Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Trouble with Teddy

this one's for E, lolling on a hawaiian beach with his new wife and not worrying about what to wear for halloween or what i am doing without him to ride with (ans: eating a lot of candycorn and smarties). Flying Spaghetti Monster is way cooler than trampy alice.

driving to work this morning i saw a little girl waiting for the bus in her halloween costume. she was dressed as a nurse and she looked like betsy, had her long wavy brown hair and splinter of a body, and i remembered when betsy and i went trick-or-treating in donnybrook. betsy was a doctor, because a nurse wasn't bossy enough for someone who had to be the boss of everyone, and i was a trumpet player. i had a plastic trumpet with the brass already flaking off like fairy dust, and a epauletted-coat and matching trousers my mom found in the salvation army shop. i looked like somebody on the sgt pepper's cover.

before dusk fell i met betsy at her apartment. she was a pretty good doctor i thought. she had a big white coat, a stethoscope and one of those mallets you bang people's knees with. she banged me on the top of my head.
- ready?
- yes - i yelped.
- hold on. i have to get captain kirk.
captain kirk was betsy's guinea pig. she took him everywhere. she brought captain to kirk to school once, sassed the teacher who told her guinea pigs didn't belong at school and got suspended for 3 days. that was fun because i pretended to be sick and betsy, captain kirk and i made a fort under etienne's window and decorated his windowsill with sculptures made from chewed-up gum. then my mom figured out i didn't have a fever after all and i had to go back to school.

betsy flitted back from her room stuffing captain kirk into one of her voluminous pockets. captain kirk put up with a lot, but he also got all the licorice jelly beans he wanted.
- okay here's the plan – betsy proposed.
- there's a plan? i thought the plan was obvious: get as much candy we could before we had to be back at 8. i should have expected more from a doctor.
- of course there's a plan, stupid. the plan is this: we get as much candy we can before 7:30.
- why 7:30?
- because at 7:30 my dumb brother is calling his girlfriend in ohio.
- so?
- and while my dumb brother is calling his dumb girlfriend, we're going to soap his car.
- oh no we're not!
betsy's brother had a baby-blue chevy nova sedan that he washed every weekend. the tires always looked brand new. he gave me and betsy a ride to sultana's once, and for the entire 10min ride i was petrified with fear and excitement. teddy was a Burnout, one of the untouchables who smoked in the school parking lot. he was forbidden to me and therefore i had a crush on him the size of a small planet.
- we can't soap teddy's car. he'll KILL us!
- don't be a baby. he won't know who did it. it'll be funny. come on, you're not scared, are you?
when you're 11, you don't understand peer pressure. you only understand the novelty of a friend who isn't imaginary, so you go along with any numbskull idea she comes up with. she's a doctor, after all.

so for 2 hours we cased the neighborhood and filled our candy sacks with 3 musketeers, milk duds, necco wafers and reese's peanut butter cups. on halloween you know there is a god because there's no other explanation for the largesse that drops into your hands. then betsy looked at her watch.

- it's time – she said. i tasted reese's at the back of my throat. i was really hoping she'd have forgotten. you're not chicken, are you? - she thrust her face in front of mine and flapped her white arms. bawk bawk! captain kirk stirred restlessly in her pocket.
- no i'm not chicken - i quavered - are you sure your brother won't find out?
- no way. he'll be all kissy-kissy with bronwynloser. they baby-talk for hours. it's so gross. come ON.
i let betsy lead me back to the parking lot where teddy's nova was pointedly parked across 2 spaces.
- i'll do the windshield and you do the other windows, okay? ... okay?
- okayyyyy - i wailed plaintively. betsy pulled a white bar of soap from the non-captain pocket.
- here. you start.

- me???
- just do it, you big baby. i took the soap from her gingerly, as though it were a dead animal. do it across the window, right here - she swooshed her hand in an invisible Z over the rear window - let's GO. we don't have all night.

with great trepidation I approached the window. i raised a trembling hand and had just touched a dot to the nova's window when an apparition appeared behind it: a glowing white face with black eyes and lips, howling, snarling, pummeling the window to get at me. i screamed and dropped my candy bag, backing away from the monster that was leering at me and squeaking bulbous fingers down the window, a monster with a white face and a nimbus of springy curls, curls nobody else had but... teddy. betsy was doubled over with laughter. i was enraged and crying at the same time.
- NOT FUNNY!! - i hollered while teddy opened the door and tumbled out of the back seat.
hoo hoo hoo – he whistled as he giggled, and then he snorted, which ramped up betsy even more. she fell on her butt laughing so hard i thought she might puke like she sometimes did if she laughed too hard or ran too fast.
- NOT FUNNY! NOT FUNNY! - i continued to yell. i was afraid i'd wet my trumpet player pants and shouting seemed the best diversion.

tears tracked pink trails down teddy's face, and betsy was still hitching silently, then her face suddenly froze as her hands patted down her coat. she stood up abruptly and began to hop on her toes, looking frantically from side to side.
- what's wrong, sis? – asked teddy.
- captain kirk! captain kirk is gone!! no no no – she ran in small circles next to teddy's car - we have to find him!

for the next next 2 hours we combed the parking lot and lawn looking for the guinea pig. teddy knocked on all the doors in their building and collected 4 flashlights; and we crawled under parked cars, crept under every bush and even looked into the sewer with betsy's hand mirror. captain kirk was gone though, boldly going where no guinea pig had gone before and probably shacking up with babes from other apartment buildings. betsy was inconsolable, of course, and when i finally got the call to come back home she gave me all her candy and told me she would never go trick-or-treating ever again.

i didn't see betsy for a couple weeks after that. then one saturday she knocked on the door and asked if i wanted to fingerpaint with pokeberries and i did, so we made indian drawings on the laundry room door and though etienne's mother probably knew it was us we never got in trouble.

happy halloween.

5 comments:

Brown Suga' said...

LOL! Thanks for sharing this sweet Halloween story and the adventures of the piggy explorer.

fatmammycat said...

Haha! The moment C'pin KIrk went out I knew disaster loomed. Brilliant story.

Twenty Major said...

Sweet justice indeed.

finn said...

karma's a cunt.
hope that eye feels better than it looks. meanwhile, maybe you can make use of Leopard's improved accessibility options.

FMC, wikipedia tells me ribena's made by GSK. does that seem wrong to you??

suga' welcome back. missed you.

fatmammycat said...

That's the stuff, wrong wrong wrong.