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    Somewhere in the dark...
Matt was hunched down in the tall stalks, his thighs getting cramped from being in this position for so long. He felt something tickle his nose and reached up to scratch it, smearing his face paint a little in doing so.

Just as he was about to shift his weight, he could hear someone coming in his direction, rustling the stalks as they passed in the dark...

He gripped his weapon and readied himself for his assault, hoping it would be surprising enough to catch his target off-guard. He felt the cramp in his thigh beginning to burn and
willed it to stop.

"Not now, relax, c'mon..."

As the target closed in to his position, Matt tensed up his muscles for the pounce.

 Meanwhile...
Margo tried to adjust her outfit. While it was flattering, it wasn't exactly comfortable. Looking down into the depths of the neckline, she thought to herself, "And it's just a *tad* bit revealing, too."

A man, dressed impeccably, walked up to her. "He must not be from around here," she noted, looking at him. At this sort of function, his style of dress was not exactly with the general theme.

"I'll take one of those, please," he indicated to one of the slips of paper she had in her hand. In his right hand, he offered a few bills of money, his other was held out, waiting to
receive its contents. He tried not to look at her directly, but instead looked around him, scouting to see if his position was compromised.

Margo, looked around to see if anyone else had noticed how out of place he was and slipped him the paper, palming his money. She gave him one of her biggest smiles and thanked him. He stuck the paper in his pocket and walked away.

 Elsewhere...
Nick hated being undercover. It always stifled him, or at least seemed to at the end of his DEA career. He much preferred to be his own self, doing and saying what he wanted, when he wanted.

But, still, at least he was used to this, pretending to be someone he wasn't. He could slip into character easily, sometimes too easily. Some children walked past him and
giggled, pointing to him. Older teenagers laughed out loud and tried to push and bump him.

"Why I oughtta..." he took a few threatening steps towards them, chasing them away.

"This is not how I wanted to spend my night," he thought out loud.

"Excuse me, but can you tell me where I can find a bathroom?" asked a twenty-something frat-looking boy. He was surrounded by about five other frat-brats, all of them looking as if they'd probably consumed a decent amount of alcohol before heading out for a night on the town. " I really gotta take a griz, ya know," the frat-brat tried to hold back his laughter.

"Ya wanna find a bathroom, do ya?" Nick advanced on them. "I'll tell ya where ya can stick that griz!"

The frat-brats sputtered and guffawed at Nick as he tried to get rid of them, stumbling over each other's drunken feet in their retreat.

"This is fast becoming not worth the price I agreed when I said I'd do this," Nick glowered at anyone and everyone who looked at him. "Someone's going to pay for this."

 
 Somewhere else in the dark...
Benny Ray was snug in the middle of the stalks, his ghillie suit effectively camouflaging him from being seen by the figures that wandered in and out of the stalks, precariously close to his position.

He breathed shallowly, not making too much noise with his respirations, even though it was cold out and his breath could be seen, he let it out so slowly it was hardly even noticeable.

He felt his knife in his hand, comforting, encouraging, familiar.

As he heard footsteps coming closer, his grip tightened on his weapon. He prepared himself for the assault.

   Somewhere in a crowded area...
Deke was in his element. He loved to dress outlandishly and express his own personality, be it in clothes or the color of his hair on the addition of more piercings in new and untouched places.

The music was captivating, the people wandering to and fro were almost as outlandish as he was. He may have stood heads above the rest, but he did not stand out in the crowd. He actually blended in for once, and he thought he liked it.

His frizzy purple hair caught the cool night's breeze through its' strands, cooling his moist skin. His baggy pants kept him from becoming too overheated as he mingled, weaving his way through the crowds. Beneath the folds of his oversized coat, he was able to hide his precious cargo. The other masses wove their way through the mazes of tables and
people trying to get them to try their products, some even opening trench coats to display their wares. He caught a whiff of food cooking, fire burning, even coffee brewing. As his
stomach sounded its emptiness, he altered his course and headed towards the smell.

Perhaps there he would find the individual he was looking for. She shouldn't be too hard to spot. He was told she would stand out in a crowd, that she looked pretty hot in her nighttime outfit.

As he headed for the fire, he spotted something flashing between some poles. Was it someone? It didn't look right. Something was wrong. Very wrong.

  Near the smell of the food...
Deke went in search of the figure he'd seen pass quickly by. He rounded a corner, nearly bowling over a young couple, giggling with merriment. He caught another glimpse of the figure as he deftly avoided tripping over a baby stroller.

"Oh, sorry, excuse me," he half-heartedly mumbled as he craned his long neck above the crowd to locate the figure.

He could hear laughter and loud calls in that general direction. He wondered if there was something going on, what could it be?

   Meanwhile...
Margo was still trying to adjust her dress. It was fast becoming uncomfortable. She remained at her post, eager to make contact with the individuals who felt worthy of the challenge.

She greeted them, exchanged their money for their papers and sent them on their way.
"This dress must be working better than planned," she thought to herself.

A young man stepped up to her, trying not to look her in the eye, or her cleavage.

"How may I help you?" she asked the man, trying out an exotic accent.

"Yeah, uh, I need one of them things, you know.." he stammered.

"Ah, yes," she drawled in her heavy accent. "Dis is vat you need, yes?"

She held up the paper directly in front of the young man's face, leaning forward to give him ample view of her well-exposed cleavage.

He cleared his throat and mumbled, "Uh, yeah, that's it. Just one, no, two please."

She noticed the young lady standing a few feet behind the man, looking at her with a glare in her eyes at Margo's cleavage display for her companion. Margo smiled, winked at the girl, and exchanged money for the pieces of paper.

"Well, things are looking up now," she thought. Until an older, distinguished man approached her.

"Oh no, not now," she thought, looking around to see if there was an easy escape.

She was surrounded by people and tents. The crowds were too thick, she could not escape without making a scene, especially in the tight, black number she was wearing at the moment.

"Excuse me," the older man directed at her.

Margo looked up into his face, as the recognition set in.

 Back in the dark again...
Before Matt's thighs could scream their complaints, he extended his leg, only succeeding in tripping up the target who had just come around the corner.

"Aaahhh!!" the male voice yelled out.

Matt broke cover and raised his arms above his head, swinging his weapon threateningly at the man's companion, who was close behind him and had nearly tripped over him herself. She gasped loudly at his sudden appearance.

Before she could inhale and scream, Matt opened his mouth and at the top of his lungs, "AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"

Both the man and the woman looked at Matt's painted face and reacted at his tremendous squall, screamed themselves and nearly tripped over themselves trying to escape.

Matt ran after them, hollering and swinging his weapon over his head, trying to catch up, but his muscles had decided to start cramping up on him and slowed him down.

   Back in the crowds...
Nick was trying to negotiate the crowds, but it seemed that every direction he went was the wrong way, against the flow of the crowd. They all seemed to be against him, pulling on him, laughing at him, making disparaging comments at him at every turn.

He had to get out of here. And fast.

He *knew* he shouldn't have said he'd take on this assignment, he knew he should have exercised his right to turn it down, but didn't.

 
 And now he was surrounded...
Just as he was about to try and break through the crowd, he saw something coming. Something above the heads of everyone else. He couldn't make out what it was, but it was headed in his direction.

Was it friendly or hostile? He couldn't be sure, and he didn't want to stick around to find out. But just as he had spotted a weakness in the crowd, a light at the end of the tunnel, he felt a heavy hand on his shoulder, preventing him from moving.

He tensed up, ready to strike. He turned and looked at the owner of the hand.

"Oh my god," was all he could utter.

The owner of the hand looked down at him and said, "Oh no, I can't believe what I"m seeing."

There, in the middle of a raucous crowd, stood a 7-foot tall, purple haired clown and a
short walking toilet.

 
 Back somewhere in the dark....

Benny Ray waited until the moment was right. He didn't want to expose his position too soon and lose the element of surprise. The footsteps got closer. He could hear whispering, at least two tangos, he figured.

As the figures got within range, Benny Ray sprang into action.

He roared out of the stalks, charging towards the tangos. His ghillie suit was flapping all around him as he ran, bellowing and slashing his weapon in front of him.

The tangos, taken completely by surprise, both screamed and froze, unable to move.

Benny Ray stopped and crouched near them, holding his scythe above his head, ready to strike. Just as the couple was about to catch their breath, he lunged at them, slashing at them, hollering, "I've got you!"

 
  Meanwhile, again...

Margo tried swallowing past the suddenly huge lump in her dry throat.

"How may I help you?" she asked the older man, hoping he wouldn't give her away.

He said nothing, looking at her, from the top of her coiffed hair, to the bottom of her stiletto-heeled shoes.

Finally he looked up into her face and, with a smirk on his face, commented," I see you've got your outfit nicely, Margo."

She cleared her throat, feeling the heat of embarrassment flowing up her well-exposed neck. Margo looked down at the skin-tight black dress that was supposed to look like Elvira. Her tall, coiffed black wig and heavy eye makeup added to the effect.

"Why yes, Trout, I sure did. And I see you came as a Washington bureaucrat."

Trout snickered at her analogy, looking down at his crisp Italian cut suit and Italian leather shoes. "Well, I just came from the office and wanted to see how everyone was doing."

"Well, I haven't seen Matt or Benny Ray since they left. I've seen glimpses of Deke here and there. Can't miss that purple wig."

"Purple wig?"

"Oh yes, this is one outfit that must be seen to be believed," Margo laughed.

 
 In the dark...
Benny Ray chased the couple for a few yards before stopping and standing up straight. He laughed to himself at how ridiculous he must look, standing there in a ghillie suit, big hairy rubber hands over his own, a big plastic scythe in one hand and a fake head in another.

But he was having fun, nonetheless.

He heard more rustling in the bushes and just as he was about to go back to his hiding place, heard, "Benny Ray, you there?"

"Right here, Major."

Matt came around the corner of one of the corridors of the corn maze. He was dressed as one of the walking-dead, his face paint imitating decaying flesh and deep crevices in his skin.

"Well, you look like death warmed-over," he joked.

Matt laughed out loud to his joke, "Well, you look like a walking bush, my friend. My replacement just came and said one's on the way for you. Want to go grab something to eat?"

"You don't have to ask me twice, let's go," Benny Ray led the way out of the rear of the maze, having memorized it from chasing so many Halloween revelers out of there.

They followed their noses back towards where the food was being cooked up.

 
 In the hostile circle...
Nick looked up at Deke, his mouth hanging open wide in apparent disbelief.

"Purple, I've never thought of you in purple."

Deke merely stood in front of Nick, looking at his ridiculous costume, that of a huge toilet. Nick's torso wore the "tank" of the toilet, with the "bowl" extending out in front of him.
Coming up from behind him, hanging over his head was a roll of toilet paper suspended from a wire.

Obviously over his initial surprise, Deke belted out a continuous stream of guffaws and laughter, drawing even more attention to Nick's predicament. He was becoming very
embarrassed and self-conscious.

"I'm outta here, I don't care what I told Trout, I'm not going to subject myself to any more of this humiliation!"

He began walking away, when Matt and Benny Ray rounded the corner, finding a large purple-haired clown and a human toilet standing before them. One gasping for breath, the other huffing with indignance.

"Oh, now I've seen everything," Matt snickered.

From underneath his ghillie suit, Benny Ray did not even try to hold back the laughter.

"Oh very funny you guys, like you look great in your costumes, too."

"But *we're* not the ones who are a walking port-a-potty!"

At that analogy, Benny Ray and Deke laughed even harder, Matt joining in with them on his own joke.

"I don't have to take this from you guys. I'm going to get out of this thing NOW!"

He started walking away, but Deke took his arm and led him towards the food tents. "Oh, Margo has *got* to see this."

He dragged Nick, hollering and complaining behind him, towards Margo's position. Matt and Benny Ray following right behind, continuing to laugh at Nick's expense.

 
   Back with Margo and Trout...
Margo made another exchange with a couple and turned back to talk to Trout.

"Is the Tunnel of Love business doing well?" he asked her.

"Well, it's not doing too badly, but you know how people are these days, too afraid to express their feelings to their significant others in a meaningful way. But some people still
want to be wooed. Some people are downright embarrassed to buy a ticket for this thing."

Trout nodded his head in agreement and stopped short and the appearance of the entourage.

Margo followed his gaze and commented, "Well, looks like you don't have to wait very long to see the purple wig. And, what's that? Is that Nick?"

She squinted her heavily-lined eyes to see if it was, indeed, Nick, dressed as a John.

The group stopped before them. Nick not looking at anyone, and clearly angry. Deke, with the biggest painted grin on his white face. Matt, trying not to let the tears of laughter smear his painted on wounds and Benny Ray, a chuckling weed.

"Oh my," was all either Margo or Trout could say.

"Oh c'mon, just say it, I've heard them *all* tonight, believe me. Trout, I don't know *why* I let you talk me into doing this volunteer gig for the charity Halloween party."

"Now, Nick, it's all for a good cause."

"But wasn't there supposed to be something better than this left over for me to wear?" he whined.

Matt chimed in, "Well, Nick, when you wait until the last moment to come to the meeting and pick up your costume, you get the crap that's left."

Everyone caught the pun and laughed at Nick.

"Awright, that's it. I've about had it up to hear with the crap jokes, the toilet jokes, 'Hey, is your name John?' jokes..."

"Okay, okay, it's not fair, but you still should have been there on time, Nick," Trout said.

"I don't know about you peeps, but I'm starving," Deke interjected.

"Sounds like a good idea to me," Matt and Benny Ray agreed.

Just then, Margo's replacement came to relieve her. She gave her the roll of tickets, the key to the money box and gladly stepped in to join her friends to seek out the food tents.

Nick brought up the rear, "Next time you ask us to come to Washington to volunteer for Halloween duty, I'm out. I ain't gonna do it."

"Aw, don't be such a spoil sport, Nick. Like I said, it's for a good cause. The money that these kids will get will get them plenty of clothes for the winter and some blankets for their
beds. A little humiliation is worth that, isn't it?"

"Yeah, I guess. But it still don't make it feel all that great."

Crowds parted for the party of six, Elvira, escorted by the Washington bureaucrat, the toilet, the clown, the undead and the bush.

It was a hallowed night indeed.

 
The End...


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