Well, it’s that time of year again. The time when it’s ok to be ugly and covered in warts with hair growing out of the middle. The time when it’s acceptable to wear tattered clothing and smell like the inside of a Dumpster. The time when no one cares that you’re the size of a porpoise and you have a hole in the top of your head. Because it’s Halloween and your own personal hideousness can be used to your advantage. If you’re cringe-worthy like me, you save so much money on costumes.
Anyway, in celebration of Halloween, I’m stuffing my bloated face with candy corn and doing a few Halloween-related stories. My first one will be a profile of a woman called Thea Lewis who leads the Queen City Ghostwalk. Thea is lovely and has a silky voice (that’s because she works on the teevee). A few years ago she had the idea to start a ghostwalk in Burlington. Apparently she’s all about ghosts. I am not.
Thea’s been doing this for a few years now. Curiously, I have never seen said ghostwalk rambling around town. And since I make my living on the streets, you’d think I’d have caught a glimpse or two of Thea’s spooky gig. So since I’ve never seen it myself, I’m tagging along on her Friday tour in the hopes that I don’t see a ghost. I really don’t need the embarassment of piddling in the middle of Church St. I’ll also be doing a video, a la all those ghost hunting shows on cable. I’m going to use special filters and meters and other related gadgetry to capture the spirits as they get their haunt on. And by special filters and meters and gadgetry, I mean I’m going to turn on my cheap-o point-and-shoot and hope for the best.
During my interview with Thea of the silken voice, she gave me a “spooky, creepy” present. Now, normally ethics and morals and all that junk prevent us from accepting such graft. But Thea took the time to festoon the box with a jaunty orange bow, so I couldn’t very well say no. Plus, I like prezzies. And since I don’t get any in my personal life, I might as well get them in my professional life.
I don’t make it a habit to open presents in front of the giver. I feel that to open the present in front of them would be like telling them I hate what they got me and I think they’re lame for even thinking that I would like/want such pap. The problem is that I have no control over my facial expressions. I have received countless presents in my lifetime (a sweatshirt emblazoned with a monster-sized Celtic cross, Garfield slippers, a Bible) that I have said I loved, but my face called me out as a dirty liar. So as a result, I very rarely open presents in front of people unless I know what it is I’m getting, like that $15 check I get every year from my rich uncle Jim.
When I got back to work with Thea’s present, I ripped off the ribbon, tore open the box and extracted one of the more bizarre bits of graft I have ever received in my career. I can’t really do it justice with words, so here’s a picture:
It is currently hanging from the ceiling above my desk, across from my Single Malts of Scotland calendar. It gives me the willies every time I look up at it. Nothing is more welcoming than a skull bride with weird fringe and beadwork. But somehow it goes with the assorted tchotchke I’ve collected at my desk- my Pokey Reese bobblehead doll, circa his run with the Pirates; my Wellington boot pen-holder, my oversized dice, my VHS of Jane Fonda’s New Workout.
Be on the lookout for my story about Thea and the ghostwalk next week. Also, for the two of you who are reading this, check out the video that will be online next week. Remember, there will be ghosts. Or not, since ghosts aren’t real.