Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween Bash with Jack Ketchum

By Jack Ketchum       

            When Halloween, 1970 rolled around I was twenty-four years old and still very much a hippie and crashing with my friend John Wexo in sunny Laguna Beach, California.
            (Remember crashing?)
            I have notes on this so it’s easy to recall.  That night I got the notion that what we should do was to reverse the order of things trick-or-treat-wise.  So Paula and John and I went out and bought fresh-cut flowers and salted mixed nuts and bagged the nuts in plastic-wrap along with thin-cut strips of typed paper (remember typing?) on which we’d written quotes from Camus and Abbie Hoffman and Mark Twain and a bunch of other people.  Myself included.  Sort of a home-made fortune-cookie type thing.
            Then we put on masks -- mine was a da-glo skeleton -- and went door-to-door handing out the flowers and the nuts.
            Wouldn't accept a thing.
            We pretty much upset everybody one way or another.  John is six-two and that sure didn’t help any.  But mostly we upset them in good ways.  Most were smiling by the time we left and some even seemed touched by the gesture.  One old woman, whose husband almost closed the door on us when we first told him we were there to give him something, actually blessed us.  Teenagers goofed on the whole thing.  Only one guy seemed really scared.  And he was bigger than John.
            But the best thing was that on three occasions children answered the door, truly astounded by this weird adult departure from the rules and delighted by it.  One boy’s eyes went wide as we handed him his flower and when he said thank you, all three of us had the feeling that as he closed the door, that little fella was thinking about it.  Hard.  That he’d remember it.
            We went home and drank hot hard cider and listened to the Song of the Humpbacked Whale.

Piece originally published by in Chizmar and Morrish's OCTOBER DREAMS

Jack Ketchum is a fucking legend in my mind.  He is responsible for the scariest book I have ever read, Off Season, the most gruesome book I have ever read The Girl Next Door, and one of the all time best books I have read Red.  Pick these up now.   http://www.jackketchum.net/

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