Big Billy – A trick for treats

Every year on Halloween, Minnie thinks she’s gonna keep me out of the treats, but every year she’s sadly mistaken.

Now, the way I am, I put everything off ‘til the last minute, and even then I’m not always Big BIllycrazy about doin’ stuff. That’s why for three years in a row I got Minnie’s anniversary present at the gas station on a Sunday night after all the stores were closed.

(A thing of Armour All? she says. Be still my heart, Romeo.)

Same thing with Christmas – I remember years ago, I’d put it off right until the very last few minutes on Christmas Eve, and by then I’d have to go all the way in to Sydney to Archie Nathanson’s because it was the only store on the whole friggin’ island opened at night on Christmas Eve. I’d usually end up gettin’ Minnie a new house coat and slippers every year. But then the store closed up shop, so I ended up gettin’ herded into the big stores with everybody else, spendin’ two hours in a lineup and watchin’ people get into fistfights over the last box of candy canes.

Anyway, that’s all a way of sayin’ I don’t ever jump up and try to get anything done early. So I made the mistake of pipin’ up last weekend and sayin’ – Holy cripes, dear, Halloween’s comin’ up pretty fast and we don’t even got no chips or candy bought, eh? We should prolly take a shot to the grocery store and get some, eh?

Minnie shot me the ol’ stink eye right away. Cuz if ya listened close to what I told her, I actually made two mistakes. The first one was jumpin’ up and wantin’ to do somethin’ early, and the second one was offerin’ to take Minnie to the grocery store. I’d have to fall off a ladder and bang my head on the fender of the truck before I’d ever wake up and offer to take Minnie to the grocery store – so of course, she spotted what I was up to right away.

Oh yes, now! she said, right sarcastic. And I’m sure your plan is to come back home, pile the stuff right nice in the corner and let it sit there, fully stocked, so we’re all ready for Thursday night, is it? Or is the plan to maybe come home with all the stuff, stay up late watchin’ some Steven Segal movie and stuff your face with every little bar and bag of chips or cheesies you can get your mitts on?

Of course, soon as she went there, the gloves were off and I had to defend myself.

I don’t believe this! I says. Here I am, tryin’ to stay ahead of the game, tryin’ to help out around the house any way I can, and what do I get? A husband of the year award? I don’t think so! Nothin’ but accusations!

Yeah, see that’d be a lot more believable if it wasn’t for last year. (I tried hard to think of what I did last year but couldn’t remember). I’m there scroungin’ at the store wonderin’ if I got enough to add a box of Halloween candy in with the groceries, and the next day I wake up and it’s like a bomb went off in the room. Peanut butter cups everywhere! (Oh I forgot about them – think fast, think fast). I swear to cripes, Billy, you’re like Godzilla as soon as Halloween candy comes in the house!

I stormed away, croakin’ for ten or twelve of them little Oh Henry bars, but I didn’t say another word about it all night.

So a few days go by, and Halloween’s comin’ and there’s no sign of any candy or chips or nothin’ anywheres.

I’m not even jokin’ now, I said. If we don’t get stuff to give out, there’s not gonna be any left.

Don’t you worry about it, Minnie said, without even lookin’ up.

So that’s the game we’re playin’ is it? The treats are already bought and she stuffed them somewhere in the house so I wouldn’t find them. I had to come up with a whole new plan if I was gonna get anything.

OK, Minnie, I says. Here’s the deal we’ll make – I’ll only eat treats if we got any left after Halloween ends.

It took a lot of convincin’ for me to get her to believe I was serious, but I was. We even shook hands on it, even though she was still lookin’ at me sorta sideways, wonderin’ what I was up to.

And what I was up to was, while she was makin’ supper, and before the kids started comin’ to the door, I ran out to the end of the driveway and stuck a sign in the ground that said, “Danger – tuberculosis! Highly contagious!” or at least that’s what it was supposed to say if the words were spelt right.

Perfect plan, I figured. No parent is gonna let their kid set foot in the driveway, and that means a lot more treats for me. Sure enough, we mighta got 10 kids the whole night. Worked like a charm, I figured.

A lot less kids around this year, Minnie said as she was gettin’ ready to go to bed.

Hard thing to predict, eh? Ya never know, I said. But I’ll have some treats now so they won’t go to waste, eh?

She said that was OK, and went up to bed while I watched a cop movie and stuffed my face.

I woulda got away with it if I never passed out in front of the TV in a sugar coma, forgot to take the sign in, and Joan called cryin’ the next day askin’ if we were gonna be OK.

I pretended the sign was just a Halloween decoration I made, but Minnie still threw one of her Christmas slippers at me.

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