Written by S.T. King
It was supposed to be a scary story. And damn that my man Lenny would never admit to his well-read and written tendencies. There wasn’t enough sense to be had, anyway: between a ho-less Santa and his bad teeth. I always thought the fat guy drank his milk.
But whatever. On the second episode since I’d been coming to this hole-in-the-wall bar – Lenny has shown up. And he hadn’t disappointed. He say’s he gets these stories from old cable-television shows. That this one comes from one of his good favorites, Tales From the Crypt. He calls it his guilty pleasure
Episode two is called And All Through The House. It’s about a wife who kills her husband to cash in on the insurance money — a classic murder template. And this sort of thing wasn’t new. Indeed, it was arguably a popular flavor of the late eighties. Here, it makes for an eerie yet reliable backbone. The wife is portrayed by Mary Ellen Trainor, who is a Goonies mom (Maybe you’ll get the reference). She gets most of the screen-time in the story, and the scream-time as well. In fact, many times I wondered blankly if scream was all that she’d do.
There isn’t enough ice cream in the world.
“So a woodsman with bad teeth walks into a bar…”
I shook my head. “Highly specific, don’t you think?”
“Not specific enough, really. He’s wearing a Santa Claus suit – the whole ensemble, too: boots and beard and gloves. Scratch that. The beard is his.
“He owns it, you mean?”
“That its growing out of him, you get me? But it’s a fucking rat’s nest. And he’s got breath like wet pine needles and that cheap wine that comes in the little juice bottles you get in the four pack at Mo’s.”
“Okay,” I sighed, “so he walks into the bar.”
“Don’t rush me. Yeah, he walks into the bar, real slow like. And everyone’s fucking gawking at him trying to get his game. But he’s a goddamn basket case so he doesn’t see any of it. He’s got a hatchet in one hand and his Santa bag slung across his back.
Lenny stops and drags at his cigarette.
“What’s he got in the Santa bag?”
“What’s your fucking problem, man?” He says through the smoke. He pulls again, deeper this time. And he holds it longer maybe than he should before he lets it go. “Can I tell my story?”
He slaps at the table with both hands. “Thank you, you piece of shit. Thanks you for letting me tell my story! It’s all I could ever fucking want. I mean, I like a good hardbody just like the next guy but besides that. I just want to tell my story.
“It’s because it goddamn therapeutic.”
As far as the story goes – and kudos are in order here, a good chill will seize you early and this episode is no exception. The tension is good too. See our friend, Santa – he’s a mental patient and he’s on the loose. And he’s got naughty women on his shitlist. Package all this up in snow and ice — and howling and malevolent winds, a big house with lots of entry points – and, of course, a little girl: a child, who like many of us might have done as children on Christmas Eve, sleep with one eye open.
She’s the divine pathway to cookies and cakes.
“That one didn’t go over for me, Lenny.”
“It’s not your fault man, look. I seen the episode myself. I don’t know who wrote the goddamn script or who read Mary her lines while she was taking the curls out of her pretty little red head, but she’s obnoxious as shit. I like my scares like I do my women, dead and quiet. The lady screams the whole stinking episode and Santa aint doing it for me either. It’s like he’s too scared to climb a stupid steel ladder.
“Okay, then, Bubba,” he says, “I’ll get you with the next one.”
“I hope so, Lenny.”
“How bout this one then, Bubba? So a cat walks into a bar…”
“Jesus fucking Christ.”
“Naw, naw, fucking listen – dig that cat, Bubba, he’s really fucking gone.
About The Author: S.T. King is an aspiring novelist with a ravenous appetite for the dark, and an insatiable thirst for the ink of the fantastique. Currently he’s a mental health counselor, helping people purge the skeletons from their closets – though admittedly, he thinks it’s more fun putting them back in.