Throwing yourself in the torrential rains of Seattle’s haunted history tours and traipsing through paranormal puddles, will set you back at least $100 if you are a family of three. (It probably costs more than that, though.) That’s not necessary. Not necessary at all. Instead, you could split some pizza pies at the Alibi Room, which is right smack next to a very famous, yet unappetizing gum wall, and then follow the adventure up with a night of improv at the Unexpected Productions comedy club ($10 a ticket). Along the way, you could entertain one another with ghost stories that you make up. For free. So that’s exactly what we did. The following DIY ghost story is part of a freaky fun Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks Team tradition that turns our entire family into characters. We use our real names, but the story you are about to read is entirely fiction. It’s a tradition that we’ve kept alive for the Halloween season for three years now, which is also how long this blog has been kept alive. (The writer, however, needs to be resuscitated every now and then. Beer helps.) Every year, we try to keep our readers wondering: Will the family survive? Will Nate have to remove his shirt? Well, hang onto your candy corn; you’re about to get smacked in the face with buckets of semi-scary wackiness, which is something that could potentially happen in real life. Bring your umbrella. And a roll of paper towels.
Post Alley Improv Mayhem
On a blustery evening, with winds blowing homecoming kings and queens like rag dolls through the streets, the Kennedy family boards a metro bus hoping to forget about a very crappy week filled with story rejections (for Cecilia), workplace drama (for Nate), and tests out the wazoo (for Alex).
Alex: Ugh! If I have to sit through another boring homecoming assembly, I think I’m going to hurl up a marching band covered in glitter.
Nate: Don’t worry. While all the other kids take their vomit-covered limos to Applebee’s, we’ll be nice and warm on this double-decker metro bus, which will whisk us away to Post Alley. There, we’ll get some pizza, hang out, and see some really cool improv.
Cecilia: Right. Let’s sit on the top so that if we see a limo, we can spit on it.
Nate: No window seats for you.
The bus pulls out into traffic and cars go by. The Kennedy family has picked some seats next to a delightful woman, who is wearing a blueberry-colored wig. She sings a song off-key about smoking something in California. Sometimes she jumps up and down in her seat when she sings the chorus.
Cecilia: Hey, if you look out at the streets and the traffic, you’ll see lots of dressed up high schoolers. Everyone must be holding homecoming at the same time, but . . . their faces. They all look so pale—even gray. What’s the matter with them?
Alex: Don’t know. Don’t care. I’m hungry.
At 5th Avenue and Pine Street, the bus stops. Alex, Cecilia, and Nate make their way to Post Alley, snapping pictures of the gum wall along the way. Nate dares Alex to lick the wall. Alex thinks about it for half a second. Then, they duck into the Alibi Room for pizza.
Alex: Ugh! Why are there so many homecoming people here? Everywhere I go, I see them. Will they ever go away?
Cecilia: No. They live on in cruise ships and local community gala fundraisers and school auctions. Oh, and Halloween. That’s an excuse to wear an old prom dress AND cat ears.
Nate: Here comes our pizza—it looks piping hot.
A teenager in a glittery dress walks by and hisses. She snaps a selfie and staggers out the back with her pale, scab-faced boyfriend.
Cecilia: Seriously? What is wrong with the teens around here?
Nate: Too many cell phones and video games, maybe.
Alex: Can we just go now?
Nate, Alex, and Cecilia walk just a few steps away to the comedy club. Tonight, it is packed with teenagers in cocktail dresses and tuxedos. Most of their faces are pale gray or green. They groan as they take multiple selfies.
MC: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome! Welcome!
The rest of the audience members respond by snapping more photos and moaning.
MC: We’re going to get things started tonight with a little audience participation. We’re gonna sing a song, but we need some ideas. What we need is a mom. Any moms in the audience?
Nate: Right here! She’s a mom!
Cecilia: I am! I’m a mom! Pick me!
MC: Okay, just come up here on stage. All I need for you to do is answer a few questions.
Cecilia: Got it.
MC: What is something you can hold?
Cecilia: My liquor.
MC: Okay, not the answer I’m really looking for, but I’ll take it. Now, name something you can’t hold.
Cecilia: My bladder.
Nate: That one’s true.
MC: All right. The other actors on stage here with me are going to sing a song about a comedy troupe that can hold their liquor, but not their bladder—and we’re going to sing it in the style of Willy Nelson.
The opening notes for the song “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” start to play, when suddenly the teenagers stagger onto the stage moaning. Cecilia, sensing danger, runs back into the audience to sit with Nate and Alex. They watch in horror as the teenagers tear at the flesh of the actors and the MC. They overpower all of the actors on stage and begin to eat them—ripping off their limbs and pulling out their brains.
Nate: My God! They’re zombies! They’re not going to homecoming at all! They’re zombies and there are so many of them!
Homecoming zombies start to file into the room from all of the entrances leading into the theater. As they eat, they take selfies.
Cecilia: Have you noticed that as they take selfies, they seem to grow more powerful? If we could somehow distract them from taking selfies, I wonder if they would, you know? Self- destruct?
Nate: That’s a crazy idea.
Cecilia: Crazy enough to work, damn it! Here’s what I’m thinking: What is the opposite of selfie taking?
Nate: Anything. Anything really.
Cecilia: No. At a homecoming dance, for instance. What is the opposite?
Nate: I don’t know.
Cecilia: Dancing! It’s dancing! Now hear me out. I saw some DJ equipment and stuff up in the control room there. If I can reach it, I’m going to turn it on and we’re going to start dancing like we did when we went to homecoming and prom.
Nate: I never went to homecoming or prom.
Cecilia: Tonight, that all changes. I’m taking you, baby. We’re going to the prom tonight!
Nate: There are so many of them. How will you get up there?
Cecilia: You and Alex just hide under the seat for a little while and I’ll get the music started.
Alex and Nate hide under the theater seats while Cecilia sneaks up to the control room and starts the music. The Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right to Party” comes on full blast:
“Kick it! You wake up late for school, man you don’t want to go
You ask you mom, please? but she still says, no!”
Cecilia and Nate run for the stage and launch into a series of dances including, but not limited to, The Snake (made famous by the lead singer for Guns & Roses), The Sprinkler, The Pendulum, the Worm, and Running Man. As they dance, the zombies look away from their cell phones and begin to explode. Nate and Cecilia are encouraged by this turn of events, but they must keep dancing. This will take a while. Alex, meanwhile, hears someone screaming. He moves quickly in the direction of the sound and finds a more normal-looking high school girl dressed in a glittering gown. He soon discovers that her name is Sabrina and she’s very scared.
Alex: Hey! Everything’s going to be okay. My mom and dad are dancing, and it seems to be working. I think they’re killing the zombies.
Sabrina: Yeah, well they didn’t bring a zombie here as a date. He totally turned on me! I thought I was dating the homecoming king and he turned out to be a zombie! He went to the bathroom, but he’s coming back! He’s coming back!
Alex: It’s okay. If he comes back, I’m sure my parents will kill him with their dancing.
Sabrina: I don’t even know why I’m here—or why I’m wearing this stupid dress. It just pushes my boobs up to my face and it hurts! It really hurts!
Alex: I’m sorry your dress hurts your boobs.
Sabrina: You don’t even know!
Alex: That’s right. I don’t know. I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re going through. Is there anything I can do to help?
Sabrina: Who are you? You look familiar. What school do you go to?
Alex: I go to the Local Community Semi-Zombie High School.
Sabrina: I do too! How come I’ve never met you before?
Alex: Well, I’m pretty busy. I’m usually doing a bunch of homework and I’m in the pool a lot, chasing after a 53-second time in the 100-yard butterfly. I’m almost there, but I have to practice a lot. Also, I talk to the teachers after class. They’re pretty cool.
Sabrina: So, you’re one of those nice guys.
Alex: There are a few of us around.
Sabrina: My God! And I’ve been hanging around with a zombie—and he’s ugly too. Why?
Alex: I don’t know.
Sabrina: Come on, Nice Guy. Let’s get out of here.
Alex: Let me just check on my parents first.
Nate: Son, we’re fine. We can hear you all the way up here on the stage. Just get your friend out of here before her zombie boyfriend comes back.
Cecilia: And here’s some money for ice cream. You’re going to need lots of ice cream to forget this night.
Alex and Sabrina turn to leave, but the zombie boyfriend is in the way. Together, they kick him and stomp on him. Then, they grasp tightly onto one another’s hands and run away to freedom. Meanwhile, Cecilia and Nate are still dancing because there are many, many zombies that need to die.
Nate: You’re doing great, honey. Keep it up.
Cecilia: Nate! Oh, no! Nate!
Nate: What? What’s wrong?
Cecilia: You’re really sweaty. You’re getting overheated.
Nate: It’s okay. I can take it.
Cecilia: No! You need to cool down. Just. . . just .. .
Nate: What? Just what?
Cecilia: Take off your shirt! Just take off your shirt!
Nate rips his shirt off. His abs gleam in the spotlight on stage. At least ten zombies die at once.
Cecilia: Let’s just go for the grand finale.
Nate looks deeply into Cecilia’s eyes. He knows exactly what this means. They launch into one of the many famous Saturday Night Fever dance scenes. Nate lifts Cecilia high into the air, twirling her about with grace and ease. Then, he pulls her in tightly and kisses her. The kiss is so passionate it blows the roof off of the comedy club and the two of them run, leaving the place in shambles. They run into the night, dodging a hail of zombie limbs and torsos. The end.
Your Turn: If you celebrate Halloween, what’s your favorite Halloween tradition? Or: Did you go to school dances? Were they fun? Or, did you avoid them?