(Okay, now this can be the true Halloween special.)
“Come on, Sinbad!” Shark had taken a lot of time to make sure his hair looked the same as it did in the picture. A part of him agonized over how many spikes there were. Then came the black robe with a hood. “I want to get there early!”
Sinbad, who was in the bathroom, responded with a slew of profanities, and cursing the game character he was supposed to be dressed as.
“Are you having trouble with the hair?” The door swung open, revealing a very disgruntled fiance. His hair drooped in several poorly-greased spikes. With swift precision, Sinbad handed him the bottle of gel.
“I’m already ruining the costume by not shaving. Pretty sure this ‘Axel’ guy doesn’t have a five o’clock shadow.” To emphasize the point, Sinbad rubbed the facial hair.
Shark just patted his cheek, feeling the roughness. “Don’t worry about it. Roxas isn’t over six feet tall. And besides, I don’t see why you’d want to shave that off for one night.”
Pouring some gel into his hand, Shark went to fix Sinbad’s hair. “We’re going as soon as I’m done here. Dad wanted us to get there before him, for some reason.”
Dennis knocked on the door of his brother’s house. He’d called ahead of time to give the man time to prepare.
The request was specific. Dennis had printed out a picture for Dudley, and asked him to find the closest thing he had. He also asked him to find a specific hat.
When the door opened, Dennis was greeted with what he considered the perfect costume.
“Well, damn!” Dudley had the ghoulish face paint done to a T. His usual hat had been disregarded.
“I made do with what I had, and what was given to me,” Dudley said as he reached over to pick up an urn. “What do you think, brother?”
Dennis was still in awe. “Were it not for that nose of yours, I’d assumed the man himself stood before me now!” He was let in, setting his own costume down to begin undressing.
“Forgive me for asking, Dennis,” Dudley inquired as he peeked into the urn in hopes it was empty, “but why are you not doing this costume shindig with Miss Blaise? It seemed she’d be the obvious choice.”
Putting on the first of a strangely complicated ensemble, Dennis tried recalling the reason why.
“She had to opt out. Her roommate fell ill, and Miss Blaise remained home to care for her.” Inspecting the hat that he’d obtained, he continued. “I promised her I’d get pictures, and if I won first place, I’d share some of the prize with her.”
“And what would the prize be, by any chance?”
Snorting, Dennis surprised Dudley with the answer:
“Besides bragging rights? About five hundred dollars.”
Dudley sputtered at hearing this.
“Is she here yet?” Horse-Face was scrambling to get everything in order. “And has Sunny come back?” Moony, still being in a dismal state, just shook his head.
Their most honored guest was meant to have arrived an hour ago. The fact she hadn’t either meant she was being fashionably late, or something had gone wrong.
Earlier, Horse-Face had sent Ox-Head to the cellar for drinks. Seeing he wasn’t back yet bothered him.
Footsteps leading to the kichen could be heard. When Horse-Face noticed, his blood ran cold.
“Oh, shit…” He knew The Builder would blame them for their guest being late. Deciding he needed to just get it over with, Horse-Face turned and kept an eye on the door.
Alma felt another coughing fit coming on. Grabbing hold of the couch, she kept herself steady as Blaise came into the room.
“You know,” she tried to say in between hacking, “you didn’t have to stay home for me. You could’ve gone to that costume party.”
“And leave ya all on yer lonesome?! Not on your life!” Blaise handed Alma a bowl of soup when the coughing subsided. Then she patted her on the shoulder. “And I can always go next year!”
Hearing the cheerful resignation over the whole thing, Alma couldn’t help but smile. She took a small taste of her soup, then recoiled. Another coughing fit ensued.
“Blaise! What on earth is in this?!” She asked when she regained composure. Vegetable soup was most likely not meant to be that spicy.
Here Blaise took a moment to count off the ingredients. “Uhhh, tomatoes, some carrots, little bit of onion, Carolina Reaper pepper…”
The last ingredient got Alma to nearly drop the bowl in shock. “Carolina Reaper pepper?! Blaise! Are you aware those can reach over 2 million on the Scoville scale? How did you even get a hold of them, anyway?”
Scratching her head, Blaise looked quite embarrassed. “I guess the grocery store here in town started selling them last week. Thought maybe their spiciness could help clear out your sinuses.”
Setting down the bowl on the table, Alma wrapped an arm around her roommate. “Don’t get me wrong, Blaise. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting. But hopefully next time, try something a bit less…dangerous?”
After taking a sip of the concoction, Blaise discovered the result first-hand.
“Will do,” she said after recovering.
Sinbad stood on his tiptoes to look over the crowd. He was getting more exasperated by the minute.
“I ain’t seeing your Dad, man.”
Shark was busy at the buffet table that had been set up. “Maybe he got sidetracked by something. He might be checking up on Blaise and Alma. Who knows.”
He then handed Sinbad a plate of questionable-looking vittles. “Look, why don’t we just check out the other costumes before we eat? I’m sure he’ll arrive soon.”
“Yeah, I hope,” Sinbad muttered as he took hold of what he hoped was cheesecake.
“You ready to go, brother?” Dudley didn’t get a verbal answer. Instead, Dennis just gave a thumbs-up. Clearly, he was devoted to playing his character accurately.
Dennis most likely had taken some of his old clothes when he left the mansion. He always did have a taste for black or just plain dark colors.
Here, it clearly worked to his advantage. Dudley had no idea where the hat came from, but he presumed it was on loan from a friend.
“You know, the man is capable of speech. There is no need to hold your tongue now.”
Dudley was answered with a grunt at first. “Well, I’m not exactly confident of my evil laugh, you know.” Now Dennis looked at the time. “We better get going, though! And I hope that squad car of yours has a heater.”
Much to Horse-Face’s relief, he saw the visage of an ox, not the furious face of The Builder. His relief quickly evaporated when he sensed distress.
“What is it? Did Sunny come back?” Slowly, Ox-Head nodded, holding one of his hands behind him. The dread hadn’t dissipated.
“Yeah, he came back. Came back and looked for me, first.” A shaky breath. “So we got good news, and we got bad news.”
Horse-Face swallowed thickly. “Give me the good news first.”
With this request, Ox-Head turned to look at someone in the hall. He motioned for then to come forward.
“Well,” he said as Sunny came into view, “our special guest has arrived. The bad news is…”
The woman in Sunny’s arms didn’t stir at the sound of their voices. Ox-Head pulled out an empty bottle of alcohol.
The alcohol was Spirytus 192 proof.