Scary Stories Under Canvas
Nobody was scared, it wasn’t working. But Travis continued with his story anyway: “…and the vampire dropped from the darkened rafters and sank his teeth into Jimmy’s neck, quickly draining the life out of him.”
But instead of biting his nails, Todd was clipping them. “Are you going to tell us one with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny next year?” he asked.
“Yeah, that was about as scary as the Halloween episode of Full House,” Willie added.
This was the fourth summer in a row the boys had camped out in Willie’s back yard, on a night with a full moon. It was tradition for each to tell a story designed to scare the others. But since all three were now fifteen years old, being scared was no longer honorable. What was once great fun was now out of the question.
“I wish we could get some beer,” said Travis.
“Yeah, or at least some porno. The stories this year suck,” Todd said.
“Well, all we’ve got are these peanut butter sandwiches my Mom made,” Travis laughed.
“Hey, wait a minute! Doesn’t your brother have a stack of old Hustlers in his room, Todd?” Willie asked, excitedly.
Todd looked pained. “Uh, my brother’s gone,” he muttered. “He moved out a few weeks ago.”
“What happened??” they all asked at once.
Todd’s brother was twenty years old, and had long fallen under the heading of Problem Child. Stories featuring him were always worth hearing.
“Dad kicked him out,” Todd began. “He’s been hanging around with some woman he met downtown. She’s about forty, and Dad says she’s a two-bit whore who walked out on her kids so she could have more free time to drink.
“He stopped coming home for days at a time, then the police called. They said they arrested my brother for assault and public drunkenness. I guess he beat the hell out of that woman, because she gave him the drip, or whatever.
“After Dad kicked him out, he showed up at my grandparents’ house, drunk and demanding money. They gave him all they had, but it wasn’t much. So he shoved my grandfather down, and he cut his head real bad on the coffee table. Now he has dizzy spells and speaks with a French accent.
“Nobody’s seen him since then, but someone broke into my sister’s apartment and took a buncha shit, and Dad thinks it was him. Dad says he’s going to kick my brother’s ass, and my Mom just sits at the kitchen table crying all day. And she’s started smoking at the age of 42.
“Man, it really sucks around my house right now.”
Silence overtook the tent and the boys just looked at each other, wide-eyed. Then, as nonchalantly as possible, they collected their sandwiches, went inside the house, and played Yahtzee with Willie’s parents for the remainder of the evening.
And the incident was never spoken of again.