Confession: I am not as young as I used to be.
If I’m being completely honest with you, I was probably never as young as I was, except when I was older than I was.
I just read that back and realized the only way it makes sense is if you too have been lying about your age your whole life. If that’s you, congratulations! You’ve found your people. If not… try to keep up, because that wasn’t even my point and it’s only going to get weirder.
My point, since you’ve made it this far (and thank you for that display of faith—I promise, you will be rewarded) is that the haunter’s schedule is hitting me harder this year than I remember in the past.
What’s that? You’re new and completely lost? Fiiiine, here’s the short version: I’m super into all the holidays (no, really, like way more than anyone you know) and especially Halloween.
The natural outlet for all this holiday spirit is to work in a haunted house, and there are some great ones in St. Louis (no, I will not tell you where I work—you’ll just have to go to all of them and look for me. That’s money well spent, and your cause is just!) but the hours a scare actor works are—think about it—gruesome. We’re there hours before the attraction opens for hair, makeup, etc, and have to stand around in our places for another 15-30 minutes while the tech team comes through to fix a broken sensor or other last minute thing. It’s hot, cramped, sweaty, scream-y work, and we’re not done until the last person gets all the way through (in my experience, anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours past the posted closing time.)
Why do we do it? For the screams. The sound of a group of friends out for a fun night screaming and yelping as they approach my scene gives me the energy to do what I need to do (scare ‘em more, because that’s what they paid for.) I have been shoved, slapped, kicked, and stepped on. I’ve been yelled at (most recently by a mother who berated me for scaring her child, whom she brought into a haunted house—I’m still confused by that one) and it was all worth it to me for those moments when I managed to scare some big jerk who laughed his way through the room before mine, only to scream and run from li’l ol’ me.
But then the night is over. I’m dirty, sweaty, covered in either black gunk or (worse!) latex and fake blood and, in the wee hours of the morning I have to drive myself home to clean up properly. I crawl into bed, somehow wired and exhausted, prepared to sleep for as long as my animals will let me.
Because I have to get up and do it all over again tomorrow.
Husband, bless him, is a veteran of this routine and knows I can’t talk for most of the day following a night in the haunt. He knows I need water, lozenges, soft (protein-rich) food, and rest. He is, blessedly, an amazing carer in these situations.
He’s also still an asshole.
ME: (recovering in bed)
HIM: Heeeeeyyy… how ya doin’?
ME: Tired. Achy. Dehydrated. Hungry. (stretches) … And I have to pee.
HIM: I can help with… maybe two of those things?
ME: (offers big, hopeful eyes)
HIM: What are you hungry for?
HIM: Can you make eggs?
ME: (shakes head)
HIM: What can I make that you want to eat?
HIM: Let me go get you a water. (leaves, returns with bottled water)
ME: I want…
HIM: (excited) We have bacon! It’s in the freezer, but we have bacon. It will take some time to thaw, so it’s more the sort of thing you want to start on before you…
ME: Before you decide you want bacon?
HIM: Yeah. But we have it!
ME: (snuggles into blankets) Want bacon.
HIM: Okay. (leaves)
ME: (closes eyes) (feels cold chill pass over my body, which is a new trick for the Meth Ghosts)*
HIM: I have bacon!
ME: (opens eyes, sees frozen packet of bacon) Asshole.
HIM: (laughs, leaves)
ME: (goes back to sleep)
HIM: (quietly) Heeeeeyyy…
HIM: I’ve got bacon.
ME: (opens eyes suspiciously) Is it cooked?
HIM: Of course it’s cooked!
ME: (picks up piece of bacon, checks it)
HIM: Just because of that one time—
ME: That one time you brought me frozen bacon and waved it over me?
HIM: (laughs, believing he is hilarious)
* Who, since you asked, are taking some time off right now. They’re either gearing up for a big Halloween do or super intimidated by my haunting badassery and are taking notes.