“Alright now boys, you’re all old enough to have got “the talk” from your daddies. But skootch a little closer and I’ll tell you some-thin he prob’ly left out and that your mammas don’t wan-cha knowin’.” The boys, all in their mid-teens, grin wickedly at one another and move a little closer to the old man on the porch. This elder gentleman held a unique fascination for them. He was from a time forgotten that many didn’t want to remember; long before political correctness in any form was the norm and they were certain he’d fought in some war at some time long ago. Despite his tired wrinkled features, a gleam of youthful mischief glimmered in his eyes when he spoke and these youth hung on every word that issued from his thin pale lips.

The old man drew a Lucky Strike from the pack in his pocket. Lighting up, taking a deep drag, producing a harsh coughing jag. The second draw went smoother as he leaned forward drawing the group into a conspirators circle.

“Now I’m sure strapping young fellers like yourselves will sew many a wild oat before ya settle down and won’t wed the first piece ah tail ya bed… exceptin maybe Jimmy o’there.” This comment draws chortled laughter from the rest of the boys and a defiant response from young Jimmy, “But that’s the right way ain’t it? …it’s what the Bible says! Those who disobey “the word” will be struck down by the wrath of the lord!”

The old man holds out a reassuring hand to calm the boy. “Don’t go gettin’ your tail feathers rustled Jim, far be it from me to question a man’s religious convictions. But as for the rest of ya sinners.” This accompanied by a sly wink. “If’n ya get around enough with the ladies ya’ll eventually find one that’s “special.” The kinda gal that’ll do just about any and everything to please a man… if’n ya know what I mean.” (Right about now my devoted editors are gritting their teeth, in fear of where this is going. Fear not ladies, stuffed yellow salvation is a few sentences away.)

Another sly wink and a few snickers from his juvenile audience as the old man continues, “Anyhow, I met my special lady back in I reckon it was the summer of ‘83, at a little club called the Cherry Bomber. I was sittin’ at the bar havin’ myself a Miller when she came struttin’ in. She was just about bouncin’ out of one of them tuber tops. An she was wearing some of that spandex that was so popular back in the day. Boys let me tell you it was tight. You could see every curve and contour of her… “What awre you writing?!? Is this a dirwty storwie??? A dirwty old man storwie??? Wif boy children???” John Q., my stuffed, yellow bear sidekick, has somehow made his way up onto my desk unnoticed and interrupting.

I assure him this is just a warm-up for our yearly Hell-o-ween series, which officially begins next week. But never mind that, “John…what the h*** are you wearing?” Smiling the little bear does a twirl flaring up the ends of his white covering and replies- “This is my spook suit; I’m going to be the spooky ghost for trick-treats! Whooohooo!!!”  “No John,” I patiently inquire, “ I mean what are you wearing? As in, where did you get the material to make your costume?”

“Oh…” he hesitantly responds, “it is the pilwow cases…that I borwowed…fwom youw’re bed.” So I’ll need to go buy new pillow cases…again….wonderful.


“Well John you shouldn’t have used the corner for the hood,” I say adjusting his costume, “some people may be offended if you look like a tiny Klansman.” John ponders this momentarily then gets excited, “You mean like the Feet Clan guys… fwom the ninjun tuwtles? So I can be a nijun tuwtle ghost?!? Ki-yay boooohoooo! I will scare all the bad tuwtles!” To explain and correct would be futile, so I tell him that yes he will be a very scary Foot-clan ninja turtle ghost. “Now can I finish this article?”  Delighted with his new original costume, he pauses from practicing scary ninja ghost moves, “Yes, just skip the dirwty bad pawts and do a horwific scarwy ending with a scarwy morwal to da storwie.” Sigh…fine.

In recollecting and recanting memories of his own “special lady” the old man gets a little too reminiscent. Suffering a heart attack mid-sentence he falls forward, simultaneously pulling the tubing from the oxygen tanks, as his lit Lucky falls from his mouth igniting the highly flammable fumes. The explosion is spectacular; the boys are all thrown backwards as the old man is consumed by blazing hell fire. Yet somehow he miraculously survives and the boys walk away with minor injuries. The following week all of them, old man included, share the front pew beside Jimmy; this week’s sermon: “The wages of sin.”

Not exactly what I had in mind when I started rattling off this tale, but tiny ghost bear ninjas can be very persuasive in an annoying “I won’t stop pestering you” kind of way. Be sure to tune in next week as we welcome in October and kick off our annual Hell-o-ween tales right proper.

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Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!