Vol. 2, Issue #20 October 26th - November 8th, 2007

The Rediculous Episodes of Shotgun Dick and W.
By: G. Smith -- Illustrations By: Josh Reynolds

The Witch Queen’s Gift

The masks they wore were masks of their own faces. It was W.’s idea. But the masks represented something more. A sadistic egotism, an inside Joke that they shared that wasn’t really humorous, but an unspoken understanding, a philosophy of their own self awareness. They themselves were creatures molded into an image representing ideals that were scary enough without the masks. Plastic and distorted. A cliché of scary humor.

- I cain’t see in this durn thing. How do I look? W. asked.

- You need a gun. Dick replied.

- Don’t they not make these with a cowboy hat?

- It’s a political mask.

- Well, so’s a cowboy hat.

- Here jus’ take this Colt.

Dick had no sense of humor. He tossed W. the plastic toy carbine. They had got an anonymous tip and so began their journey. The Witch Queen had some information for them.

It was Halloween. Every holiday was W’s favorite. He blabbed about his childhood. Shotgun Dick pulled from his boot a flask he had stolen from Rummie.

­­-Just a little warm up from Autumn’s cold breath.

The blackjacks grew darker, pricklier. The sun burned cold on the fading orange horizon. Shotgun Dick and W. were smoking cigars, amazed at the traffic as they walked with the macabre mob. The traffic snailed down forty first street as warm SUV doors open and closed, open and closed, open and closed, breathing clowns and vampires, super heroes and puppies, kitties, dragons, princesses, ninjas, football players, frogs, witches, cowboys and Indians, and walking slices of pizza.

The Witch Queen spent her days as a dentist. She loved nothing more that strapping little children into her chair and poking at their little yellowing teeth. Though by facing their fears or by being enticed by the sweet rumors of her gifts, they came with tears and smiles and sniffles, carrying hungry plastic jack o’ lanterns. In this good neighborhood whole candy bars were given away, gift bags full of spider rings and magnetic eyeballs. The neighborhood Methodist Church was alive, children emerging from the cold wet tubs victorious, baptized and jaws open and clenched around the fruit of the old snake.

As they walked down the street the mob increased. Their pace slowed. Everyone got caught in a line, a line that wrapped around the block. At the vertex of these seekers, there stood the Witch Queen’s Mansion. Its old colonial pillars teeth in its gaping maw. Its dark windowed eyes looking through flickering black pumpkins. As they inched toward the yard a cold ghostly fog touched them, screams were heard. The trees were thick with sticky gossamer. Yellow eyes resting on black branches.

Dick gripped the plastic shotgun as he got his first glimpse of the Witch Queen. Over the heads, he could see her tall purple hat. Her hat was as tall as she. She had green hair, pointy shoulders and stringy arms. W. being so short couldn’t see the Witch Queen but he could see Dick’s masked face turn white as a ghost. And a cackle, as loud and as piercing as anyone had ever heard, squealed across the night.

Yeeeeee Hihihihiheeeeeeeeee!

The line crept. They had made it to the front walk, its cracked pavement lined with Marigolds and cauldrons brimming with candy corn. As they inched their way forward, trapped amongst the costumed they spotted him.

He was dressed as Blackbeard. His turban replaced by a polka dotted do-rag. He wore a patch with a yellow crescent. He raised a plastic scimitar, smiled at them with his one golden tooth, and vanished into the fog.

And there they were at the mouth of the walk. She reached in the pocket of her apron and handed them each a package. The wind picked up and she cackled again and the current of the mob swept them to the street, past the line of warm SUV’s, to where they could only faintly hear her cackling.

Shotgun Dick and W. opened their packages at the same time racing as if it were Christmas.

- Candy nothing but Candy! Shotgun Dick exclaimed.

- Heathens. W. sighed.

A Red Crescent moon rose in the east. The night got colder. Shotgun Dick traded W. all of his Laffy Taffys for W.’s Smarties.

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©2007 NONCO Media, L.L.C.