I asked some of my Vine followers to give me three unrelated words for a writing prompt. I chose “Gigglezalot” and her suggestion of candy, coffins, and condoms. Thanks to her and everyone who participated. The resulting story is below.
The buzzer rang repeatedly, insistently Jessica thought, until she could stand it no more. “Who would disturb us at a time like this?” She muttered aloud, straightening her navy blue pencil skirt as she arose to answer the door and silence whatever idiot was on the other side.
The others in the room shook their heads in agreement, one of the older women nodding in a firm, fast fashion. “You go tell them that this is not the time for such nonsense. Not the time at all.”
Jessica turned back to the people in the room as she was about to leave. “I’ll just be a minute. Does anyone need anything else?”
“I could use a peppermint candy. My stomach is a little queasy. I think it was all that bean salad everyone brought. I ate too much of it.” The old woman who had nodded called out.
Another one of the senior women laughed. “It ain’t the bean salad, Viola. It’s probably all that bourbon you used to wash it down.”
“That’s just your opinion, Wilma Picket. Don’t you think I didn’t see you spiking your soda with that cheap rum Mary keeps around.”
The buzzer droned out again. Whoever was at the door was holding it down. “I’ll bring some peppermints, Viola. Wilma, can I bring you something? Ham? Bean salad? Rum?”
“I’ll take a Coke. No rum, thank you.” Wilma’s voice had a strained lilt to it, as if she was struggling to be polite.
“These crones are going to be the death of me.” Jessica whispered softly, walking down the dim narrow hall to the front door. The buzzer had not stopped, and that irritated her almost as much as the old women gathered in the parlor by her mother and father’s coffins. She looked through the peep hole to see who was outside. Three teenage girls stood there. One was in an abbreviated Catholic schoolgirl outfit, thigh high stockings held up by cheap garters, her hair held in two ponytails by pink fluffy bands. The girl in the middle was wearing a store-bought nurse’s uniform, one of those “sexy” costumes that could be found at a cheap discount store. The third one wore jeans and a black T-shirt with red lettering that said “This IS My Fucking Halloween Costume” stretched across her breasts, a cigarette hanging off of her pouty lips. Each of them held a pillowcase bulging with candy. Jessica rolled her eyes. “Shit. Halloween. I forgot.”
The door creaked as she cracked it open. The girls shouted together. “Trick or Treat!”
“Don’t you girls know what that wreath on the door means?”
The one with the cigarette spat to the side. “It means you got flowers on your door, right?” The other two giggled.
“It means we’ve had deaths in the family.”
“Then why do you have the lights on your porch on?”
“That’s because we’re having a wake.”
The girl with the nurse’s uniform took a lollipop out of her mouth. “What’s a wake?”
Jessica sighed. “We’re inside visiting with each other and remembering the people who died.”
“Yeah? Who died?” The nurse said it with a sneer on her pretty, ruby red lips.
“That would be my parents.”
The schoolgirl laughed. “You mean those two old crazy people who lived here had children? All I ever saw them do is drive around in that big old Buick and chase kids off of their lawn. They were kind of creepy.”
“How nice of you to say on this sad occasion.”
“Hey. It’s Halloween. You’re probably making this up to get out of giving us candy.”
“I assure you, if it wasn’t for a death in the family, I would not be sitting in the living room with my aunts and two coffins.”
The girl in the T-shirt laughed. “There’s coffins in there? Are you running a haunted house? I knew there was something going on here. Damn!”
“No, I’m not. Look, all I have for you is some hard candy.”
“Hard candy? What?”
The nurse turned to the others. “Peppermints? What else you got?”
Jessica thought for a minute. “You know, I do have something that would be perfect for you three. Wait here.” She closed the door.
The girls stood on the stoop for a moment. The night had grown cold,and their skimpy outfits did little to keep them warm. The schoolgirl jumped up and down, while the one in the T-shirt lit another cigarette. “This old bitch better hurry up.” She whispered to the other two. “I say we soap their windows or let the air out of the tires of those cars in the driveway.” She pulled an ice pick out of her pillowcase. “I brought this along for just such an emergency.”
Inside Jessica went upstairs into her brother’s old room. He had moved out that August. Well, their parents threw him out after catching him and his girlfriend making love in the living room where her aunts and two coffins now sat. She looked under his bed and found a box of condoms. She took a handful of them and placed them on the bedside table and opened the drawer. A small sewing kit was in the corner under a box of tissues. Taking each condom she carefully pushed the needle through each small package, then using her thumbnail she smoothed out each pinhole until they couldn’t be detected. As she was going back down the stairs, the buzzer sounded again.
“Jessica! What is going on? Who is at the door?” Wilma’s smoky voice came from the living room.
“It’s just some kids. It’s Halloween.”
“Don’t they know there’s been deaths in the family?”
“No, they think it’s a Halloween prank. Don’t worry. I’m about to give them a prank of my own.”