Monday, October 28, 2013

my haunted house story

I can't explain why I did it.  Back in the day I did a lot of silly odd things that probably would've gotten me killed if I did them today.  This is a true story, happened Halloween week of 1977.  I believe it was the Jaycees that sponsored an annual haunted house.  There used to be an old house downtown, around the corner of First Avenue and Seventh Street.  It was the perfect old house for such an event.  I think the Jaycees took the show to the Gadsden Mall after the old building was demolished a year or two later.

It seemed all the kids my age were going to the haunted house.  A lot of the kids in my homeroom had been talking about having gone or were going.  If I recall correctly, Q104 was promoting it a good bit.

I was dating Debbie hubba-Hubbard (now Debbie Plimpton)  at the time.  I don't know why I decided to go.  Maybe she wanted to go and so I went because she was interested.  Maybe it was my idea, I don't think so, because having people jump out at me from the dark isn't really my idea of fun.  What I do recall is that I wasn't going into an unknown scenario unarmed.

Earlier in the week I had gone to a variety store and bought two water guns.  I picked Debbie up and drove down the mountain and parked around the old bus station.  I was surprised to see how long the line was.  People were lined up the sidewalk up First Avenue for an entire block, on up to the Sears building.  As we stepped up to the back of the line, I pulled out the water guns.  I held one out to Debbie.  She asked, "What's this for?"  I told her that if anyone jumped out at her while in the haunted house, shoot them.  It will be fun.

After a little coaxing she took the colorful plastic squirt gun and slipped it in her pocket. I had mine slid in my inside right jacket pocket.  We waited in line for a long time, 45 minutes to an hour.  I remember Debbie as we neared the house, her looking at me and telling me she couldn't go through with it.  She handed me back the gun.  I told her that it was okay...I thought 'more fun for me'.

I was psyched from concept.  I gave no thought to the outcome of doing such a thing.  I'm sure Debbie had given the outcome of such a thing consideration.  To me, there was nothing wrong with squirting people dressed as monsters in the face.  I had in my mind that I wasn't going to allow people dressed as monsters to jump out at me.  In my mind at the time, it was a justified kill.  Those fake monsters were going to get what they deserved and I was going to get a laugh out of it.  I slipped her gun inside my left jacket pocket.  I now had plenty of ammo to get me through this.

We eventually stepped up to the small crowded porch where a nice little old lady was exchanging money for tickets.  We had to wait for the old door to open.  In the meantime, I had a pleasant conversation with the ticket lady.  She was a very sweet old lady and I got her to laugh a little.  It was the quiet before the storm.

All of a sudden it was time.  A fellow by the door opened it for us to enter.  I remember entering four at a time.  As soon as the door closed, everything went pitch dark.  Our eyes were not accustomed to the darkness since it was still a little light outside.  I looked to my right to see if I could see Debbie (I could only hear her) when all of a sudden, monsters jumped out from four different directions.

It was a lot of noise and confusion, but I was cool, I was ready, I felt a rush and responded automatically.  I didn't have to think.  I pulled out both pistols simultaneously and blasted directly into the faces of the screaming monsters.  I know that I dowsed the eyes of each assailant.  The ghoulish howls turned into angry shouts.  It was over within seconds.

I remember being picked up off my feet and being tossed out the door.  I missed the porch.  I missed the four stairs.  I didn't miss the gravel walkway.  It was a good thing the gravel was there to break my fall.  They had been just as fast on their feet as I had been on the trigger.  I lay there for a minute looking up at all strange faces looking down at me...perhaps wondering what I'd done wrong.

After a moment my eyes focused on Debbie who was also looking down at me.  I was winded, a little bruised, chuckled to cover up the embarrassment.  "Maybe that wasn't a good idea." she said.  "Maybe not", I replied as I laughed nervously.  We made our way past the long line of people, each seeming to look at me with a bit of curiosity.  "Where's my guns?"  Debbie wasn't laughing, she just looked at me with that 'Really?' look on her face.  We weren't about to go back and ask for them back.

It was embarrassing, but there was this incredible moment inside.  There was this moment, this exhilarating moment when I performed Neo in The Matrix.   If they had been actual zombies and my guns real, I would've walked out of there.

I recommend you not try this today.

Have a safe Halloween.
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