Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 10.27.06
Stanstead, Quebec


A horrible Halloween tale, eh?

They had all received the same invitation: "Please join me at my home, Chateau De Mon, Halloween night. Delightful surprises await you. Bring your PJs and gauze. Signed, Count Yablessings."

And now they stood in the vast hallway of the mansion, famous for its jagged spires and columns, the gnarled bone-like fortifications and the brackish moat that gurgled ominously around it, all of which led the observer to ask, "What the heck is the zoning around here?"

They were strangers to each other.

There was Jeremy, the brash football player with a shot at the NFL if only he could kick his addiction to male grooming products.

Next was Brenda, the college sophomore wearing a seasonably inappropriate tank top.

The third member of their party was Donald Trump, who wondered how Count Yablessings got his number.

"This place gives me the creeps," shuddered Brenda. "It's like there's a disgusting evil presence nearby."

"Oh, sorry," said Trump, stepping back.

Just then, Count Yablessings appeared out of the darkness like a bat, except more slowly and not airborne. He was dressed all in black, with the exception of a blood-red cravat, which, quite frankly, not everyone can get away with.

"Good evening," he told his guests. A shiver ran through them. "Yes, it is kind of chilly in here. I'll turn up the thermostat in a second. But first, welcome to my humble home.

Please, enjoy yourselves, explore my home, pull any strange levers you find. For you have been specially selected to compete for big surprises. Alas, I must leave you; I'm right in the middle of Season Two of 24."

And then he vanished.

"Well, let's do this thing," said Jeremy after a moment. "Whatever the surprise is, I'm planning to win it, losers! I'm brash and arrogant; what could go wrong?"

And with that, he stepped forward and fell through a trap door into a pit of oozing toxic hair gel and zombie cheerleaders. Jeremy wasn't bright enough to grasp the concept of irony and so went to his demise thinking, "Cheerleaders. Cool."

"How horrible!" cried Brenda.

"Yes, well, these construction flaws can happen when you use non-union labour," consoled Trump.

"I'm getting out of here," Brenda said and ran to the door. But it was locked. "There must be another way out."

The pair had no choice but to forge deeper into the castle, which became dingier, darker, danker, and several other words starting with "d."

Soon Brenda and Trump entered a vast torch-lit banquet hall whose walls were decorated with deadly medieval weapons. Chains hung from the ceiling and the floor was as black as the gates to hell. But it was nothing a few throw pillows couldn't improve.

Seated around a long banquet table were wax figures of some of the most horrible people from history: Genghis Khan, Jack the Ripper, Adolph Hitler, Tony Randall.

"What does it mean?" wondered Brenda.

"I guess it means we eat. I'm famished!" said Trump, rushing to the table. "Hey guys, leave some for me."

Unfortunately, Trump walked directly into a transmogrifying force field. A blue light descended on him. Electricity flashed! Time and space bent! And Trump was transformed into a 14th century monk.

The disembodied voice of Count Yablessings boomed through the chamber. "Trump," it said, "you're friared."

Trump looked at his tunic, felt his shaved head, and trembled with horror. "My hair! Celibacy! Noooooo!" And with that, he flung himself out the window to his doom.

"Ohmigod!" squawked Brenda. "I can't believe it. This… this… this means I win! What's my prize?"

"Uhh, actually," said the Count, entering through a secret panel, "I said 'surprise,' not 'prize.' I think you'll agree you've already had the surprise so, um, thanks for coming out."

"Listen, buddy. I'm in Pre-Law so if you think you can lure me here under false pretenses and not deliver, I'll sue this chateau right out from under your creepy nose."

"Fine," sighed the Count. "What do you want?"

Brenda paused and looked around. "I'll take Tony Randall."

"Deal," said the Count, who cringed in revulsion at the very thought.