Halloween column: What I fear

(Photo by peasap/Flickr)

Halloween is wonderful. It is a reminder that we should fear things. Because of the size of my biceps and my powerful sense of self-confidence, not much strikes fear in my heart. If a job interviewer asked me what I feared most my response would be, “My only fear is that I will never find anything TO fear.”

I will know I am in the right place if he responds, “You are the one the human resources director spoke of in the prophecies. And so it will be written in the Outlook calendar, that you were here, on this day, and we received you.”
I would pledge my undying loyalty to any company that greeted me in such a manner.

Outside the house I live in are two Styrofoam gravestones. They are decorations that my roommate planted in the yard to invoke the spirit of Halloween for visitors. Nothing says “let us celebrate a holiday” like the replica of the lifeless stone that will be placed above your body’s final resting place, a stone that tells the world you lived a life, you gave it your all, and look what damn good it did you.

I have a feeling that if there was a Funeral Channel, my roommate would watch it.

(Sweeps week on The Funeral Channel. Photo by Brent and MariLynn/Flickr.)

I do not really fear sickness or war or plague or clowns or plane rides or the economy or bears or burglars or global warming or public speaking or gun violence or bioterrorism or that fish that can crawl on land.

The list of things that fear me is far larger than the list of things I fear. Things that fear me include insects that are inside a house, the computer on Madden 2009, messy rooms, bocce opponents, cats who think they’re better than dogs, pints of Guinness, weepy songwriters, companies that pretend to just make robot vacuum cleaners but really manufacture robot killing machines, buffalo wings located near ranch dressing and ignorance, sadness, racism, prejudice and injustice.

I really only have one fear, and I have to say, it is a silly, stupid fear. Most people would not place it atop their list of fears and probably cannot even relate to it. I fell stupid for bringing it up, because you will probably laugh at me and think I am a little girl. I fear hillbilly meth barons with a penchant for sadistic, ritualistic games. Ever since I watched The Salton Sea, my main fear has been that while driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas my car would break down in the desert and I would be confronted by a Vincent D’Onofrio-looking speed dealer with a detachable nose who mistakes me for someone named Tony who owes him money.

(Above: My greatest fear.)

The meth baron, who would have a colorful name like Snoopy, would abduct me at gunpoint and take me back to his lair, a villainous den of tweaking trigger-happy henchmen and nasty, underfed animals in tight cages.

(Above: The meth baron’s secret lab. Note the RV, abundance of trucks and general melancholy of the place. Photo by Worker101/Flickr.)

While tied to a chair I would plead, “I’m not Tony Santario. I don’t know who that is. I don’t have your money. My name is Joe. I am driving to Las Vegas to meet my friends for a fantasy football draft.”

“Whatever you say – Tony,” Snoopy would say back to me.

Well, Snoopy would not actually say that, he would sort of breathe the words using what little is left of his lungs, throat and rapidly-decaying mind.

At this point one of Snoopy’s boys, a weather-beaten man with a blonde ponytail who looks like one of the Dreadnoks from G.I. Joe, would untie my right hand and threaten to stick it inside a wolverine cage.

“Last chance,” Snoopy breathes. “We’re going to take that $15,000 out of you one way or the other.”

“I’m not Tony Santario,” I yell.

“Let’s go,” Snoopy whispers, “wolverines.”

My arm is thrust into the cage and it feels like I am shaking hands with the propeller of a Mercury 350 HP outboard engine. This is when I black out from the pain.

When I regain consciousness, I am in a bathtub full of ice and all of my vital organs are missing except the ones I need to keep me alive long enough to read the note that is staple-gunned to my chest. The note says:

I told you we’d take that $15,000 out of you one way or the other. Feed the wolverine on your way out. – Snoopy

Then a wolverine peers around the corner into the bathroom. As I slip into unconsciousness I hear a commotion in the front of the house. A door opens and slams shut. One of the Dreadnoks yells, “Tony!” And the last thing I hear is Snoopy belly-laughing and the blonde Dreadnok yelling, “Who the fuck is in the tub?”

Then, total darkness.

That’s pretty much my only fear.

Other than that, I’m good.

Joe Donatelli
Joe Donatelli is a writer in Los Angeles
  • Tom

    At least Storm Shadow would have had the decency to kill you before you even realized what happened…

  • Joe Donatelli

    There is no decency in terror, anymore. It is no longer a gentleman’s game.

  • I think hillbilly meth baron with a penchant for sadistic, ritualistic games would be a killer halloween costume.

  • Simer

    …but what would you go dressed as to a halloween party at a hillbilly meth baron compound? this is my current predicament

  • Joe Donatelli

    Simer — excellent question. The answer to that question, and all Halloween-related costume questions in 2008, is the same: Sarah Palin.

  • silver

    “There is no decency in terror, anymore. It is no longer a gentleman’s game.” – Joe Donatelli

    This is the greatest pseudo-humor quote your website has yet generated.


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