by Charles C. Cole
Halloween Night. Suburban front stoop. AIDAN and BRADY (early 30s), possibly drunk, approach the darkened home of MR. and MRS. ROY (late 40s).
BRADY: Ring the doorbell. Let’s get it over with.
AIDAN: I don’t want to be here. Brady, this is a mistake.
BRADY: We ring the bell, meet the owners, and go. What’s the worst that can happen?
AIDAN: There’s gotta be a reason the front light is out, like they don’t want company.
BRADY: Maybe the bulb blew. I’ll ring it myself.
AIDAN: The hairs are standing up on the back of my neck, I’m not kidding.
BRADY: You always were a chicken. (Rings the doorbell.)
MR. ROY (From o.s., teasing.): Go away. We don’t celebrate Wiccan holidays.
BRADY (rings the doorbell again.)
AIDAN/BRADY: Trick or treat!
(The light pops on.)
MR. ROY: Hold on. (Opening the door, with a small bowl of candy.) Let me see the brave adventurers.
BRADY: Happy Halloween!
MR. ROY: Hello, there! This is a surprise. Where are your costumes?
AIDAN: We’re supposed to be dressed as a couple of suburban dads. How did we do?
MR. ROY: Say, you’re pretty old for this, aren’t you?
BRADY: Really, our kids are across the street at your neighbor’s.
AIDAN: Someone told them this place was haunted, so they won’t come near it.
MR. ROY (Embarrassed.): We get that a lot. It keeps the foot traffic down. Even Fedex won’t come down the drive.
BRADY: Our wives dared us to prove our masculinity, so here we are.
AIDAN: Is it really spooky? Are there ghosts and poltergeists and stuff?
MR. ROY: No, of course not. Somebody died here many years ago but, I promise you, it’s not haunted. Never has been. In fact it’s very quiet.
BRADY (Looking beyond him.): It looks like a nice enough place.
MR. ROY: Thanks. We’ve been here fifteen years. It’s been quite cozy, (joking) once we painted over the blood stains.
BRADY: Blood stains?!
MR. ROY: It wasn’t breaking-and-entering or anything. This is a nice neighborhood, always has been. It was, reputedly, a family dispute settled by gunshots, believe it or not.
AIDAN: Let me guess: the kids wanted to borrow Dad’s Lexus and he said, “No.”
MR. ROY: That’s probably not far off. We don’t know. The parents were found shot, execution style, and the kids and the family car were never seen again.
BRADY: Wow! That’s dark.
AIDAN: Sick, real sick.
BRADY: I’m glad our kids are younger and still know who’s the boss.
MR. ROY: I try not to judge. Maybe if we knew the whole story, we’d take the kids’ side. There were chains bolted to the basement wall. Who knows why? I for one can’t think of a good reason.
BRADY: I bet you got the house for a freaking song.
MR. ROY: Excuse me?
BRADY: I mean: hey, somebody else’s nightmare turned out to be your dream house. Pretty amazing!
MR. ROY: That’s true, I suppose, but I think of it more like a karmic balancing act, good coming out of bad.
BRADY: Do you think we could take a look at where it happened? We’ve never seen a crime scene before.
MR. ROY: What? No. That’s out of the question. There will be no tours.
MR. ROY: There’s nothing to see. It was a long, long time ago.
AIDAN: Fifteen years, is that what you said? How old were the brothers?
MR. ROY: Teen-agers. Did I say they were brothers?
AIDAN: I just assumed.
BRADY: I think you should let us in. We’re coming in one way or another.
AIDAN: We just want to pay our respects and see what you’ve done with the place.
MR. ROY: Please go away. I don’t want any problems. You can pay your respects from outside.
BRADY: You don’t understand: we’ve come a long way. We’re just looking for a quick tour. (Laughing, to AIDAN.) Oh my God, he thinks we want to re-enact that night. No way. Nothing could be further from the truth.
MR. ROY: I’ve got home security.
BRADY: In this “nice neighborhood?” I don’t believe you. Now, come on, step aside.
MR. ROY (stiffening): Look at the blinking red light above the hall mirror (o.s.). You see it? You’re being recorded, ever since I opened the door.
BRADY: No kidding. Fancy technology. You’re a stealthy guy.
MR. ROY: I’ve already pressed the Emergency button. The police will be here any minute so, if you don’t want to be handcuffed and taken in, I suggest you move along.
AIDAN: That’s some trick. We didn’t do anything to you. Why the hardball?
MR. ROY: Because it’s the anniversary of the murders. Because the police asked me to be vigilant. I guess people really do visit the scene of a crime.
AIDAN: Maybe we picked a bad time.
MR. ROY: Unless you still want to see the basement, but you probably wouldn’t be leaving without a police escort.
BRADY: We’ll come back on a less hectic night. Keep your stinking candy.
AIDAN: Let’s get out of here. I think he’s serious.
MR. ROY (snidely): What about your kids?
BRADY: What about yours?
AIDAN (apologizing): He’s kidding. You antagonized him. He doesn’t like to be antagonized.
BRADY: We’ll be back.
MR. ROY (bluffing): I’ll burn the house down before I let you inside.
BRADY: Maybe we’ll burn it down for you.
AIDAN: Let’s go! Brady!
(AIDEN and BRADY exit.)
MRS ROY (entering): What was that all about?
MR. ROY: Oh, a couple of guys looking for a thrill. And I gave it to them, all right.
MRS ROY: You didn’t tell them they were on a security camera, did you?
MR. ROY: Yes, I did. And it works every time. What was that siren about?
MRS ROY: Some kids with a bonfire behind the old McCutcheon barn accidentally lit the field on fire. You could see it from the living room. It’s all right now.
MR. ROY: Just another happy, crappy Halloween! Can’t wait till next year.
MRS ROY: Come back inside, dear.
Copyright © 2015 by Charles C. Cole