Things That Go Hump in the Nightbywantsomefun1951©
In the United States, we make a big deal out of Halloween. It seems like it must be a federal law that kids have to dress in weird costumes and go door-to-door begging for candy. A lot of adults wear costumes and make-up to work and to parties, some of which can get pretty wild. Another thing people like to do is go to theme parks whose sole purpose is to scare the shit out of people. This story is about a young man who gets a job at one of those places.
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"But, Doc, I just don't understand why I'm in so much trouble," I said. "I mean, it isn't like I was the first one to...."
My advisor, Doctor Patterson, put his hands on his desk and leaned over toward me. "David James Michaels, don't even start that shit with me about how everyone's fucked Teri Richards. I'm sure almost everyone has -- hell, she asked me if I wanted a blowjob at the department Christmas party!"
"Yeah? How did you like it?" I asked.
"David! I'm not that damn stupid! Don't you know who Teri's grandfather is?"
"You're dumber than I thought. Her grandfather is Dr. Miles Hemmings, the Dean of the College of Surgery here at the university. YOUR Dean, David! The man that has made or ruined the career of every resident surgeon here for the last twenty years. He knows what you did. You are officially fucked with your pants on, my boy."
"He knows? How the hell did he find out?"
"Dr. Hemmings seems to think posting the video you two made on Spring Break on a porn site wasn't appropriate. He roasted my eardrums on the phone about it an hour ago. As I remember, the nicest thing he called you was 'that deviant med student'," Doc said.
"What am I going to do?"
Doc looked at me hard for a few seconds before he said, "I suggest you drop out of school."
"Drop out? What am I supposed to do then?" I asked. "Sell medical supplies to doctors' offices? Carry around cases of free logo pens and memo pads in the trunk of my car? I'd rather go back to working construction!"
"Okay, calm down," Doc Patterson said. "There's some good news in all of this. Old Doc Hemmings is retiring at the end of this semester. Some of the school's trustees are very glad to see him go. He won't be missed."
"So? He retires but doesn't get a big party. Woo Hoo. My career is shot before I ever get started," I moaned.
"David, listen to me. I'm sure that, once he's gone, it will be very easy to get you back in here. In fact, I'll give you my word that I'll call in a few markers to get you re-instated in the program. You just need to take the semester off."
"Do you really think I can get back in after the New Year if I drop out?" I asked.
"It's a very safe assumption that you will make a fine surgeon with the training you'll get here after your few-month 'vacation,' Doctor Michaels. Keep in touch," Doc Patterson said, gesturing toward the door.
Well. I have been working hard. I haven't had more than four hours sleep a night for years. Maybe it really is time to take a vacation from all this and spend some time in the real world.
I went home to my little apartment. Flopping on my bed, I decided I'd worry about what I was going to do to fill my time until January after I took a nap.
Except for a one-minute break to take a piss, I slept until dawn.
After a long shower and a decent breakfast at the odd little coffee shop around the corner, I began to consider my options.
It went without saying that I would still spend a lot of time reading the stuff I was going to need to know. I wanted to be a trauma surgeon -- one of those guys who really makes a difference in the length of someone's life.
But what was I supposed to do with the time I had spent in lecture halls and labs, or in the hospital itself? I had conditioned myself all these years to working twenty-four hour shifts. I wasn't going to be doing that until after the holidays? Four months? I was going to go nuts.
Pretty soon, it became apparent that I needed to find a job. It wasn't a case of work or starve, so the type of job was more important to me than the hourly rate. Maybe I could find something that would actually be fun.
On my third day of casually surfing the web for jobs, I saw an odd little posting: "Persons needed for seasonal work at Halloween attraction. Work includes maintenance, trouble-shooting and repair, ticket sales, operating concession stands or rides, or working as an actor in vignettes and short skits. Apply online, if you dare, at www.grim_reapers_farm.com."
The Grim Reaper's Farm? I know that place! The Barn of Death, the Silo of Torture, the Hayride of Horror, people running around with chainsaws or dressed as vampires! What a cool place to work!
I filled out the online application, and then called the office. Apparently, the posting had only gone up a few minutes before I saw it, and I was given an appointment for an interview in the morning. All right!
After breakfast, I drove to the farm. The parking lot was deserted, so I parked in a spot right at the main gate. I could hear sounds coming from somewhere inside, but I didn't see anyone. When I walked past the empty ticket office, I was startled by a voice calling out to me, "May I help you?"
An enormous young man wearing bib overalls and a John Deere hat was walking toward me. His hair, face, and clothes were matted with gore. Even in daylight, the sight of him made my blood run cold.
"Don't worry, it's make-up, dude," the guy laughed. "Our people have to do some actual work when they're in costume, so some of us wear the stuff all the time in the pre-season to test it.
"Oh. Sure. Right" I said. "Well, I have an appointment with Mrs. West."
"Seth West's my name," he said sticking out a meaty hand.
I took his hand, surprised by the warm, firm, but gentle handshake of this giant. "I'm David Michaels."
"Mom's going to interview you. My family owns the place. Come on. I'll take you to her office," Seth said.
Mrs. West's office was in a large, windowless building hidden behind one of the fences of the theme park. The only clue patrons had about it was the locked door in the fence. We walked into a long hallway, at the end of which was a tinted glass door.
"Hey, Mom!" Seth called as we entered a small, lushly furnished, dimly lit reception area.
"What, honey?" a female voice answered from deeper in the building.
"David Michaels is here for his interview."
"Be right there!" the woman's voice said.
A moment later, a breath-taking woman came into the reception area. She was tall, nearly as tall as me, athletic and curvy at the same time, with creamy skin displayed in the areas not covered by her black yoga tights and sports bra. A model's face was accented with a few stray wisps of thick, luxurious, long black hair from her simple ponytail. If you looked in an illustrated dictionary under the word, "cougar," her picture would be with the slang definition.
"Hi, I'm Laura West. Please excuse my appearance, but this is a family-owned, family-run business. I'm putting up new shelving in my office. I completely forgot I set up our meeting for this morning."
"I'd be glad to come back at another time," I offered.
"No, if you can stand me without make-up and decent clothes, I could use a break, so I'd like to talk to you now," she said.
"Great!" I responded.
"I'd better get back out there, Mom," Seth said.
"Okay. I want to talk to David a little. When I'm done, I'll get one of your sisters to take him on a tour."
"See you later," Seth called, as he closed the door to the hallway behind himself.
"Do you mind sitting out here?" Mrs. West asked. "My office has shelf parts all over it. We completely re-did this section of the building over the summer, but I'm behind schedule on my part. Anyway, sit down and tell me about yourself."
"I'm a med student at the University Hospital. I'm taking a semester off, and I need a job. I'm good with numbers, good with computers, and I worked summers in high school and college doing construction, so I know my way around a hammer and a shovel."
"Are you single?" she asked.
Odd question. "Yes, ma'am, I am."
"Oh, please, call me Laura. Ma'am sounds so old."
Considering that Seth appeared to be in his early twenties, Laura had to be at least forty, but she looked anything but old to me.
"May I ask why you're taking a semester off? From the information you gave us online, I would have thought you would be entering your residency soon."
"It's kind of complicated. But I do intend to go back after the New Year, and I've been assured I will be welcome," I said.
"Fair enough, David. I suppose the question was pretty far out of line."
"No. You have every right to know. Frankly, the Dean of the college of surgery took a strong dislike to me because of something in my personal life, and my academic advisor suggested that I withdraw until the man retires at the end of the year. After that, I should be able to continue my training at the hospital."
"All right," Laura said. "If we hire you, you could do construction and maintenance work, or, if you like, we can use you in some skits. Have you ever done any acting?"
"A little. I was in my high school plays, and I had some roles in a couple of drama club productions in college, until I decided I liked the set and stage work, too."
"Perfect!" Laura exclaimed. "I'll get one of the girls to show you around. If you like what you see, she can bring you back here and we can talk again. Let me call my daughter."
She dialed her phone. "Michelle? Do you have time to take a young man on a tour of the farm? Oh, I didn't think the electrician was coming until this afternoon.... No, no, that's fine. I'll call Cassie. Talk to you later." She hung up and dialed again.
"Cassie? It's Mom. I have a young man here who needs a tour.... You can? Great, see you in a few minutes. Bye."
Turning to me, she said, "Cassie's my middle child. She's only a year older than Seth, and less than two years younger than Michelle. She's a fashion design major. A lot of our costumes are either her designs or her actual handiwork. She also helps her sister with a lot of the set construction. When the season starts, the girls pretty much run the Barn of Death and the Silo of Torture attractions. Depending on your skills and interests, you may wind up working with one or both of them."
The door from the hallway opened. A young blond woman came in, wearing a provocative little cocktail dress made of blue satin and lace, and sneakers. "What do you think of this dress, Mom?" she asked.
"Not with those shoes!"
"Of course not. I'll be barefoot when I'm running around on the new 'Zombies in the Ballroom' set. A girl can't do a zombie fight scene in heels!"
"It will be a shame to get all that gore on such a nice dress," Laura remarked. "You should save a copy of it to wear to the Halloween Staff Party. Anyway, this is David Michaels. I'm interviewing him, and I'd like you to give him a tour of the facilities. Would you show him around for an hour or so?"
"Sure! Hi, David. I'm Cassie. I guess this isn't really interview clothing, but I like to wear a new design for a while to see how I can move in it. I just threw on my favorite walking shoes. So are you ready to take a hike?" she asked, shaking my hand.
I tried very hard not to stare. "Of course." Turning to her mother, I said, "Laura, thank you."
"Don't thank me until you see what you're in for," Laura laughed. "Cassie, bring him back, alive and in one piece, in an hour or so."
"Okay, Mom. Come on, David," she said, hurrying to the door.
Cassie and I chatted as we walked. When we were in the daylight on park grounds, I began to appreciate how attractive she really was -- curvy, tan, with shapely legs and toned thighs occasionally exposed by the radically slitted skirt of her dress. The backless top portion sported lace cutouts in almost dangerous places. I was starting to wish we could go jogging.
"We'll start with the Silo of Torture. Have you been in it before?"
"A couple of years ago," I said.
"Oh, you're in for a treat. We change some of it every year, but this year is the Silo's turn for a major make-over. It's not all done, but there are some areas that are more or less ready. I'll show you some drawings and miniatures of the rest, but not today."
"Yeah, your mother wants to see me in an hour."
"I'll just show you the last room in the place. This is the final thing our guests will see before they go back outside." She opened a side door and ushered me into a rough-finished hallway.
"This hall will be completely dark." Cassie said. "The walls will be padded like a psych ward room in the movies, where someone's lying on the floor in a straight-jacket. The holes overhead will house speakers and lighted things that will drop down to scare you. But this," she said as we entered a large room, "this is my personal project."
Since all the lights were on, I could see that the room was broken down into a series of small sets in which a skit would be played. There was a dentist's office, a wood shop, a tattoo parlor, and a medieval torture chamber.
"It doesn't look like much with these work-lights on, but guests will see it in dim lighting with fog machines going. We'll have a psychotic dentist, a ghoul drilling holes in a tied-up girl, a woman removing a guy's tattoo with a carving knife, and actors in hoods and robes using all the toys in the dungeon on some people dressed like guests on the tour. The victims will be screaming at the guests to help them. Should be pretty cool," she said, enthusiasm obvious in her voice.
We walked out into the daylight, and again I was struck with just how beautiful this girl was. Her outfit gave me a very good idea of the shape of her body, which was sexy as hell, and her face alone was enough to make a young guy weak. She was every bit as beautiful as her mom.
"I'll take you on the Hayride of Horror route," Cassie said, pointing to a big new pick-up truck. "Hop in."
She drove us past empty concession stands, behind the Barn of Death, and onto a packed dirt road through a cornfield. We passed some burned-out wrecked cars with skeletons hanging out of the windows, a number of platforms with spotlights next to them where performers would appear in frightening costumes, and into a barn.
Cassie said, "Check this out. In season, we have a team of about eight performers in here, but you'll get an idea of the thing just with the props."
She pressed a button on a small box on the dashboard of the truck. The barn doors closed behind us, leaving us in complete darkness. Soon, eerie music began to play. Suddenly, brilliant lights came on, illuminating a group of mannequins on meat hooks, just overhead.
"When we're in operation," Cassie explained, "some of them writhe around, as though they're real people impaled on those hooks. The ones just outside of the hayride path drip and spurt fake blood, and a bunch of guys with chainsaws run around yelling. All the saws have the chains removed, of course, but a couple of the animated mannequins are rigged so limbs will fall off if you hit them with a saw. Then some guys jump on the steps on the sides of the wagon and rev their saws against people's backs. A 'body' falls on the ground just behind the wagon, and then the doors on the other end will open."
She pushed another button, and the doors in front of us swung wide. We drove out into the sunlight.
"Oh, good!" Cassie said, "There's Michelle's car heading toward the Barn of Death. "Hang on. We're going to take a shortcut. The rest of the hayride is pretty boring in daylight, anyway."
Cassie steered the truck off the main route onto a rougher dirt road. "This is one of the maintenance paths. At night you can't really see it."
As we bumped along, I couldn't help but notice Cassie's breasts bouncing inside her dress, her nipples threatening to slide into one of the lace areas. God, the last thing I needed was to get a hard-on because of the boss's daughter!
Cassie caught me looking. She started to laugh. "Well, I think this dress has the David Michaels' seal of approval! It's supposed to make you look at me. I'll be wearing it every night in the ballroom scene. I guess this bumpy truck ride proves that the theatrical glue works."
"Exactly what do you do in the ballroom scene?" I asked. "You said something about zombies."
"The set is supposed to look like some exclusive new-wave club, a place where you go to hook up. All the girls are going to be dressed in stuff like this, and all the guys are going to be in studly outfits I've designed for them," she explained.
"Where do the zombies come in?"
"The lights come on just as zombies have broken into the club to feed. Lots of terror, lots of gore. The guests will love it. I'll show you the set when we get in the barn, but first I want to introduce you to Michelle," Cassie said.
She parked her truck next to a sporty roadster. These people seemed to make a decent living off this operation.
"Mom tells me you're going to be a doctor," Cassie said.
"A surgeon. I decided to take a semester off."
She looked at me and giggled. "Okay, David. I know some students at that hospital. You're the guy the Dean wanted to kill or something, aren't you? You're the guy in that Spring Break video with the girl with the long brown hair. I knew you looked familiar."
Shit. I'm fired before I even get hired.
Cassie must have seen the look on my face. "David! It's okay, honest. Mom was the one who first showed it to me. Hell, she showed it to my brother and sister and my dad, too. Don't worry. We're a pretty open family about that sort of thing. No one will think any less of you. I wouldn't be surprised if Dad buys you a beer or two after work some night."
"You're serious," I said.
"Yes, dead serious. Look, David, the entire family watches that sort of thing. Usually, we watch alone, or we'll hear some familiar cheesy background music coming from Mom and Dad's room, but when we see something special, we share it. Mom saw the university logo on your girlfriend's thong, and she asked if any of us kids knew either of you. I recognized the girl."
"You know Terri Richards?" I asked.
"No, but she modeled for a couple of my art classes. Beautiful, sexy girl. You two looked like you had fun. Oh, there's my sister. Hey, Michelle! Come meet David!"
This one knocked my socks off. She was lean, probably my age, and built like a dancer. Her green eyes almost seemed to have an Asian slant to them, but her lightly freckled skin and wild mane of thick auburn hair made her look like a lusty, healthy Irish lassie. She was wearing a plain white crop top, and a faded pair of jeans that might as well have been painted on.
"Damn stupid electrician. I had to draw him a schematic to show him what he did wrong," Michelle said as she jogged over to us. "Hi, I'm Michelle West."
"David Michaels," I said as she grabbed my hand. I was surprised at the firmness of her handshake. He fingers were slender, the skin soft, the nails long and beautifully manicured. Beneath the feminine appearance of it, this lovely hand spoke of the strength this girl might possess. Some guy was probably very happy.
Cassie said, "Mom wanted me to give David a whirlwind tour of the farm, so we started with the Silo and did part of the Hayride route. We don't have enough time to tour the whole Barn, but I wondered if we could show him the Ballroom."
"That's getting to be my favorite part of the Barn," Michelle said. "Let's go."
We walked through a few maintenance doors, and ended up in a wide area overlooking a room that looked like a nightclub. The walls and floor were splattered with red, and a few chairs and tables were overturned.
"Do you want to show him some of the features of the room?" Michelle said to her sister. "I'll stay out here and run the control panel."