Scaring the Fool out of Miles

(Momentarily, Anyway)

It was Hallo-the-Ween. I was living in a small apartment building across from Piedmont Park in Atlanta - where all the freaks, weirdos, and so forth hung out.

I had dressed up in my Costume - the one I threw together one night in a hurry, odd enough that it got attention, so I still used it when I needed something pronto. 1-piece camo body suit. International orange sling turned into a belt with a tail. Bright, multi-colored toe socks (no shoes). Bright bandana. Whatever else was hanging around. And a jock strap worn on the outside. Some sort of mask - I forget what I had on this night.

I crossed Piedmont, dancing in the traffic, getting alternate friendly waves and not so friendly fingers and horns. I shinnied up the closest tree and waited.

My first victim approached, a homosexual (at that time, I equated that with ``wimp'' - I had some growing up to do) from a few doors down. Easy prey. Almost too easy, but I had to start somewhere. I jumped out of the tree, screaming and roaring. He just looked up and mildly said, "Well, hey, Mad Dog." We chatted a while.

The three black brothers from the apartment below me started across the street. These guys were bad, there wasn't much point in trying, but it was all part of the game. I raced towards them, yelling like a banshee.

Naturally, I didn't consider the fact that they were probably stoned out of their gourds at the time (which was stupid, because most of us were, most of the time). The closest one pulled a switchblade so fast I never saw where it came from, and wild-eyed, started yelling back and trying to cut me. It was getting dark, and all I could see were frightened eyes, gritted teeth, and a swinging blade. I back-pedaled furiously, and about the 10th time I screamed who I was, it registered.

Being stoned, he'd thought I was a demon, and he decided he might as well die fighting.

Several boring responses later, I saw another neighbor walking his dog our way. I shinnied back up the tree. It was a 9 or 10 month old German Shepherd. Somehow it hadn't noticed me. I dropped right beside the guy, screaming "Death from above!" in my nastiest voice. I felt a sharp pain in my rear. At least this guy reacted. I literally almost gave him a heart attack.

His dog, meanwhile, was retreating at full throttle. The guy looked, amazed, at the broken leather strap in his hand. That dog had wanted to be gone.

"Some guard dog," the guy noted. About that time, someone said, "Hey! Mad Dog! You're bleedin', man!" I reached back, felt the tears in the seat of the camos, and felt the several small holes the blood was coming from. The dog had bit me on the butt, and when it realized this wasn't doing any good, had sensibly fled, no doubt assuming it was dragging its master to safety.

Things calmed down, and the dog came back, but refused to get within 10 feet of me. We all talked about it for a long time afterwards.

But, somehow, scaring people like that never interested me any more.

Last updated: 16 May 1997

Copyright 1995 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.

Miles O'Neal <> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514