“Look mom, it’s the Apple Man again,” a trick-or-treater said as he passed Mr. Martin Willobee on the street for the second time.
“I think you’d better eat that yourself, it’s very nutritious,” a little princess smirked.
“Is that a Fuji?” a tiny pirate sneered as he passed with his mom. Martin dared not answer, for he didn’t have a monster voice.
“So…how old are you?” the little princess asked, “like one hundred years old?” Martin pointed up, signaling he was much older.
Martin nodded unmonsterlylike, then stretched out his arm, the fresh apple dangling in his fingers.
“Don’t take it mom!” a little hobo warned. “It’s poisonous!”
Now that was the reaction Martin was looking for. There was just something downright evil about a hunched back man with a scary mask offering a shiny apple to a child. ‘Here, little girl,’ he would mumble. The mother fixed a silent gaze on Martin. Was that horror he detected in her eyes? Even with no fangs or claws or dripping blood, Martin was the terror of the neighborhood. He angled his arm further out and slowly rotated the tempting fruit with his fingertips.
“I read about you in a story,” the little hobo said. “Stay away from him, mom.”
Martin managed a hysterical cackle to add drama.
“Do you live here on Palm Street?” The mom asked without fear. It would have spoiled the moment if he told her he was the new neighbor and lived in the house directly behind him. After all, he was the Apple Man. He should live in an enchanted apple forest. He lied by shaking his head. “Oh well, you are creepy, in a good way, of course,” she said. “Have a Happy Halloween.” Then she left with her little hobo.
As Martin turned back to his house, he saw his new wife, Dorma, dropping several home-made chocolate truffles into a dozen begging baskets. She stood in the middle of the walkway with a crazy clown hat and big shoes. ‘Make sure you eat the truffles, you cute little rats,’ he heard her say. He didn’t think Dorma really liked kids, and considered them more as distractions in their relationship. Martin loved kids, and always found ways to be a ball catcher, a hide-and-seeker, or a Santa depending on the occasion. To Dorma, kids were mostly a nuisance that made unnecessary noises and trampled her flowers. Tonight, on the other hand, he was happy that Dorma was enthusiastic about entertaining the children.
“Can we take our picture with you, Apple Man?” About seven teenage girls pointed their smart phones at Martin. He nodded in agreement.
Three girls huddled to his left and three on his right. Another girl aimed and flashed. The white blare illuminated them briefly. The photographer screamed. “You frightened her,” he heard one them say.
He pointed to Cinderella on his left. “I think it was this girl who scared her,” Martin finally spoke.
“No, I think you scared her,” Cinderella replied.
“Thank you, Apple Man,” they all said while scattering away.
Martin curled his back and limped in the middle of the street. A car approached slowly with bright beams. He outstretched an arm, seducing the driver with his Red Delicious. As the vehicle stopped next to him, he saw mom-dad in the front and two excited trick-or-treaters in the back. Probably the family was searching for a neighborhood that was offering the best chocolates to the hungry goblins.
“Look kids, he wants to give you an apple,” the mom spoke like he was an old friend. “Go ahead, take it, Carlos.”
From out of nowhere a little masked man with a cape emerged from the back seat and grabbed the fruit from Martin’s hand. “Uhmm, yummy apple,” he said in a sinister voice. He stuffed it in his candy-filled pillowcase and proceeded down the street with his witch sister behind him.
Defeated, Martin returned to his house. The porch light was off, probably to signal the candy show was over. One of Dorma’s chocolate truffles must have fallen on the ground because he could see the reflection of its cellophane from the glow of the Jack-O-Lantern. He lifted it, removed its shiny covering, and stuffed the dark candy into the mouth hole of his mask. The dark chocolate tasted bitter, and almost burned as it oozed down his throat.
“Did you have a good time, my love?” Dorma said as she opened the front door. “Did someone take your poisoned apple?”
“Mmnph, yeah…Batman stole it.”
“See? That’s what happens when you offer things to greedy kids.” Dorma spoke in a lower-than-normal voice. Her eyes were glassy and gazed straight through him. “Now we can finally be alone without those kids, my love.” Martin realized something evil had happened to Dorma. A cold chill raced up his spine when he saw a box reading rat poison by the leftover truffles. “If you need more apples I prepared another one on the table where I made the truffles.”
Written by Diamond Mike Watson
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