It was eight in the evening and I was getting ready to settle down in front of the television when the bell rang. Several times. Loud and insistent.
Cursing under my breath, I ran to the front door and opened it.
Count Dracula stood outside, scowling at me. He was probably around eight, dark circles under his eyes and red lipstick smeared all over his mouth. He held a Meena Bazaar plastic bag under his arm which he thrust at me, somewhat rudely. “Aunty, give me candy!” It wasn’t a request – more like an order.
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” I asked him.
“Forgetting what?” Dracula Junior blinked at me. “It’s Halloween, you ARE supposed to give me candy. Don’t you know that?” He was yelling but that didn’t bother me. The last part of his statement made me wince. The underlying assumption that I was expected to fall in line with his demand.
Now I know he was merely a child but something about his attitude had started grating on my nerves.
“I know its Halloween and I will give you candy but AREN’T you forgetting something?” I asked him again.
He looked really angry now, eyes flashing, clearly used to getting his way at home and I was sure he would stamp hisfeet and have a hissy fit right there. Well, let him, I thought to myself, I do not like impudent children.
“Before you ask anyone for candy, you are supposed to say Trick or Treat and wish them Happy Halloween. Don’t YOU know that?” it was juvenile on my part really but I couldn’t help but smile when I delivered the last part of my sentence.
The vampire shrugged. The expression on his face said that he was bored and couldn’t really care less.Could he have his candy now and leave?
I sighed and headed back to my kitchen. Grabbing a handful of Cadbury’s Eclairs in my fist, I walked back to where he stood, fidgeting with his Meena Bazaar bag. “Here you go,” I said getting ready to dump the sweets into his bag. He stared at me as though I had morphed into a ghoul myself. “Eclairs? Kya aap ke paas achhe candies hai?” the scorn in his voice was unmistakeable.
I could have smacked him right then and there but I didn’t. “What do you mean by achhe candies?” I asked innocently.
“Who on earth eats eclairs. Don’t you have Ferraro Rocher or Sour Punk, Aunty?”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “No, I don’t,” I said. “This is all I have, you will just have to take these.”
“You could always give me money!”
“I most certainly won’t give you money. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do. So please take these sweets or ring someone else’s doorbell if you like!”
That monster. He stormed off in a huff, his red cape flying around him.
I slammed the door shut. But that wasn’t the end of it. Ghosts and ghouls came calling all through the evening, asking for expensive candy and money.
What a scary evening. I’ve never been more frightened my whole life. What horrors are we unleashing onto the world, I wonder?
(An excerpt from my new book which will be out in January 2018. Watch this space for more!)