Strangers howl at October's call and emerge from its slippery shadows. Inhibitions and insecurities and self-control abate, wiped away by the harvest moon and promises of loot.
October brings the unexpected out of the dark and into the bright porch light. Double-fisted folks of all ages abound, shoving one trick-or-treat bag toward the goody bowl and then another, claiming charitable collection for a cousin too cautious to approach. White-haired old men with black trash bags arrive at my doorstep tap dancing for Tootsie Rolls. Frothing fathers, pushing toddlers asleep in strollers, determined to carry on until the last skull candle burns out foist fabric jack-o-lanterns for the filling.
Audacious mothers fresh from the maternity ward come around with newborns needing nibbles of nougat. Adult couples arrive palming pillowcases and making claims of tuckered-out tricksters asleep in the car. Boys of all sizes, sans costumes, bring book-bags, sans books, begging for treats, alluding to tricks. Marauding masked children take over my front yard using time-tested scare tactics to terrorize trick-or-treaters and create turmoil.
One mama, barely squeezing in before All Saints Day, once rang my doorbell when nothing but a few wrappers littered the bottom of the bowl. Clad in my pajamas, I produced the empty container for proof that the moment and the month had passed. Peering past me, she spied my child's trick-or-treat bag and suggested that I take from his stash and give to her Lovelies.
That's the closest I've ever gotten to someone deciding to walk on in and take up residence with me. But these things do happen you know:
On Oct. 5, the short hand swung toward midnight with the long hand on its heels. Suddenly there was a rapping at the door of an Oglethorpe Avenue home in Athens, Ga. Very eerie. The resident was not anticipating anyone, but she opened the door anyway.
"Hey Kiki!" said the woman on the doorstep, with a broad grin. "Love you, Kiki," and in the woman hopped, capitalizing on the resident's confusion.
Politely, the resident followed, trying to explain that she was not Kiki, nor did she know Kiki, nor did she know this person who had mistaken her for Kiki. Meanwhile, the visitor made her way to the guest room and plopped down on the bed. It was the midweek Lord's day, a Wednesday, which adds confusion to common protocol and raises quarrelsome questions. Was this a test? Was this an angel? Had God disguised Himself as an ordinary traveler and made a visit to Oglethorpe Avenue?
In sock feet, the resident padded behind her guest who headed to the kitchen and served herself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a beer. Teetering on the edge of fear, the resident tiptoed around the subject of her visitor's eviction, still sorting out whether this was a metaphysical phenomenon or a mistaken identity or a severe case of wearing out one's welcome. She didn't have the benefit of a wrapper-littered candy bowl to prove the night was over.
Answers to her conundrum rang with clarity when the unwelcome guest put on alleged-Kiki's wig and ran a bath in the tub. Everyone knows Jesus would not costume Himself in someone else's wig and bathe in someone else's loo without first receiving approval. He's always there, but you must invite Him in.
Spooked, the resident ran out into her yard while dialing 911. Officers arrived at the home to find 36-year-old Stacyee Lawana Adkins still naked in the tub.
Hold on to your wigs, y'all. Halloween is upon us and I hear the strangers howling.
Lucy Adams is the author of Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run. Email Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org and read her blogs at www.ifmama.com.