagan got into trouble and asked Sally for help. Reagan told her that nobody else could know. Sally felt like she had no choice. Reagan needed her.
She wrote a note and slipped it under her pillow. If her plan didn’t work, at least her mom would find the paper later and know what had happened.
With a deep breath, 13-year-old Sally threaded the strap through the buckle and cinched it tight. She closed her eyes for the change, then opened them, and walked out of her bedroom.

No. 228

“I certainly will,” was Katy’s enthusiastic response. Even as she said it, she knew that nothing could be further from the truth. Nobody could have fun on this desolate island.
She watched the ferry leave the pier and wondered for a moment if it was a good idea to dive into the water and try to swim to catch it. The captain and the deckhand waved to her from the bridge’s window as the boat pulled away.
“Awesome,” she grumbled as she grabbed her duffel bag and turned to walk up the 67 steps to the lodge. “Just awesome.”
Her friends had booked the rooms before she’d had a chance to veto the destination. They’d bought into the hype about the resort and hadn’t hesitated to put down non-refundable deposits, including one using her credit card number. Katy had stayed here once before, and would have been more than willing to tell them the whole story.
This time she was able to make it to step number 32 before the rain started and the fog rolled in. She hung her head and tried to climb a little faster. It was going to be a long week.
She hoped that the management had at least been able to get rid of the larger rats.

No. 227

“Something just bit me,” said Grant Busker.
“Did you see it?” asked his girlfriend, Angel Orr.
They were on the first day of their trip to the beach, and neither one wanted to turn back for anything that wasn’t an emergency.
“No. Didn’t see anything,” Grant answered.
“Are you sure it was a bite? There’s not a lot of cover around here for something to sneak up on you.”
Grant showed her his arm without saying a word. There were clearly two puncture marks just under his elbow.
“Ok,” said Angel. “I wonder if whatever it was is poisonous. How do you feel?”
“Not too bad,” said Grant. “It stings a little, though.”
Angel shrugged. “You want to keep going?”
“Sure.”
They continued to hike their picnic gear up the beach. They didn’t have to go far before they were alone.
“Can we stop for a moment?” said Grant.
“No problem.”
“Thanks. I’m just feeling hot. Is it hot?”
Angel looked up at the slightly cloudy sky. “Not really.”
Grant sat down quickly. Angel thought it was too quickly.
“Did you fall?” she gasped.
Grant did not reply. His head slumped forward and he let out a slight moan.
Angel was at his side instantly. “Grant, talk to me. What’s going on?”
He did not reply. He rolled onto his side and Angel saw the wound again. It had festered to several times the original size in the short time since she’d seen it last. Something under the skin seemed to twitch.
Angel covered her mouth in silent horror. She kick away from her fallen boyfriend and turned, stumbling, to flee.

No. 226

November 8, 1989
“Commander, should I initiate the Protocol?”
“Not yet, Comrade. Not yet.”
Tomorrow
“Hurry up with the camera, will you? This place isn’t going to film itself,” said Jack Hurdy.
“Yeah, I’m coming. Give me a break,” replied Frank Dealer.
The pair were on location, shooting a documentary about former Soviet airbases now abandoned after the end of the Cold War. This one was rumored to have, at one time, sheltered nuclear missiles.
They were about to uncover something far more sinister.
After some time, picking their way over broken concrete and collapsed walls, they penetrated the heart of the complex.
“Look at that,” Dealer whispered. “It’s the launch tube.”
Hurdy said nothing, but slowly made his way the edge of the hole. He kicked a small rock over and shuddered when it hit the bottom many seconds later. “Wow,” he managed.
Dealer had moved around to the opposite side of the silo. He leaned over the edge with the camera pointed straight down. “There’s stairs,” he called back.
They descended together, both trying not to disturb the years of debris that had accumulated on the rickety gantry.
Hurdy breathed a sigh of relief when he set foot again on the solid floor of the pit.
“Maybe we can find the control room,” said Dealer.
“Sounds good,” Hurdy agreed. “Do you have a light?”
Dealer snapped on the light rig attached to the camera and panned around the landing. “Jack, I’m not sure this was a missile base.”
“I don’t like the sound of that,” said Hurdy. “Why?”
“Something’s just wrong.”
“We’ll get to the control room. It’s just your imagination playing tricks on you.”
Quickly gathering their gear, the two filmmakers set out into the dark. After working around two dead-ends and up a ladder, they found their target.
“You see?” said Hurdy. “This is it. Destructo-central.”
“No. No, this isn’t for nukes,” said Dealer. He stepped forward to get a better look at the instrument panels. “This is some kind of transmitting station.”
“Transmitting? Like broadcast?”
“Yes. Like our dish back home, but way more power.”
Dealer was now studying the buttons intensely, but he was confused by the notations.
“My Russian is rusty,” he continued. “This one says ‘power’, and this one says ‘activate’, but this third one, I think it says ‘protocol’.”
“Why is the light still on beside it?” Hurdy asked. “Maybe they never shut it down?”
“It’s certainly possible.”
“Don’t press it.”
“Don’t worry,” Dealer assured his friend. “Not going to happen.”
He continued his investigation. Mold and dust had obscured some of the labels. Picking at some with his pocket knife, Dealer cleared off another line of letters.
“Huh,” he grunted.
“What?” said Hurdy.
“That says ‘cats’.”
“Like the animal?”
“Yup. Like the animal.”
“It says ‘cats’ in a nuclear missile bunker?”
“I told you, man, I don’t think this has anything to do with missiles.”

No. 225

Nelson Oames studied the imposing facade of the building from the driver’s seat. His trained eye took in every conceivable feature while he worked out the best way in. He was very quiet for a long time before making his final decision. “We’re going do this the old-fashioned way.”
Dean Jackson snapped his seat back to vertical from its reclined position where he’d been napping. “What’s that?”
Oames made a note in the small book he’d taken from his shirt pocket. Only then did he answer his apprentice’s question. “We throw a rock through the window.”

No. 224

Ted Tenner took the punch in the jaw. He shook his head to regain his senses and looked his captor in the eye. “Not bad, but you’re going to want to step into the next one if you really want it to count,” he told his foe.
The next blow was, indeed, harder than the first.
“Ted, quit hassling him and just tell them what they want to know,” hissed Andrea Aarons, Tenner’s partner, who was tied up on the opposite side of the dank cell.
Tenner looked at her and winked. “Don’t worry. I’ve got a plan.”
“Awesome,” said Andrea, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
Eventually the guard grew tired of the beating and left the two prisoners alone while he went for a break.
“What’s that plan of yours?” asked Andrea.
Tenner coughed, then groaned. “My plan was to wear him out, and then escape. He ended up being a lot better shape than I anticipated.”
“Figures,” said Andrea. “Alright. I’ve got this.”
With a deft twist of her wrist and some nifty finger work, she sprung the handcuffs she was wearing off of the metal ring on the wall. She quickly crossed to Tenner’s side and undid his restraints, too. He fell off of the wall with a limp slide to the floor.
“Oh, come on. I’m not going to break us free and carry you to safety,” said Andrea. “I’m just the sidekick, remember?”
“Remind me to have a little talk with you about that when we get back to base,” said Tenner. “You might be in for a promotion.”

No. 223

“What’s up?”
“Hm?”
“Seems like there’s something different about you today.”
“Don’t think so.”
“Huh. You sure?”
“Yup.”
“You didn’t get a haircut or nothing?”
“Nope.”
“Coulda sworn something changed.”
“Just the same old me.”
“Cool.”
“Is there something different with you?”
“Well, actually, yeah.”

No. 222

“When was the last time we went on a quest?” Growl asked the creature hunched beside him.
“We’re goblins, you fool. We’re the bad guys. We don’t go on quests,” replied Shiver.
“I guess. It’d still be nice sometime, you know?”
“Yeah, I know. But our job is to sit around the fire waiting for the heroes to come through our territory and then go running up to them while we scream and wave our swords around. Maybe we take down a couple B-listers in their party.”
The two misshapen beings pondered their existence for a time.
“What if we kill the next group that traipses past and complete whatever quest they’re on?” suggested Growl.
“I like it,” said Shiver. “I like it a lot!”
He stood and stretched his gnarly arms to work out the kinks. Then he sat back down and made himself comfortable.
“We just have to wait until they come by,” he told Growl.
There was a short silence as both monsters pictured their glorious adventures in their minds’ eyes.
“When do you think they’re going to come by?” asked Growl, impatiently.
Shiver looked at him with a scowl. “Listen, if you keep bothering me, I might kill you as well, and go on the quest by myself.”