The call came late one afternoon when the Mother was about to give up hope of ever getting work that week. Would she consider working in a Roman Catholic primary school, her agent had asked. If she was being honest, it wasn’t top of her list; in fact, it only just made the bottom. But she had to be realistic, there was nothing in the fridge but two yogurts and some rotten lettuce. And she couldn’t steal toilet paper from the pub forever. Plus, the council tax was due any day now, and by any day, she meant last month. Yes, she had to be honest with herself, and the reality was that she couldn’t afford to be choosy.
“Yes, I’d love to,” she told the agency. “When do I start?”
“Tomorrow,” came the reply.
As soon as she put the phone down, she put all thoughts of the job out of her head. For today was the 31st of October, and the witching hour was fast approaching.
Before the phone call had distracted her, she had been busy carving a pumpkin. Now, she just had to make the pumpkin sick with its innards, and she was done. So far, she was pretty happy with her handiwork. It was much better than last year’s attempt, and this time around, there were no stitches or tetanus injection. What a hideous Hallowe’en that had turned out to be, although all that real blood, well, it really did make her costume last time. Still, she had a good feeling about this year’s Hallowe’en, even if her daughter didn’t.
“What am I going to be?” Esme kept asking.
“I told you – something scary.”
Esme wasn’t satisfied by this and continued to follow the Mother around the house, complaining. But the Mother was too busy searching for the black lipstick and nail varnish to pay her any attention. Esme hated being ignored. The Mother knew from experience that this in itself could well create a monster, but Esme might need a little bit of extra make-up just to finish things off.
“Where is that bloody lipstick?”
“Well, it must be somewhere,” said Esme irritatingly.
“It must be somewhere!” Of course, it must be somewhere; everything is bloody somewhere, Shergar was somewhere.
In retrospect, it might have been better if the Mother had at least spent some of the evening preparing for her new job. Maybe just a quick search on Google.
“All Hallows’ Day, the Catholic faith and the Glorification of Evil” – that would have given her some interesting information. Perhaps learning some hymns and prayers from YouTube – that also might have helped. Christ, even a quick look at the Bible would have been something. But no, she did none of these things, and in less than 24 hours, she would regret it. Sadly, she would not regret it enough to change her short-sighted ways.
Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting installment.