Chapter 8:  Our First Halloween-The Witches' Ball-Lily Again


     Ghosts are okay cause they don't do nothing.
     Werewolves are mainly boring to be around. When the moon is in the off stage, they mostly just look like people with really bad taste in clothing. Never seem to get style right, so to speak. As the moon gets closer to the full, they get a sharpish look in their eye, but with everything so sivilized nowadays, they can't do much more than take down a deer and leave it on the highway as if some drunken hillbilly in a pick up hit the thing. And if they dare run a ways downstate, the pickins are even slimmer. And many's the time me and Huck have heard Lady talk about driving down Route 9 D toward the Newburgh-Beacon bridge, and seeing three dead raccoons right in a row lying on the yellow line. And how that was a sign that the poor werewolves were just bein starved out of their natural habitats and forced to go after no account animals like raccoons and smelly possums and skunks and even the occasional domestic cat.
     She said it was a shame, cause in their own native lands they ran wild and free for centuries till the war messed em up and then people like that horrible Lon Chaney and Maria Ouspenskya let on there was such things as werewolfs and they was hunted right out of Romania or wherever and now there was only a few genuine ones left.
     F'rinstance, the ones here in New York, had to try and mingle in as best they could.
     And one wolfman she knew was the owner of an Antique shop-it comforted him, she said, to be around old things.
     And being so agile and strong and all, another one that Lady knew took up bein a gymnastics expert for a while, and he was supposed to be in the Olympics and all, but wasn't it his luck, here the games were being held in his native Hungary-the problem was they was scheduled plumb in the middle of a full moon, so he had to withdraw and Lady told how he got so sad and hangdog about it, and always brooding and thinking about how he coulda been famous and known and changed the whole face of how people saw werewolves and stood up right and proud for them as a race and a species and all. Well, he got so droopy tailed, he ended up doing no more than running a bowling alley across the river-and everyone knows how they've declined over the years.
     Lady, she tried to get him to become a undertaker, that bein a right smart line of business, but he was afraid he'd eat into the profits.
     Well, like I said, she had these ghosts comin to the party, and me and Huck warn't too worried about them, and the werewolves-long as their fed, they don't bother a body, and a few of her witchy friends. Nope it was the vampires that was scheduled to come that had me and Huck up a tree. You don't even want to be a cat around folks who drink blood. And you can take that to the bank.

     So, the Witches' Ball was coming up and the Lady, she had me and Huck fairly run ragged getting ready for the thing. The first big problem came when Luna Raven or Raven Loon or whatever Lily Blum's witchy name was came over one afternoon for Tea and Gunpowder or whatever she drunk and decided me and Huck ought to be decorated, too.

      "Say, BD, aren't you going to have the boys 'en costume?' she says while I'm just a laying nicety-nice on Lady's lap and getting all kinds of stroking.
      "Costume?" My ears pricked up, you can be sure, cause Huck never held with clothes when he was a boy and he liked it even less now. This was sounding dangerous.
      "You know something to convey the spirit of the season? Something black…?"
     Well she talked it up all around, but what her idea was came down to how Lady outta get some kind of temporary dye and color us in.
     I skedaddled and ran to find Huck before another word could pass between em. If they were going to paint us up like familiars and go dipping us in wet dark stuff, it might be time for me and Huck to head out for the territories.

      "I never did like that Raving Lunatic, or whatever she's called," Hucky said. "For all that she wears all that black gunk around her eyes and looks like somethin you'd hire to haunt houses, she always stares at me like a starvin man turned loose at a free buffet table." "She tried last week to throw a glammer at me," I said. A glamour is a kind of spell witches use on folks to convince em what is ain't or what ain't is. Like for example, Lady has this other witchy friend named Ralph----what in private the lady lets on to me and Huck she calls Ralph the Air, kind of after that book by Anthony Trollope. Anyhow, this here Ralph Nowhere was always tryin to throw a glamour at the ladies to convince em he was hung like a racehorse. Problem was, what he sported couldn't fill no more than a plugged thimble. "All he does," Lady told us a thousand times, " is brag brag brag-

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