Halloween Teen

I’ve never been a big fan of horror movies. It’s not that I scare easily, but they just don’t do much for me. I will say, though, that the scariest movie I ever saw when I was a kid, was a film called “Poltergeist.” It came out when I was about thirteen or fourteen, and it frightened the shit out of me when I first saw it. It’s about a bunch of people living in a housing estate that’s been built on an old cemetery, and in the big finale, there is this huge storm, and coffins start popping up out of the ground, and the lids flying open, with skeletons in ragged, rotting clothes start falling out, and it’s a shocker!

Years later, as an adult, I was at the video store one day, and they were selling off a lot of their old ex-rental VHS movies, and I found an old copy of “Poltergeist” on the rack, for two bucks. I bought it, and took it home, but I never got around to watching it again. That was about a year before my marriage broke up.

I’ve got to say one thing here, and that is, divorce sucks. I guess I didn’t need to tell you that. It’s one of those things in life that’s self-evident, like, the Pope’s a Catholic, or, Queen Elizabeth believes in the monarchy, so everybody knows it and doesn’t really think about it, but it’s only when you go actually go through the three-dimensional trauma of ending a marriage, that you realise just how much divorce sucks.

When my marriage finally ended, everybody got something. My now ex -wife got the house, and the kids, the lawyers got a chunk of money, and I got the privilege of continuing to pay the mortgage on said house, and the honour of having said kids over every second weekend and half of each school holiday period, plus the right to pay a further chunk of money in child support until our youngest child turned eighteen. I certainly didn’t begrudge supporting my two children, but considering I wasn’t the one in the marriage that was fucking every deadshit in town, except for her lawfully wedded husband, I kind of thought there were certain fairness issues about the whole thing. Then again one of the many things I had learnt in nineteen years as a cop, was that life isn’t always fair.

Now that I was suddenly single, I had to find a place to live, and I was lucky enough to have a work colleague with a spare room for me to stay in for a while, but he made it clear the arrangement could only be temporary, or else his marriage may end up on the rocks, too.

I did the rounds of the local real estate agents, trying to get something to rent, but the story was the same everywhere. Ever since a new university campus had been opened in the city, rental accommodation was as scarce as hens’ teeth, and I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever find a place. One afternoon, in my lunch break, I slipped out to visit the last real estate agent in town, just down from the police station, to try my luck there.

The tenancy manager was a middle aged lady, who told me the same story I’d heard every other place I’d been to, but after I told her my situation, she sighed sympathetically, looked at my police uniform shirt, and seemed to look hard at my shoulder patches, as though she was thinking. “Look,” she said, “I like to help the boys in blue wherever I can, so I may be able to help you out. I can’t guarantee anything, though.”

“I’m ready to try anything,” I said.

“I’ve got a friend,” the lady started, “and she has a granny flat at her place. She asked me for some advice a while back, about renting it out. She’s a single mother with a couple of kids, and the flat’s just sitting there, so she thought she might be able to rent it out for a little extra money. How about I give her a ring and get back to you?”

I told her I’d appreciate if she could do that, and I headed back to work. Later that afternoon, I got a call from a lady, giving her name as Vicky, and she said she’d had a call from the real estate agent, about renting her granny flat out. I asked her if she was interested in letting me rent it from her, and she said, “Why don’t you come over this evening and we can talk about it?” I took down the address, and I said, “See you there.”

A little after five, I drove over to the address, and my knock was answered by Vicky, who greeted me with, “Hi, I’m Vicky Campbell. You must be Sergeant Strong.”

“Craig,” I answered, “Please, call me Craig.” She offered me a handshake, and when I had a good look at her, I realised she was rather hot, but in a wholesome, approachable way. I was guessing she was maybe mid-thirties, and she had long, wavy dark hair, and a pretty face, and her figure was slim but curvy. She was dressed in a pair of snug-fitting blue jeans, and a beige coloured, knitted top.

She took me inside her house, and over a cup of coffee, we discussed the granny flat she had for rent, and a few other things. Vicky told me she had two kids, one boy and one girl, but she didn’t elaborate on how old they were, and I saw no need to ask. After we finished our coffee, she said, “I suppose I’d better show you the granny flat, and you can tell me what you think.”

Vicky took me around to the side of her house, and showed me the granny flat, built onto the house, but with it’s own front and back door, and fully self-contained. It was small, with one bedroom, a small kitchenette, a combined living/dining room, and it’s own bathroom, and the back door led out into Vicky’s back yard. I needed somewhere, and this place was too good to pass up in the circumstances, so we settled on a hundred bucks a week, and I told her I’d take it.

“When do you want to move in?” Vicky asked, and I said, “I’m off duty tomorrow. How about I move straight in?” The deal was done.

I’d moved out of my marital home with very little in the way of household belongings, so next day, I bought a furniture package from a discount store, and after they delivered it, I set about turning the granny flat into a home. I’d bought a double bed, and a dresser, along with a three-seater couch that folded down to a double bed, thinking that when my two kids came over for access visits, they could sleep in the double bed, and I’d have the fold-down couch. By the time I added a coffee table, and a few other items, like a TV and cheap stereo system, I had the place pretty liveable. I was quite pleased with myself, and I spent my first night there, sleeping peacefully in my new, if slightly spartan, “bachelor pad.”

Next morning, I woke up with another day off, and seeing it was Saturday, I had a relaxing breakfast, and sat on the back step of my flat, to finish off my cup of tea.

The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I sat there, taking it all in, and I heard a voice say, “You must be Sergeant Strong.”

I looked up, and there was a young, teenaged girl, standing a few feet away, looking down at me as I sat on the step. She was petite, with a curvy figure, brown eyes, and wavy, ash-blonde hair, but apart from her light hair, she had a particular resemblance to Vicky, my new landlord. She was wearing a tank top, with horizontal stripes in rainbow colours, a pair of denim shorts, and sandals. She was a pretty little thing, I had to give her that.

“And you must be Vicky’s daughter,” I said, standing up from the step and setting my cup down on an outdoor table.

“I’m Krista,” she said, offering me a handshake, just as her mother had done.

“My name’s Craig,” I said, accepting her handshake, “I moved in here yesterday.”

“Well, Mum was right,” she said, giving me a grin, “She told me you were good looking. She was right about that.”

“Does you mother know where you are?” I asked, trying to deflect her obvious attempt at flirting.

“I’m sixteen years old, Craig,” she said, meeting me head-on, “My mother doesn’t need to know where I am at all times.”

“Fair enough,” I said, with a chuckle, “You just can’t be too careful these days.”

“Your name suits you,” Krista said, “You look pretty strong. I’ll bet you look good in your uniform, too.”

I realised this was not an appropriate conversation to be having, so I said, “Krista, you’ll have to excuse me, but I’ve got a few things to attend to. I’d better get back inside. Okay?”

“I guess I’ll be seeing you round,” Krista said, and as I returned to walk inside, she added, “I’m looking forward to getting to know you.” I went inside, but a couple of times during the day, I got a mental picture of that hot little body in those shorts and tank top. What a little heart-breaker! I thought to myself.

The back door of the granny flat was a sliding door, made of glass, and it looked out into Vicky’s back yard. The next morning was a Sunday, of course, and in the mid-morning, while I was tidying the place, I looked out the back door, to see Krista lying on a deck chair, in a black bikini. She had a big pair of sunglasses on, and although her bikini was not the briefest I’d seen, it was wrapped around a curvy sixteen-year old body, so seeing her like that made me take a long, hard look.

I went back to what I was doing, and a few minutes later, I heard a tap at the door. I looked over, and Krista was standing there outside my glass door, in that little black bikini, holding a bottle of suntan lotion in her right hand. I slid the door open, and Krista said, “Hi, Craig. Can I ask you a favour?”

I looked at the suntan lotion, and I knew what she was going to ask, so making a distinct effort not to let my eyes stray to her cleavage, I said, “What would you like me to do?”

“Can you be a gentleman, and put some suntan lotion on my back. I don’t want to risk getting sunburn,” she said, tilting her head, and smiling at me.

“Krista,” I said, “I really don’t thing that’s a good idea.”

“Why?” she said, “It’s only a little suntan lotion.”

“Why do you think?” I asked. I tried to give her the look I give suspects when I think they’re bullshitting me.

“I don’t know,” she answered right back, undeterred, “You tell me.”

“Because you’re sixteen, and I’m thirty-nine,” I said, trying to be firm, but gentle, “I don’t think I need to explain any further.”

“Sixteen, thirty-nine,” Krista repeated, “They’re just numbers.”

“They’re very important numbers, Krista,” I said, still trying to be firm, “One day, you’ll understand.”

“You’re a cop, Craig,” she persisted, “So, I couldn’t be in safer hands, could I?”

“Okay,” I said, shaking my head, then looking around, “but only in the back yard, where everyone can see us.”

“You’re no fun,” Krista replied, but she walked over to the deck chair, with her bottom wiggling impudently in that black bikini, and she lay face down, handing me the bottle. I rubbed some lotion onto her back, being as quick as I could about it, but the truth was, if I admitted it to myself, that I could have mauled that little body for hours. “That was quick,” Krista said, as I put the lid back on the lotion, and put it down beside the chair.

“In my line of work, you learn to get the job done fast,” I said, giving her a little smile, and I excused myself, and went back inside. Hours later, I could still feel that firm little body, when I thought about rubbing that lotion on her, and don’t think I didn’t replay it through my mind once or twice.

Over the next day or so, I met Vicky’s other child, a little boy called Richie. He told me he was six, and a few times later on over the following days, I saw Krista playing in the back yard with him. He looked a lot like her, and it was obvious they were close, as brother and sister, despite the age gap. Krista continued to flirt with me, but only when her mother wasn’t around, so I made a point of not being alone with her. Even so, there were times when the occasional scenario came to mind, where I was alone with her, and I did more than just put suntan lotion on her back.

Life went on, and I settled into my new life, living in Vicky’s granny flat, having my two kids over on access visits, and after a while I didn’t see much of Krista. I guessed she had found something or someone better to occupy herself, and one payday, I went to Vicky’s door to pay my rent money, and we had a little conversation on her doorstep. While we were talking, a Daewoo sedan stopped outside, and the driver tooted the horn twice, and moments later, Krista burst out the door between us, saying, “Coming through, coming through. Gotta go. See ya.”

She was half way down the driveway, and Vicky said, “Aren’t you forgetting something?” Krista turned, and said, “Oh, Hi Craig.”

Vicky continued to look at her expectantly, and after a moment, Krista said, “Oh, sorry!” She zipped over, and kissed her mother on the cheek, and said, “We won’t be long. I’ll be back in a couple of hours.” She turned, and walked quickly down the driveway, and with a quick glance over her left shoulder, she said, “See ya, Craig,” and then trotted to the passenger’s door of the Daewoo, jumped in, and the car drove away.

“Krista’s got her first boyfriend,” Vicky said, watching the car drive away, “I think this is where my hair starts turning grey.” She gave me a wry look, and said, “Terry’s his name. He seems nice enough, but young girls and young guys, you know what I mean.”

“I think I do,” I said, not really knowing what to say.

“She’s pretty grown up, though,” Vicky added, “and she turns seventeen in a couple of months, anyway. I think she’ll be okay.”

You don’t know the half of it, I thought to myself. Over the next few months, I’d see Terry’s Daewoo parked outside Vicky’s house when I came home from work, from time to time, and once or twice, I saw her walking with him in the street, when I was driving around in a police car on duty. I thought it was good to see she’d found someone her own age, and I didn’t pay it much attention after that.

In early October, I was out in a police car, working with a young rookie called Sylvia, and when lunchtime rolled around, she told me she wanted to go through the drive through at McDonalds, to get some lunch. As we pulled up at the window, I noticed the kid working there was wearing a Frankenstein mask. “What’s the story with the mask?” I asked Sylvia, when she’d been served.

“Halloween, Sarge,” she said, looking at me as though I didn’t know anything, “You’ve gotta get with the times.”

“I don’t get this Halloween thing,” I said, “We never used to have it here in Australia when I was a kid, but I’d see it on American TV shows, and movies all the time. I always thought it was just some eccentric American idea.” I looked at the pictures of ghouls and ghosts, and the spooky writing on the box with Sylvia’s lunch in it, and I added, “Now, every year, all these companies are promoting it, and you get kids trick or treating and stuff. I’ve never understood what it’s all about.”

“Haven’t you ever gone trick or treating?” Sylvia asked.

“Never,” I answered, “It never went on when I was a kid. Only on TV.”

“Then, you haven’t lived,” Sylvia said, with a little chuckle.

Two weeks later, it was a Friday evening, and I was due to start another four-day break in the morning. I’d had a long day at work, and I was planning a quiet night at home. Not that I could afford a wild social life anyway, between paying a mortgage on the house my ex-wife lived in, and paying child support, but tonight I was planning to kick back and relax.

I heard a knock at my door, and when I opened it, I saw Richie, dressed as a little vampire, accompanied by Krista, who had recently turned seventeen, dressed as a wicked witch. She had a black dress on, with a pointed hat, and a stick-on, fake pointy nose, and black boots with big silver buckles, and it was obvious the witch outfit was meant for a girl a couple of sizes smaller than she was. “Trick or treat!” Richie said, as I opened the door.

“Aren’t you a little old for this?” I said, looking at Krista.

“Mummy said I couldn’t go trick or treating unless Krista comes with me,” Richie explained, and Krista looked at me with her eyebrows raised, and an expression that said, There’s your answer.

“Well, isn’t she a good sister, helping her little brother out like that?” I said, to Richie, but Krista answered, looking at me with a deadpan face, enunciating every word carefully, “Do you have any idea how stupid I feel, dressed like this?”

“I thought you looked kinda cute,” I said, trying to sound as patronising as I could.

“Oh, so I’m cute now?” Krista said, stepping forward, and smiling at me.

“Mummy rented these clothes at the costume shop,” Richie added, and I looked at his empty basket. “You haven’t done very well with your trick or treating,” I said.

“You’re the first person we’ve tried it with,” Krista said, “We’re just starting. We’re rookies at this,” she said, smiling at her own use of police jargon.

I went back inside, and I found a packet of caramels and a box of Minties. I hadn’t thought about trick or treating since the discussion in the car with Sylvia, so I had nothing else to offer, and I took a pathetic handful of sweets out to Richie, and put them in his basket. I was about to apologise for my meagre offering, but he looked like I’d dropped a hundred dollar note in there, and he said, “Thanks, Mr Strong,” showing his basket to Krista.

“Well, we better get going,” Krista said, and she added more quietly, “and get this over with.”

“Have a good night, Samantha,” I said, “or it is it Endora?”

“Watch it,” Krista said, brandishing her magic wand at me, “or I’ll turn you into an orang-utan. I can do that, you know.”

“Who knows? I might like being an orang-utan,” I retorted.

“Not if I make you an orang-utan with self esteem issues,” she said, and as Richie tugged at her sleeve, they turned to go. “See you later,” she said to me as they left. I watched them walking down the driveway, and it occurred to me that Krista’s witch’s dress, being too small for her, was like a mini skirt, showing off her shapely legs. I wondered if Vicky had realised what she’d look like in it when she hired it.

I went back inside, and cooked myself some dinner, then tidied up. I was a little conscious that I had two milestones in my life, coming up. Firstly, I was due to turn forty in November, and a month after that, I’d have twenty years in The Job. I had no plans of leaving the force just yet, but I was thinking, This is not how I saw myself at the age of forty.

After dinner I decided to watch a little television, but one look at the TV guide showed there was nothing much worth watching on that night. I decided to look through my DVD’s for something light-hearted, that didn’t require too much mental effort, and I found a copy of “Sleepless In Seattle,” that I didn’t even realise I had. It must have got mixed in with the stuff I took with me when I moved out of my house, but it seemed to be the sort of movie I was looking for, so I started watching it.

About halfway through the movie, there was a knock at my door. I stopped the movie, and answered the knock, to find Krista standing outside, still wearing her witch’s outfit, but without the pointy nose and the black hat. It was now dark outside, and Krista said, “Hey, Craig.” She stepped in my door without waiting for an invitation, and it was then that I noticed she had ditched the big black witch’s boots, and was now wearing black heels. They were emphasising the sexy shape of her legs, and she walked past me, looked around herself, and said, “What’re you up to?”

“Watching a movie,” I said, thinking it wasn’t a good idea for her to be in here alone like this.

“You really live an exciting life,” she said, smiling at me. She went over and sat on the middle cushion of my three-seater couch, and said, “I got a bit bored, thought I’d come and see what you’re doing.”

“How was the trick or treating?” I asked.

“Richie did okay,” she said, “He’s next door, working on his tooth decay as we speak.”

“You probably shouldn’t be here,” I said.

“Why?” Krista asked, as though we’d never talked about this before.

“Does your mother know where you are?” I asked.

“Mum’s getting lucky tonight, if you know what I mean,” she said, smiling up at me from the couch, “She’s got this on-again, off-again boyfriend, called Dallas.” She sat back, sitting with her legs open, so I could see her black lace panties, under that too-small witch’s dress, and she said, “At the moment, it’s on-again.” She sighed, and added, “I think Dallas is having a sleepover tonight. My mother is occ- upied.”

“Krista,” I said, using my firm but gentle voice, “You should sit like a lady.”

“You shouldn’t be looking,” she answered back. She had a challenging look on her face.

“Krista, I’ve been cross-examined by experts in my time, so don’t try and play word games with me,” I said, trying to sound firm again, “and if you are going to come in here and talk to me, don’t go flaunting yourself like that.”

“Oooooh!” Krista said, “I love it when you get all authoritarian like that. It sends chills down my spine.” She drew her knees together, and said, “I’ve got this fantasy. Do you want to hear about it?”

“I’ve got a feeling you’re going to tell me anyway, so I may as well say ‘yes,” I said. I sat on a kitchen chair, across the room from Krista, on the couch.

“I’ve got this fantasy that you arrest me for something,” Krista said, “and you’ve gotta frisk me. You know, up against the wall, searching me for concealed weapons and stuff. Really thorough. Every little nook and cranny.”

I couldn’t help smiling, but I kept up my firm, policeman’s voice, and I said, “Well sorry to bust your bubble, but that’ll have to remain a fantasy. You see, you’re a juvenile female, so if I arrested you, I’d have to get a female officer to search you.” I let that sink in for a moment, and added, “And I’d make sure I got the biggest, ugliest, most intimidating female cop I could find to do it. You never know, she might even enjoy it.”

“Eww!” Krista answered, distastefully, “I think you’ve just saved me from a life of crime.” She turned around on the couch, so her head was now resting on the armrest to my right, and lifted her feet onto the other end, showing off those high heels, and she said, “Just changing the subject a little,” pausing to smooth her dress down over her thighs, “Tonight, you told me I was cute.”

“Yes,” I said, speaking in a matter-of-fact voice, “But I meant ‘cute’ like a little girl wearing a wicked witch’s outfit.”

“You still said it,” Krista persisted.

“What happened to Terry?” I asked, trying to turn the discussion away from what I’d said earlier.

“Oh, Terry,” Krista said, dismissively, “He’s old news. History. Ancient history in fact.”

“Well, why can’t you get another boy your own age?” I asked.

“Been there, done that,” Krista said, “But that’s the whole point. They’re boys. They don’t know anything.” She sat up again, on the left cushion, and continued with, “But a guy like you on the other hand, would know how to treat a lady.”

I had to chuckle at Krista, all of seventeen, saying that. “How do you know anything about how I treat a lady?”

“My instincts tell me,” she replied, airily.

“Krista, I don’t think this is a good conversation for us to be having,” I said, but her reply was to look at the TV screen, and say, “What are you watching, anyway?”

She picked up the DVD cover from the coffee table, and looked at it, then, with mock sarcasm, she said, “Here we go. Sergeant Craig Strong takes time out from his action-packed police schedule to watch, wait for it,” and she paused to turn the DVD cover around to show me, and said, “a chick movie.” She giggled at herself, and my choice of movie, and she put the DVD cover on the table, and she said, “What on earth were you doing, watching that?”

“I just felt like something light,” I said, with a little chuckle.

‘I thought you’d at least be watching “Die Hard,” or one of those Sylvester Stallone movies where he kicks the crap out of all the bad guys.” She shook her head, and said, “I’m really disappointed.”

“Sorry I shattered your illusions,” I said, still chuckling, myself.

“Actually,” Krista said, with something obviously going on in her head, “I’ve ...

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