Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 10.30.04
Stanstead, Quebec


Three Halloween spleen-tinglers

Once upon a time in a scary one-bedroom apartment there lived a witch who owned a giant floating eyeball. This eyeball was like a crystal ball in that it could see the future. It was unlike a crystal ball in that it had an eyelid and was generally creepy. All floaty and blinky like.

One day, the eyeball decided to go for a walk. Well, not a walk, more like a float. It eerily floated over to the witch's apartment door but, because it was only an eyeball, it had no hands to turn the knob. You'd think a clairvoyant floating eyeball would have anticipated this. But no…

What the eyeball did "see," though, was the witch sneaking up behind it WITH AN AXE!

"Whew!" thought the eyeball. "I better keep my eye open for that witch." What the eyeball didn't realize was that it was seeing a mere10 seconds into the future. Whack! Down came the axe, sundering the eyeball in two. It seems the government had discovered that the witch and the eyeball had both been claiming welfare under separate addresses and the witch was about to have her benefits cut. So she whacked her roomie.

Moral of the story: Never take opposable thumbs for granted.

* * *

The lights flickered and went out as Lord Hawfulfellow entered the empty kitchen. "Blast," he extrapolated as lightning threw the shadows of Shimsham Castle in stark relief. The flash glinted off the rows of Lord Hawfulfellow's knives - his beloved collection, second only to his collection of serrated grapefruit spoons.

"Zounds," he brumbled to himself, wishing his housekeeper Helzba was here. But she had gone missing, inexplicably, with the only clue to her whereabouts a filthy Band-Aid on her pillow inscribed with the words, "Take. Vitamins."

If only Helzba were here, she could fix him some vichyssoise, his favorite on a dark and stormy night when the lights and zombies were out.

With an emphysemic sigh, Lord Hawfulfellow mustered up his self-reliance, lit the fulsome candelabra sitting upon the headboard and perambulated to the pantry from whence he emerged with a sack of potatoes. As the thunder combusted in the haunting night, he methodically began chopping the potatoes WITH AN AXE! Soon, the air was filled with the stench of starch, not unlike the attic room where he kept his dear deranged bride.

As he stood over the pile of diced potatoes in the insipient light, his sunken chest heaving from the effort, Lord Hawfulfellow felt a compulsion come over him, as though his will and his wig were not his own. He needed one…more…potato.

With a shaking hand and an undermatting of dread, his hand moved slowly towards the potato sack. A tremendous flash of lightning bamboozled the hallway with a profligate flambaishessness. He felt his blood run cold as his hand disappeared into the bag, knowing not what he would find there in the pecuniary darkness. Suddenly, a wind blew through the house, extinguishing the candelabra. With a gasp, Lord Hawfulfellow's fingers clutched at a potato. It was rotten and his fingers sank into the gooey flesh. The night was filled with Lord Hawfulfellow's screams of terror.

Moral: Always store potatoes in a cool dry place.

* * *

Butch and Becky were parked at the side of a deserted road just outside of town. The radio was playing music when suddenly an announcer came on: "We interrupt this program to bring you a news flash. A hook-handed psychopath has escaped the local asylum. He is an extremely dangerous man WITH AN AXE to grind against precociously sexual teenagers. Be on the lookout. Now back to this week's No. 5 hit, "Don't Worry, Mama, The Blood Washes Right Off."

Just then, outside there was a noise, like metal scratching on metal.

"What was that?" said Becky.

"Why, that was the No. 5 hit 'Don't Worry, Mama, The Blood Washes Right Off.'"

"No, that noise."

They turned off the radio. Sure enough, they heard "SCREE-E-E-E…!" coming from the rear of the car.

Becky screamed. Butch disentangled himself, threw the car into gear, and tore off down the dirt road.

Back in town, the pair nervously exited the car and crept around to the rear. There, scratched onto the bumper were these words:





Moral: Suburban squirrels can be very aggressive.