The Observer, Oct. 26 

Maybe it has something to do with the combination of monster movies on television, the chill in the air, and the prospect of free candy, but The Observer loves Halloween. We know that up in NWA, Ronnie Floyd’s ears will burn when we say this, but this Observer loves Halloween more than Christmas. We love Halloween more than Mother’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day combined. We wouldn’t take a week of Independence Days and Valentine’s Days for that dark little corner of October, tucked in at the end like an afterthought.

In the last couple of years, we’ve been slowly beefing up the Halloween decorations in our front yard. Two years ago, it was spooky music, a red bulb in the porch light. Last year, it was a light-up cemetery gate festooned with skulls, fifteen Styrofoam tombstones, and 40 feet of faux-rickety picket fence.

Unsatisfied with that slow, Cold War style build-up, we went a little crazy with it this year. The Observer may well repeat this statement in some kind of support group one day: We’ve been planning Halloween decorations since August. Early August.

Is it wrong that we’ve been cruising the Halloween displays at Target since then, trying to figure out how to tell Spouse we spent thirty-five bucks on a really bitchin’ fog machine? Maybe we’ll work that in next weekend, when The Observer plans on boarding up the front windows of our house, “Night of the Living Dead” style. At least until the code enforcement man rolls by and writes us up.

Already this year, with a truckload of pallets swiped from a commercial building’s dumpster, we spent a weekend pounding together The Crate. It looks like your average packing crate, but it’s got an electric grinder motor inside and “DANGER! LIVE MONSTER!” stenciled across the front. As the tykes approach and trip an electric eye, the plan is for the box to bang back and forth, the sounds of rattling chains and monster growls issuing from within.

While that in itself might well be a sign we need to seek professional help, last weekend, while Spouse was gone down to South Arkansas to visit her mother, we channeled our boredom into a pile of cast off garage door-opener parts, clothesline pulleys, and the motor from a box fan, all blacked out with cheap spray paint from Wally World. Now, The Observer can flip a switch and a string-fed ghost zips across in front of the house, around the side, through the trees, and back across the front yard and starts all over — whenever the string doesn’t fall off the pulleys, that is.

Like pimpin’, hauntin’ ain’t easy.

We’ll get it figgered out, though. And when we do, look out all you tricksters. At Castle Observer, we don’t give you candy, you have to earn it.

All observers are created observant, but some are more observant than others. This particular Observer we have in mind sometimes lets things slip up on him a little. (When did they take the gear shift off the steering column?)

The other day, this Observer had occasion to go to a doctor’s office in a high-rise building. When he was through, he went back downstairs to the lobby and searched for a pay telephone to call his ride. People looked at him as if he’d asked for a handful of magic beans. He realized suddenly that he hadn’t seen a pay phone in years. He went back to the doctor’s office and used the phone. He has since acquired a cell phone, probably the last person in the Western Hemisphere to do so.

For reasons related to that doctor’s visit, The Observer has been advised to keep track of his weight, something he hasn’t done in a while. “No problemo,” he said, vaguely aware that people talk like that these days. “I’ll use the coin-operated scales that are in all the stores. The price may have gone up to a nickel now, but I’ll just have to pay it.” He found, of course, that scales in commercial establishments have gone the way of pay telephones. He now owns bathroom scales. Digital scales, not the kind where you look at the little arrow. Mr. High-Tech.

The Observer needs new shoes. To assure a perfect fit, he’ll use the X-ray machine that all the shoe stores have.



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