My fight-or-flight response is weighted heavily toward flight and I blame the vampires.
It started in kindergarten, when my teacher forced my class to go to a haunted house put on by the 5th grade. I didn't want to go. I begged not to go. I tried to sneak out of line and hide in the bathroom so I did not have to go. Oh, but Mrs. Johnson made me go, dragged me by my hand into the cafeteria and cooed about this isn't so bad, is it? Just a bunch of screaming and blood and smoke — not so bad at all, right? And I'll bet she would have kept on thinking it wasn't so bad, but a vampire popped out of a coffin and I wet my pants and she had to clean it up.
Wetting your pants is not cool. If you're already the kid who's missed school to get her lazy eye straightened, the kid who wears an eye patch, wetting your pants is social suicide.
We moved out of that school district after first grade, but the vampires followed me.
On Halloween morning a few years later, I knew something sinister was afoot when the school bus opened its doors to let my sister and I board. Hanging from the door frame were orange and black streamers — lots of them — so we couldn't see the driver. Jenn got on first, then I pulled back the streamers, and to my absolute horror, a vampire was driving our bus. A fully-cloaked vampire with evil vampire teeth and a white face covered in blood.
I jumped right back off the bus, crossed the street without looking, and ran as fast as my knobby knees would carry me, screaming for my sister to get off the bus: "It's a trick! It's a trick! JENNIFER, GET OFF THE BUS! IT'S A TRICK!"
I busted through the front door of my house, still screaming, and when my parents came running, I explained through my wretched sobs that Jenn was lost to us forever.
Unfortunately, my house was the last house on the route, so the bus was full of my classmates, watching with their noses pressed to the window, as made I made my escape from the clutches of evil.
Again, we changed school districts (though now I wonder: were my parents constantly forced to move because of how I made an ass of myself with the vampires?), and again the vampires came after me. In the Halloweens that followed, a vampire with a chainsaw leapt from behind some bushes at a house I was trick-or-treating and threatened my life; a vampire bolted down the stairs of his home and wrenched open the door roaring at another house I was trick-or-treating; and three vampires in middle school stole my clothes during gym class.
To this very day, I make Amy open the door for trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
This week at the Collective, my friend Jeanne asks: If you knew you were going to turn into your costume, for just one night, what would you dress up as for Halloween?
You're probably thinking I'd go as Hermione Granger or Batwoman or Super Girl or even the villainous Catwoman. And on any other day, you'd be right. But this is Halloween. If I could turn into anyone, I'd choose this girl:
How many vampires can I slay in a single night?