I drag last night’s Halloween clips onto the timeline. There’s Jan looking very easy on the eyes as a shirtless barbarian dude…wearing sneakers. There’s Theo in a toga and carrying a keytar. I’m Wednesday, from The Addams Family, though you’ll only ever see me in the one or two shots Theo insisted on taking with his phone. Ernie looks like he was in a carpentry accident, his head poking through a piece of roof with a pepperoni pizza resting on one side.
An actual, edible pepperoni pizza.
“Where are all the kids?” Ernie asks, annoyed. He glances down the darkened street.
I follow his gaze, zooming in on the house at the end of the block. It’s the only home decorated for Halloween this year; it glimmers faintly, like a dying candle.
“I bet your friend Robbie the Friendly Pedophile is asking the same thing right about now,” Jan laughs.
Ernie pays Jan’s loincloth a critical glance. “Looks like you couldn’t afford to buy a costume, and so you wore your street clothes, huh?”
“Yes, the family loincloth was all I could afford this year.”
“Ew. I hope you washed it down by the river before you put it on.”
“That was a joke, leviathan.”
“Sure it was—”
Close-up on Theo in know-it-all mode as we make our way down the street: “—everyone’s on the Halloween servers. I mean, why prance around actual in a cheap, plastic costume when you can go virtual and install a custom skin?”
Summer’s just downloaded beside us, and Ernie’s giving her a hard time over her leotard and scrunchy combo.
“What are you supposed to be?” he asks. It should be noted that there’s a slice of pizza missing from his rooftop.
“Gymnast—hello,” Summer replies.
“You can’t just leave on your workout gear after practice and call it a costume!”
Summer scowls. “Umkay, what’s the definition of a superhero? Spandex…” She pinches her leotard. “…and superpowers.” She hands her loot bag to Theo, turns a perfect cartwheel, reclaims her loot bag. Presents to non-existent judges.
“Girlfriend,” Ernie says, “I don’t know what you think superheroes are, but—”
Fast-forward yet again.
We’re now standing in front of the Halloween house. Ernie’s jabbing his finger angrily at Summer (there’s another slice missing from his pizza). “—and I say my costume will get more candy than your sleazy gym clothes!”
“You’re on!” Summer retorts.
(Off-camera, Theo can be heard murmuring, “Dude, stop eating your costume.”)
We cross the front yard, cram ourselves onto the step. Ring the doorbell.
This old white couple answers. They look just like Nan and Byron from that “American Gothic” painting portrait thingie. I’m not sure if it’s for Halloween, or if this is how they always look. They’ve got a plastic pumpkin filled to the top with unclaimed candy bars.
“Trick or treat!” Theo, Jan, Summer, and myself shout in unison.
Contrasted with Ernie’s, “Halloween, biatches!”
“Oh, my!” gasps Nan. She smiles at Theo. “Who are you?”
“Young Evángelos Papathanassíou, from Ongaku Taisen,” he replies proudly.
Nan drops a single candy bar into his bag.
“And you?” Byron asks, appraising Jan’s sneakers.
“John Carter of Mars,” Jan replies.
“That’s who you’re undressed as?” Ernie snorts.
Single candy bar.
Nan faces Ernie. Frowns. “And you, hon?”
“Duh,” Ernie replies. “Breaking Bad. The roof with a pizza on it. Season three, episode two.”
Single candy bar.
“And you, my darling?”
Summer dimples, thrusts her loot bag at Theo again, and does an impressive back handspring.
“Oh, Byron, look at that!” exclaims Nan. “Such poise! Such grace! Sweets for the sweetie!”
Three candy bars.
Shaky medium shot of Ernie waving Theo’s keytar menacingly at Nan and Byron. “Just give me the candy, lady, and maybe I’ll let you keep your wrinkled old soul!”
Rest head on desk and sigh.