Of course, I can't let Halloween go by without a little story...
A broom resting against the wall of the rocking caboose rattled in unison with two white cups on the wooden table. Clyde casually lit his after dinner cigar, his wire rimmed glasses slipping down his long, skinny nose as he leaned forward to light it. Sam, hat pulled forward covering half his face, took a sip of java, following it with a smothered belch. They always had dinner break as the train raced toward Blackwoods.
The meal was never much. Coffee and soup from thermoses, sandwiches wrapped in wax paper and stuffed in brown paper bags, all skillfully prepared by Maggie at the diner in Clintville. On a lucky evening, they'd have pie straight from her oven.
“Oughta pull into Blackwoods soon!” Sam commented.
Sam took the response at face value and shut his trap. Clyde never talked after dinner. He liked to let his food settle in peace. Sam watched while he picked up his newspaper, gave it a good snap, and opened to the editorial page.
At about that time, they heard the first rattle. Not a gentle tap tap, but an alarming sound in sharp stabs like if you could pound a knife into metal, and it would reverberate in screeches of pain as you drove the blade in over and over.
“What was that?” Sam asked, eyes wide, lips tight.
Clyde looked over with acquired disdain. “It's probably just some pipes rattling on this old buggy or something.”
“Sure doesn't sound like anything I ever heard before.”
“Don't question my authority.” Clyde flipped his newspaper page and went back to reading.
Sam saw red. Clyde always flaunted his intellect. “Okay, just because you graduated sixth in a class of thirty-six at Ambridge High School, that doesn't make you an authority on weird noises.”
Clyde ignored him which enraged Sam further, but he let it go even though he was steaming. It was then the green mist appeared. Like a ballerina arriving on stage it it danced in a lovely swirl; but it soon turned into a frenetic whirlwind like a tiny tornado racing in circles around the little caboose. Sam leaped out of its way.
“Are you seeing this?” He screeched out in a hoarse whisper, jumping up to stand on the chair like a frightened housewife who'd seen a mouse.
Clyde saw it. The newspaper rattled in his shaking grasp. He threw it down and jumped up onto his chair as well. “I'm sure it's just exhaust from the train or something,” he sputtered.
“Exhaust? Are you crazy? I just remembered it's Halloween. Did you know that?”
“Of course, I knew that. I know everything.”
Sam glared back. “Well, if you know so much, what are we going to do NOW? It's Halloween and that could be something evil, very evil.” He watched the mist continuing its trails as he spoke.
“I'll let you know presently. I have to think on it.”
“Oh, you and your thinking. I'm so sick of hearing about your superior brain!”
“Well, that figures. The mind rejects what it can't comprehend.”
“ARE YOU CALLING ME STUPID?”
“Am I? You figure it out. Oh wait, you might be too stupid. Do you think you are?”
“Oh, I hate you! I hate every single day I've been stuck in this damned caboose with you and your SUPERIOR BRAIN!”
It went on, the two men screaming until the mist eventually stopped its twirling. It hovered in air, evil ignored, soon drooping in resignation. Its work here was done. The two had forgotten it completely. The mist shuddered and dissolved into a drop of stinky green goo that flopped to the floor. No one noticed. The two men argued all the way to Blackwoods and beyond. Halloween is simply wasted on some people.
Copyright 2009 JO Janoski