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1. Time stopped when the clock broke

2. A little yellow birdie with a little yellow bill

3. The wind howled and silence reigned (?)


Under normal circumstances I avoid stores with signs that say “TORE CLOSIN” and “UPER BARGA”. I figure that if the sign’s been up long enough to deteriorate to that point any BARGA’s to be had are surely long gone. But the store at the corner of Chinaberry and 2nd intrigued me because, sign or not, the store had only been open a month, selling angels and pirates and all manner of other costumes. I’d never bothered to shop at The Halloween Store, although it appeared every year around Labor Day and silently slipped away on schedule to make room for the annual The Christmas Store.

This year I’d watched the September crew come in as usual, hanging the big vinyl sign—orange with striking black letters—and tacking up corn husks and scarecrows that had seen better days. By the first of October the shelves inside the big building had been stocked and restocked and the parade of shoppers, while certainly not unending, seemed to enter the pseudo-castle portal empty-handed and exit a few minutes later, arms full and (presumably) wallets empty. The store must be doing okay.

On November 1st the big orange sign was hidden by the “UPER BARGA” one. This year, I told myself, I’ll zip right over there and see if there’s anything that catches my imagination.

I didn’t expect much, to tell you the truth. Halloween had been just another day to me for a whole lot of years. I was far too old to go out begging for candy and I’d never had kids of my own, so October 31st became just a day to hide in the den with the lights on DIM and avoid at all costs driving through the storm of tiny candy chasers.

Still, just in case I did decide at some point far in the future to decorate my abode, the big bargain sale is the time to acquire those otherwise useless items.

I waked in the front door, which by now was just a door again, and saw a mess the likes of which I don’t care to encounter again. Styrofoam pumpkins were smashed on the ground, sometimes with the grisly grin still intact. Costumes hung in tatters, football pants attached to angel wings, a dollhouse with Jason or Freddy or whoever is the latest demon smiling through the roof.

There weren’t many customers. I was early, of course, and the salespeople (in costume for some reason)