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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 10.30.11
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

An age-inappropriate Halloween tale

Warning: The following story contains gruesome scenes and high sugar content; may cause queasiness and cellulite.

You're sitting at home awaiting the Halloween onslaught, beside you a bowl full of S-cro-Lots Bars and Diabestic Gobstoppers to be handed out to the neighbourhood children. So far, it's been a quiet night, just two children, skittish and nervous as they grab their loot and rush to the next house like treat-seeking missiles.

Chewing your way through a bag of Gummi-Vermin, you hear a knock on the door. You use a fingernail to disengage the extruded polygelatin from your teeth and open the door.

"Trick or treat! Press delete! Give me something good to tweet!"

The figure at the door is not a child, is in fact clearly an adult male and one of considerable heft and dressed in a skimpy policewoman's costume.

"Gordon? Is that you?" you ask as you recognize your neighbour from down the street.

"Nope, not Gordon," says Gordon cheerfully. "Trick or treat! Indiscreet! Like my Great Aunt Marguerite!"

You pause to take a closer look at the middle-aged man standing in your doorway: his face is dabbed in gaudy make-up, his head covered in a blonde synthetic wig and a police officer's hat. The shirt of the police uniform is opened to expose too much hairy chest. Worst of all is the mini-skirt and stockings. The police badge on his chest reads, "To Serve and Purrrrr-tect!"

"Uh, Gordon? What's up?" you ask.

"Not Gordon. Name's Ruth. Officer Ruth Edday," he says, grinning through over-lacquered lips. He then takes a sip through a long straw that ends somewhere inside his bulging trick-or-treat bag.

"Are you supposed to be a police officer?" you ask.

"A slutty police officer!" says Ruth/Gordon proudly.

"Don't you think that's a little inappropriate?"

"Oh no," he replies. "This is how Halloween costumes are now. You've got your slutty police officer, your naughty nurse, your temptress teacher, your skanky scuba diver, your provocative proctologist..."

"Yes, but Gordon..."

"Ruth."

"Ruth, those costumes are for women," you say, as the disturbing figure before you takes another suck on the straw, a sickly thick fluid, some hideous flavour, no doubt, like the kind found at gas station rest stops: Gan-Green, Red Die No. 2, WaterSmellon, Peach.

"Ah, yes, but these costumes are an ironic post-feminist comment on sexual fantasy stereotypes. I'm taking the irony one step further. 'Cause I'm a dude. Get it?" He teeters on his high heels, catching himself on the doorframe to prevent himself from losing balance completely. You notice the sack he's carrying seem to quiver.

"I get it," you say, feeling increasingly uneasy. "But 'Ruth,' you're 42 years old. Aren't you a bit old to be trick-or-treating?"

"Trick or treat? Smells like Pete? Give me candy, chips and meat?" The slutty police officer takes another slurp, rolling his eyes. "Halloween's not for young people anymore. It's all about the adults, the drinking parties, the borderline offensive costumes. Even the decorations are PG: particularly gruesome. And kids don't care about Halloween. They're too jaded. They've seen it all. Plus, it's just not safe out there. You never know who might be lurking to snatch up children."

He giggles and takes another sip. The bag seems to shiver. It's then that you notice the slurred speech, the unfocused eyes.

"So, uh, Gordon -- I mean, Ruth, are you drunk?" you ask.

"Drunk? Drunk you ask? DID YOU SAY DRUNK!" he shouts.

"Yes."

"Okay, just checking. I'll tell you what children are good for..."

"That's not what I asked..."

"Children are filled with energy. Sugar and Red Bull. They have squandered stores of vitality as they sit with their YouTubes and texting, just waiting to be tapped, a source of precious, intoxicating, life-giving elixir to those who dare tap it."

As he laughs maniacally, you see, pressing against the inside of the bag, the outline of a young face, a hand. You reel in horror as you piece it together, the squirming bag, the viscous liquid through the straw, the inappropriate, drunken behaviour. It all becomes horribly clear:

Ruth is wasted on the young.

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through www.townships.ca. He can be reached at ross_murray@sympatico.ca.

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