Soundtrack to Life – Happy Haunting – The Move

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to week 5. This week will be a continuation of last week, as I felt this story was entirely too long for one week. Though I’m not really worried about running out of stories, I’m reminding you all now that this isn’t just my column. It is yours as well as mine. Particularly, I think this is a good chance for you writers to spread your wings and be the spotlight of the week. You will get mention in the title so people know it’s you writing for the week. But anyways, enjoy this week’s naration.

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Happy Haunting – The Move

“Suggestions” by System of a Down

My second year of working for the haunted house faded into memory as one of the greats. Though I didn’t have a major role, I felt as though I was coming into my own. I’d actually had a few roles this year that I held for more than one night. Perhaps Gary was begining to realize that I was one of the more dependable workers we had. What would the next year hold though? What brilliant schemes and scares would we have prepared for 2001? I could only sit and wait to find out. Who would have thought that the Jaycees would be the recipient of the first scare.

They had been planning the house for a few months and were about to head out to the site to begin work, when they received a rather unwelcome piece of news. The owner of the warehouse had decided, that despite the contributions to the community, they would increase the rent, forcing them to pay a fee they couldn’t afford. It was over. Our house site had been taken from us. The haunted house had actually been a structure within a structure. Walls and all had been built up by the Hartford Jaycees, and now they could no longer have it there. It looked as though there wouldn’t be a haunted house this year. When I got the news, it was like telling little Timmy that there wouldn’t be a Christmas this year. In the two years working for this establishment, I’d grown so very fond of this event. Halloween had taken over as my favorite holiday. And now, I was being told that I may not be able to celebrate it this year as I’d like to. But like any Christmas story, just when things seemed their worst, a ray of hope shown through. Someone had located a vacated farm house out in Slinger. Two stories plus a basement as well as an adjacent barn. Look at Rudolph’s nose everyone! He can light our way through the fog! Christmas Halloween was saved!

Times change though, as do some of those things you’d once thought were a constant. Jay moved out to Milwaukee, and Musse could no longer work for the haunted house due to a court ruling, so it seemed my ride was history. Aki, much like myself had been looking forward to this Halloween and wasn’t about to let this be a set back. She’d talked her boyfriend at the time into taking us out there. Everything was falling into place, we just needed some new gear for the year. We made a trip out to Halloween Express. I picked up a black velvet cape and studded cuffs, while Aki collected a black velvet dress and black vinyl cape. It wasn’t much, but it would provide us with something new for the year, rather than the dressing room full of ancient costumes.

When we arrived, we were greeted by much of the staff of previous years, as well as a few new faces. Sure enough, Lara and Tiff were amongst the crowd. After getting a swift guided tour, we hurried to the second floor of the barn where our make up room now was. It all didn’t seem to have the spaciousness of the warehouse, but the fact that it was a real house added to the atmosphere. I’d found out that on my first night, I’d be working with the infamous Aaron Smiley. His claim to fame was his butcher routine. He has this ability to intimidate most anyone that enters that makes him quite helpful to the house. Tonight, he’d be taking on a new persona; That of one Dr. McNasty.

I played his giggling psycho of an assistant, but I wasn’t all that convincing. Aaron got into his role, perhaps a little too far. He began saying rather lewd things to customers. Asking them to turn around so that he could “get a specimen”. Snapping a rubber glove, saying they could do this “The easy way or the hard way”. I wasn’t too surprised to find that he’d been removed by the end of the first weekend. Second night, I had the easiest scare in the house. I was the chainsaw man. We had a path going through the forest outside. I found myself a little area to hide behind, only to come charging out at the group, saw a-blazin’. One of the first groups I did this for was some smart mouthed little kids. I came charging out, fired up the saw, and it died, not 3 yard away. The kids made some smart alec remark at me, just as I got the saw started again. They changed their tune mighty quick, and wound up cowering on the ground as I stood over them. There it was, that power trip. I laughed and ushered them away. I remember another group, one that knew my location and started running before I even appeared. I chased them anyways, saw over my head screaming “You’re all gonna die!!!”. Where else can you get away with that? I loved it. Unfortunately for me though, the saw died and I resided within the house for the rest of the night, moving from room to room.

We’d met up with Speedy, a friend of ours from West Bend at the house, and he offered to be our ride from then on in. That next weekend, I was pleasantly surprised with my assignment. Gary told me they needed someone to run the kitchen, first room of the house. I would actually be running a room! Here’s hopin’ I don’t drop the ball. I whipped up a costume, character and script and shot from the hip. It was a success! I loved working this room, absolutely loved it. I got so into it, that my southern-fried Beetlejuice accent actually carried over to my real life at times. I was high energy, always looking for some innovation, and just reasons to act strange in general. I wasn’t me and I was having a blast. I had a few favorite moments in this room.

-Our two big scares in the room were the table, where someone was hidden within and would jump on cue, and a soup pot that when a sensor was tripped, air would blast out of a hose and make the lid jump. After I got the table scare on one group, I stated “Now, if yall don’t like that, Yall gotta try mah soup!” Upon saying this, a young man in a letterman’s jacket backed away from the pot. I had to single him out. “Aww, whassa matter? Big bad letterman afraid of a little soup?!” He jumped pretty good when that went off too.

-Working with Lara on the final night, we had one group remaining. She warned me that she would ham it up for this group and I told her to go nuts. Her normal line to me was “The soup doesn’t want to be eaten!”, so that takes maybe a few seconds. She unleashed with a minute long tirade, completely off the cuff, about why the guests shouldn’t eat the soup. She wound up backing me into a corner, and when she was done, all I had for a rebuttal was “Uh, okay.” Yet another priceless memory.

Ahh, working with Lara, yes. That’s another story in and of itself. Until this point, I’d only really known her as that girl from Hartford who worked at the haunted house. When I learned she was Aki’s friend, she was now a friend of a friend. But this year, things changed. I remember a night in particular. It had been a relatively slow night, groups coming through every 3 minutes or so. I remember it snowing, though just a little. I’d take breaks between groups, stepping out onto the balcony, watching the snow and awaiting the next group. To pass the time, Lara and I talked. Aki had told me a little about this girl, but I had no idea the troubles she had faced in her life. Much was similar in our lives, so we had much to talk about. By the end of the night, I’d realized that we weren’t such strangers after all. More like “kindered spirits”. A heart warming moment, no?

I’d made such an impression on Gary that I was asked to hold the position all year. By the end of the year, my room had shown signs of wear and tear. Dents and chip in the floor, counter and sink. Broken pots, pans and other utensils. I just went all out in here. To this day, this is my favorite room I ever worked. On that final night, Gary asked if I’d be interested in joining the Jaycees so I could help plan next year’s house. This was gonna be great! Finally, my input helps to make the haunted house. It was gonna be another good year.

The reason for the song; I remember listening to this song on the way to the house for the first time this year. We listened to the whole CD, this one just stuck out for some reason.

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Got a story you’d like to tell about a song that’s in the Soundtrack of your life? Don’t post it on the board. Email it to me and I’ll put it in my column. Stories will be posted in the order that their received. I don’t play favorites. All I ask is that you make sure the spelling and grammar are in fine order.
Email your stories to: loki@baloolapalooza.com