Slack Slacker Meets The Pumpkin Head Man
 
It was 3:33 PM on the wall clock when KLB, our hardworking and dedicated office manager, left for a planned meeting with a major advertising client. And since she’s been so understanding and forgiving of my habitual Friday absences, I thought I’d take this opportunity to slip out and buy a beautiful bouquet of roses to be found on her desk upon her return. KLB has been a dream to work with, so I didn’t want her to think I was taking advantage of her goodhearted nature. Unfortunately, all that changed due to the most astonishing series of events that took place en route to the florist.
 
When exiting the building, through all the hustle and bustle of foot traffic, begging bums and honking cabs, I heard someone calling my name from across the street. “Slack, Slack, over here.” OMG, it was Snotty Hottie from my favorite spot on the upper West Side of Manhattan. Snotty was a lot of fun once she gets to know you, but as her name implies, until she does, Snotty can seem a bit standoffish. So when she suggested we share a cab uptown to get a head start on a pre-Halloween happy hour special, it wasn’t an invitation to turn down. Besides, I could always order some flowers and have KLB’s roses sent to the office. I got an app for that.
 
When we got to the spot, Lumpy Louie, the bartender was wearing a pirate’s costume and serving up freebees to the early arrivals. In fact, most of the patrons were in costumes. While some were downright ridiculous, others were frighteningly realistic. This was party neither Snotty nor I were prepared for, but hey, a good time was in the atmosphere and we weren’t gonna miss it. “Louie” I yell above the bar noise. “Four shots of the second best you got.” “Grab a booth and I’ll send them right over”, he says with a smile, so we did.
 
When our barmaid, Honey Bunny, brought the drinks with a free order of buffalo wings, Snotty and I threw back a few and started a trip down memory lane, reminiscing over past drinking adventures we’d had. After what seemed like a thousand Tequila shots and as many buffalo wings later, we’d swapped so many lies, I needed a trip to the men’s room, but my exit from the booth was being blocked by one of the costumed patrons. “Excuse me” I say in as sober a voice I could muster. No response. “Dude, if you don’t want homemade lemonade all over your weird getup, you’d be wise to move.” Without a word, the tall Pumpkin-head figure draped in a long black duster sat down next to Snotty. She wasn’t amused.
 
Not in the mood or any condition to play hero, I warned the Pumpkin head man that if he wanted trouble, Snotty would be happy to kick the shit out of his ass. In disbelief of my lack of chivalry, Snotty stood up and slapped the Pumpkin head man so hard, it spun on his shoulders like a top spinning on the ground. It was almost magical. By now, others in the spot were drunkenly observing what was happening at our table and were waiting for a good drunk fight to breakout. And while things did look funny for a minute, the laughter and taunting soon turned to gasps of horror when the Pumpkin head stopped spinning. We were staring at Mr. Jack O. Lantern now and he didn’t look amused either.
 
The Pumpkin head man glared evilly at the shocked barflies as they stampeded out the front door. But Snotty and I were trapped. Thinking as quickly as any inebriated man can be expected to, I grabbed Snotty by the arm, snatching her from the Pumpkin head man’s grip. And not a second too soon, because just then, out of his ghastly gaze came a burst of a molten lava-like substance that burned a massive hole in the floor. Snotty and I ran for cover behind the bar, but another blast of the hot pumpkin juice prove that a bad idea. When the bar’s countertop began smoldering, we made a mad dash for the ladies room, where Lumpy Louie was hiding. Oddly, the Pumpkin head man didn’t follow. 
 
We waited and waited and waited, until the sounds of the joint being torn apart abated. Lumpy and I decided to take a chance and make a break for it, but Snotty said “No, don’t go.” “This aint over.” And it was because of how Snotty said “this aint over” made me wonder if she had more than a clue about WTF was going on. “Hey Snotty, I know you’re a hottie, but is there any reason why the Pumpkin head man seemed so interested in you?”  “Yes, I’m a witch”, she confessed. 
 
Snotty went on to explain, every year a few days before Halloween, her cult conjures up the Pumpkin head men to take a worthless soul in payment for eternal youth and beauty. Snotty said sometimes they can be hard to control and will even turn on their masters to take more souls than they should. “Holy shit”, I say. Lumpy asked her how long she’d been messing around with the dark arts and Snotty said 347 years. “Holy shit”, I say again, again and again. “So why is he here?” Lumpy and I wanted to know. Without hesitation, Snotty said, “He wants your soul, Slack, and he won’t leave without it.” I’m all out of holy shits by now, so I cut to the chase. “You’re telling me I’m the worthless soul being sacrificed tonight?” “I am sorry, Slack, but I’m afraid so”, she said. “Besides, if you think the Pumpkin head man is scary, you don’t want to see what an angry 347 year old witch can be like.”
 
Feeling a sense of relief and confidence, Lumpy peered out of the ladies room door, saw the Pumpkin head man sitting silently in what was left of a corner table, just glaring at a cinder covered floor. When he thought it was safe, Lumpy slipped past the orange headed monster and escaped into the night. And the dirty bastard never looked back.
 
“So, what happens to me now?” I asked. And that’s when Snotty gave me a ray of hope. After she took a moment to think about it, she realized, I did actually try to save her life and that wasn’t the act of a worthless soul. She told me if I could evade the Pumpkin head man until 12:01 AM, October 31st, he’d have to look for another soul instead. I wanted to ask how I could do that, but it was then, she conjured up a broom and flew out of the ladies room leaving me with nothing but questions. The things you don’t know about some people, I’m thinking to myself.
 
Again, I waited and waited and waited, but the Pumpkin head man was now standing at the smoldering bar, seemingly waiting and waiting and waiting, too. Realizing this is a standoff I can’t afford to lose, it looks as though I’ll be here awhile. So, with any luck at all, I hope to return to work on Monday morning. And BTW, I’ll have those roses for KLB too.
 
Yours truly, Slack Slacker