I don’t remember how old I was, but I do know that I was very young. It was getting close to Halloween, and my mother and father were working hard on my costume. I wanted to be an astronaut, so they worked at piecing together what looked very much like a spacesuit. It was fantastic. Every detail was perfected and looked authentic—including the space helmet.
We had an old space-age television set that didn’t work. It was a perfect white sphere with a plastic screen that looked just like an astronaut’s face shield. Dad gutted all the electronics from the set and cut a hole in the bottom so it would fit over my head—it as perfect of an astronaut’s space helmet as you’d ever see.
On Halloween night my next-door-neighbor’s father took his children and me trick-or-treating near the rich part of town. We absolutely racked up on candy and goodies. I had a shopping bag practically full, and was still ringing doorbells when we reached the house that turned everything upside down.
As my chubby little finger moved closer to the warm, glowing button that would ring the doorbell, the front door opened very quickly. Jumping nearly out of my skin, I found an old witch—complete with green skin and all—standing at the door and cackling eerily. We were all so terrified that we slowly began backing up to get off the porch, when all of a sudden another witch came running from around the side of the house, screaming wildly and heading straight for us!
I turned around so fast that my space helmet stayed in place—meaning it was now on backwards and I couldn’t see a thing. But that didn’t stop me from running! I was screaming with everything in me, and running as fast as my little fat legs would carry me. Candy and goodies were flying everywhere as I was literally running for my life.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I’m told I was heading blindly for a huge tree when my friend’s dad finally caught me. Well, I thought one of the witches had grabbed me so I kicked and fought like a wild man. Mr. Shepherd could barely hold me because he was winded from running after me, but probably more so because he was laughing so hard at the whole situation.
“It’s okay, Mike,” Mr. Shepherd said. “Those are people dressed up like you.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m positive,” he said. “Now where is your bag of candy?”
“Huston, we have a problem.”
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