Big Billy – What are you supposed to be?

We had 32 kids at the door on Halloween, and it went like this:

4:30 – Minnie takes out the boxes of chips and bags of candy, hauls in one of the Big BIllykitchen chairs and puts the treats on it by the front door, just to get set up. If I see you so much as reach for a bag of chips, she says, I’ll knock yer block off.

4:40 – Minnie sticks her head in the door and says, Yer not at them chips are ya? No, I say, and stuff the fifth bag of chips down between my chair and the wall as soon as she’s back in the kitchen.

4:53 – The first knock at the door. Holy cripes, I say, seven minutes until Halloween is even supposed to start and somebody’s knockin’ already. We should tell them g’waaay, and come back in seven minutes. But it was a little girl, about four years old dressed up as Strawberry Shortcake. Oh! Minnie said. Look at your little costume, and she smiled at the old lady – probably the girl’s grandmother – who was standin’ out in the yard. Little early don’t ya think dear? I yelled to the old lady, who was probably too old to hear me anyway, and Minnie gave me an elbow right in the gut.

5:00 – No knock at the door. Looks like there’s no kids comin’ Minnie, I said, and I ripped into three little Oh Henry bars. Billy, she said, if we run out of candy, you’re gonna get a swift kick in the arse.

5:15 – A little red blob that looks like a demented strawberry knocks on the door.
Me: What are you supposed to be?
Kid: I’m an Angry Bird.
Me: A whuh?
Kid: An Angry Bird!
Me: Holy cripes. Well some ointment might take away the redness.
Minnie: Billy!

5:33 – We’re on a stretch of almost 20 minutes with no kids at the door.
I can see the little friggers runnin’ to the houses across the street, I said. What’s wrong with us? Not good enough for yis?
Well, Minnie says, for one thing your barn door’s open, and they probably think you’re a dirty old man.
Well excuse me, your majesty, I said, zippin’ up my fly.

5:52 – I guess there musta been a bunch of them that started up one side of the street and then came down the other, because all at once we had about 12 grubby little faces pressed against the front door.
One of the taller kids at the back gets his bag of chips and then pipes up to me: What are you supposed to be?
What am I supposed to be? I said, gettin’ right mad. What are you supposed to be? You’re taller than me and you’re old enough to shave. Did you drop your own kids off a few streets over before you came here?
They all started laughin, but I was serious.

6:03 – A little better than halfway through and we’re up to 18 kids. Which ain’t good, because we got less than half our stuff left.. Quit sneakin’ bars and just give each kid one thing, Minnie said. Right, I said, and snuck a bar.

6:05 – Our neighbour Kenny from down the road came up with his two grandkids – the little girl’s about five and was dressed up as a little princess, and the boy’s about seven and was a zombie.
Look at yous! I said. Look at this, Minnie! Prolly the best costumes of the night! And I dropped one little box of Smarties into each of their bags while Minnie ooo’ed and awwed over them. The little girl just smiled at us, but the little boy watched the Smarties plop into his bag and kept standin’ there with his bag open.

Is that it? he said. One box of Smarties? Buddy next door gave us a full bar and a can of pop!

No! Minnie said. He wasn’t done yet, and she plopped a bag of chips and another bar each into their bags. Of course I was livid.

What’s your name, little fella? I said.

Jeremy, he said.

Well Jeremy, I hope there’s no Halloween monsters hidin’ under your bed when you try to go to sleep tonight.

Billy! Minnie said.

6:20 – Our neice Cathy shows up with her little fella, Little Jim, who’s dressed up like a vampire, with the little black cape, the hair slicked back, and the dribbles of blood down the corners of his mouth.

Oh look, I said to Minnie, Little Jim’s dressed up like a Barbie doll. I like your costume, Barbie.

I’m a vampire, he said, spittin’ out his teeth. I kill Barbies and feast on their blood, he said. He’s four.

6:44 – We’re up to 26 and we only got two bags of chips left. I convince Minnie to let me hand out nothin’ but candy for the last fifteen minutes so we can try to save the chips for ourselves.

6:58 – We get kids number 31 and 32 (dressed up like a pair of dice), and I give them our last two little boxes of Smarties. Just as they’re walkin’ off the step, I see across the street there’s gotta be 20 teenagers runnin’ between the houses.

I looked at our two little bags of chips then looked at the twenty kids again, half of them in Devco coveralls. Where do they still get Devco coveralls nowadays? Minnie says, just as I close the door and flick out all the lights.

We sit their right still in the dark on the couch, eatin’ our chips. Maybe they went by us, Minnie says. And that’s when the first egg hit the picture window.

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