𝗔 𝗖𝗼𝗼𝗹 𝗛𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗕𝗿𝗲𝘄
𝘣𝘺 𝘙𝘢𝘭𝘱𝘩 𝘎𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘰, 𝘑𝘳.
I should have known Miss McCleary was a little too cool for our own good. A single lady, subtly attractive at whatever her age happened to be (I’d guess, circling the airport ’round my mom's 45) living in the Robison's old, big Tudor at the end of the block; no real friends to speak of, but always waving to us boys, hiring us for various chores around her house, always suddenly right next to you when you had never heard her step up or breathe.
She was spooky as much as she was sexy.
We should have all known. But most of all, me. I was the leader of my five-man gang, such that a gang in 1975 suburban NJ could be a gang when all we did was speed our Schwinns to the park at the end of our street and not do much about anything that summer the lady moved in. I was also the one who read EC horror comics incessantly and was a nut for Night Gallery, though it scared the shit out of me.
Those fucking paints in the opening. Jesus!
Anyway, by the time I found myself pushing my throbbing cock into that jack-o'-lantern’s face the Halloween we all turned 18, it was too late for me, and I knew too late for Stu, Arty, and Ray when each one was led solo (as we would come to agree later) into our neighbor's low-lit bedroom to witness the lady’s dance of ten veils. I think it was ten. I lost count by the time she was topless and reaching for my pants.
That's as far as she went touching me or any of my friends, but not as far as she went in her suggesting/hypnotizing, turning to present each of us a pumpkin with a way-too-suggestive round hole mouth and leaving the room with a "Have at it," thrown over her shoulder.
Which each of us did in turn.
Meeting Miss C. back on her sunny porch, the lady offered me an apple cider which I accepted and matter-of-factly began to explain the whys and wherefores of my visit that Saturday morning, which I had initially thought was going to consist of me raking her backyard for a cool ten spot like I had been doing the past two years.
She’d have the same conversation with each of my friends.
"It's nothing to be ashamed of," she began as I tried to get warm in the sun slanting through the blinds behind me. I could barely see the lady in the sunlight glow, but I swore at that moment she was kind of see-thru sitting across from me.
"It's just friction, something you can't certainly ignore at your age, nor should you."
"But, it was a pump..."
"It's Halloween, Mark," she exclaimed, leaning forward and managing to give me a peek down her buttoned-down shirt. What I had seen of her breasts, mere minutes before, and the tickle of a view she was giving me then reminded me that I really hadn't seen so many real-life bare breasts so far into my life.
It would be a grand understatement to say that 1977 was a more innocent time for teenage boys.
"You and your friends are helping me in ways you cannot imagine," she said, reaching out for my hand. "I know you, more than the rest, suspect that I am not exactly of this world. I mean, I am, but…"
"Yea," I offered, feeling some strength return then.
Looking hard into that lady's lustrous blue eyes, taking another peek at her ample cleavage, I suddenly realized that cool, wet pumpkin guts hadn’t felt so bad.
"The combination of your, well, youthful essence, shall we say, combined with a little pumpkin, is the perfect cool Halloween brew for what ails me."
"Ok," I said.
Really, I was such a conversationalist.
"And I figured in these years we have all made friends, I could ask…"
"Ask?" I snorted.
"Ok, 'coax,'" she said and laughed too, sitting back in her wicker rocker.
"I, well, I don't mind, but it was a little…"
"Strange, spooky, cool?"
We both laughed this time, and I managed a long gulp of cider.
"As I say, it's Halloween. What better time of year for a suburban witch to get what she needs to stay young?"
I couldn't argue with her logic. The lady was “Stone Cold Crazy” hot, and I was ready to go again to remain in her good graces, as I would be for her all up until that October 31st. Art, Stu, and Ray all continued to help out too, our shared secret the big topic of snickered asides as we walked the blonde brick arcade of the community college we all attended that fall. A year later, unfortunately before October, Miss McCleary moved, but not without introducing us all to her new boyfriend, a guy who couldn’t have been any more than five years older than me and my friends, who seemed to be just the perfect match for our pumpkin lady, who at that moment looked to be about 25 herself. ✦