What Jerry Did

Halloween week can be an iffy time of the year to be on the road. Sometimes it’s like late summer, and others its almost full-on winter. I never particularly liked hitching during this holiday week. Too many cruel people hide among merrymakers dressed as ghosts, goblins, and political figures.
This particular year I was strongly motivated by the economic need to be in a different state to make money at a new job. It was my bad luck to be stuck on the road on Halloween. It’s trite to say that it was dark, windy, and damp, with the clouds scudding rapidly like clippers before a storm. But it was. A low bank of fog was forming, and visibility on the road was becoming non-existent. I needed to get off the highway and into shelter soon.
I stumbled through the woods adjacent to the highway until I found myself in a clearing. The sort of clearing it was wasn’t apparent until I collided with a half toppled tombstone. Finding the aisle between the graves, I proceeded to walk through the graveyard until I came upon a massive and ornate crypt. I walked up onto the covered portico looking for shelter. There was not much. Looking at the ornate ironwork gate and the door behind it, I noticed that the locks had been broken. This was not my idea of a great refuge from the weather, but I wasn’t about to go too much farther without any alternative shelter.
As I entered, I noted the small podium with an open ledger book on it. To the right was a carved stone bench, and on the opposite wall was a weeping angel with her face covered. Creepy; it reminded me of the Weeping Angels in Doctor Who. I didn’t think I would do much sleeping tonight. Behind me were a double row of unused stone benches that I assumed were meant for the crypt’s owners’ coffins—never used. I shut off my flashlight and reclined on the stone bench opposite the angel – “I’m keeping my eyes on you, sweetheart.”
I guess that I did sleep for a while. On waking, I nervously checked the angel -” glad you behaved darling.” from outside came the sounds of teens taunting a member of their group. ” come on, you said you’d go in. All you do is lie down on where the coffins go, and stay there till midnight. I’ve done it lots of times!” ” but Jerry, it’s a tomb. I don’t want to!” ” look, Sal, I’ll show you how to do it, then you do it. OK?”
Jerry and his friends surrounded Sal, who looked like someone’s younger sister about to be victimized by her older brother and his friends. They were nervously capering around, seeming to be caught between anticipation of a good joke and outright fright.
Jerry strode up the steps to the entrance and eased open the gate with a big grin on his face. Seeing my chance to turn the tables on a bully, I pulled up my hood and grabbed my flashlight. As Jerry stepped inside, I lit the flashlight directly below my chin, placed a hand on his shoulder, and in my worst Boris Karloff voice, said: “Jerry, we have been expecting your arrival…welcome!” Jerry screamed, ran out, fell flat on his face at the end of the stairs, got up, and ran away. The entire gang joined him, running away in panic. I stood in darkness on the steps, hood drawn up, and light under my chin.
I gathered up my pack and guitar and headed downhill towards the highway. I’d had enough Halloween for this year.


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