Parkites love a party, we said. Twelve hundred pieces of candy is plenty, we said. It won’t be much larger than last year, we said.
We were wrong.
At 1 PM, the streets were still.
No sign of the coming bedlam. No whisper of a crowd. Nary a candy wrapper in the breeze. The only things that foretold the coming mania were road signs warning citizens not to park on the street. The city knew. The city knew all along.
We had prepared with light-hearted reverie. Amusing real estate signs and heads on stakes.
Soon, a boy arrived. Dressed as Harry Potter, innocent enough.
Children were the first to turn.
The adults presented more slowly, in isolated pockets of hysteria.
The affected banded together, bound to each other by some common theme. A similar strain.
Even the animals started showing signs of the madness.
The people coped as best they could.
Even inanimate objects showed signs of contamination. We were never able to confirm with the Montage at Deer Valley if they indeed were afflicted as their model appeared to show.
Communications were cut off; overtaxed bandwidth struggled, then faltered, then failed. Discarded phones lost in plastic caldrons of chocolate bars and hard candy. And then, they came.
In droves they came. Wave after wave descended upon Main Street. Masquerading as a “dog parade,” the infected, the spirited, swarmed from one shop to the next.
I, and others, tied balloons to children, hoping the helium-filled beacons might give our young a chance at being found, and fed.
When supplies had run low at the doorstep of the uprising, the storm began to break. Gently, quietly, an antidote crept in. Some brave soul dared distribute the only product that could possibly tame the epidemic.
Slowly, a calm settled. As the masses began to disburse, even the most active of rioters ran out of steam.
After the Great Outbreak, what came to be called Halloween on Main Street 2014, we gathered. In bars, in restaurants, on front porches and in parlors. Friends and strangers, bonded by our experience. We spoke in revered tones. We sipped cider and pondered the meaning of “fun size.” We watched Jack Nicholson chop through a door on television and boasted about how we might have skied out the window and down the side of that hotel.
And we prepared ourselves for next year.
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