27 October, 2011

The Return of Halloween in the Hoosegow


Do you feel the chill? There's a faint burning scent on the breeze that sweeps from the north to nip through gaps in your coat. It is the approach of Halloween. I feel it in my marrow, the pull — a merciless desire against which I am powerless. For, on the night of the thirty-first, as the moon creeps up to bathe the world in her pallid light, I am compelled to submit to my ghastly craving... for a horror movie marathon and a one-and-a-half square-foot spread of deluxe nachos.

In accordance with the ancient ritual we set forth a couple of years ago, my hunchbacked companion, Zach (all right, so maybe he's just a little slouchy — it's called artistic license, people), and I consulted the fell grimoire that is the prison's canteen price list to begin, weeks in advance, planning and procuring all necessary elements for our diabolically calorific feeding frenzy. We thought early preparedness would ensure our homage to the nacho gods would be a worthy one. But no more are olives sold by the canteen, nor are illicit onions from the kitchen. Our aboveboard and underhanded supply chains failed us equally. Arguably worse, funds were in limited supply. Still, we amassed what we could: tortilla chips, beans, meat, cheese. Even these barest ingredients would cost us dear future comforts, but the All Hallows Eve ritual must take precedence. We would not be denied our celebration.

On the night of the fifth of October, our seasonal plans were set in motion early by the broadcast of the slick new FX Network supernatural soap opera, American Horror Story, signaling the slow creep onto TV of frightful fare. "And so it begins!" I said, a sinister mwah-ha-ha on my lips, as the show's herky-jerky opening credits ran. Oozing sexuality from its every scene, the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink premiere episode was almost too much (and mildly annoying in its repeated somnambulistic exposure of Dylan McDermott's ass); though by the second week of the series my inner critic was pleased. Continued appearances by the redhead maid Moira, as Ben sees her, will assure my pruriently loyal viewership.

"You got a real thing for the girls with colored hair," said Zach, when we first discussed the show.

"No, just saucy old maids," I quipped, convincing absolutely no one.

On the sixteenth commenced the second season of AMC's zombie apocalypse drama, The Walking Dead, which inaugurated the network's "Fear Fest" programming schedule and fated Zach and me to spend the next fifteen days as braindead, hollow-eyed, sleepless trudgers. For we will wait up well later than the witching hour, fixated on our TVs, hungrily hoping for some classic horror films that probably won't even be shown.

Then, a holiday miracle: without notice, one benevolent soul out in the world of the living delivered our Octoberfeast from mere acceptability, by way of an infusion of funds to my inmate account. In the eleventh hour I was able to purchase the picante sauce, jalapeƱo peppers, and ranch dressing for which our ritual clamors — plus a bite of chocolate for a greedy little dessert. When Zach asked how I was able to afford proper garnish for our garish dish, I summoned my best Vincent Price imitation to mutter, "It came... from the world beyond!"

So shall our screen worship persist, night upon night, until its preordained climax, commemorated by the unholy mass (of smothered chips), on Halloween. Such is the way. The craving will not be assuaged but through our sacred rite. How else might we satiate ourselves, after all — with a glut of food on Thanksgiving? Please.

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Lacking computer access of any kind, Byron cannot respond to your comments but is relayed them and appreciates your kind remarks.