Halloween, the night spirits walk the earth. Death and evil surround me as bloodcurdling screams echo from far too close. Horror, trembling hands, the bile rising in my throat as footsteps approach from behind, naked fear grips my chest.
Halloween? No, this is everyday life for a boy that had nine sisters. You want horror? Try living through the Good Lord's joke of assigning simultaneous times of the month to six of the nine. Fear? Walk through the house, that's all it took to set a young man's nerves on edge.
I probably didn't help matters by refusing to call my sister's by their names. I preferred the simplicity of Hag One through Hag Nine. It was far easier to just yell, "Hey, hag!" when you wanted their attention than it was to remember all those names. The fact that it offended them, well, that just added to my pleasure. I was seven-years-old before I learned my real name wasn't "you little bastard."
To offset the brood of girls they'd cursed the world with, my parents also had four sons. Being the youngest boy, I had the rare joy of having ten mothers and four fathers. Everyone seemed to be just chock full of constructive criticism when I was a kid. "You shouldn't do that!" Why not? "Mom will spank you!" As if. My mother wouldn't have spanked me if I set the house on fire. She'd just tell my Dad.
Halloween is a special time for my sisters. It's the only time of year they don't look abnormal. I know, I know, I sound harsh. You haven't seen them. All joking aside, they're good people and they're not terribly ugly. I wouldn't go so far as to say they're pretty, but the Humane Society hasn’t picked them up, yet. I used to tell my oldest sister, Shirley, if ugly was a crime she'd be doing life without parole. For some reason, Shirley didn't mind stepping up when I needed a whipping as a kid. I wonder why.