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Cindy, Mindy, and Bob; Trick-Or-Treat
Cindy, Mindy, and Bob began as bedtime stories for my children many years ago. Over the years, Cindy, Mindy and Bob have grown, changed, died, been saved and revived. The three older kids personified Cindy, Mindy and Bob. Now they live in our three younger children, to continue teaching morals, values, and good old tradition.
Cindy, Mindy and Bob were excited for Halloween. This was the first year they would go trick-or-treating without mommy and daddy. They had worked hard all year to prove they were responsible enough to go without an adult.
Mommy was worried, but daddy reassured her.
“Don’t worry,” he comforted her. “The kids have done a great job following directions, being kind to each other and doing their chores. They will be fine. Anyway, we can limit where they go, so there should be no real danger.”
“I know,” sighed mommy, “but they seem so young. What if something happens. They don’t even have a cell phone.”
“What could happen in a small town like this?” dad naively asked.
Halloween fell on a Friday night, so the children got to wear their costumes to school. Cindy had decided that she wanted to be “Wander Woman”. What had started out as a joke between she and mommy had turned into a pretty great costume. Instead of “Wonder Woman” with long black hair, a body suit and tights, “Wander Woman” wore a long cape and carried a staff, looking eternally for a place to settle. The subtle irony would be lost on the other middle school kids, but mom appreciated Cindy’s sense of humor and individuality. Mindy dressed like a reporter. Her dream job was to travel the world and be a newspaper reporter. Or an astronaut. But for halloween, she settled on carrying an old camera around her neck, a hand-held microphone and note pad in her pocket. On her hat, a press badge stood out prominently. Bob, of course, liked gore. He donned a store-bought mask, complete with fake blood, a long black cape and fangs. The costume itself was a mishmash of many different horror characters, but Bob seemed happy with it.
After school on Halloween, mommy drove them downtown, where all the stores opened their doors for Trick-or-Treat Street.
“I will wait for you at the library,” said mommy. “Meet me there when you are all finished.”
Cindy, Mindy and Bob ran down the street, shouting greetings to their school friends and gathering candy. It only took an hour, before they were warming up in the library, looking for mommy.
Driving home, mommy stopped and bought a pizza for supper. The kids talked excitedly about their trick-or-treat game plan. By the time they pulled into the driveway, they were ready to start.
“People aren’t going yet,” mommy laughed, “it’s way to early. You need to eat supper first, then you can go out.”
The children stayed in their costumes and hungrily and hurridly swallowed down their pizza.
Mom and dad walked them to the door, with last minute instructions.
“Be sure to stay together. And look both ways before you cross the street.”
“And stay together crossing the street.”
“Oh, and don’t go into any houses, not even the people we know. Just stand on the sidewalk. And don’t forget to say thank-you.”
Cindy, Mindy and Bob could hardly wait to get out on their own. They ran to the neighbor’s house excitedly, then made their way to the end of the block. They crossed the street and headed down the other side. It took about an hour to cover the whole street, then they were ready to head to the next block.
As they approached the trailer park at the end of the block, the children hesitated.
“Dad says to stay out of the trailer park,” Mindy announced.
Bob was hungry for more candy, “Yeah, but he didn’t say we had to stay out tonight. Maybe it would be ok.”
Mindy decided, “We will finish this block, go home and get permission, then go if dad says it’s ok.”
Bob shrugged and headed off. The next house had only a few lights on, and Bob rang the bell, while his sisters came up the driveway.
“Hey!” shouted Mindy, “you are supposed to wait for us.”
Just as Bob turned, the door opened to the smiling face of a kind old man.
“Trick-or-Treat,” shouted Bob.
The man chuckled, “What about your sisters?”
“They’re too slow. Wow. You have great candy.” Bob smiled into the bowl.
As Mindy and Cindy ran up, they shouted, “Trick-or-treat!”
“Go ahead, pick a candy bar.” Then he said to Bob, “do you like video games?”
Cindy and Mindy had already started for the next house, and Bob didn’t want to be left behind. He started to turn away without answering, but the man called out.
“Hey, do you want a king-sized candy bar for your bucket?”
Bob stopped. “What? Did you say king-sized?”
“Sure, I’ve got some big candy inside. And some soda’s too. I forgot to offer your sisters one. Do you want to come in for a second?”
Bob stood, considering the stranger. He lived pretty close to home. He looked nice. Bob was pretty thirsty, afterall. “Well, I can’t come in, but I’d like a soda.”
“Can you just step in the doorway, out of the cold? I could bring some different ones to the door for you to choose from,” as he spoke, he opened the screen door wide, gesturing for Bob to come inside.
Bob stepped just inside the door. “Wow. Are you watching Transformers? I love that movie.”
“Oh yeah. It’s one of my favorites. Hey, what’s your name? Why don’t you come get a soda out of the fridge. Then I won’t have to carry them all to the door.”
Bob could see the light from the open refrigerator. It seemed safe enough. “My name is Bob. But my friends call me Bob.” He laughed at his own joke.
The stranger laughed too. “Well, I’m Steve. Nice to meet you Bob. Did you say you like video games?”
“Oh yeah. My favorite is Mario Karts. But I also like Mario Brothers and Zelda. Do you play games?”
“I love Mario Karts,” Steve answered. “Actually, I have my system all set up downstairs. I have a Wii and a PlayStation 3. It’s pretty cool. I love to turn on the surround sound down there and play all night.”
“Cool. I’ve never played a PS 3.”
“Well, do you have a second? You can catch up on your trick-or-treats as soon as you check this out. Come on down. Oh, and here’s that candy bar I mentioned.”
He handed Bob a large bar of chocolate, and Bob smiled happily at his great fortune.
As he and Steve headed into the basement, Steve locked the front door and shut off all the lights.
Cindy and Mindy had run ahead, knocking on doors. It was several houses before they realized that Bob wasn’t with them. They spotted some of Bob’s friends from school, and ran up the sidewalk shouting, “Hey! Have you guys seen Bob?”
“No. We haven’t seen him since school.”
Cindy and Mindy began to get worried, and retraced their steps, trying to remember when Bob had last been with them.
“You don’t think he went into the trailer park without us?” Mindy asked, worried.
“No. He wouldn’t do that, would he?”
Cindy and Mindy walked back toward the trailer park, shouting for Bob.
They looked for nearly an hour, before they decided to tell mommy and daddy.
“They are going to be so mad.” Cindy was worried, and afraid of what mom and dad would say.
“Let’s just tell the truth. They can’t get too mad if we tell the truth,” Mindy assured her older sister.
When they got home, daddy immediately got into the car, while mommy called the police.
She couldn’t say exactly where or when he had disappeared, and the dispatcher tried to calm her down.
“It’s ok ma’am. He is probably with his friends. If he isn’t home by ten, call us back and we’ll send an officer.”
It was only eight, and already freezing cold, and mommy felt a cold lump of dread in her tummy.
Daddy drove through the trailer park, up and down each street, slowly calling, “Bo-ob. Bo-ob.” He listened intently, but heard no reply.
Bob played Mario Karts, the sound turned up, a cold soda and a large candy bar by his side. He sat on the floor, steering his cart, while Steve sat on the couch behind him.
“Hey buddy, come sit by me,” Steve patted the cushion beside him.
“Just a second. Let me finish this race.”
Steve stretched out his leg, kicking over Bob’s soda. Immediately, Bob’s pants were soaked with sticky, sugary wetness.
“Oh man. Look what I did.”
Bob jumped up, dropping the controller. “Dang it. Now I’m going to be freezing.”
Steve looked worried, then answered, “Wait as second. I think my nephew might have left some clothes here. Let me go check, and you can change into something dry. After we get your pants washed, you can head out.”
Bob slid out of his wet trousers and settled on the comfortable couch, still engrossed in his game. He paid only half a mind as Steve returned with a pair of sweat pants that dwarfed the young boy.
“Well buddy, that’s the best I can do. Let’s see those jeans, and I’ll get them washed for you.”
Bob, still engrossed in his game, didn’t notice Steve staring at him in his superman underpants.
By ten o’clock, mommy was frantic. Daddy had been searching for two hours, with no luck. Finally, the police sent a cruiser, and the patrolman cruised the neighborhood.
Mommy couldn’t sit by with her son missing. She put Lady on a leash, bundled up the two girls and headed out into the chilly darkness.
“Now, girls. Tell me when you last remember seeing Bob.”
“Well,” Cindy answered, “at the trailer park, he wanted to go to the trailers, but we told him no.”
Mindy chimed in. “Then he ran ahead. Remember, he rang that one house before we got there?”
“Oh yeah. The guy with the good chocolate,” Cindy remembered.
Mommy, Lady and the girls headed down the block, calling Bob’s name.
By now, only teenagers remainded on the street, and they had heard the story. All around the neighborhood, teenaged voices called, “Bob!”
As they neared the end of the block, a teen-aged boy approached.
“I heard your son got lost. Well, there’s this weird guy who moved in a couple months ago. He’s always inviting my friends and me over. He even offered us alcohol. And weed.” The boy started to walk away, shaking his head, “Yeah, he’s a real creeper.”
“Wait,” called mommy. “Which house does he live in?”
“See the one, second to the last, down by the trailer park? That’s it.”
Mommy headed straight for the house, although all the lights were off.
“Oh yes, I remember. Only the lights were on when we stopped,” noticed Cindy.
Mommy rang the bell.
She rang it again, and again, and again. Over and over she pressed the bell.
“I don’t think he’s home,” sighed Mindy.
Mommy opened the screen, and pounded on the door. Lady, meanwhile, had walked to one of the basement windows, and stood barking.
Downstairs, Bob was oblivious to the comotion occuring above him.
“I’m going to check on those wet clothes.” Steve was sitting next to Bob on the couch. He had traded his jeans for a pair of blue sweat pants.
Heading up the stairs, Steve was alarmed to see Mommy, Cindy, and Mindy at his door. He opened the door and said pleasantly, “Good evening ladies. I’m sorry, you woke me. Can I help you with something?”
“Have you seen my son Bob?” Mommy demanded.
“Yes, he was here earlier, with his sisters. They all ran off after I gave them a candy bar.”
Steve stood in the doorway, the door pulled closed behind him. Lady sniffed him and started barking all over again.
“Did you see him after that? He’s been missing for several hours and I’m very worried,” said mommy. She pulled hard on Lady’s leash. “Lady, stop being so rude. Sorry about the dog. She’s excited.”
“No, I haven’t seen him. Tell me where you live, and if I hear anything, I’ll be sure to let you know.”
Mommy gave the man her address, and started glumly down the sidewalk. Lady, however, was not ready to go. She yanked on the leash, pulling hard on mommy’s arm and barking incessantly.
Mommy pulled again, “Lady. Stop pulling on me. Let’s find Bob.”
When mommy said, “Bob,” Lady pulled even harder, barking louder than before.
“Something isn’t right,” mommy said to Cindy and Mindy. “Go knock on the door again. Take Lady with you.”
Cindy and Mindy approached the door, and rang the bell. Lady began her barking.
In the basement, Steve had told Bob they were going to play a game, called kidnapper.
“Don’t worry. It’s a game. It’s fun.”
“No thanks,” answered Bob. “I’m already having fun.”
Steve quickly placed a rag over Bob’s mouth, and taped it tight against his head. As Bob struggled, eyes wide, Steve held him close and tight, whispering, “Don’t worry Bob. We are going to have lots of fun. You’ll see. Uncle Steve will take good care of you. Now I just need you to wait in this closet for a few minutes.”
Deftly he tied Bob’s hands behind his back, and tied his legs together. Then he shoved Bob into a small closet, where he crashed into the back wall.
“Just wait here, and don’t make any noise, ok? When I get back, I can show you some other games.”
Steve walked upstairs, trying to calm his heavy breathing.
As he opened the door to the girls, Lady shoved her way into the house, breaking free of Cindy’s grasp. The dog, barking and growling, sniffed the floor, then headed downstairs.
“Get your dog out of my house,” Steve ordered the frightened girls.
They stepped into the doorway, calling Lady.
While they were knocking on the door, mommy had called daddy on his cell phone, and daddy and the police pulled in front of Steve’s house.
Steve pushed the girls outside, shutting the door behind them. He stepped onto the front porch.
“Good evening officer.Sir. Can I help you with something?”
“Yes, sir. We have reason to believe that Bob may be in your house.”
“What would I want with Bob?” Steve asked innocently.
“Sir, I’m going to ask that you let me search the house.”“Ok, but I’m afraid you won’t find any little boy.”The officer entered the house, and glanced around, then called to mommy and daddy, “Sorry. I don’t see your son here.”
“Wait,” daddy called. “What about Lady? She’s downstairs barking at something.”Over Steve’s protestations, daddy joined the officer in Steve house, heading down the stairs into the basement.
“She is barking at this closet.” Dad opened the closet door, where he found Bob, sobbing in a heap on the floor.Daddy picked up Bob, while the officer placed Steve under arrest.
That night, as the family sat close, hugging themselves into a tight ball, Bob sighed, “Well, I’ve learned my lesson about going into people’s houses. Even nice people aren’t always nice.”