Disclaimer: Just having a little fun with the guys. None of the hunks of Station 51 belong to me. They belong to Universal and Mark VII.
Which Witch is Which?
By: Vanessa Sgroi
Johnny Gage thumped close his locker door and sat down on the bench to tie his black work boots. He was just finishing the left one when his partner, Roy DeSoto, sauntered into the room.
“How were your days off?”
“Yeah. I didn’t do much except wash the Rover and laundry.”
“Oh, I’ve got something for you from Jennifer,” as he spoke Roy reached into the small bag he was carrying and pulled out a construction paper pumpkin with a small candy taped to it. “She said you should put it on your refrigerator.”
Gage smiled at the little gift.
“Tell her thanks.”
“Here—I have something for you too.”
“Ahhhhh, did you make me a construction paper pumpkin too?” Johnny joked.
“Ha ha, very funny. Here,” Roy handed Johnny a white envelope.
“Joanne decided she wants to have a Halloween party this year?”
“Seriously? Joanne wants a Halloween party?”
“Yep. Don’t know why, but she’s determined.”
Gage smiled as he tore open the envelope.
Come to Roy and Joanne’s
for a Halloween Monster Mash
Saturday, October 30, 7:00 p.m.
Costumes NOT Optional
“Costumes not optional? You’re kidding.”
Roy grimaced. “I wish I was.”
“What happens if I don’t wear one?”
“I wouldn’t do that. She’s keeping extra costumes on hand for anyone who comes without one.”
“Uhh, okay, maybe I’ll just come up with one of my own.”
* * *
Two weeks’ later, at around 6 o’clock, Johnny stood on Roy’s porch ringing the doorbell. He shifted the bag he carried to his other hand as he waited for the door to be answered. Joanne answered moments later.
“Johnny! You’re early! C’mon in.”
Gage looked at Joanne in surprise. She was decked out as a black cat. A rather sexy black cat at that.
“Wow! Joanne, you look . . . uh . . . great,” Johnny felt his cheeks warming.
“Thanks. And just where is YOUR costume?” She tapped her foot in mock annoyance.
In defense, Johnny lifted the bag he held and grinned. “It’s here. It’s here. I came early to see if you guys needed any help. Figured I’d just get dressed here.”
“You didn’t bring a date?”
“I had a date. A nurse from the hospital, but she got called in to cover for someone who called in sick.”
Joanne smiled and patted his arm. “I’m sorry. Listen, Roy might need help setting up the projector in the family room.”
“Yeah. We’re going to play a few scary movies for anyone who wants to watch.”
“Far out. I’ll leave this here and change later then.”
“When you guys are done in there, I’ll need help setting up the folding tables and getting the food out.”
Joanne turned on a black, high-heeled foot and made a beeline for the kitchen, leaving Johnny to wander back to the family room on his own.
He rapped on the door frame as he entered the room. Suddenly, he burst out laughing.
“Well, look at you!” he snickered.
Roy looked up from what he was doing and scowled at his partner. “What’s so funny?”
“You—dressed as a pirate.”
“It was this or a dog. Joanne was pushing for a dog costume—you know, cat and dog. I think I made the better of the two choices.”
Johnny tapped his chin and pretended to think about it.
Roy rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Make yourself useful and set up the movie screen over there.”
“What movies do you have?”
“House of Wax, Night of the Living Dead, and Dracula. Borrowed ‘em from my neighbor, Ed.”
“Neat. Hey, Joanne says when we’re done here, she needs help setting up folding tables and bringing the food out.”
Roy nodded and finished threading the first movie into the machine.
* * *
Everything was ready to go by 6:45 p.m. Joanne carried the last of the food out from the kitchen and found a place for it on one of the crowded tables. Johnny stood looking askance at the array.
“Uhh, sure is some interesting looking food you’ve got here, Joanne.”
Roy’s wife giggled. “Think I’ll gross anybody out?”
“You just might at that. What IS this stuff?”
“Well, let’s see . . . there’s Gnarled Witches’ Fingers, Queasy Quail Eggs, Strained Eyeballs, Monster Brains, Mummy Veins, Bat Wings, Graveyard Crunch . . .”
Johnny patted his stomach before muttering, “Yum.”
“Don’t worry, Johnny dear. It’s all perfectly edible food and quite tasty, I prom . . .”
The doorbell rang.
Joanne rubbed her hands together. “Show time. Johnny, you better go put your costume on.”
While Joanne went to greet the newly arriving guests, Johnny used Chris’s upstairs bedroom and donned his costume. Once he had everything on, he headed back downstairs.
Roy was the first to spot him.
“A cowboy? You dressed as a cowboy?”
“I dunno. Just seems odd.”
Johnny grinned. “It’s called irony, Roy. Irony! An Indian dressed as a cowboy, get it?”
“I got it. I got it.”
“So who’s here?”
“Captain Stanley and his wife. And my neighbors, Ed and Janie.”
The doorbell sounded again.
“Want me to get that?”
“Nah, I got it. Why don’t you go say hi to Cap?”
Gage nodded and wandered toward the living room, where he spied Frankenstein helping himself to some Cheese Eyeballs. A rather comely and glittery witch stood by his side.
“Hey, Cap! Great costume.”
The monster nodded back in greeting.
“Nice to see you again, Mrs. Stanley.”
“Now, John, I’ve told you before you can call me Ellie.”
“You look nice . . . for a witch.”
“Thank you. I decided to be a glamour witch rather than an old hag,” Ellie laughed softly. At 36, she was far from old.
Frankenstein spoke. “John, have you tried these? These are fantastic!”
The dark-haired man shook his head and tentatively reached for a piece of the odd-looking food, tentatively popping it into his mouth.
The trio was interrupted by Roy and several more guests, including Marco and his date, Carlita. They were dressed as a magician and his rabbit. Entering the room just behind them was Robin Hood and Maid Marian.
Robin Hood, aka Mike Stoker, looked at his shift mates and growled, “Not one word about the tights. Not one word!”
Gage threw up his hands in all innocence. “I wasn’t going to say a word.” But, his wide grin told a different story. With an index finger, he tipped back the cowboy hat adorning his head. He’d just opened his mouth to crack a joke when the doorbell again issued a summons. Seeing Mike’s glare, he decided to keep quiet and motioned to Roy that he’d get it this time.
Throwing open the door, he came face to face with Chet Kelly.
“ ‘bout time you got here, Chet. What took you so long?”
“Ahh, nuthin’. My mom called as I was walking out the door. I couldn’t get her off the phone.”
While Chet was speaking, Johnny looked him up and down trying to figure out exactly what his costume was. The shorter man had a piece of wood running down each arm and what looked like barbed wire strung between the wood and across his chest and abdomen.
Puzzled, he finally asked Chet, “What’re you supposed to be?”
“Can’t you figure it out, cowboy?”
“Uh . . . no.”
“I’m a fence. See? A barbed wire fence. HEY—we go together, a cowboy and a fence.”
Johnny frowned. “Ha ha, very funny. Listen, food’s in the living room. Movies in the family room. Cap and everyone else are around here somewhere.”
Soon the party was in full swing and the rooms were full to capacity with all manner of costume-clad people. After mingling and talking with a number of Roy’s neighbors, Johnny retreated to the kitchen to grab a soda. He’d just pulled the tab and taken a long drink when he spied the beautiful witch over in the corner. She looked over at him and smiled, and he was mesmerized.
He opened his mouth to say something to her when Joanne rushed into the room.
“Excuse me, Johnny,” she exclaimed, “I need to get more punch.” She opened the refrigerator door, momentarily blocking his view of the other woman. When she shut the door and turned to leave, Johnny was disappointed to see the witch had left.
Ah, man . . .
Thinking that he might be able to catch up to her, the paramedic hurried out of the room behind Joanne. Back in the living room, he looked around but didn’t see the woman. Wondering if maybe she’d headed into the family room to join others watching one of the movies, he headed that way. His luck was no better there. Disappointed, he left the darkened room.
Back in the living room, he joined his colleagues by the couch.
“Nice of you to bring me a drink,” Chet remarked and reached for the pop can in Gage’s hand.
He pulled the can out of reach. “Fat chance. Go get your own, Chet.”
“Fine. I will. I think I’ll go check out the movies too.”
* * *
Chet grabbed a few goodies off the buffet table and nabbed a beer from the fridge. Finding the family room empty but the movie still playing, he settled into a chair to watch. A few minutes later, he felt someone sit down next to him. Chet had been so absorbed in “House of Wax”, he hadn’t noticed anyone else entering the room. He glanced up and found himself captivated by the prettiest blue eyes he’d ever seen. The owner of those eyes was a spectacular female dressed as a witch.
The woman merely smiled and extended a pale finger, tracing Kelly’s mustache. Commotion at the door pulled his attention away and Chet saw several people enter the room.
Great. Just great. Why now?
Wishing the newcomers would go away, Chet turned his head to talk to his mystery woman. But she was no longer there.
That’s funny. I didn’t see her leave.
Chet looked at the beer in his hand and wondered if he’d just imagined the hot chick.
Nah, can’t be. This is my first beer, not my sixth.
Losing interest in the movie, he stood and ambled out of the room debating whether or not to make another stop at the buffet table. As he rounded the corner, he glimpsed movement on the stairway leading upstairs. It was the lady from the movie room.
“Hey! I don’t think you’re supposed to go up there.” When the woman didn’t stop, Chet started up the stairs to follow her.
* * *
Deciding it was time for a bathroom break, Johnny excused himself from the group and made his way down the hall. The restroom was occupied so he leaned against the wall to wait. A few moments later, a red-headed Greek goddess exited the room. Gage made quick use of the facilities and washed his hands. He opened the door and stepped into the shadowy hallway, accidentally bumping into someone. Seeking to apologize, he looked up and realized he was face-to-face with the witch from the kitchen.
The woman smiled.
“My name’s Johnny. What’s your name?”
Instead of answering, the beauty reached for his hand. She began to softly trace patterns on his palm with a cool index finger. A shiver raced up his spine. He found himself entranced by her tea-colored eyes.
Johnny opened his mouth to again ask her name but was surprised into silence when the lights flickered and went out.
What the heck?
The lights were only out for a couple of seconds, but when they snapped back on the woman was gone. Frustrated, Johnny went to find his partner. He had to find out the name of his mysterious stranger.
* * *
Chet reached the top of the stairs and stood there looking for the woman dressed as a witch. Figuring she was most likely looking for the restroom, he turned right and headed for the end of the hall. When he reached the restroom, however, he discovered that the door was open and the room itself was empty. Puzzled, Chet debated whether or not to check the bedrooms. The last thing he wanted was for Roy and Joanne to think he was being nosy. Curiosity got the best of him though, and he quickly checked the master bedroom, Jennifer’s room, and Chris’s room. All to no avail. The rooms were empty.
Looking at the beer bottle still in his hand, Kelly decided that he was switching to soda for the duration of the party.
Maybe I better lay off the food too.
He was at the top of the stairs ready to start down with the lights went out and then came back on a second later.
That was weird.
As he started to descend, Chet swore he could hear laughter.
* * *
Gage located Roy in the family room with Hank Stanley where he was loading a new movie into the projector. As soon as Roy was done, Johnny grabbed his elbow and pulled him to the back of the room.
“Hey, Roy—there’s this chick . . .”
“A woman—there’s a woman—she’s dressed as a witch. What’s her name?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Ah, c’mon, Roy. Who is she? A neighbor? A friend of Joanne’s?”
“I don’t know what . . .”
“Roy! There you are!” Chet called as he entered the room. “Roy, ya gotta tell me her name. Man, she’s gorgeous.”
DeSoto closed his eyes. “Who?”
“The witch. The gorgeous witch. Who is she?”
Johnny bristled. “Oh no you don’t—she’s mine, Chet.”
“What do you mean she’s yours? I saw her first.”
“You did not. I did!”
“No way, man. She’s been flirting with me all night.”
“That’s not . . .”
“HOLD IT! HOLD IT!” growled Roy.
The two men stopped arguing.
“Now—I don’t know what you guys are talking about.”
“Roy, there’s this beautiful brunette chick—she’s dressed as . . .”
“A witch. I got that part.”
“Wait. Wait. The lady I saw is a redhead,” Chet sighed, “with amazing green eyes.”
Johnny took a deep breath as if ready to argue some more. Before he could get going, DeSoto held up a hand.
“Look, as far as I know there’s only one woman here dressed as a witch and that’s Cap’s wife.”
“Roy! Didn’t you listen? I said this woman is gorgeous. Like really hot.”
Hank, who’d been quiet up ‘til now, gave a good Frankenstein frown and said, “Just what are you trying to say, John?”
Johnny swallowed hard. “N-n-nothing, Cap. Your wife’s hot too . . .”
Stanley’s frown got a little fiercer.
“ . . . b-but she’s taken. A-a-and she’s blonde.”
“Yeah, she’s blonde,” echoed Chet, “and definitely NOT who I saw go upstairs.”
“Wait a minute,” muttered Roy, “she went upstairs?”
“Yeah, man—well, I thought she did. But I followed and it was empty up there.”
Roy rubbed his forehead where a headache was beginning to form.
“Look, when I see Joanne I’ll ask her, okay? I can’t think of anyone like that, but I’ll ask.”
Reluctantly, Johnny and Chet both nodded.
* * *
Some time later, Johnny found himself standing on Roy’s patio sipping a soda and brooding. To his dismay, Joanne had been just as puzzled as her husband as to who the woman—or women—were. He and Chet had looked from room to room without success.
The sliding glass door behind him opened, and Chet joined him on the patio.
“Do you feel as dumb as I do?”
“Yeah. I just don’t get it.”
“Man, me either.”
Suddenly, a brilliant flash of light lit up the night.
* * *
Joanne cut two pieces of chocolate cake and each piece on a small paper dessert plate. To each plate she added a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel. She felt bad for Johnny and Chet. They had looked so dejected. She was hoping this would cheer them up. Having spied Chet going out on the patio, she added forks to each plate and carried them to the sliding glass door. Delicately balancing the plates in one hand, she opened the door and stepped out.
“Hey, guys, I brought you something . . .”
Looking up from the plates, Joanne’s voice trailed off as she realized the patio was empty. Well, almost empty. She spied two small toads over near the grass.
“Huh? That’s funny. I could have sworn they were out here.” Maybe they walked around front.
Momentarily leaving the plates on the picnic table, she grabbed the broom resting near the door and walked over to the uninvited guests.
“Shoo. Shoo. Go on now. Get.” She poked at the two toads until they hopped off into the yard. Replacing the broom, she picked up the cake and ice cream and returned to the house. Just as the sliding door clicked closed, another flash lit up the night.
* * *
“You weren’t . . .”
“We weren’t just . . .”
“Nah . . .”
“No. No way.”
“Then how’d we get in the grass?”
“I don’t know, but Joanne swings a mean broom.”
“I think I need a beer.”
“Yeah. Yeah. A beer sounds good.”
Spooked, the two men rushed for the house. In their hurry neither heard the faint, catty laughter filling the air behind them.
* * *
“Well, sister, will they do?”
“Ahh, yes. Yes, they will do quite nicely.”
“Quite nicely indeed. Do you have your token?”
The redhead held up a tiny lock of hair.
“Good. Good. Then we will come for them when the time is right.”
The brunette and redhead turned and glided away, soon swallowed up by the night.
* * * The End * * *
*Click on the broom to send Vanessa feedback
Stories by Vanessa Halloween Stories Page