Monstrous Femme

A Cool Halloween Brew

A Cool Halloween Brew

I should have known Miss McCleary was a little too cool for our own good. A single lady, subtly attractive at whatever her age happened to be (I’d guess circling the airport around her early thirties), living in the Robison's old big Tudor at the end of the block for the past three years. No real friends to speak of, but always waving to us boys, hiring us for various chores around her house; always suddenly right next to you when you had never heard her approaching or breathing.

She was spooky as much as she was sexy.

We should have all known. But most of all me. I was the leader of my five-man gang, as much as a group in 1975 suburban NJ could be called a gang when all we did was speed our Schwinns to the park at the end of our street. We didn’t do much of anything that summer the lady moved in. I was also the one who read EC horror comics incessantly and was a nut for that old Night Gallery TV show, although it scared the shit out of me.

Those twisted paintings in the show’s opening, with the equally terrifying Rod Serling . . . Jesus!

Anyway, by the time I found myself pushing my throbbing cock into a jack-o-lantern’s face that Halloween three years later, when we’d all turned eighteen, it was too late for me—and I knew too late for Stu, Arty, and Ray when each of us was led solo, as we would later come to admit, into our neighbor’s low-lit bedroom to witness the lady’s dance of ten veils. At least I think it was ten. I lost count by the time she was topless and reaching for my pants.

That’s as far as Miss C. went in touching me or any of my friends, but not as far as she went in her suggesting—or hypnotizing—as she turned to present to each of us a pumpkin with a way-too-suggestive, round-holed mouth, leaving the room with a “have at it” thrown over her shoulder.

Which each of us did.




Meeting Miss C. back on her sunny porch, the lady offered me an apple cider, which I accepted, then matter-of-factly began to explain the whys and wherefores of what she just had me do. I’d assumed that morning, after answering my neighbor’s phone call, she wanted me to come over to once again rake her backyard in exchange for ten bucks, like I had been doing the past three years. It was October, after all, and leaves from the tunnel of trees that covered my street had once again invaded the block.

Instead, Miss C. started a conversation she’d come to have with each of my friends before leading me through her house and into her bedroom for the shock of my life.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of,” she began as I tried to get warm in the sun slanting through the blinds behind me. I could barely see the lady in the sunlight’s glow, but I could’ve sworn, at that moment, she was transparent as she sat across from me.

“It’s just friction, something you certainly can’t ignore at your age, nor should you.”

“But, it was a pump—”

“It’s Halloween, Mark,” she exclaimed, leaning forward and managing to give me a peek down her buttoned-down shirt. What I had seen of her breasts, mere minutes before, and the tickle of a view she was giving me then, reminded me that I really hadn’t seen so many real-life bare breasts before.

It would be a grand understatement to say that 1977 was a more innocent time for teenage boys.

“You and your friends are helping me in ways you cannot imagine,” she said, reaching out for my hand. “I know you, more than the rest, suspect that I am not exactly of this world. I mean, I am, but . . .”

“Yeah,” I offered, feeling some strength return then.

Looking hard into that lady’s lustrous blue eyes, taking another peek at her ample cleavage, I suddenly realized that the cool, wet pumpkin guts hadn’t felt so bad.

“The combination of your . . . well, youthful essence, shall we say, combined with a little pumpkin, is perfect for what ails me.”

“Uh . . . okay.” At eighteen, I really was such a conversationalist.

“And I figured in these past years, we have all made friends, so I could ask—”

“Ask?” I snorted.

“Ok, ‘coax,'” she said, and she laughed too as she sat back in her wicker rocker.

“I, well, I don’t mind, but it was a little . . .”

“Strange, spooky—cool?”

We both laughed this time, and I managed a long gulp of cider.

“As I say, it’s Halloween. What better time of year for a suburban witch to get what she needs to stay young?”

I couldn’t argue with her logic. The lady was stone-cold-crazy hot, and I was ready to go again to remain in her good graces, as I would be for her all up until that October 31st. Art, Stu, and Ray continued to help out as well, our shared secret the big topic of snickered asides as we walked the blond brick arcade of the community college we attended that fall. A year later, unfortunately before October, Miss McCleary moved—but not without introducing us all to her new boyfriend, a guy who couldn’t have been any more than five years older than me and my friends. He seemed to be the perfect match for our pumpkin-pimping witch, who, at that moment, I still would have guessed was only barely tipping into thirty.




Not that all my Halloweens growing up deep in staid, wonderful, middle-class East Coast American suburbia weren’t wonderful. It’s just that year’s particular fall-pumpkin-candy-costuming October was the most unusual (and sexual) one I would ever experience. And although that day with Miss C. remains running on idle in my memory pretty much all the time, even after two marriages, three kids, a successful personal injury law business and having moved a thousand miles from those woodsy-smelling backyards and bricked-faced Tudors decades ago, once again it seems a fortuitous conflagration of circumstances comes to meet me.

Or, at the very least, has me remembering the lady and her pumpkin today in the most acute recall.

A week from now, it will be the Halloween of my sixty-fourth year, and my phone alerted me I still had to go get candy. About a minute later, I saw the email from Stu come in.

Stu had taken over his parents’ house when they moved south in the late eighties. He married, raised kids, and stayed to live and work in the town we grew up in—not the only “lifer” left on our block, but one of the people who has been in the neighborhood the longest. As I am not on any social media, I don’t know how he keeps up with things or where he finds what he finds, but somehow he learned that Miss C. died last week. She was one-hundred and five years old.

Not that math has ever been my strong suit, but simple subtraction would have to place the lady at fifty-nine the year I turned eighteen and we had our pumpkin-y encounter. Which is fine, as those calculations lay. But seeing as my dad was forty-eight at the time, my mom forty-four, and Miss C. looked (and acted) younger than them both, it is less the fact that the lady lived as long as she did (okay, this fact is unusual to be sure) but more that she was at the cusp of sixty for pretty much all those scant few years I knew her. As I said, the last time I saw the woman, she seemed to be making time for a steady hunk of a dude, who couldn’t have been but a handle of years older than me. And when I saw her then, Miss C. looked, as she always did, youthful, vibrant, too damn sexy, and nowhere near fifty-nine. Not by a long shot.

As the lady had said after I left some of myself in that pumpkin for whatever cool Halloween brew she’d come to mix, mastered, and use: “What better time of year for a suburban witch to get what she needs to stay young?”

What better time than Halloween, indeed.