Monday, October 31, 2005

From SusieQ's Collection of Scary Halloween Stories


It is Halloween night, circa 1950, in Southern Illinois where outhouses are still commonplace. A band of teenage boys with highly questionable intentions are roving the countryside. Occasionally as they plod through the thickets, they start shoving each other till someone falls down. Then they burst into laughter that sounds like it comes from neither a boy nor a man but something in between.

As they approach old man Murphy's place, one of them blurts out "Hey, let's get Murphy's outhouse like we did last year." Everyone joins in a resounding "Shit damn, let's!" Their enthusiasm nearly peaks as they recall what they had done to Murphy's outhouse the year before. (What they had done the year before was to carefully lift the outhouse and move it back a few feet so that the hole was in front the outhouse. As the story goes, Old Man Murphy upon making his final trip to the outhouse that night before going to bed walked right into the hole.)

The boys move quietly and slowly onto Murphy's property and toward the back of the outhouse. It is a two seater which makes it all the more fun. With nearly every step they take, the fallen leaves crunch beneath their feet sending off a warning signal to anyone who might be listening. It can't be helped. But it stops the boys in their tracks for a spell and they don't proceed until they are fairly certain that nobody has heard them.

The crescent moon gives off little light and easily slips behind one of the wispy clouds in the sky making the night practically pitch dark at times. In the darkness, the outhouse is barely recognizable. The boys grope their way through the dark to the back of the outhouse and are nearly within reach of it when suddenly there is chaos. A chorus of desperate screeches and howls erupts that can be heard a mile away. Grabbing at the earth, the boys struggle to get back up onto dry land.

Old man Murphy is in the dimly lit parlor of his house. He is sitting comfortably in a platform rocker with his feet propped up on a footstool. He turns on the table lamp that is nearby. With a smirk on his face, he casually lights his pipe and gives it a few puffs. Then, with a twinkle in his eye, he snaps open the newspaper that's been sitting in his lap for some time and proceeds to read it.

(This is based on a true story. My brother-in-law was one of those roving teenagers. Suspecting that the boys might be back again the following year to move his outhouse, old man Murphy (this wasn't his real name) decided to be the trickster this time. Knowing, if they showed up, that the boys would approach from the back of the outhouse in order to lift it, he moved the outhouse forward so that the boys would fall into the hole....which they did.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

SusieQ's Everyday Thoughts (as opposed to her Sunday Best)

I felt compelled to enter a post (nothing fancy) tonight in case Meegan from Advice For Ladies drops by and wonders what ever happened to the story about my cousin Jimmie that I told her I was writing. I am still working on it. Unfortunately, I have encountered writer's block with that story.

In the meantime, let me tell you about my husband's latest techno toy, the Blackberry. For those who may think this is a fruit I am talking about, let me assure you it is not a fruit, although I think my husband is a fruitcake for deciding to get one. He knows both of us are technology impaired and haven't even mastered our VCR yet. But I digress. To continue. The Blackberry is a wireless hand-held device no larger than a small calculator which enables the user to go online, check his emails, leave emails, make phone calls, receive phone calls and I don't know what else it enables the user to do. One thing I can assure you it doesn't enable the user to do and that is take out the garbage.

So anyway, my husband Mr. SusieQ has spent nearly a full week of vacation getting acquainted with his new techno toy and he is still fuzzy about how it works and how to get it to work, consistently that is. First off, he doesn't understand the directions. But that might be because he keeps trying to read those written in Spanish. I haven't looked, but I am confident the directions are written in English as well. However, I bet they are written in techno English which is as good as Greek then.

My husband couldn't stop with just a Blackberry. He had to go out and get himself a Blue Tooth to go with it so that he could be completely wireless. I suppose there is some benefit to being completely wireless. I just don't know what that benefit might be. But I digress. To continue. For those who may think I am talking about the kind of tooth you have in your mouth for chewing purposes, let me assure you it is not the kind of tooth you have it your mouth. A Blue Tooth resembles an oversized hearing aid. It enables the user to be completely wireless when the user is making a phone call or receiving one with his Blackberry.

So, while my husband has been getting acquainted with his two techno toys, we have been doing this thing whereby he uses his Blackberry and Blue Tooth and, while roaming our house with both, calls our home phone to talk to me. This is how the exchange goes between us:

Mr. SusieQ: "Can you hear me now?"
SusieQ: "Yes."
Mr. SusieQ moving to another part of the house: "Can you hear me now?"
SusieQ: "Yes."
Mr. SusieQ moving to yet another part of the house: "Can you hear me now?"

And so it goes back and forth between us. I feel like we are doing a commercial for some cell phone company.

We went shopping a few days after he thought he had everything working properly with his Blackberry and Blue Tooth. So, I am sitting there in the car with him and notice that he has the Blue Tooth propped in his ear and the Blackberry hooked to his waist. "Get that thing out of your ear." I said. "It looks like a hearing aid."

Looking rather perturbed, he replied. "I am WEARING case someone at the office needs to reach me."

"Why can't they call you on your cell phone?" I asked.

"Oh, I don't use that thing anymore." He responded as if I was old-fashioned because I still use mine.

It was at that moment when I began reminiscing about the good old heavy-duty phones we had years ago that came in black only, weighed a ton, and was the only phone in the house. I had an urge to return to those days of yore when, if you were lucky, you had a two-party line and got to eavesdrop and listen to juicy gossip. You can't do that with a Blackberry and a Blue Tooth, those good for nothing techno toys.