Friday, November 2, 2007

Haunted Hosue Week: Feverish Tenants

This has nothing to do with Halloween. Just thought I'd say that. This is actually a leftover from Haunted House week, which I nixed because Jeff already had a story set in a skyscraper (we've both been inspired by Poltergeist III).

Like with The Shoppes at Marblehead,
Feverish Tenants dips into my years of real estate. Jeff's spent a lot of time skirting the medical field, so his stories have their share of on-the-job know-how gleaned from various medical publications. I was never so hungry for material as to go back into my pulverbatch of college jobs, which were largely making photocopies and shelving the one book a week someone would take out of an office building's internal library. But since I was writing most of these while immersed in real estate, more stories than you'd think hinged on - in this case - the occupancy rates of office buildings. - Sean

P.S. Hours of fun if you look up "pulverbatch".

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Week: What Day Is This?

My costume this year consists of a stovepipe hat, fake beard, an assemble of jackets, vets and pants that I imagine resembes 19th century formal wear, and a big black porthole hanging over my stomach.
What am I? The Lincoln Tunnel. My girlfriend, in a blonde wig, holding tulips, and wearing a matching porthole, is the Holland Tunnel. Why are we dressing up? Well, What Day Is This?
I'll get three wears out of this costume (a costume party at a bar last Friday, a local kids' thing tonight Jen and I are volunteering at, and my school's party tomorrow). I normally consider it luck yot get two wears out of something. If anyone needs a cheap stovepipe hat after tomorrow, email me. - Sean

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Week: Devil's Night in Bloomfield Hills

Raking at night.

I've never raked at night before. For years the idea seemed as ridiculous as reading at night: you can't see what you're doing. But this night, the night before Halloween, I had to rake. Had to make the place look nice for trick-or-treaters. There is appropriate spookiness -- novelty tombstones, plastic glow-in-the-dark skeletons, ghost colorforms to adhere to the window. Then there's the unraked lawn, dirty stoop, and Miller Lite empties sort of lawn. Who's inside: recently divorced dad? latchkey kids whose parents have left for a month? the sort of person who makes Saturday Night audience of the Fox network wonder why they don't put a shirt on before being arrested, or at least for pity's sake don't sign the form and get their face blurred?

My lawn is not that sort of lawn anymore, thanks to raking at night. It's more of a legal blindness: I can still see the leaves against the grass, but not the damage the rake might do, not the acorn caps and helicoptered seedpods I might miss, not the dead spot which makes raking or cutting or anything short of sod look good. At the end my lawn, in the dim moonlight, looked as good as the ones done by a service twice a week. Cue that Bette Midler song about from a distance, since there's no suitable song about the wonders of glaucoma.

Devil's Night in Bloomfield Hills taking place on October 30, appropriate for posting today. I didn't try to work in any supernatural horror of violence. It's sad more than frightening. --Jeff

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Week: Thoughtless Neighbors

Thoughtless Neighbors is based on my actual neighbor across the street, who has fake tombstones and fake spider webs on display 12 months of the year. The lawn is atrocious enough so it took me a while to notice the lawn being the final resting place for Frank N. Stein and Your Name Here. - Sean

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween Week: Trick, Not Treat

Halloween certainly is a lot of people's favorite holiday -- I just saw a Mass Transit demonstration in San Francisco, thousands of people in costumes riding through the hills dusk-lit streets, gleefully stopping traffic as definitely as pyroclastic flow from a volcano. I saw devils, I saw angels, I saw women as men and men as women. I said hi to a banana, who said hi back. I saw tandem bikes, Victorian velicopedes, devices that seated four, five, and six people that were to bicycles what a catapult is to throwing a stone by hand. Everyone crossed under the Stockton Street tunnel, in a scene out of Fellini, out of Kaufman, out of dreams. There is a portion of everyone's heaven reserved for a stream of gaudy happy bicycle riders, encouraging you to come join and ride for a while.

Trick, Not Treat is not about one of the people who love Halloween. It's about a vicious little snot, one of those people who jumps from stealing candy bars to robbing liquor stores. This is before the jump, about coincidence -- or maybe fate -- trying to set him straight.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Halloween Week: Resensitized

After watching about eight zillion horror movies, you start to wonder if anything will shock you. Someone getting their head chopped off? Been done. Killed by monsters? Done. Stabbed with a corn cob? Done, somehow. (Stephen King's Sleepwalkers will always be known as Death By Corn Cob in the Daily Scares world.)

Of course, a lot of this comes from knowing the overlarge cast of horror movies exists solely to get a lot of neat deaths. (In the Final Destination movies, they get economical and everyone gets two neat death.) But sometimes a movie will have compelling characters, people you actually find yourself caring about. Hint; if you're not fast forwarding through the talking scenes, then the movie is doing its job to make the characters compelling. And you'll hurt a wee bit when that fatal corn cob comes thrusting at them.

Resensitized takes a whole different approach to this. I don't know why Harry has his change of viewpoint, but I know he shouldn't be in his apartment when he does. I'm glad it had a cutout of Michael Myers in his apartment, to officially give this one a Halloween hook. - Sean

Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween Week: Playing Grown-Up

I'm very disturbed by Playing Grown-Up: I wish I hadn't written it. I have a pet peeve against hyphenated titles, that is.

See, In titles only the first letter of a word is capped, and even though hyphenated words read and are pronounced like multiple words, they're linked and thus one word. it's a classically phyrric grammatical rule: either leave the subsequent caps off and make it look but (but be right), or add caps to it and make it officially wrong (by seem okay to the hoi polloi).

I've chosen to side with the hoi polloi in this case -- and THERE'S another tiger trap there, since hoi means the and I've said "the the people." Same with Al Queda -- Al is The. Whoever is responsible for only the nouns and not the articles of other languages carrying over into English is doing a crap job.

Oh yeah, the story. It's about a costume shop. Clerks there often have to dress up in costume, so every day is Halloween to them. For others, though, dressing up isn't a job requirement but an honest attempt to pass as normal. --Jeff