On top of everything else I’ve gone through this week, now I must find a suitable costume by Saturday. I tried to get out of it, but ‘the powers that be’ say that participation in the Halloween events is mandatory for everyone. And that includes me.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve always loved Halloween. Deciding on a costume was one of the best parts of the entire year. After all, my birthday is two days before, and then there’s all that candy.
Oh. I guess my birthday was two days before the big day. I don’t get to celebrate that anymore. My birthdays are over. It seems that being dead is really a downer. I didn’t expect to be here.
Apparently, I didn’t make the cut to get into Heaven. The guy at the gate, Saint Paul? No, his name was Peter, Saint Peter. Well, he told me I didn’t have the right attitude for clearance. My views on same-sex marriage, sex before marriage, and being Pro-Choice made me much too radical.
But you know – I thought Jesus washed away all my sins with His blood and all of everyone’s’ sin. Apparently not – Peter, Saint Peter told me that the blood only erased the sins you were genuinely sorry about. And it was apparent to him and the ‘others’ that I was almost proud of supporting gay weddings, pre-marital sex, and a woman’s right to choose.
I’m not going to apologize for my views on those things. Personally, I was always offended by people who suddenly became repentant before they died. Obviously, they only cared about saving their own skin from the fires in hell. I knew I’d made choices—wasn’t that what free will was all about?
But when St. Peter pointed me this way, two minions put me into one of the elevators. They pushed the ‘down’ button. And the elevator lurched into action, and as it dropped, my stomach crept up into my throat. Finally, after falling for what seemed like forever, the doors opened.
And I walked into my final neighborhood.
* * *
Hell is a lot different than I thought. There’s no fire all over the place. There’s no quicksand that you sink into. The screams I’d expected don’t exist, at least not that I can hear, but it’s not Heaven, either.
For one thing, we’re celebrating Halloween. It’s my first Halloween as a ghost, and though I don’t dress up in a sheet with two holes cut out for my eyes, I must find something suitable to wear as a sinner.
Instead of a mansion designed just for me, I live in a dormitory. My roommate, Madge, decided she’s going to be a Naughty Nurse. She thinks I should find something similar so we can hang out together. I don’t know about that. One of the minions told me that we go out alone – and we simply fulfill our mission. Besides, I finally have an idea for my costume. I’m going to dress as Cat Woman. I mean, she’s an anti-hero, and her past is dark—indeed, she qualifies for a demonic spirit, right?
Madge snickers at the idea.
* * *
Finally, it’s Saturday. I just finished making my costume late last night. (Hell doesn’t have costume shops – you need to make your own costume; so tedious.) Maybe it was early this morning when I finished, but it doesn’t matter. It came out just right. At least, I hoped so.
But now I must face another drawback of hell. There isn’t any coffee – or anything with caffeine. Kind of confusing – no? I mean, I thought these people would appreciate a good addiction, but that’s not the case.
Drunks and drug addicts do not get to be out with the rest of us. They go into dark rooms to detox – maybe that’s where the screams are – and when they let out, their cravings aren’t gone, but there aren’t any drugs or alcohol, either.
When I see one of these broken beings walk past, I no longer feel the lack of coffee. My struggle is nothing compared to theirs.
Regardless of the lack of coffee, I’m super excited to put on this costume. Luckily, we were instructed to wear them all day, so I can put it on right now. I must wiggle and pull at the faux leather and hope it will stretch enough.
Oh no. It’s not going to fit. What am I going to do?
And just then, I took a deep inhale, and everything slipped into place.
Gee, maybe I’m losing weight up here.
I turned from looking in the mirror, and I watched Madge’s face. Her eyes started at my feet and went up. Her leering smile grew with every upward glance.
My costume must look good, or maybe it’s horrible. How on earth did I think that pouring my body into a tight bodysuit was a good idea. Madge is staring at my breasts. Probably because they look like two watermelons stuck inside of a plastic bag.
Wait. Is that a gleam in her eye? Could it be that she’s a lesbian? Doesn’t really matter. I don’t think anyone’s looked at me like that in years.
I nod to Madge, and she comes over and puts her arm through mine. We head towards my first hellish party, and I’d give anything for a shot of tequila.
The main hall is full of people in costumes. Everyone is either milling about or waiting in line. I guess this is where you find out what your mission is. But for the life of me, I don’t have any idea how I can haunt someone. Is Cat Woman scary?
* * *
The minion giving out the assignments looked like a gargoyle. I foolishly said, “Nice costume,” and he glared at me.
Oh, maybe that’s what he really looks like?
As I walk away, embarrassed and confused, I unfold the parchment piece of paper. My instructions for the evening are staring me in the face, and I’m baffled.
“Take the Northeast elevator and go up to Level Three. When you get out, you’ll be in Times Square, New York City, and you’ll be seen by those who believe in ghosts. USE your feminine wiles to entice the first person you see. And create a sexual tension that will set off fire alarms.
“And just when their human brain is focused ONLY on YOU, shout in their face,
“TRICK OR TREAT,” and run away.
* * *
My heart sank when I read those words. First, I’d always loved Times Square on Halloween night, and second – I no longer had feminine wiles. When I died, I weighed close to 300 pounds!!
And just at that moment, I passed by a freshly polished window in a storefront. That was Cat Woman looking back at me. A svelte, sexy Cat Woman -- a Temptress and a Vamp – certainly, someone who could captivate someone on, or off, the street.
Me? I guess the devil would give me the body I’d missed since I started packing on the weight. Man, the good times I could’ve had with this body on earth!
I took a deep breath and began to look for that all-important first person. The street was practically empty.
Is this the real Times Square? Every other time I’ve been here, it’s been full of people—even at two in the morning.
And then I saw him. He was an average-looking young man sitting on a curb. He looked slightly high, but he did look up as I came towards him – so obviously, he believed in ghosts.
I watched his eyes as they traveled ever so slowly up my body. It was evident by the way he stared and stood up to greet me that he was more than interested in making my acquaintance.
This is going to be easy.
So, I started a conversation with him, and we talked for almost fifteen minutes. Every sentence that flowed from my mouth was dripping with sexual innuendo.
And when he asked me to go home with him, I prepared myself to shout out the phrase.
A loud ‘Trick or Treat’ formed in my throat, but before I could say the magic words, a demon swooped in and took possession of the young man’s soul.
I watched the scene in front of me in horror. What had he done? Was it merely his intentions that earned him a place in hell? Men thought about what they wanted to do to women all the time – was it really that easy to lose your fight for Heaven’s gates?
* * *
And it all became evident to me.
This was my hell. This was now the world I lived in.
I’ll forever be a Temptress, especially on Halloween. And I’d help the devil steal souls.
And I’d hate my sexy body, and I’d detest myself. Each time a soul was taken, I’d die all over again.
Couldn’t I have just one more birthday? Please?