Lockdown’s Hallowe’en

The other day I did a Halloween reading for a fund-raiser lunch, which reminded me of this, from Lockdown. Happy all hallow’s week…

107 DAYS AGO

OCTOBER 31

Olivia

When the call came in, Olivia thought it was just another Halloween prank.
Olivia hated Halloween—and had long before she become a cop. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if she’d lived in a more white- bread town, but having the Anglo holiday of candy and costumes smack up against Día de Muertos made for an orgy of sugar and disguises and trouble.

When she was a kid, white makeup scared her and she was allergic to the pungent marigolds that were traditional to the holiday. As a teenager, she’d had some bad experiences at parties. As an adult, she hid in her darkened house as the neighborhood dogs worked themselves into a frenzy. And as a cop . . .

As a cop, she’d seen too much. The mix of manic kids and whimsical death—Día de Muertos has a particular focus on the death of children—made her stomach knot as October wore on.

Her first season in the Department, eleven years ago, an old- timer had warned her that worst of all was when October 31 fell on a Monday. She’d laughed, thinking this was like Friday the 13th or craziness under a full moon, but she wasn’t laughing long: a Monday Halloween followed by the two days of Día de Muertos meant the lunacy began at dusk Friday and didn’t let up until Thursday morning.

This year was her third Monday Halloween on the police force. The Department’s overtime budget for the month was already blown, with two drunken crashes, a house fire caused by a jack-o- lantern, a shoot-out, and eleven brawls: four in bars, one in the bowling alley, two in grocery stores (the bloodiest one over the last package of bargain candy), and the rest in neighborhoods over smashed pumpkins. The movie theater shut when its late-night horror film sparked a little too much audience participation.

She’d told herself all day that by the time darkness fell everyone would be sick of it all—sick, or under arrest—but she didn’t believe it. Once dusk gave way to darkness, the adolescents would come out and gang rivalries would mix with the wildness in the air. If only it would rain! If only Thursday would come. She was tired and cranky and she’d eaten two of the three sugar skulls the desk guy had brought in.

That’s why, when the phone rang Halloween evening, she thought it was a joke.

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1 Comment

  1. Kathy on October 30, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Need to read more now

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