i loved ernie cooper's scary story last year about a group of kids daring to venture into a haunted house! LOVED it!
this year, ernie brought some of that same fun and magic with his latest entry...
ernie cooper's "perhap-o-ween!"
Peter Hammerskold leaned back from the table. He stubbornly rubbed at his jaw line, and then hunched forward and growled out, “So, just so I know we’re on the same crazy page here…”
Arisa Hines sat across from him, one eyebrow raised at the leader of the Red Team.
“…You think this is a good idea…”
“…Because it’s his favorite scene…”
“…From a movie?”
Arisa’s gaze never wavered. Hammerskold would test her at any opportunity, and this was not a time to back down. “Absolutely.”
“E.T. throws on a blanket and goes trick-or-treating, so the little furball thinks he can wander around in a town and not have the locals come after him with pitchforks…Or whatever passes for pitchforks these days?”
“Listen, Peter. With the way things have been around here lately, don’t you think Choopie deserves one little night? Especially after the Chief…Larry..?”
“Right, things are bad enough right now without adding to it.”
Arisa smiled. “How about a compromise, then?”
“Choopie doesn’t leave. He and the Gremlins and the other Bedlam kids get to go door-to-door…In the base.”
Hammerskold sighed, and Arisa could see his features softening. She reached out across the table and touched his hand. “Let them have their Halloween. Let them do something normal.”
Peter stared down at her hand, blinking. He didn’t meet her eyes. “Hines, there isn’t gonna’ be anything normal about this.”
“You won’t regret this.”
“Ha! I regret it already! And any Gremlin that gets underfoot gets carved into a pumpkin…”
News traveled fast, and most of the agents of Bedlam got into the spirit of the season. However, no one was quite as enthusiastic as the resident Chupacabra. While the Bedlam agents that had children in the daycare were busy helping their kids into costumes, Choopie was assembling…His army.
He squinted up through his tinted goggles as black and orange bats were festooned down the hallway, and gave the two intrepid agents doing the hanging a clawed “thumbs up.” Turning into a small room, he proudly surveyed the seven Gremlins that would each be leading their own roving pack.
“Awright, everyone, front and center!”
Choopie was beaming as his minions snapped to attention. Big was looming in the background. He leaned casually against a wall, his massive arms crossed.
“Remember, everyone! The most important thing is that any candy you get comes back to me first!” He puffed out his chest. “After I…er…scrutinate…all of the goods, everything that’s safe goes back to you.”
Big cleared his throat gently. “Choopie…We talked about this. No matter how many pieces of chocolate you happen to bite into…You won’t find one with a bloody center.”
“Ha! Whatever! They wrap everything else up in chocolate. Nougat! What the heck is nougat, anyway?!”
Big grinned, and Choopie continued to teach the Gremn the finer points of Halloween. “Okay, so now that we’ve, ya’ know, established all yer bags are big enough, the next step is to know yer targets. Fer instance, if it ain’t at least made up o’ 75% sugar and 20% things that I can’t pronounce…It. Does. Not. Go. In. The. Bag…”
The small assemblage nodded enthusiastically.
“Just drop it in the hall. Or throw it at each other. Or at Big, that’s even better.”
Choopie’s eyes narrowed. “And what is the enemy?”
One of his students quickly held up a small placard with a crudely sketched piece of candy on it.
“That’s right! Candy corn! No candy corn in the bags! That ain’t real candy, it’s a trick that some stingy old folks came up with! Candy corn givers get to eat hot mess-you-up gun!”
“I happen to like candy corn,” Big muttered softly.
“Okay, so I can’t turn you loose without approving of yer costumes. Let’s see…”
Choopie nodded at the first two Gremlins, dressed as a tiny cowboy and a tiny Frankenstein’s monster, respectively. The monster’s fake undead forehead almost doubled the little creature’s size.
He then wrinkled his nose at his next pupil. “Okay, I dig the princess thing. However…Too little fairy tale, too much Slave Leia, ya’ know?” He produced a small red pair of goggles and four pointy feathers from behind his back and affixed them to the princess’s head.
“Now you look totally hot…And awesome!” He then leaned in and whispered, “I’ll talk to ya’ about gender roles later.”
The next Gremlin had a white sheet thrown over his little furry head, and looked plaintively up at him through jagged eyeholes. “Hmmm…E.T. would be proud. Molly…Not so much. Here.”
Out came another set of goggles and feathers.
“Now you look totally spooky. And totally awesome!”
The last of the Gremn were…painted brown.
“What the heck are you three supposed to be?”
They grinned at each other, and the one on the left jumped nimbly onto his neighbor’s shoulders. The last brown Gremlin clambered up on top of the first two. The tower of Gremn swayed slightly and the one on top growled fiercely and beat his chest.
“Um. I don’t get it.”
The topmost brown Gremlin stopped growling and pointed at Big with a grin.
Big chuckled heartily. “Choopie…I think they’re…me.”
The Chupacabra’s furry little jaw dropped slightly as the leaning tower of Gremn stomped about the room. Finally he snapped, “It’s lousy! That costume completely sucks!”
He rushed at the trio. “Everyone down. Everybody out o’ the pool! Here!”
Choopie doled out more goggles and feathers. “Put these on. You’ll look non-sucky. And non-smelly. And non-“
“I get it, Choopie. You can stop.”
“Well…And just plain awesome!”
“Where did you get all of these feathers and goggles?”
Potential costume crisis averted, Choopie led his team out into the hallway, a bemused Big bringing up the rear.
“Awright, now that ya’ have the proper equipment, yer ready ta’ jump right into it. So let’s figure out what’s behind…Door number one!”
The Chupacabra stopped in front of a closed door. While a lot of the other doors they’d passed were covered in skeletons, goblins, and other miscellaneous creatures of the night, this one was bare. He spun around in place three times and then pounded mightily on the door.
“Proper etiquette says that if they don’t answer on the first knock, you can knock up to three more times.”
Three series of blows to the door later, followed by some impatient foot tapping, led Choopie to quickly revise his statement. “What I meant to say was three more times…Each.”
As he pushed the first Gremlin to the door, Big shook his head. “Choopie, this is probably not the best idea you’ve ever – Oh, never mind. If I had a dime, etc., etc.”
All seven of Choopie’s acolytes tried their best at the door. They turned to him in failure, a gaggle of unhappy goggles and drooping feathers.
“Don’t worry, kids! Plan B! See?”
He pointed at the buzzer next to the door. “Go ahead and press that a few times.”
A still-dejected Gremlin half-heartedly stabbed at the buzzer. Choopie brushed him to one side. “No, no, no. Like this.”
He leaned on the buzzer with a big, toothy grin. “Hold it down. In fact, just pretend you fell asleep on it.”
After two minutes, the door exploded open and a livid Peter Hammerskold erupted from the room.
He did not have any candy.
Hammerskold looked down at Choopie and the Gremlins, fists clenching and unclenching at his side. His hairy visitors stared back up at him. The Gremlins held up their large bags in unison.
“Gim mec andy,” they all chanted solemnly.
Peter ignored them, and looked stonily down at the Chupacabra. “I. Will. End. You.”
With that, he abruptly vanished back into his room. Choopie’s smile actually widened.
“Awright, treat soldiers…Time for your final lesson…”
From somewhere unknown, he began to produce large brown eggs. With a dramatic flourish, he placed each one on the ground until there was enough for each Gremlin. After gingerly rolling all seven eggs to their recipients, he also whisked out a can of shaving cream and a roll of toilet paper.
Choopie’s eyes lit up with a sinister glow behind his red-tinted goggles. “No candy, eh, Mr. Crabbypants?”
Big shook his head, retreating back up the hallway and calling out, “Plausible deniability!”
“Punishment,” Choopie hissed happily.
the other day i was bitchin' about how it seemed that our pal kelly yates neede to be in every picture on our night out at the baltimore comiccon, matt did a little digging and found that this is something kelly's made a habit of...!
dammit! he's EVERYWHERE!!
smell ya later~!