Tricked for Treat

By and © Hans Schrieber

The rusted gate hung limply on one hinge, just daring you to enter. Behind the ratty, chicken wire fence was an unkempt yard of mostly weeds and brambles. Large, overgrown trees, which had long since stopped bearing any fruit, crowded the space and darkened the entry. It was the ideal setting for the tiny, aged shack with its peeling, green paint. One of the support posts to the front porch awning was broken in half and left unrepaired. The awning drooped to that side, threatening to fall at any moment. It had been that way for years. If only this place's scary appearance had frightened me away. If only I hadn't been so curious about Boy. If only my best pal, Paul Johnson, hadn't called me a chicken sissy pants, none of it would have happened and I'd be home, snug in bed, wearing my new Keds and happily playing with my little pecker.

During the day, you crossed the street rather than walk by the place. At night, you just turned around and ran back home. A boy, my age, lived there with a creepy old man who rarely came out and never in daylight. The boy was a filthy little creature with the nasty habit of picking his nose in public. That's not the worst of it, though - he ate what he picked. He sat on the back of the school bus and never spoke unless spoken to and rarely even then. But when he did speak, he had an odd accent like I'd never heard before.

On this fateful day, I caught him peering through the crack of the toilet stall. I was in the boys' room of the sixth grade hall. I was freaked out by his cold black eye peering in at me while I was on the john with my pants down. I knew it was him by the greasy black gym shoes and frayed floods exposing his filthy ankles. He didn't wear socks.

I went looking for him during recess, planning on pounding him for spying on me. When I finally found him, however, my plans changed. I heard him before I saw him hiding under the bleachers by the baseball diamond. He was crying and banging on the wooden wall. The bleachers were enclosed to keep kids like us from crawling under them. The crawlspace door, however, was broken off and lying next to the narrow opening into Boy's hiding space. It was a rite of passage for sixth graders to enter the crawlspace and then climb to the top of the bleachers using only our hands as if the bleachers were monkey bars. Paul and I had passed the test the first week of school and since then, had no reason to visit the place.

We never called him by his name, Hugo Chevenko. We never bothered to remember it. We heard it on the first day he came to school when Mr. Tanner introduced him as a new student. Mr. Tanner and some other teachers tried to call him Hugo for a while, but soon even they began calling him "Boy," same as everyone else.

I looked in and saw Boy with his stained white t-shirt leaning against the splintering back wall of the plywood enclosure. His pants and yellowed undies were pushed down below his knees. He was rubbing his stiffie while he repeatedly leaned forward and then slammed back into the hard plywood, banging his head and crying. I was wigged out by it and just stared, frozen in place. Suddenly, he stopped what he was doing and looked at me with his cold black eyes. An almost sinister grin smeared across his dirty face and he reached his arm toward me, palm up, fingers extended. Then he pulled his four fingers upward and curled them into his palm. As if connected by some invisible cord, the motion drew me into the crawlspace opening. Again, he extended his fingers and curled them back toward himself pulling me closer still. I moved slowly, irresistibly, on my hands and knees toward him until my waist was through the opening. I couldn't stop staring at his naked pecker sticking straight up close to his belly just like mine had started doing. I had never in my life seen another boy's stiffie. I felt cold inside, yet it was a fairly warm, fall day.

"Get out of there, right now!" a voice shrieked. It startled me out of the trance I was in and I scrambled backward out of the opening, banging my head on the 2x4 frame as I did. I rubbed my head and stared at Mrs. Adams, my fifth grade teacher from last year. She stood twenty yards away with her hands on her big fat hips and a scowl on her face. "You know better, Doyle Hansen. Recess is almost over, so get on back to class now."

"Yes, Mrs. Adams," I dutifully said, rubbing my sore head. I was about to tell her about Boy, when my tongue swelled up so big I couldn't talk. No lie. I thought I was gonna choke on it. I ran off in a panic and stopped at the drinking fountain. My tongue shrank back to normal, but my mouth was dry as dust and I still felt chilled. When I walked into the classroom, I was surprised to see Boy already in his seat with his expressionless stare into nowhere particular. I couldn't figure out how he got back before me.

He'd been put on the front row to begin with on the first day of school, his name starting with a "C" and all, but not more than ten minutes after the seating was all done, Mr. Tanner switched him out with Kristina Zitting. That was weird.

Mr. Tanner told us to take out our math books and halfway through calculating the sides of a triangle, I felt the coldness returning, and my mouth got very dry. I shivered and looked at the fine, light orange hairs on my arms standing up. I twisted in my seat and looked back at Boy. He was staring at me, drilling into my head with those freaky, black eyes. Who ever heard of a guy with no color in his eyes? I asked him once on the bus why he didn't have any color in his eyes. I didn't expect him to answer, but he did. "Black's a color," he'd said in his heavy accent, and then looked away.

I couldn't look away at that moment in the classroom as the coldness got stronger, and then he spoke, "Help me." Okay, he didn't actually speak to me, it was more like he stuck the words right into my brain. Then he did it again, "Help me on All Hallows Eve." He reached in with his small finger and pulled out a slimy green booger then sucked it off.

I spun back around and concentrated on my calculation. I had to square and add something. Showoff Nick Heupel, from across the aisle, had his slide rule out and was on problem four already. I could never figure those stupid things out. The harder I tried to concentrate on the problem, the more powerful the image of Boy's naked stiffie pushed its way into my brain. "Stop it!"

"Is something wrong, Doyle?"

I realized, I'd said it out loud and I was suddenly aware that everyone was staring at me. What could I say? I couldn't tell everybody that Boy was putting his stiffie in my head. I looked up at Mr. Tanner, who was waiting for my answer. If I didn't answer, I knew I'd get a rap across my knuckles with his big ruler or worse, paddled across my naked buns after school.

Twice, I'd gotten pulled into the room during recess for paddling. Once when I climbed on the school roof on a dare and once when I punched Kristina for trying to kiss me right there by the marbles ring in front of everyone. That time, he dragged me by my ear to the room, shut and locked the door. "You don't hit girls!" he scolded then ordered me to pull down my pants. He shocked me by jerking my Fruit of the Looms down. I instinctively covered my privates but he pulled my hands away and made me bend over his knees. "You don't hit girls!" he said each time he smacked my butt with the wooden paddle he kept in his desk. My butt was stinging, and I was crying when he finally stopped hitting me and gently rubbed my burning cheeks with his large, rough hand. He stood me back up and said, tapping my pecker with his finger, "You're a boy and boys don't hit girls. Got it?" I nodded yes, pulled up my pants and ran out of the room and straight over by the bleachers. I leaned against a tree trunk and fought to gain control of my tears before recess ended.

Kevin Lewis came and sat by me. "Did you just get paddled by Mr. Tanner?" I just nodded and sniffed. "How many times?" I held up six fingers. "Did he rub it after?" Again I just nodded and wiped my eyes on my sleeve. "Wow. What did you do?"

"I punched Kristina." Kevin jumped up and ran across the lawn over to the four squares and right in front of Mr. Tanner, slugged Marsha for no good reason. Mr. Tanner's eyes bugged out and he grabbed Kevin by the ear and dragged him to the room. Weird thing is, Kevin was grinning all the while Mr. Tanner was yelling that boys don't hit girls. I guess that's why only boys got paddled by Mr. Tanner, cuz it would be like him hitting a girl.

Paul handed me back my marbles bag I'd left behind, but someone had stolen my favorite butterscotch boulder from it. I was so mad. It was my luckiest one and everyone was jealous of it.

"Well Mr. Hansen, we're all waiting to hear why you disrupted the class by shouting 'Stop it.'" Mr. Tanner's voice snapped me out of my daydream memory.

"Umm, I just thought Nick was trying to copy me, but I guess he wasn't. Sorry."

Nick burst out defending himself. "Nuh-uh. No way. I'd never copy. People copy off me." That was certainly true.

Mr. Tanner walked toward us. He looked down at my paper and shook his head. "Doyle, your answer sheet is blank. How did you imagine Nick was going to copy that?" I stared at the blank paper and then back up with tears forming in the corners of my eyes. I was struggling not to cry in front of everybody as he commanded me to lay my hands flat on my desk. I obeyed and clenched my teeth. Boy cried out from behind me as the sharp pain, caused by the large flat ruler, exploded in my bare knuckles. "Stay quiet and focus on the problems."

"Yes sir." I rubbed my sore knuckles as he walked away and turned to see Boy rubbing his as well. His black eyes were moist. Accompanied by a slight chill, came the words into my brain, "I'm sorry."

I turned my attention back to the problems and thought A squared plus B squared equals C squared. "Hey, that's it," I thought. "Groovy." I squared side A and I squared side B and added them together. I pulled the slide rule from my desk and stared at it. I peeked jealously over at Nick, who hunched over and put his arm around his paper to block my view, glaring daggers at me. I reached out to try and figure out how to get the square root of C that I'd just calculated, but before I even touched the indicator slide, it moved all on its own. I read off the number it stopped on - sixteen. I looked at the problem and that seemed like a really good answer for it. It fit and made sense. I went on to the next one and the next one. Each time, just as I went to touch the slide, a chill caused me to shudder and the slide moved to the answer. After the final problem, I twisted in my desk and looked at Boy. He was wearing that same creepy grin, his coal black eyes boring into my soul. I shuddered and looked away, grateful for the help, curious how he did it, and kinda frightened by it all. Then, his cold stiff pecker slipped its way back into my brain, not completely against my will. I liked thinking about it.

I got on the bus after school and Boy was already in the back corner where he always sat. I dropped down next to Paul in our spot, fourth row on the driver's side, and set my Fantastic Four lunch pail on the floor between my feet. I remembered the chocolate chip cookies left over from lunch and grabbed the box back up. I unsnapped the clasp and reached in, pulled out the cookies, and pulled the Saran Wrap off.

"Want one?" I offered to Paul. He shook his head for no and stuck his nose back into his Avengers comic book. He's bonkers for Captain America. The driver wasn't looking in the big mirror so I got up and walked to the back without getting yelled at. I sat next to Boy and held out one of my cookies.

He looked up at me and then focused quickly on the cookie. He reached his small hand out and accepted it. He pulled it back quickly and then looked at me again. I figured his grandpa never made stuff like cookies. He took a bite and smiled.

"Thanks for helping me today in class. It was you, wasn't it?"

Boy made eye contact with me and answered without speaking. I felt the cold chill again. He took another bite and looked away.

"How do you do it?"

Boy didn't look at me and he didn't answer. He just slowly chewed his cookie, really enjoying it. I looked around and made sure no one was around us, and then I leaned close and whispered, "I liked seeing your stiffie." This time he stopped chewing, locked eyes with me and grinned the creepy grin. I rubbed my arms and made my way back to my bench. The bus driver saw me this time and yelled at me to stay in my seat when the bus was moving.

At the next stop, Boy filed past without looking at me, but as he passed, he put his hand on my shoulder. His fingers were like ice cubes. I watched out the window, peering around Paul's stupid comic book as Boy pushed past the dangling gate and trudged up the path to the little shack. I thought about his stiffie again, only this time all by my own choice, not from Boy putting the thought in my head.

Two stops later, Paul and I got off, made plans to meet up at his house after dinner and homework and headed off to our separate brick houses. I couldn't stop thinking about the friggin' crazy stuff that happened at school. Most of all, I couldn't stop seeing the image of Boy's stiffie. When he'd let go of it with his hand, I could see it had skin covering the end of it. I wondered if everybody else's did too and maybe mine was deformed, somehow. That kinda scared the crapola out of me. I wondered if Paul's was like mine or like Boy's.

"Hi mom, I'm home," I called out as I came in and sat down on the bench. I unlaced my scruffy, old Converse hightops and pulled them off. I was getting some new Pro-Keds on Friday after dad gets his paycheck. Man, was I ever excited. I wanted a pair of blue ones. I tossed my lunch pail on the speckled yellow countertop and got in the fridge. I poured myself a big glass of cold milk and grabbed the after-school snack mom had ready for me off the shelf. "Icky," I thought. "Rice pudding. At least there's a yummy cinnamon bun to go with it."

I called to the dog and set the bowl on the floor. Sandy licked it clean and I set the bowl in the sink. I ate the cinnamon bun while I watched Gilligan's Island. I wondered if Gilligan's pecker had skin on it like Boy's. When the show ended, I took my glass to the sink and wanted something else, so I fished a Popsicle out of the freezer. It was an orange one. I broke it in two and put half back for later. I went back to our TV to watch the Flintstones and adjusted the rabbit ears. I'd get it just perfect then as soon as I'd let go, the picture would get all fuzzy again. I got frustrated and turned it off. Besides, it was a stupid episode of the Flintstones. It was about an alien, the Great Gazoo, who comes to Fred. I thought it was kind of dumb. Whoever heard of aliens in dinosaur times? That's just dorky.

I was sucking on my Popsicle while I did my reading assignment and answered the questions. I colored the map of the United States and wrote in the missing names of the capitols. The orange dripped on the paper and kind of smeared it. I figured I'd get my fingers smacked for that. I licked it good all around and had a friggin' weird thought. I wondered what it would feel like to have my stiffie licked. It was a wacky thought and I shook my head to get rid of it, but it kept coming back. I couldn't stop thinking about Boy's stiffie no matter what. I closed my book and went to the bathroom.

I pulled down my pants and Fruits and sat on the john. I didn't need to go, I just wanted to look at my stiffie. I pulled it down with my thumb and it resisted a bit. I wondered what made it get like that. I started to rub it and the good tickles started up. I rubbed my little marbles around in their bag and then rubbed on my stiffie some more. I heard mom calling me to supper so I pulled my pants up and washed my hands.

At dinner, Dad asked me how my day at school went. "Fine sir." I answered with bits of meatloaf spitting out. Mom scolded me for talking with my mouth full and Dad laughed and winked. He asked if I played basketball at recess and I said no.

"I'll bet when you get those new Pro-Keds, you'll be playing basketball every day. What did you do for recess then?"

I gulped down a big swig of cold milk and thought. I couldn't say I watched Boy play with his stiffie. I'd get my mouth washed out again with Palmolive if I did. "Just ran around."

"Playing tag?"

"Yeah, something like that." Then I said, "Can I ask you something after dinner, in private?"

"Why in private?" my mom asked. She hated not knowing stuff. She was always on the party line talking with the other moms in the neighborhood about stuff going on.

"Well, cuz it's just guy stuff." They both grinned at each other.

After dinner, Dad came into my room and shut the door. We sat on my bed and he asked what was up. "Well, umm. It's kind of embarrassing to say."

"It's okay, it's just us. Just blurt it out."

"Well, at school today, umm, I kinda saw, by accident like not on purpose or anything, umm, this other boy's pecker and it had skin all over the top of it and a point on the end. Well, I just got worried that maybe mine was messed up cuz I don't have skin on mine. So I was just kind of wondering if mine was normal or if his was."

"Hmm. Well, the answer is that you're both normal. Everyone's born with skin like he has, but most people cut it off when baby boys are born. When you get to junior high next year and start taking showers after gym class, you'll see that most boys look like you do and only a few have skin still. So I guess yours is more normal than his if you think of it that way."

I smiled up at him. "Groovy. Thanks." I started thinking about junior high and showering in front of other naked boys. I thought it sounded kind of cool but also kind of scary to do. I wondered what would happen if I got a stiffie in the shower room and if any other boys would get one. I figured at least I'd finally get to see how mine looked compared to everyone else.

He chuckled and said, "You kids and your made up words. So that was it? Just how did you happen to accidentally see this other boy's pecker anyway?"

He threw me with that question. I wasn't prepared to answer it. I got nervous until a good lie popped into my head. "He pulled it out of his pants back by the bleachers to go pee and I saw it."

"What? Who did that? That's disgusting and just plain lazy not to go use the bathroom."

"Well it was that boy who lives with his grandpa in that creepy old house on 26thStreet. We all just call him Boy. I can't remember his name."

"Oh. I see." My father was satisfied. "Sad case. Really sad case." After a pause he said, "Anything else or can we go shoot some hoops before dark?"

"Well. There is maybe one more thing."

"Okay, shoot."

"Umm, well lately ..." I fidgeted.

"Out with it before the sun goes down."

"Well, lately my pecker gets all stiff sometimes. I heard other boys call it getting a stiffie. Is that supposed to happen?"

"Oh sure. That's normal too. All part of growing up. It's going to happen more as you get older. Nothing to worry about."

"So does yours get stiffies in it?"

He looked really uncomfortable and said, "Sometimes, yeah. Like I said, it's normal for guys. Tell you what sport, this summer before you go to junior high and all, I'll see about getting you a book or something that explains about all this stuff, okay?"

"Okay."

"Now, let's go shoot some hoops." So we did, but I kept wondering what his pecker looked like when it got stiff and didn't play very good because of it. I wished I'd asked him about the tickles I feel when I rub it, but I'd kind of got the feeling he didn't want to talk any more.

When it got to be dusk, I asked if I could go over to Paul's house and watch Lost in Space with him. It was our favorite show ever. Dad drove me over in our new Buick and stayed and chatted with Paul's dad about their upcoming hunting trip.

We had about twenty minutes before the show started and went to Paul's bedroom to talk. "What you gonna be for Halloween?" I asked.

"Captain America. Check it out, my mom found these blue tights at the Goodwill and I got these red shorts to pull over them and look at this." He pulled out a real Captain America shirt with a plastic face mask to match. "But the best part, check this out, a real live Captain America shield. My dad made it out of a snow disc and then painted it all up."

"That's outta sight."

"I know huh? What you gonna be?"

"Well my dad tried making me this way nifty robot suit like on Lost in Space. He cut an eye slit in this ice cream bucket and painted it all silver and everything. He even put lights in it that ran on a battery. He made a body out of a cardboard box and then attached arms and legs out of that hose stuff you hook up to your mom's dryer. It was way cool, but when I tried to walk, I just fell over and couldn't get up. He got frustrated and sorta pissed off at me saying I wasn't trying hard enough and ended up just throwing it all in the trash. So I don't really know now what I'm gonna be. It's kind of a sore subject.

"Well you better hurry up, Its this you know."

"I know."

"This year, I'm going to that creepy house Boy lives in. I heard if you go there, even though you have to go inside to get it, you get a full size candy bar of your choice." The idea both excited me and frightened me at the same time. Cold chills ran up and down my spine.

"For reals? You're gonna go there?"

"For reals. My big brother did it last year and he showed me the candy bar he got. A giant Hershey's with almonds."

"Wow, far out! Wanna hear something freaky?"

"Sure, what?"

"Today I was on the toilet and I looked up and Boy was peeking at me through the crack in the door."

"Holy crapola, what did you do?"

"I yelled at him and he ran, so after I got done with my business and did the paperwork, I went looking for him to pound him."

"I bet. I woulda knocked the weirdo into next week."

"When I found him, he was hiding under the bleachers and he had his pants down and was rubbing his stiffie."

"Holy mother of pearl. What did you do?"

"I didn't know what to do. He was just rubbing it and crying. I couldn't pound him then and he started waving at me to go over by him."

"You didn't, did you?"

"No way man. I bugged out of there."

"Wow, he's a total creepo."

"You ever seen another guy's stiffie?"

"Heck no, gross out!"

"Know what else?"

"What?"

I paused thinking how to say this, "He's got skin on his."

"Well duh, stupid, everybody's got skin on theirs."

"No. I mean like extra skin that covers all over the top of it and comes to a pointy tip at the end. My dad said some boys are like that because we all get born that way but most parents cut the skin off our peckers when we're just babies."

"Shut up. You're making that up."

"No I'm not. Ask your dad!"

"I'm not asking my dad that. That's crazy."

"Well it's true." We fell into silence as we both thought about it. Finally, I got up the courage to ask what I'd wanted to ask all along. "Does yours get stiff a lot? Do you ever rub it?"

"Shut up. This is nasty talk. You'll go to hell if you mess with this stuff."

I'd been shut down, and hammered on. I realized I was never gonna get to see Paul's pecker. I couldn't stop trying to imagine what it looked like though. I imagined it soft and stiff, trying out various ideas about it in my head. I even imagined him having the skin over it like Boy's.

"Lost in Space is on," Paul's mother called to us. We went into the TV room and sat on the floor Indian style and watched as the Robinson family encounters an alien spaceship. They dock The Jupiter 2 with the alien ship and start exploring it. Will Robinson, who is about my age, goes on the alien ship with the evil Dr. Smith and they run into an alien. Will tries to communicate with it, but Dr. Smith panics and shoots it with a laser gun and a bunch of aliens show up and get all mad and they barely escape without finding out if the aliens could help them find their way back to earth. That Dr. Smith is always messing things up. I love it when the robot throws his arms around and says, "Danger! Danger Will Robinson!" I found myself wondering what Will Robinson's pecker looked like. This new curiosity about peckers was driving me crazy.

When it was over, my dad took me back home. That night after my mom kissed me on the forehead and pulled the covers up under my armpits, I laid there thinking about Boy's pecker. I wondered why I was pulled toward him as he motioned to me. I wondered about the cold feeling and the dry mouth I felt around him. I wondered what he meant when he said "Save Me on All Hallows Eve." I wondered if Paul really would go up to his house on Halloween night or if he'd chicken out.

I suddenly realized, I had my PJ bottoms pulled down and was rubbing my pecker. It felt nice to rub it. I wondered if my dad rubbed his when it gets a stiffie. He said he gets them just like I do and even said it happens more when you get older. I wondered what kind of book he was gonna get me. I wished I didn't have to wait. Suddenly, I felt like I had to go pee so I stopped rubbing myself. I didn't really want to stop but I did cuz if I wet the bed again at my age, my dad would be really mad. I fell asleep with my PJ's pulled down, playing with my marbles.

On the bus ride to school the next day, Boy didn't pay any attention to me as he walked by and took his place in the back of the bus. I turned around and looked at him and he had his normal sad expression and didn't make eye contact or send me any brain messages. Paul wanted me to play touch football with him and some other guys, but I went looking for Boy instead. He wasn't under the bleachers or in the bathroom. At lunch, I saved my cookies again. On the bus ride home, Paul was busy reading his Avengers, pretending he was Captain America.

I checked the long driver mirror and made a break for the back seat. I opened my lunch pail and pulled out the cookies. I pulled the Saran Wrap free and held one out for Boy. He snatched it and scarfed it down. "Geez, man, take a chill pill. Slow down and enjoy it."

"Why are you being nice to me?" he asked. "It makes it harder if you're nice to me." I think it was the first time he ever asked me anything. I thought his accent sounded kind of cool. I'm pretty sure it was the first time he ever spoke without being spoken to first. I was so surprised I couldn't even think of an answer, so I just shrugged and took another bite of my mom's homemade cookie.

"I looked for you at recess. Where were you?"

He looked at me with his cold, black eyes and said, "In the room."

"Why? Did you get detention for something? Did you get the paddle?"

"No. Sometimes Mr. Tanner has me stay in and help him."

"Oh." It seemed like he didn't really want to rap about it so I dropped it, but I wondered what Mr. Tanner had him do. I figured that Boy must be really smart since he helped me with my math and could do the brain to brain talking thing. I figured maybe Boy helped grade our papers or something.

Then I braved the question I'd really gone back there to ask. "So, I was thinking, maybe if you'd like to come over to my house after dinner and play."

He looked at me with great surprise. He had longing in his eyes and sadness in his voice as he said, "I would like to, but I'm sure I'm not allowed."

"How come?"

"Master... I mean, Father wouldn't like it."

When he said that I got all creeped out. "Why would he call his old man 'Master?' and how could that ancient looking, old fart be his father?" It was like I was suddenly standing bare naked in a giant freezer like at my uncle's butcher shop and the cold air was pouring all over me. I shivered and shuddered. The tone of his voice, the look in his eyes frightened and confused me.

"But, I need you to come over to my house on All Hallows Eve and help me. Will you? Please?"

"Help you how?" He looked up and made sure no one was watching us in the back of the bus. No one was. Everyone was busy chatting with friends about Halloween the next day and making plans for it. He checked the big driver mirror at the front and then did something I'd never expected. He unsnapped his jeans, unzipped and pulled his yellowed skivvies down with his thumb. His privates popped into view right there in front of my eyes. His little pecker was stiff and suddenly I started to get my own stiffie. My mouth went dry and my eyes bugged out. He reached his hand over and took my wrist. His grip was freezing cold. He pulled my hand to his twitching stiffie and I nervously glanced around to make sure no one was watching. If anyone busted us, I'd be dead meat.

"Rub it."

I took it in my fingers and he moved my hand up and down. I felt the chilled flesh between my fingers and was shaking with nerves and fear and excitement as the thin, skin covering pulled down and up, down and back up again. I wondered what it looked like under all the extra skin on the end and as soon as I thought it, he pulled my fingers away, took it in his own fingers and pulled the skin on the end down, down, down until the tip part sort of popped into view. It was just like mine under the tight skin.

After that, he slipped his skivvies back up over it and zipped up. "Come to me on All Hallows Eve." I went to speak but I couldn't; my mouth was completely dry. I desperately needed something to drink. It was all I could think about walking back to my spot by Paul. I didn't even worry about my stiffie showing in my pants, I just needed a drink. I spied Marsha opening a Fresca and I snatched it from her and gulped half of it down before giving it back to her.

She snatched it back and gave me a shove. "Doyle, you're such a dick!" I fell backward into some younger kids across the aisle and they shrieked. The driver yelled back for me to get in my seat, called me by name, and threatened to report me to the principal. I made my way to my seat and everyone was looking at me.

When I sat down, Paul looked at me real worried and asked, "What's up with you, man, you're tripping out lately. Why'd you do that? Are you on drugs or something?"

"I was just thirsty."

Paul crinkled his brow and went back to his comic book. I turned and looked at Boy who was looking at the floor. Marsha thought I was looking at her, I guess, and she stuck her tongue out at me. I mouthed the apology, "Sorry," to her. She blushed.

Later on, when I ate the other half of the orange Popsicle, you can guess what I was thinking about. I didn't even want to watch my shows. My pecker was stiff all night. It wouldn't go down. All I could think about was touching Boy's cold pecker again and him touching mine. But every time I thought about it, I got really scared. I mean like the kind of scared you get when you're home alone at night and you hear noises in the basement. It was like something was warning me to stay away from Boy and not to touch him again. Paul's words kept creeping into my head, "You'll go to hell if you mess with that stuff."

There was so much to think about that night it almost made my head hurt. Everything about Boy was so trippy. The more I thought about touching him, the more I wanted to do it again and I wanted him to touch me. Thinking about it made my mouth dry and Mom scolded me when I drank my fourth glass of milk with Ovaltine mixed in it. "Leave some for your Wheaties in the morning," she said.

We worked on a costume for the next day. Mom had put it off for as long as she could. I expected it to be really uncool and figured I'd get teased about it. I thought it would probably be another stupid vampire costume. Still, I knew I'd have to like it or lump it with Dad around. He was still kind of steamed about the robot suit. What Mom figured out, though, really was pretty cool. She found some shiny, silver cloth at the fabric store and she sewed me pants and a long sleeve shirt with it. Then, she'd sewn red rope around the shoulders and it looked just like the space suit that Will Robinson wears on the show. "Do you want to show him the rest?" my mom asked my dad. Dad put down the paper and smiled big as he went downstairs and returned with my old Converse's spray painted silver.

"Far out!" I exclaimed as I took them from him. "Thanks so much. This is a way cool costume." They beamed in satisfaction. "But wait. What'll I wear for shoes on Friday? I don't want to wear my church shoes, everyone will tease me."

"Well then, I guess you'll just have to wear these." My dad pulled a shoe box out from behind his back and showed me a new pair of blue Pro-Keds.

"Whoa, are you kidding me? You got 'em? But what about payday?"

"It's all right, we just wrote a check. I'll put the money in the bank tomorrow."

"Wow! Thanks so much. I love you guys." We shared a hug and then Mom made me strip to my Fruits so I could try on the costume and she could adjust the fit and hem the pant legs. The problem was that as soon as I even thought about taking my pants off I got a stiffie and nothing I could do or think about would make it go down.

After a few minutes of uncomfortable hesitation, I just had to face the music and pull them off. I looked at Mom looking at my front and the obvious poking out going on down there. She almost laughed. I could tell she wanted to but was struggling not to. That made me start giggling, and then she couldn't hold it in either. "Turn around," she suggested, and I gladly did. Dad peeked out from behind the newspaper, saw what Mom was snickering about, snickered himself and went back to the sports page.

"Damn," he exclaimed. "My Green Bay Peckers lost again." My eyes bugged out but I don't think he even realized he said it, and I don't think my mom even knew what it meant. I thought about Boy's pecker again and wondered how mad my old man would be if we got caught playing with each other's peckers. That scared me too, but not as much as Paul's words about going to hell. It was nasty what I was thinking about and I knew it. But, I kind of wanted to be a little nasty even if it was scary.

The instant Mom turned out my light, I grabbed my PJ bottoms and slid them off. I pulled my Fruit of the Loom's all the way off too so I was naked from the waist down. It was kind of hard getting the Fruits over my new Keds. I begged Mom to let me wear them to bed and at first she wasn't going to let me but Dad said it wouldn't hurt nothing. He was pretty proud that he got them for me. I grabbed my stiffie and rubbed it. I rubbed it and rubbed it and rubbed it while I thought about touching Boy's and anticipated him touching mine. I felt like I was gonna pee but I didn't want to stop. Still, I couldn't pee the bed, not after all Mom and Dad had done for me during the day. I got up and grabbed the garbage can by my bed and held it in one hand to use to pee in while I kept rubbing with the other hand.

"You're going to hell, Doyle Hansen!" Paul's voice rang in my head. "This is nasty. You're a nasty boy." My mom's voice came and said, "What have I told you about touching yourself there?" Then I heard her giggling like when she saw my stiffie under my Fruits earlier. My dad's voice came then saying, "I'll get you a book about it." Then I started getting huge butterflies in my stomach and the feelings in my pecker were changing and I got scared. I dropped the trash can, grabbed my underwear and PJ's and pulled them on. When I crawled into bed I was shaking like a leaf. I was scared and worried and excited and troubled. I tried to force myself asleep but I couldn't sleep. My stiffie didn't go down and it called to me. It was like it was thirsty for something and needed to be quenched. I thought I heard noises outside my window and then I heard Boy's voice in my head, "It's almost here. It's almost All Hallows Eve. Come to me, Doyle. Come to me." I was cold and pulled the blankets up to my neck.

I got up and peeked out my window and I swore I saw a young boy running away in the shadows. I turned and saw the clock on my wall strike midnight. It was Halloween. I couldn't stand it any longer, I was so thirsty, but not for Ovaltine. I ran to the bathroom, pulled my PJ's and Fruits down to my ankles and sat on the john. I started rubbing my stiff pecker like crazy until the tingles were super strong. I knew I was on the edge of something and I had to stop or I never could. I pushed on and fell off the edge. I shuddered and shivered. I quivered and shook. I didn't know anything could feel so trippy. It was friggin' amazing. It was Ovaltine and ice cream and chocolate all wrapped up together. It was Christmas and my Birthday and Halloween all combined. Then it was over. I let go of my pecker and stared in amazement at it. It had just produced the friggin' coolest, mind blowing, far out trip ever. I guess I didn't even realize I'd been moaning until Mom knocked lightly on the door and said, "Doyle honey, are you all right in there?"

My heart skipped a beat. "Umm, yeah Mom. I'm fine. I just needed to use the bathroom."

"Okay. You're sure you're all right?"

"I'm fine. Really." I was more than fine. I was great. I was supercharged and stoked. I was... going to hell and enjoying the trip. "Oh yeah," I thought, "I'm definitely going to hell now."

When my pecker was satisfied and slipped back down to lay against my marbles, I pulled up my clothes, washed my hands, and went back to bed. I crawled in and pulled the covers up and fell immediately to sleep.

In the morning, I had a hard time getting up when Mom called me. If it hadn't been Halloween, I would have just played sick and stayed home. I dragged myself out of bed and went in to pee. Holding my pecker made me remember the groovy experience of the night and I got another stiffie. I got thinking that I had to learn to control the thing, but it was like it had its own mind. I picked out my oldest, smallest pair of underwear to put on so they would hold my stiffie down as much as possible. Especially since I was going to be wearing the thin silvery pants, I didn't want it to show. When I walked out, dressed in my costume, my mother smiled. She made me pose while she took a picture of me with her new Polaroid camera she was so in love with. She got it for her birthday and she was as excited for it as I was for my new Keds.

I had a weird feeling in my stomach. I felt guilty like she knew somehow what I'd done and that I was going to hell. She didn't act like she knew, but I couldn't stop worrying about it. When I met up with Paul at the bus stop he complimented my great costume. I told him that his was really bad too. He flung his arms around and said, "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson."

All the witches and goblins laughed at the bus stop over it and I said, "I'm not scared, Captain America will save me."

There were some pretty cool costumes at school but none was more surprising or cool than Boy's. He wore a long sleeve, cotton shirt with poofy sleeves that buttoned at the wrists. He had a leather vest over it and leather pants that stopped at the knees with long socks pulled up under the pant legs. His pants were held up with a rope tied in front and he had on odd black leather shoes. The weird thing was that it was more like real clothes than a costume, as if he just stepped out of a movie. Even Mr. Tanner was dressed up as a vampire. He wore a black suit with a white shirt with some kind of medallion thing hung by a red ribbon around his neck, and he had a black cape on. His hair was slicked back, revealing a sharp widow's peak. He painted his face white and had a drop of blood painted at the corner of his mouth.

Since it was Halloween, we didn't have a regular day planned. We did some reading and some math, and we had a little lesson about All Hallows Eve. Boy perked up for that. Mr. Tanner told us that All Hallows Eve used to be a religious holiday and was the night before All Saints Day.

Boy raised his hand and everyone looked astonished in his direction. "Yes, what do you have to say?" Mr. Tanner asked as surprised as everyone else.

Boy stood up and said in his odd accent, "It was more than just that. Families prayed by the graves of their dead during the day and attended 'black vespers' in the evening at the church. Sometimes, if they were too poor to bury their dead, they just prayed by the bone pile next to the cemetery. They sang special hymns to call all Christians to pray for the dead and then the poor could go house to house and beg for food and coins in exchange for prayers for the dead. After dinner that night, extra chairs were set at the table for the dead to return to and the family would recite the 129thPsalm then go to bed. A townsman would go along the streets ringing a bell to warn against roaming the streets on the night of returning souls."

Some kids snickered as he sat down, but I was impressed. "Thank you. I'm not sure why you have such an extensive knowledge of such things, but it was certainly an interesting addition to the lesson."

Then we moved our desks out of the way and sat Indian style on the floor. We played Thumbs Up, Heads Up, another game called Oink Piggy, Oink, and then Charades. It was fun and when it was my turn to touch a thumb, I touched Boy since no one else would. I heard him say thank you in my head. When he guessed me and got to have a turn to choose someone else, he touched Paul's thumb. Paul knew right off it was him from the coldness. But as Boy sat down, he smiled appreciatively at me.

Then the room mothers came and brought us punch and goodies. Mr. Tanner got our attention and announced that there was one more reason for celebration today. It was Boy's birthday. He had to ask Boy's first name again and the room mothers made funny faces at him, wondering I suppose, how a teacher couldn't know a boy's first name by the end of October. "All right, let's all sing 'Happy Birthday' to Hugo."

We all joined in and at the ending, about half the class said "Dear Hugo" and about half still said "Dear Boy." When we finished, William, the class dick, sang out, horribly off pitch,

You live in a zoo.

You look like a monkey

And you smell like one too.


William's gang all laughed and a few other weaklings laughed, but I told him to shut up. Mr. Tanner scolded William and made us take our goodies outside to eat them, so we wouldn't make a mess in his classroom. We all got a bag of candy along with a brownie and punch. When I got outside I asked Paul for some help, "Look for Hugo with me, I want to invite him to sit with us."

"Who?" Paul asked.

"Hugo. Oh, yeah I forgot, I mean Boy."

"Why would you want to sit with him?"

"Because I think he needs friends."

"I don't wanna be his friend. He's a creepo. Go look yourself. I'm going over to the playground." Paul was amazing on the playground. He could sit on top of the monkey bars and then swing down and hang from his knees on the last monkey bar upside down. I tried it once and almost broke my neck. He could even swing from his knees on the trapeze bar on the swing set.

"Okay, I will." I found him over by the bleachers but he wasn't alone. William Jorgensen and his gang were there and had him on the ground. They spilled his punch and took his brownie, but Hugo refused to give up his bag of candy and they were punching and kicking him. I kind of flipped out and went ape shit on them. It was so unexpected that it kind of scared the other boys off and William started fighting with me. Hugo got up and ran to Mr. Tanner. William was bigger than I was and when Mr. Tanner and another teacher came, William was on top of me, slugging me in the face with his fists. When they pulled him off me, I took the opportunity for some revenge and kicked him in the marbles. He groaned and doubled over.

"That's it. I was only going to punish William, but that deserves a paddling as well. Off we went to the room. The door was locked and the paddle was retrieved. "Doyle, pull down your pants and bend over my knee. I wasn't going to punish you until you kicked William in the gonads. That was uncalled for. I pulled them down and bent over. I tried to be brave, but it stung so bad with each swat, that I let out a little cry of pain. After six swats, Mr. Tanner rubbed my toasted buns for a minute then ordered me to stand there while William had his turn.

"William, you've been here enough times you know what to do."

"Nuh-uh. I'm not doing it in front of him."

"Either you will or I will take them down for you. Now!"

He looked on the verge of tears as he shook his head in refusal. Mr. Tanner grabbed his arm, jerked him close and insisted. Suddenly, I realized I was about to see another boy's pecker. My heart started racing and I barely even thought about the burning buns on my backside. With a flash of anger, William pulled his arm free and unsnapped his pants. He pulled them down and then grabbed his skivvies and held them for a minute and reluctantly jerked them down to his ankles, trying to cover his giant stiffie with his hands. Mr. Tanner pulled the hands away and made him bend over his knees. I got a full view of his large pecker standing straight up and two giant boulders hanging below it. Mr. Tanner switched the paddle from his left hand to his right and whaled on William. I think he got like ten or twelve really hard swats. Seeing it all made me get a stiffie.

When William was finished getting his paddling, he stood up crying, and this time I saw his pecker had gone all soft. It had shrunk a lot but still was big. I saw a few dark hairs growing above his pecker and I was really amazed by it. Mr. Tanner lectured us something about fighting and bullies and something else, but I didn't really listen because I was busy staring. My pecker stayed stiff the whole time. Then he gave me a stern lecture about fighting fair and how kicking a boy in the gonads could ruin him for life and to never ever do that again. At the end, we were told to get dressed and go join the parade. I didn't really want to go to the parade now, because William had ripped my Will Robinson shirt. Mr. Tanner found me a safety pin to hold it together.

Parents came to watch our costume parade. It was mostly moms of course because most of the dads had to work. I was shocked as I caught up to Hugo and he waved at someone. It was his father. He was wearing a black suit that was not in style with an old overcoat. His pepper grey hair was mostly covered by a black hat like businessmen wear. His skin was pale and really wrinkly and he looked really, really old. He smiled a sinister grin, but not at Hugo. He smiled at me. It sucked all the warmth from my body. I looked away and rubbed my arms. On the other side, I saw my mom and I waved. She mouthed the words, "What happened?"

I mouthed back, "Later."

After the parade, those of us with parents present could leave with them. I took Hugo over to meet my mom and explain about my shirt. "Mom, this is my friend, Hugo," I said.

Hugo looked at me with wide, blinking eyes, astonished I had called him a friend. Then he smiled bigger than ever and not his creepy smile, a real boy smile. Reluctantly, he reached out and took my mom's hand.

"My goodness, child. You're so cold. Are you ill?"

"No, Ma'am. I have poor circulation."

"Oh I see. Well, it's nice to meet you." She pulled her hand free and warmed it with her other hand. Turning to me she asked, "What happened to your costume blouse?"

"Mom! It's not a blouse, it's a shirt." Hugo giggled. Now it was my turn to look at him in astonishment. I had never heard him laugh, giggle or even snicker.

"Sorry. So what happened to your shirt?"

Before I could answer, Hugo actually spoke up and said, "He was protecting me from some bullies."

"Oh dear, that's sweet. Your father will be so proud of you."

"Mom, you're embarrassing me. Let's go. See you later, Hugo."

"Come to my house tonight. Please." Hugo's father was standing across the playground looking impatient. Hugo headed in that direction and I avoided looking.

"Doyle," my mother said in her voice that was meant to be obeyed, "Hugo was polite and introduced himself to me, you need to be polite and go introduce yourself to his grandfather."

"He's not his grandfather."

"Well then, who is he?"

"His father."

"Oh. Really?"

"That's what he said."

"Well, no matter, go introduce yourself now."

"Oh mom, do I have to?"

"Yes, right now before they leave. Go!"

I heaved a large sigh and trudged after Hugo. They saw me coming and waited, unfortunately. A warning voice in my head sounded, "Danger! Danger Will Robinson."

The closer I got to his father the colder I got. When I was in front of him, I was actually shivering from the cold. I forced myself to look up into the face of death. His eyes were black like Hugo's and his skin was the color of spaghetti, pale and slightly yellow. His sunken cheeks gave his face a long, narrow, sinister appearance. "Hello sir. I'm Doyle, Hugo's friend." I politely extended my hand as I had been taught to do and he reached his withered, bony hand out and took mine. I noticed his long pointed fingernails, filed to sharp points like claws. The instant he touched my hand, I was filled with dread. The wind was sucked out of my lungs and my mouth became as dry as dust. I wanted to scream in terror but I couldn't speak. Then he spoke in a raspy hiss.

"Make certain you and your friend, Paul, come visit us this evening. I will show you a trick and give you a special treat." I just nodded okay. Fear flowed from his icy hands up my arm, into my heart and soul. I'd just been invited to hell by the devil himself. Paul was right.

He released my hand and I clutched it to my chest. I was still trembling, unable to move or speak as he turned to Hugo and said, "Come Hugo, we have many preparations for your big night. You've chosen well."

At last my mother came over and put her hand on my shoulder, "Doyle, why are you standing here? Let's go home." I felt the warmth of her touch and grabbed her hand as she pulled it free from my shoulder. I clutched her hand with both of mine as we walked silently to the car. She smiled warmly at me.

Mom sewed my shirt up while I watched Gilligan's Island and the Flintstones. I couldn't really concentrate on the shows though. I kept thinking about Hugo and wondering why this night was so special for him. I wondered about his father. I didn't really believe he was his father. I didn't get it though. I wanted to go to his house to see Hugo, but I didn't ever want to see that man again. I trembled just from thinking about him. When it was dusk, Paul's mom called up my mom on the party line and said Paul would be down in a few minutes to go trick or treating with me. When he got there, we grabbed our bags and got all the instructions. There was to be no eating any candy until we brought it home and got it inspected. Especially, there was to be no eating anything that wasn't wrapped, like apples and popcorn balls. Some sick freakazoid put a razor blade in an apple somewhere last Halloween and my mom heard about it on the news, so she was all freaked out about it. I didn't really care, because I didn't plan on eating any stupid apples, even if I got one.

Paul and I ran from house to house shouting trick or treat and collecting our loot. When they gave out good stuff, we doubled back around and sometimes we got seconds, but mostly we got scolded for being greedy. I thought we had the best costumes we'd ever had before but after a while, Paul got sick of his plastic mask and just stuck it in his candy bag. He said it made his face sweat.

At the end of the block, we both came to a stop and stared across 26thStreet. Jack-o-lanterns lined the dirt path under the trees from the rickety gate up to the collapsing porch. My breathing got short and my mouth went dry. My heart was pounding in my chest and "Danger" was flashing in my brain like the neon sign at the diner. I looked at Paul. I wanted to go in, but I didn't want to go in. I wanted to see Hugo. I didn't want to see him. I wanted to know what was going on. I didn't want to know anything. Parents dragged small children away from the place, refusing to let them enter.

Paul looked at me. His resolve had faded, or so I thought. "Let's go."

I stood there with my stomach all twisted up like a pretzel.

Halfway across the street, he realized he was alone and turned around. "Well, are you coming? I thought you and Boy were all tight now."

"Let's skip it. You don't know what his father, or whatever he is, is like. He's really creepy, man. At school today, he touched my hand and I couldn't talk and he sucked the air out of me and I got so cold inside. It's like he's the devil himself. He knew about you, too. He said to make sure that Paul and I come by his house tonight. He said he'd show us a trick and give us a special treat. But I don't think it's any kind of treat we really want."

"Oh, you're just laying a trip on me, Doyle, just cuz you're scared."

"No, really. Something's not right about him."

"You're just a big chicken sissy pants. My brother and his friends went there and he got a giant friggin' candy bar and nothing bad happened to them. You stay if you want, but I'm going in."

"I'm not a chicken sissy pants. I fought William Jorgensen today and got paddled by Mr. Tanner without crying. I even shook the devil's hand. We'll see who the chicken sissy pants is. I bet you go running out screaming like your baby sister." He pissed me off royally with that chicken sissy pants talk. I'd show him.

I clutched my orange bag with the black bats on it and marched across the street to meet up with Paul. I pushed open the gate and we started down the pumpkin lit path. "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson." The voice in my head pleaded with me to turn around, but I wasn't a chicken sissy pants. No sir!

I knocked on the door and cried out, "Trick or Treat."

Hugo's father opened the door and smiled big when he saw us. He was still dressed in his odd black suit. "Come in, if you dare." I stepped in and stopped dead in my tracks. Against the back wall of the dimly lit room was a full on, shiny, black coffin. Bats hung from the ceiling stretching their creepy wings from time to time. Eerie music was playing. I turned and saw Paul frozen in place on the porch.

"Well, sissy pants, you coming in or not?" Reluctantly, Paul stepped inside. It was cold inside. It was like being naked in a snowstorm. My mouth was so dry it stuck to the roof of my mouth like I'd eaten a spoonful of peanut butter. The door closed behind him with a fatal thud and along with it, any thoughts of escape.

"I'm so glad you boys came. Step in the next room and I have a nice treat for you both. Do you like chocolate bars? I'm sure you do." Paul smiled and I got nervous. Every part of me was saying run for your life.

"This is so cool," he said. "This old guy's really into Halloween. Check it out, a coffin and everything." He followed the old man into the next dimly lit room. Beads hung in the doorway and they rattled as we pushed through them. There was a small table with three stools around it. A black cloth with gold embroidery lay over the table and on top of the table was a large orb, like a really big, snow globe only there was swirling, colored smoke inside it.

"Would you boys like a drink?" He took two cups and ladled a brown liquid into them from a black pot in the corner. I didn't think it was a good idea to drink it, but I was so thirsty. I just wanted to quench my thirst. Paul gulped his down. I took a sip and the instant I did, I couldn't resist gulping the rest of it. It was like super cold Ovaltine. It was delicious and I instantly wanted more of it. I thought I could never get enough of this stuff.

"Help me. Save me." The words flooded into my brain. I looked around for Hugo but he wasn't in the room. The words came again. "Come back for me. Save me," the voice pleaded.

"So let's see a trick," the old man hissed.

"What do you mean?" asked Paul.

"You said 'Trick for Treat' on the porch. So let's see your trick."

"Umm, we said 'Trick orTreat."

"I see. Isn't that rude? Expecting a treat and threatening a trick if you don't get one?" The tone of his voice was accusing and menacing.

"I guess so. Yes," said Paul. His short lived bravery had left him and he looked ready to piss himself.

Then the old man smiled and cackled. "Well, if you don't have a trick, I'll show you boys one. Place a hand on the globe and I'll tell you what your greatest wish is." Paul had his doubting look on and even smirked a little bit. He reached out his hand and placed it on the globe. I hesitated. Finally, the old man said in a commanding voice, "Do it, Doyle!"

I reached down and placed my hand on the globe, my fingers brushing up against Paul's. The old man grinned and placed his freezing cold, bony hand over ours and we all sat on a stool. He stared first at Paul, then said, "You want to make the football team in junior high next year. You want to catch passes and score touchdowns so your father will be proud of you."

Paul's eyes widened and he said, "Yeah, that's right. How did you ..."

"But you won't be on the offense. You will be on the defense because of your size and speed. Your father will still be proud, if ..."

"If what?"

"If you live through tonight." He cackled loudly, as if it were a joke, then said to me, grinning wildly, "Doyle's wish is very different. Doyle wants to see Paul's naked pecker. He wants to see it stiff. You think about it all the time, don't you Doyle?"

I wanted to lie. I really did. When I opened my mouth to speak, my brain said, "No, that's bent," but what spilled out instead was "Yes, I do."

"You're going to hell, Doyle. That's gross," Paul said, disgusted.

"But you're going to show him because you owe him for stealing his favorite lucky marble - a butterscotch boulder."

"What? You stole it? I trusted you, you big dick," I cried out.

Suddenly, I felt something strange happening that I was completely helpless to prevent. My pecker got stiff and I got the feelings like when I rubbed it in the bathroom. Paul started squirming on his stool and closed his eyes. The old man began to sway back and forth with his eyes closed and a smile on his face. Then, the good feelings stopped but my pecker stayed hard. Paul reached down and frantically pulled his red shorts and blue tights down, tucking them under his large marbles. I stared in fascination at his large pecker and marbles all squished up against the waistband of his tights. His pecker was big like William's; even in the dim light, I could see a scar from his hernia operation and a small patch of dark black hairs above his pecker. He grabbed it and started to rub himself as if under a spell.

Together, the old man and my best friend began shaking and quivering. They were both having trouble breathing. I felt really, really cold. I wanted more to drink. I just wanted some more to drink. Paul jerked and twitched and little spurts shot from his pecker. I was so thirsty, I could have licked them up. Then it was over. Both Paul and the old man were breathing heavily and my pecker began to shrink. I'd felt nothing but I was still so thirsty. "Please," I said, "Can I have another drink?"

Paul jerked his tights and shorts back up, covering his pecker and jerked his hand free. "I wanna go now," he said with determination.

"Certainly. Here is your second treat. The one you came for." He handed Paul, not one but two, giant candy bars. Paul put them in his paper bag and then the old devil turned to me, "Would you like a candy bar or another drink?"

"Drink please." It's all I wanted. I wanted it more than anything else. I wanted it more than I'd ever wanted to see Paul's stiffie. I wanted it more than I'd wanted my Pro-Keds. I wanted it more than I wanted hugs from my parents. It was all I wanted. I took the cup and gulped it down greedily. "Where's Hugo?" I asked.

"He's not here," snapped the withered old man. He was lying. I could feel Hugo nearby. I felt his familiar chill. It was different from the old man's freezing effects on me. I had heard Hugo's words in my head earlier pleading with me to save him.

"Trick or Treat!" More kids had braved the approach to the scary old shack. We followed the old man to the door and Paul pushed through it as soon as it was opened. I followed. It was Marsha from school and two of her friends.

"Girls," the old man hissed, "Here, now be off." He tossed a solitary Tootsie Roll into their bags.

"Wow. What a bummer. This place is a joke," Marsha said. As we turned to leave, a group of boys, all different ages, moved cautiously up the path. We heard the old man invite them inside.

We were up the street several houses when Paul turned to me. "I hate you for making me do that."

"I didn't make you do anything," I said.

"Yes you did. You thought it up and I couldn't stop it from happening. Now, I'm going to hell just like you are and it's all your fault."

"Why'd you steal my best boulder?"

"Jealous, I guess. You always won with it. How come you wanted to see my pecker anyway?"

"I dunno. I just did. I tried not to think about it, but the more I tried not to, the more I did think about it. I'm sorry."

"Yeah, well I'm sorry for taking your boulder. I wanna go home now. I don't feel so good and I'm really thirsty."

"Don't you want to finish the neighborhood?"

"Nah. See ya later." He took off running, leaving me alone. I was thirsty again also. I walked back to the small shack and watched as the boys left the house. They were pale and shaken, especially the youngest two. One of the older boys, dressed like a basketball player, had a wet spot in his tight, white shorts. That freaked me out and I ran home.

Mom was surprised to see me, but proud of me for not staying out by myself. I poured my candy into a cake pan and we sorted through it. Mom declared it all safe and said I could have two pieces and had to save the rest for later. I gave my dad the Chick-o-sticks and I chose a Baby Ruth and a Hershey's bar. I talked Mom into letting me have the little wax bottles with the juice inside them as well. I was so thirsty.

I changed into my PJ's and went to bed early. I thanked Mom for the great costume when she kissed me goodnight. When my parents went to bed, I got up and dressed in my jeans and old sweatshirt. I was so thirsty. I pulled on my new Keds and went to the kitchen and mixed up a glass of Ovaltine. It just wasn't the same. I was still so thirsty. I slipped quietly out the door and walked toward the end of the block. When I reached 26thStreet, I stood for a long time staring at the old shack. The Jack-o-lanterns were out and it was dark, barely lit by half a moon. Slowly, I crossed the road, pushed through the broken gate and stopped. There was a fluttering overhead and I ducked as several bats darted amongst the trees.

I stepped closer until I was on the porch. I felt the cold creeping into me. I knew the precious liquid that would quench my thirst lay beyond the peeling door. My heart pounded as "Danger" screamed out in my brain. I grasped the knob and twisted but it would not give way. It was locked. Disappointed, I stepped off the porch. I looked at the pathway under the trees and the bats fluttering overhead and took two steps toward home and the safety of my warm bed and family. Then I turned and walked around the side of the old shack.

No matter how careful I was, weeds snapped and gravel crunched beneath my blue Keds. I felt like I was making the noise of an elephant stomping through the yard. I looked for open windows and found a screen hanging from one. I reached up and placed both hands on the cold glass and slid it upward. It gave way. The wooden frame creaked and ground in its track and announced my trespassing. When I'd slid it up as far as I could reach, I put my hands on the window sill and jumped and pulled myself up. I lay my belly across the open window sill and inched my way through bit by bit until I was inside. I shivered from the cold. I left the window open for a quick escape if necessary and let my eyes adjust to the dim light. A candle burned on the table. I was in the kitchen.

Everything looked old and dirty. I lifted the candle and began examining the place. I thought the leftover Ovaltine or juice or whatever kind of brew it was, would probably be somewhere in the kitchen. As I moved toward the counter top there was a sudden motion and I let out a small gasp as a rat scurried off the counter and down the cupboards, past my feet and into the next room. I stood still for a minute, my heart racing. Slowly, I crept in the direction of the rat. I opened the door a little wider and stepped into the living room where Paul and I had first entered for our trick or treat adventure. The candle's flickering light cast just enough glow to make out the coffin at the end of the room.

I was drawn to it. Step by step, I crept toward it. An occasional squeak in the floor would cause me to stop and wait to be discovered. I approached the middle of the shiny, long, black box. The lid was open and the yellow silk lining lit up in my candlelight. I lifted my candle and peered in. There was Hugo's father, lying on his back with his eyes closed. But he looked younger, much younger. Most, but not all, of his wrinkles were gone and his flesh didn't sag. He was not dead; his chest was slowly rising and falling. His hands were lying at his sides.

I crept away toward the open doorway on the other wall and pushed the candle through the hanging beads into the small room with the glass orb. I held the candle still while I peered inside. The room appeared empty except for the darkened corners that I could not see into. I followed the flickering light into the room and over to the glass orb. The colored wisps of smoke were still swirling about in the glass ball. The heartfelt desires of all the boys who had ever touched its surface were seeking their escape from their glass encased prison. My peeking at Paul's pecker and his football glory was in there, swirling and swirling, intermingling with countless others. I don't know how long I stood and stared at the swirling, colored fog.

I stood trancelike, staring into it until I heard a noise, just a little noise, from behind the door. "Come to me. Save me. It's my day." The voice was pleading and eerie. There was a desperate urgency in it. It frightened me, but held me bound to my mission at the same time.

I walked to the door, took the handle and opened it up. I stepped slowly onto the landing of a set of wooden stairs. I took one step down at a time and stopped to listen. "Yes. Come. Come." I took another step. I was thirsty and cold. I was scared and wanted to turn and run back up the stairs to the open window and dive through it, but I couldn't. At least, I couldn't until I found Hugo and got a drink of the steaming cold brew. Halfway down, I heard noises with my ears and not just my brain. Rattling sounds. Spine tingling, creepy sounds. I nearly split, and I wish I had. Instead, I continued inching my way down. When I reached the bottom and rounded the wooden partition, my eyes were met with a horrible and frightening sight. There in the damp basement lay twenty cots with 19 naked boys chained to the beds.

Seeing my light, they became excited and chattered in foreign languages that I couldn't understand. I searched their faces but none of them were Hugo. They reached out and clawed after me as I walked down the middle of their dirty, dank bedroom. When I reached the last two beds, I turned to leave and an icy hand gripped my shoulder. I jumped and screamed. I dropped the candle and spun around ready to fight for my life. "It's me, Hugo."

My heart started up again and I began breathing. "What is this place?"

"It's the boys' room. We all serve the Master. Today is my birthday, I'm 112 years old. I have served my time. I get to be reborn and I have chosen you to birth me. Come upstairs and I will explain it to you." We gathered up the candle and found our way past the agitated boys in the dark towards the stairs. We hurried up the stairs away from the screeching boys. Hugo closed the door to the basement and got a match out of the cupboard. He lit the candle and the rat scurried into the corner. Hugo set the candle next to the glass orb. He sat on a stool and motioned for me to sit down too. When I did, he began his tale.

"One hundred years ago, I lived in Bosnia. My family lived as Christian peasant farmers and we paid a high tax and tithe to the landlords and to the empire. It was a hard life, but I had a loving family. On All Hallows Eve, I finished my chores in the field early and dressed to attend the black vespers at the church. The landlord's son was nearby and I played outside the cathedral with him before the meeting started. He invited me into the nearby woods to show me something special. In the woods, he looked nervously around and then dropped his drawers. His stap was stiff and twitching and bigger than mine. It was also different. He had no skin covering on the end of it. He told me to rub it for him. I didn't want to at first, it seemed wrong, but he insisted and I was curious, so I did it and I liked it. He told me to pull down my pants and he rubbed my little stap while I rubbed his. His was different from mine. He was a Muslim, I was a Christian. Suddenly, I felt strong feelings in my stap and then it was like it exploded. The feeling was so strong and powerful. He got the same kind of feeling and he jerked and twitched and groaned. Then juice squirted out of his big stap. We were catching our breath, when his father's booming voice began yelling obscenities toward me. We turned to see his angry father and two companions rushing toward us."

I stared in awe at Hugo as he shared this tale, unsure whether to believe it or not. It seemed impossible, yet he sounded truthful. I was shivering and so thirsty. "Can I have a drink?" I asked.

Hugo smiled. "Yes." He moved to the dark corner and scooped a cupful of the magical brew. I grabbed at it as soon as he got close and gulped it down. The cooling, refreshing liquid satisfied my desire and quenched the horrible thirst I'd been feeling. I set the cup on the table and Hugo continued, "The angry landlord grabbed my arm and threatened to punish me for polluting his son. He was dragging me to the Mosque to exact the punishment. I wasn't exactly clear on the intended punishment from their rapid and anger filled discussion, but it had something to do with cutting off either my hands, my stap, or ..." He paused his story and clapped both hands over his pecker and shuddered. Then he continued again, "or my head, none of which I was interested in losing. As he was dragging me over a fallen log, I bit him and got away. I ran and ran and found myself in front of Master's rock cottage deep in the woods. He took me in and hid me. He gave me some brew to quench my thirst. It was All Hallows Eve and he took my hand and placed it on this glass orb. He read my greatest desire which was to live. He granted my wish and I have lived with him for the past 100 years. Every five years, a new boy joins our family to serve the Master. After 100 years, we get to leave but only on All Hallows Eve. It's time for me to retrieve my wish and live a normal life. You will help me."

"How can I help you?" I said, stupidly. I was struggling to concentrate, already wanting more brew and not really thinking clearly.

"Take off your clothes." Hugo said it like it was no big whoop. He stood and took off his clothes and placed them in a large trunk with leather straps across it. He stood there naked and waited for me to undress. I pulled my clothes off, excited for what we might do. I wanted to get the good feeling I'd gotten in the bathroom at home when I rubbed myself. I wanted the feeling like Paul had gotten earlier on the very stool I was sitting on now. I wanted to see Hugo's pecker get stiff again and I wanted to touch it and have him touch me.

"Can I leave my Keds on?"

"Sure, now place your hand on the orb." I did what he asked. Hugo placed his hand over mine and the coldness filled me again. Suddenly, the tingles in my pecker started like earlier that night with Paul and the Master. Then, like before, they ended for me and I felt nothing. Hugo closed his eyes and tossed his head back. I felt nothing but cold and thirst while Hugo cried out and shook from head to toe. I watched in amazement as Hugo's small pecker grew longer and thicker and small black hairs sprouted and grew above it. A small spurt of liquid squirted from his pecker. He fell backwards and released his hold on me. I grabbed the cup and rushed to the kettle of brew. I scooped out a full cup and gulped it down. I thought I would die of thirst. Nothing else mattered to me but getting my thirst satisfied.

I felt the snap of cold steel around my ankle and I was jerked to the floor. Hugo dragged me down to the damp basement. He locked the chain to the railing of the empty cot. I could hardly believe what had just happened. My mind didn't get it at first. The other boys jumped and shouted and cried out. I clutched the empty cup and struggled against the chain. Hugo left me to struggle pointlessly against the leg iron, disappearing up the creaky, wooden stairs. Finally, I gave up and settled down. When I did, he came back wearing my clothing and tried taking my Keds off. I begged and pleaded to keep them. He smiled and agreed.

"I am free. You saved me. Unfortunately, Master will only let me go if I find a replacement. I wish you hadn't been so nice to me, though. It makes it so much harder to do. If you're good to Master and fill his needs well, you may get to be a recruiter like I was. It's much more fun to get out of the basement every five years. Don't worry. 100 years goes by really fast." He turned and left, leaving the candle behind. I was so thirsty. The other boys looked longingly at my empty cup. I shivered against the cold as the hopeless dread of my plight settled in.

I heard the door at the top of the stairway creak open as Hugo left me behind in his place. Tears were streaming down my face as I realized how foolish I'd been. I thought about my parents and how sad they would be. I waited in dreadful anticipation of the slamming door. Instead, there was a sudden metallic clang and then a body toppled down the stairs and sprawled out on the concrete floor near my cot. More footsteps clattered down the stairs and Captain America was on top of Hugo holding his arms. "Where's Doyle?"

"Here! I'm here!" I cried.

Paul jumped up and came to me. Seeing me naked startled him, and then he saw the leg iron. Hugo was sneaking off about to go up the stairs and Paul grabbed his shield and flung it like a Frisbee and knocked him down. Paul ran and grabbed Hugo and put him in a choke hold. "Where's the key?"

"No. It's impossible. We'll all be caught. We'll be Master's boys forever. We have to get away from here. We have to leave Doyle or we'll all be stuck here forever. It's only 100 years, please we have to leave."

"I'm not leaving Doyle. Where's the key?"

"In the amulet, around Master's neck." Paul dragged Hugo to his feet and up the stairs. I listened in anticipation of them returning with the key. I heard the door open and the two boys toppled into a heap at the foot of the stairs.

"I'm so disappointed in you, Hugo. So disappointed. You allowed yourself to cross over and are worthless to me now. I'll have to dispose of the both of you meddling brats in the morning, but now I need more rest." The door slammed and was locked.

"I told you. I warned you. Now he's going to kill us and Doyle's still not saved," Hugo cried out. Paul sat up and rubbed his throat.

"Shut up," he croaked. I begged to know what had happened and Paul explained how he made Hugo get a knife from the kitchen and help him try and get the key. Paul held the amulet up off the Master's chest while Hugo cut the ribbon that was holding it. Suddenly, the Master awoke and instantly gripped the two boys by the neck with his icy fingers. They said his grip was so strong, they couldn't believe it. He climbed from his coffin and carried them to the basement and tossed them down, cursing and seething in anger.

We sat there feeling hopeless until Paul stood and found his shield. He ran up the stairs and crashed hard into the thick wooden door. Over and over he tried until he was exhausted. It was no use. We were doomed. Later, Paul and Hugo slid my cot over to the wall so I was at the foot of the stairs.

When morning came, the door opened and the evil Master stepped through it. He was silhouetted by the light from the room above and I could see he was wielding a large dagger. He moved menacingly down the stairs toward his prey. I gulped and prepared myself for the worst.

Suddenly, Paul slipped from his perch in the wooden beams above and swung down, held by his knees like on the trapeze bar on the playground. Using his momentum, he swung his shield into the back of the Master's head and sent him crashing down. I jumped from my cot and wrapped my leg chain around his neck and squeezed. Hugo jumped out from under my cot and grabbed the dagger, cutting the amulet free. He retrieved the key from inside the amulet and unlocked the shackle around my ankle.

"Hurry!" Paul shouted. "Run." I took off up the steps but Hugo didn't follow. He ran from bed to bed unlocking the other boys who went scampering off, up the stairs past us. When he released the last one, he turned to run and found himself face to face with the Master. The last of the naked boys scrambled past us as Paul and I looked at each other. "Danger, Will Robinson," he said.

"I'm not afraid. I got Captain America to protect me. Let's go."

We ran down the stairs and the Master spun to glare at us. I went cold inside, so cold I thought I would freeze to death and I feared my life was about to end. My mouth was dry and I needed a drink. Then, he let out a blood curdling scream as Hugo rushed from behind him and drove the dagger into his back. At the same time, Paul slung his shield and smashed him right in the face between his evil, black eyes. He fell to his knees and reached around, pulling the bloody dagger free. I looked over my shoulder and saw him coming at us with the bloody dagger, full of rage and fury. I screamed like Paul's baby sister.

When we exited the doorway, there were all twenty boys crowded around the large kettle, slurping the brew. When I saw them, I ran to join in. I wanted to taste it so badly. I needed a drink. "NO!" Hugo screamed. He and Paul ran over before I could get a drink. They overturned the kettle spilling its precious brew all over the floor. The boys and I all cried out in anguish as Master burst into the room. Paul and Hugo bolted through the beaded curtain as I paused to lap at the spilled brew. Just a taste was all I needed. When I rose and headed into the coffin room, I saw my friends running down the path under the trees as Master slammed the door shut. I don't think they even realized I wasn't behind them.

Master moved slowly toward me and hissed, "You will never be free. You will bring more boys to me every All Hallows Eve, but you will never be free." I burst into tears, frozen in my tracks. I looked down at my blue Pro-Keds waiting for his icy grip to close around my throat. Just as he reached for me, I kicked with all my might, driving my Pro-Keds hard into his gonads. "Sorry, Mr. Tanner, this is no time to fight fair." I slipped through the side door, into the kitchen and dove out the open window. I ran naked as fast as my new Keds would carry me, over the fence and through the field into a corn field. I ran through the corn as the stalks tore at my naked body until I could go no further. I knelt down and tried to catch my breath. I heard him searching for me, but he finally gave up. I spent the entire All Saints Day huddled in the cornfield shivering and in fear of discovery. As night fell, I remained curled in a ball afraid to move. It was so cold and I cried softly, wishing for my warm bed just down the road.

I heard voices as I lay there shivering. They were calling my name. I heard my father's voice and I jumped up and ran. When I emerged from the corn, I saw my father and Paul, still dressed in his Captain America suit, searching for me with flashlights. "Here," I yelled. "Here I am." They ran to me and my father wrapped his coat around me and picked me up. Everyone cheered and my mother cried in relief as he carried me home.

After I was dressed, I learned how Paul and Hugo had run to Paul's and my houses and gotten help. I learned that the Master had somehow escaped with three of the boys. The rest were found wandering naked through the neighborhood begging for a drink. "Where's Hugo?" I asked. Suddenly, he appeared through the kitchen doorway with a tall glass of ice cold Ovaltine for me.

After that fateful Halloween, I never went trick or treating again. I stayed home and passed out candy with my parents. Oh, and I always slept with my Keds on, just in case the noises I heard outside my window just before midnight were from the Master coming back for me. Paul's family adopted Hugo. The creepy old house sat empty for years until it was condemned and the fire department decided to burn it down for practice. They let Hugo light the match.

Happy All Hallows!

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