Elizabeth liked to construct wax replicas of herself, mount them in the heated pan, and then transfer her consciousness to the slowly melting figures.
Without sight or sound or thought, just the sensation of the warmth and slowly draining away from herself.
Her softening skin, flowing and dripping into the pan, coalescing into a growing puddle.
Her feet and legs and body descending into the mass, collapsing into the bubbling goo.
After ten minutes, her mind would return to her body, she’d open her eyes, and release a deep sigh.
And she’d pour the hot wax into the mold again.
Jimi, Janiss, and Jim.
They all died at the age of twenty-seven.
Kurt Cobain, too. And Amy Winehouse.
So much young talent died at the age of twenty-seven.
They call it Club 27, a macabre hallmark of the price of drugs, hard living, and fame.
Music industry executives were worried that their biggest acts would die before their biggest hits.
Or, even worse, die without leaving a massive library of unreleased tracks to exploit after their deaths.
Like they did with Michael Jackson, Prince, and countless others they had killed.
I mean, countless others they had difficulty negotiating contracts with.
For Halloween, kids would dress up as ghosts and vampires and other creatures.
Then came the cheap plastic masks and aprons with Marvel superheroes.
I didn’t put up with any of that crap.
So, I rallied the kids in the neighborhood to meet in the apple orchard, and we’d hand out pitchforks and lit torches.
Then, we’d go door to door as an angry mob.
“IS THIS CASTLE FRANKENSTEIN?” I’d yell.
When they said no, I’d unfold a map, and yell “IT MUST BE THE NEXT HOUSE!”
And we’d work the neighborhood, until the cops attacked us with riot gear.
Wolfman Jack, the famous deejay, was not a werewolf.
He was, in fact, a vampire.
In order to hide his true nature, he wore a scraggly wig and howled so people would think he was a werewolf.
This ruse worked, until a deranged fan tried to shoot him with a silver bullet.
Werewolves normally die from silver bullets, but vampires are immune to them, so Wolfman Jack staged his own death.
The next day, Mummy Jack showed up at the radio station looking for a job.
But walking around in bandages didn’t have the same appeal as a wolfman’s howl.
They called Vincent Price the Master of Horror.
But his true calling was tapdance.
In between takes, Vincent Price would don a top hat, pick up a cane, and he’d do a little soft shoe to amuse the crew and other actors.
Then, once the cameras and lights were ready, he’d go back to acting.
Vincent tried to convince producers to cast him in musicals, but his agent insisted that he do horror.
“It’s what the audiences want and love… and the studios pay for,” he said.
Vincent sighed, hung up his tap shoes, and put on his black cloak.
Before Dr. Victor Frankenstein became obsessed with bringing dead tissue back to life, he was obsessed with bringing The Beatles back together.
Many experts agreed that getting rid of Yoko Ono would solve the problem, but Victor knew that the real problem was Linda McCartney.
Victor spent many nights trying to calculate the proper solution.
After ten years, he’d finally done it.
He ran to the local newspaper office with his findings, only to discover that John Lennon had been killed.
Victor sighed, went back to the drawing board, and began working on a solution to that even bigger problem.
After every Halloween, Mom would take us to the airport where they’d offer to X-ray bags of candy to check for razors and tacks and other dangerous items.
The security people never found anything in the candy.
Then Mom would give us each some of the candy.
But then, some of it wasn’t what we’d actually gotten from the neighborhood.
Full-sized Snickers and Three Musketeers bars?
“I don’t remember getting these, do you?” I asked my brothers.
They didn’t care. Bigger was better.
I didn’t eat any. Which is why I survived.
Don’t take candy from strangers.
Or family, either.
I think the whole point of going out for Halloween is to steal good ideas for next year’s Halloween.
The problem is, of course, that everyone else has the same idea, so everyone ends up looking the same the next year.
Well, except for those crazies who put a lot of electronics and carpentry and sewing into their costume.
That crap takes effort.
I always end up buying a cheap mask and plastic smock from Wal-Mart.
Back when I was a kid, it was embarrassing to have that.
Now, it’s kitschy and retro.
Everyone will be doing it next year.
Dr. Jeckyll created a potion that transformed him into Mister Hyde.
Mister Hyde insisted that he be called Dr. Hyde, but nobody would.
“Did you go to medical school?” said the angry mob. “Where is your medical license?”
Mister Hyde applied to several medical schools, but he was rejected from them all.
Even the ones in South America who take pretty much anybody who has the money.
He tried to connive an honorary doctorate from a prestigious university, claiming to have invented the transformation formula himself, but the administration said no, and Hyde’s bloody rampage did his case no service.
This is what it sounds like when the doves talk shit about you behind your back.
This is what it sounds like when the doves laugh about it, those goddamed doves.
This is what it sounds like when the doves stop laughing and see that you’ve got a pellet gun in your hands.
This is what it sounds like when the doves scatter as you shoot them mercilessly with the pellet gun.
This is what it sounds like when the doves see their relatives lying dead on the sidewalk.
And this is what it sounds like when the doves cry.