By Audrey W.
October 29th, 1975
Roy DeSoto rushed into the locker room, almost running into his partner John Gage, who was already in uniform and on his way out. Johnny jumped back to avoid a collision.
“Where’s the fire?” he joked.
Roy gave a shake of his head as he opened his locker and pulled his shirt hem up out of his pants. While he quickly unbuttoned the shirt, he explained.
“I didn’t realize Jennifer flipped the calendar to November again and I got my days mixed up. Luckily Joanne caught it.”
“Why’d Jennifer change the month so soon? There’s still three days left in October – including Halloween,” he added.
Roy was putting on his uniform shirt. “That’s why she keeps changing the calendar. She wants to skip it this year.”
“She what? But every kid loves Halloween. Shoot, most adults do.”
“Yeah, well, not Jennifer.”
Roy pulled up his uniform trousers, tucking in his undershirt and uniform shirt simultaneously. “She’s had it with the scary stuff.”
Suddenly Chet peeked in getting their attention. “Roll call, guys.”
“Be right there,” Roy assured.
“Just one more thing I’m curious about,” Johnny said as he reached to push open the door.
“We only got one day off. How could you get confused on whether or not you had to be at work again?”
“Easy,” Roy said, tying one of his shoes, his left foot up on the bench. “When you know you work on Wednesday the 29th of October and you get up early in the morning and the 29th is four days away on a Saturday, it leaves you wondering what you were thinking. I was tired, so I thought maybe I’d jumped ahead of the date. So as I was trying to figure out how I got so off, Joanne came into the kitchen and set me straight. It doesn’t help that the names of the months are in pretty small print on the thing, too,” he defended.
Johnny snickered as he walked out into the apparatus bay, picturing Roy standing in front of a calendar with a baffled expression on his face.
October 30th, 1975
After a slow shift, the paramedics headed for their vehicles in the lot behind the station.
“Now, remember, Roy,” Johnny teased. “We have two days off – two days – we come back the day after Halloween. So no matter what the calendar says, the day after ghosts, goblins and witches come to your house, report here bright and early in the morning,” he snickered. “’Course by then your calendar should be on November.”
“Very funny—hey, what’re you doing for the holiday?”
“Me? Oh . . .I guess I really hadn’t given it much thought.”
“Well, why don’t you come over? I’m taking Chris out while Joanne hands out candy. . .”
Johnny shrugged. “Sure, maybe I can talk Jennifer into going.”
Roy shook his head. Like Jo and I haven’t tried. He gave a wave as he got into his Porsche.
October 31st, 1975
Late in the afternoon, Johnny pulled his white Land Rover to the side of the street in front of the DeSotos’ yard. He did a double take when he saw six-year-old Jennifer sitting out on the lawn on a patio chair, a sign in her hands. Peering out the passenger window he read the large dark crayon print on the paper that was attached to two plastic spoons as a handle.
“No Halloween. . .?” Beside the lettering was a drawing he couldn’t quite make out. She’s picketing Halloween?
With an amused expression on his face, he climbed out of his vehicle and walked toward the little girl. As he got closer, he could see that it was a drawing of a pumpkin with a circle around it and a diagonal line across it next to the words.
Johnny cracked a grin. “So, I hear you don’t like Halloween, huh?”
Jennifer shook her head. “Nope. Not no more.”
“How come?” he asked, squatting down beside her.
“But don’tcha like gettin’ candy and seeing pumpkins with different faces carved in them at all the houses?”
Again she shook her head. “Nope. Not no more.”
“You’re a girl of many words, kiddo.” Johnny shifted his position on his feet slightly. “So, what happened to make you not like Halloween?”
“Monsters started answerin’ the doors.”
“Monsters are givin’ out the candy!”
“Ah, I see. I guess that can kind of throw an innocent trick-or-treater for a loop, huh?” Johnny rubbed at his chin in thought. He then looked to the girl. “Does your dad know that’s the reason?”
“Uh huh,” she nodded.
“What’d he say?”
“He’ll go with me to the doors,” came a quiet reply, which was followed by a louder, “But I don’ wanna go!”
“Well, do you mind of I cross your picket line so I can talk to your dad?”
She looked at him like he was speaking another language.
Johnny stood up and patted her on the head. “Never mind. But I think I’ve got an idea.”
“I’ve gotta see if your parents agree first, but what if I go up to the doors for ya? You can wait by your dad near the street, if he agrees. And I’m pretty sure he will.”
Jennifer gave it thought. After a brief moment she replied, “Okay, but only if I can walk behind ya. I don’ like the scary people trick-or-treatin’ neither.”
“Sounds like a good deal to me.”
He trotted up to the house, glancing once over his shoulder at the girl.
It’s too bad people have to dress up scary to hand *out* the candy too.
With Johnny’s plan in action, the two paramedics and two children had a very successful Halloween night out. It also helped Jennifer not to feel so alone in her agony when two other little girls ran down the street screaming after a very tall mummy answered the door at one residence. Their parents and the apologetic monster had followed behind the two, trying to console them.
When Roy, Johnny and their own charges arrived back at the DeSoto house, Joanne had just finished handing out some candy. But there was still more than a few handfuls that remained.
Johnny saw and reached for a Milky Way Bar, but Roy put a hand on his wrist to stop him. The younger man looked at his partner in surprise.
“Ah, c’mon. We did a lot of walking . . .I earned it.”
“You didn’t say ‘Trick-or-treat’. Didn’t you learn anything tonight?”
“Ha ha. . .you’re a real comedian, you know that?”
Jennifer’s giggle caught both men’s attention and the two smiled at the happy girl.
“I guess this means you don’t hafta end up with an eleven-month calendar for next year,” Johnny stated.
Roy rolled his eyes and handed him the candy bar. “Happy Halloween, Junior.”
This was inspired by our daughter, who has turned her own calendar to November already and made a sign protesting Halloween. <G> She wants no part of it anymore. Adults dressing up scary to give out candy ruined the holiday for her. And then just costumes in general have gotten too gruesome and scary. It’s kind of sad but we also got a smile out of how she handled it.
Happy Halloween! :o)
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