The Witching Hours
Updated: Feb 22
By Matt Gordon
Well, I think I can finally say what everyone has been thinking and not saying or saying the opposite of my whole life: I’m a genius. I mean, I always thought this was the case. I was just sort of stuck in the janitor phase of Will Hunting, just a-waiting my big math problem. Nearly flunking Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, and College Algebra isn’t what I’m talking about, Ms. Miller, so if you are reading this and telling everyone what a dummy I was in your classes like you used to gossip about to my parents when they came to parent-teacher night, you can kindly leave.
No, I’m street-smart. A genius of the streets. Like I know that if I’m approaching a green light and want to take a right turn, I don’t need to even look for oncoming traffic because the cars going straight will block my path for me. Sometimes I even close my eyes for this maneuver.
It just comes with being brilliant.
But that brilliance, though called street smarts, isn’t just confined to streets. No, I take it to the sidewalks, too, like I did this past weekend in realizing my bigtime intellect.
It began at conception. From there, eventually, children emerged. And those children are, most times, like all children—kids will be kids and all that. Kids will fight to the death over a bit of litter; kids will put non-fecal matter in the toilet just to see catastrophe; kids will put fecal matter everywhere but the toilet just to see more catastrophe; kids put pennies in their mouths, swallow nickels whole, and start fires small and large with dollars, official documents, and hypothetical gift certificates to HuHot that one gets for winning a raffle and that one is really excited to use on Friday night after a long week of work and gets all dressed up in the loose-fitting shorts one likes, gathers up to go, and then finds only ashes in the hollowed out Harry Potter hardback where one keeps things like dollars, official documents, and gift certificates one is really looking forward to using. I could get more specific on the antics of rapscallions, but we all know how children can be. How they are prone to calling authority figures who love them dearly and care for them well beyond historical standards names like “Pee Pee Eyes” and then laughing maniacally at that authority figure, leaving him or her only to shrug like it isn’t hurtful and doesn’t remind him or her of that time when he or she was riding on a float in that parade in elementary school and it was really bumpy and the teacher couldn’t hear his or her request to go to the bathroom over the sound of the band playing When the Saints go Marching In, and so he or she may have accidentally gone a little in his or her pants, which happened to be light blue (but now had a large dark blue shape that looked like Uruguay on them), and his or her t-shirt wasn’t big enough to hide it and someone named Samantha Sanders—or something—saw it and laughed and told everyone and everyone started chanting “PEE PEE PARADE” over the band playing YMCA or something. Kids, hahahahaha. They are the best, right?
Anyway, on Sunday my kids were being particularly naughty. Just normal kid stuff, like putting photos and newspaper clippings of my most cherished moments in the blender or something hilarious like that. Luckily, I knew it was nearly bedtime, the time each night when I put my children to bed so they can refuse to sleep in a confined area for ten or so hours rather than just refusing to sleep out in the open like they do the rest of the time.
Unfortunately, the clock was reading Parent Time. Parent Time is a horror book idea I wrote to Stephen King about. The premise is that a set of midwestern parents with two unruly boys face a daily situation where the three hours from five-PM to eight-PM (bedtime) actually takes about seven eternities. I haven’t heard back on him about the collaboration, and I fear he may be running with it alone. Normal time will tell, I guess.
With the clock reading five-PM and a full seven eternities before me, my genius proclivities kicked in.
“You guys want to go trick-or-treating?” I asked my boys.
“It’s not Halloween, Pee Pee Eyes,” my genteel eldest answered as his brother snickered.
“Exactly,” genius-me responded. “There will be no other kids. No competition. Plus, it is called trick-or-treat. The trick is that we may convince some folks that it is really Halloween! Joke’s on them!”
They put on superhero masks, capes, and off we went, truly, to trick-or-treat. In June. On a Sunday night. As easy as making a right turn with a green light.
The thing is, I was right! No one is trick-or-treating in June! Which means you get the best stuff. Energy bars, trinkets, toys, and small appliances; how you like them apples? We didn’t have to worry about lines at any of the houses or jerk-dads popping up and scaring us and making us Uruguay our pants a little. Nope, it was like having an amusement park flash pass.
At night’s end, my boys emptied their Halloween bags on the table to take stock of their loot.
“Dada, can we go trick-or-treating again next week?”
The responsible parent in me, the good citizen, thought, No, we better not, guys. But the genius in me said aloud, “If you are good all week, I have some pretty juicy houses in mind, Pee Pee Eyes.”
So if you look out your window this weekend and see a genius escorted by a couple tiny super heroes on your sidewalk, well, don’t be stingy, Halloween comes but nineteen times a year.