Dated October 5, 1981, one month after my 15th birthday when I was getting
started in Grade 10. I consider this my quintessensial "Poppy Street" story,
with zilch in the character department and plenty of gruesome incidents. I
vaguely recall this stemming from a nightmare I had one night.
Copyright © Harold Reynolds, 1998.
It was the day before Hallowe'en and everyone was mobilizing. This is the annual event in Poppy Street City when all the "innocent" kids and Muppets dress up and go door-to-door demanding goodies from the Adults. The Adults have their turn on April Fool's Day. Naturally, owing to the state of perpetual warfare between the many guerrilla groups of Muppets, kids and Adults, there were always massive rubouts. In essence, Hallowe'en is just another excuse for them to fight and kill each other, and of course it was recorded by the omnipresent, indestructable TV cameras for the "Poppy Street" show.
It was just before dusk and everyone was making last-minute preparations for the event. Nightfall was heralded by someone's halftrack blowing up with a violent explosion. The moon was full, the sky was clear and the air was frosty. The first "trick-or-treat-or-else" call was made at exactly 7:00 pm by an "innocent" kid on Susan's house. The kid was dressed as a robot with a curious projection from its stomach. The door opened slowly, creaking on the ancient hinges.
"YES?" screeched Susan as she jumped clumsily out dressed as a witch. "Whadderyer want?"
"Susan, you didn't dress up!" exclaimed the kid. "Haw-haw!"
"That's NOT funny!" she snapped back. "What is it?"
"All your candy!" he replied, pointing the projection at her. Susan looked down the bore of a 3-inch mortar and gulped.
"Okay, let me go inside...yes, you too." Unnoticed, she pressed a control in her robe and skipped onto the doorstep. The kid trod on the doormat and it detonated, splurting his body all over and covering Susan and the general area with a layer of gore.
Meanwhile, Ernie and three of his gang approached Bert's house. One of the stoolies pressed the doorbell button and was electrocuted. The smell of frying flesh was not pleasant. Smoking, the body collapsed and fell down the steps head over heels to land with a glitch at the bottom. The three others conferred, not at all disturbed, and chorused:
"Trick or treat!" A muffled voice came from inside the house.
"What's the trick?" it asked. Ernie and friends reached into their bags and pulled out and threw Molotov cocktails through the windows. They exploded and flames shot everywhere.
"Okay, here you go," said the voice and they were bombarded by candies. Ernie jumped away, just as the "candies" destroyed themselves, splattering his ex-companions on the already-bloody walls. He felt something smack his forehead and stick. Reaching up, he pulled off a bloody eyeball and flung it away. On this signal, hidden men began shelling the house.
The Cookie Monster and ten gangsters burst down the front door of Gordon's house and scurried inside. The first three shorted the electrified foyer and were violently dismantled, sending clouds of greasy black smoke and body parts flying. The next one got chopped up by a guillotine blade and the other six intercepted machine-gun bullets. He spotted the goody bowl, full of cookies, and bit into one. The headless body, spurting blood, shot through the front window and landed at the feet of Mr Hooper, who was herding a group of unwilling "innocent" kids and Muppets to his "House of Horrors". The latter groups gulped, thinking it was a bad omen.
Sure enough, Big Bird attacked not two minutes later, squashing ten with his big, flat feet before he was hacked apart by the twenty remaining Poppy Streeters. Leaving the bloody, feathered chunks of meat steaming in the moonlight, Mr Hooper led the remaining Streeters to his store. Down steep, dark steps they went, slowly at first, but then very rapidly when the last kid slipped on the greased top step and fell, knocking the rest down with him. After they had sorted themselves out, a battered and dirty Mr Hooper intoned solemnly:
"Welcome to the House of Horrors. Walk this way, please." One Muppet tried to escape back up the stairs, but was slashed to ribbons when a portcullis with razor-sharp knives attached crashed down. "Look!" he continued. "Here is a box of witch's teeth. Feel them if you dare!" A kid put his hand in gingerly and had it promptly bitten off by Susan's animated dentures. He cursed loudly and, as the group moved on to the next "attraction", stuck a grenade in the hole. The blast killed two, mostly by flying teeth.
After three more in this vein (exploding "eyeballs", poisonous snake "hair" and razor-blade "claws"), Mr Hooper and the four remaining kids and Muppets entered the Torture Chamber. Angered by the deaths of their friends, the kids and Muppets shoved the adult into an Iron Maiden and slammed the door. There was a gurgled scream and blood cascaded from a crack at the bottom. After a bit of a struggle with the portcullis, on which a kid accidentally impaled himself when he slipped on a liver, the two "innocent" kids and one Muppet managed to escape. Unfortunately, they detonated several booby-traps and were fired from the store in a spray of blood and little bits.
Meanwhile, Susan had gone into the street and smashed a jack-o'-lantern on Bert's head. Bert, who had escaped from his house, replied in kind and the two began a duel using pistols, bazookas and anything else that could be mustered. Several innocent bystanders were gunned down or blown up before they could take sides or hide. Soon the entire city's population was fighting furiously, the people versus the Muppets. Both were pretty evenly matched and soon the major field pieces were in action.
With a loud rumbling, tanks from both sides appeared and began butchering their opponents' armies, who fled for cover. The city was now lit by the eerie glow of burning buildings, tanks, corpses and other things. Oscar used his garbage can as a rocket launcher until it wore out. Bert had managed to get Bob and Susan fighting each other and was just sneaking away, when he was accosted by his arch-enemy, Ernie.
"AHA! Prepare to die!" said Ernie, firing a bazooka.
"Ha ha you missed me!" jeered Bert's head as it flew through the air. "Look behind you!"
"Ho-ho, I'm not falling for that old gag!" sneered the first, as Bert's head was skewered on a branch. The tank, which had sneaked up on him during their "talk", fired, blasting the upper half of Ernie to a fine spray and adding another coat of gore to its front. It was then blown up by a stray mortar round.
During this, Oscar the Grouch and Grover were firing grenades and sticks of dynamite using modified crossbows at the Snuffelopagus. Once he had been reduced to a few blotches on the street and walls, they hid in a burnt-out building and began sniping at Bob and Susan, who were still fighting. Before they could be finished off, Guy Smiley and twenty Muppets attacked. During the siege, Kermit the Frog defected with some weapons and eventually Guy's mob was wiped out. Oscar was killed.
Then, at the end of the street, Kermit could see a huge mass of people, and at the other end was a huge mass of Muppets. They charged and crashed headlong into each other, guns blazing and machetes chopping. In the middle of the massacre, the untouched clock in City Hall chimed twelve. The fighting stopped; Hallowe'en was over. Everybody trudged away, disappointed, wanting more fun. The clone machine did its work and the rebuilt city reappeared, along with the clones of the dead where they had died. All were ready for a good night's sleep and tomorrow's Poppy St. show.
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