Trick or Treat – Frankie & Benny #5

“So Frankie, shall we do yours or mine on Monday?”
“We’ll do yours Benny.  Your door sponges down easier than mine.”
“So you say.  Ok, well you’ll have to help me block the letterbox again and make sure we’ve got plenty of food in.”
“Yes, it took us a full week to get out last year after the little buggers superglued the lock.”
My lock.”
“Yes, well, we made the mistake of letting them know we were in there.”
“‘Trick or Treat?’, ‘Trick or Treat?’… If I’m honest, yes, I’d like a treat thank you.  How about I could afford to turn my heating on?  How about I don’t have to sit under a blanket at night to keep warm?”
“Ah, but we like the blankets don’t we.”
“Well yes, ok, at night with the telly on.”
“A cup of tea and a Yo-Yo.”
“Legs all tucked in.”
“And you with that bloody rubber Frankenstein hand again no doubt.”
“There should be a good film on the telly mind.”
“It’ll be a horror won’t it, being Halloween.”
“I suppose so.  What was it last year?  The Exorcist wasn’t it?”
“Yes, and you pee’d your pants.”
“I spilled my tea.  It made me jump.”
“It made you put a cushion on your crotch for the rest of the evening.”
“You know, I don’t remember Halloween even existing when we were kids.”
“No.  It was an American thing wasn’t it.”
“Yes, I think that bloody alien brought it over.”
“Yes.  In that film.  Little green thing.  Long finger.  Sat on the front of a bike while all the kids wandered about with sheets over their heads.”
“Probably.  We didn’t have it till then did we: Halloween?  Bloody Trick or Treat: extortion I call it.  Robbery in a white sheet and grandma’s make-up.”
“Well, they don’t bother much with the fancy dress around here do they – unless you count a black balaclava and a baseball bat.  Never mind a pumpkin in your window to show that you’re Trick or Treat friendly.  I reckon you’d need a gun emplacement in the foyer to keep the little sods away.”
“Not so little most of them.”
“No.  So big these days aren’t they?  One day a toddler and the next a full-grown mugger.”
“They were taking credit cards last year.”
“For payment?”
“No, they were actually taking credit cards and buying stuff from the corner shop.”
“Blimey, they must have had to buy a lot of sweets: don’t they have a minimum £5 spend on a card?”
“They don’t do Haribo these days apparently, kids, they do Johnnie Walker and Benson & Hedges.”
“It was all about Bonfire Night when we were kids wasn’t it?”
“Penny for the Guy.”
Dignified begging.  At least there was some effort went into making those Guys.”
“Unless you could nick one off the smaller kids.”
“Of course, but it was all much more innocent then, wasn’t it?”
“November the fifth, a box of Brock’s in the back garden, a mug of Bovril and a blackened potato out of the bonfire.”
“Disappointing rockets and Catherine Wheels that fell off the pin and scorched your dad’s begonias.”
“Roman Candles that threw sparks into your bobble hat and burned great patches out of your hair.”
“Tying a Jumping Jack to your sister’s coat.”
“And bonfire toffee, do you remember that?”
 “I do, Francis my friend.  I do.  Rock hard shite.  It was like chewing a sweetened paving slab.”
“And Mischief Night the night before.”
“Oh yes, knock and run…”
“…Dog shit on the door handle…”
“…Bangers through the letterbox…”
“… So, we lock the door, block the letterbox, turn off the lights and pretend we’re not in until after Bonfire Night.”
“Shall we have a Halloween themed meal?”
“Like what?”
“I don’t know… Egg and chips?”
“Egg and chips?  How’s that Halloween themed?”
“Well, it’s what we always have.  Have you got a better suggestion?”
“Well, let me think now… What about Ghoulash?  Stake and chips?  Maybe something with loads of garlic in it.”
“Why garlic?”
“It wards off the vampires.”
“It wards off everything when you’ve eaten it.”
“Mm, it doesn’t sit well with me does it?”
“It oozes out of you.  Sharing a room with you is like being locked in a dustbin with a French corpse.  I have to wash my clothes when I’ve been in the lift with you.”
“No garlic then?”
“Not unless you want it with egg and chips.”
“Shouldn’t we have pumpkin?”
“Pumpkin what?”
“Pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin and chips.  I don’t know, I’ve never eaten pumpkin.”
“I don’t think anybody eats pumpkin.  It’s like turnip: it’s a straight out of the bag and into the bin thing.”
“So what then?”
“I’ve told you, egg and chips, a fresh cream éclair and a cup of tea.”
“A few tinnies with the film afterwards.  Champion.  Just like always… except we’ll be in the dark.”
“Oh God, yes.  I suppose I’ll be chiselling egg yolk off the settee again.”
“You leave them too runny.”
“Too runny?  Who wants a solid egg yolk?  You can’t dip your chips in a solid egg yolk.”
“You can when you’ve cooked ‘em!  Last time they were still frozen.”
“I was trying to save gas.”
“Well it didn’t work did it?  I had to thaw mine out one at a time in front of the fire.”
“You’re very quick to criticise.  You’re no Egon Ronay yourself you know.  The biggest leap forward in your cookery skills came when you took the batteries out of the smoke alarm.  And anyway, we’re not having the fire on this time.  We’ve got blankets and hot water bottles.  We’ll just sit the week out.  It’ll be like the blitz.  Especially if you’ve had garlic.”
“It’ll keep the kids away from the door.”
“It’ll definitely put them off their Smarties.”
“…Do kids still eat Smarties?”
“I’m sure they do.  I’ve seen them sharing them out.  Only the blue ones mind.”
“Are you sure they’re Smarties?”
“What do you mean, M&M’s?”
“No, I don’t think they’re M&M’s either.”
“What then?”
“I think they’re probably pills.”
“No Benny, not Viagra.”
“It wouldn’t surprise me, randy little buggers.”
“I think they’re probably amphetamines my friend?”
“Amphetamines.  Bennies, Benny.  Speed, whiz, whip…”
“Bloody hell, you sound like a script for Batman.  What do they do with those then?”
“Well they keep them awake.  It’s why they’re down in the front there firing rockets at the fire brigade at three o’clock in the morning.  It’s why they’re setting fire to your bin at midnight.  It’s why they’re asleep all day.  It’s probably why they keep mistaking your door for a lavatory…”
“…Do you remember those little brown tablets we used to take as kids Frankie?  Really perked you up they did.”
“I think you’re talking about Fisherman’s Friends old chum.”
“Am I?”
“They certainly cleared the sinuses, I must admit.”
“Maybe I’ll get a bag of those for the Trick or Treaters.
“It might not be wise my friend.”
“No, I suppose you’re right.  We’ll keep the door shut and the lights out.  If anyone knocks we’ll pretend we’ve had a stroke.”
“…Shall we eat the Haribo now then?”
“Yes, let’s do it…”

I feel as though some explanation may be required for those of you reading this outside the UK.
Yo-Yo – a foil wrapped, mint cream topped, chocolate biscuit delight.
Haribo – jelly sweets made almost exclusively from cow knuckle and sherbert.
Bonfire Night – November the Fifth.  A ‘celebration’ of a failed attempt to blow up the British parliament in 1605, in which an effigy of one of the plotters, Guy Fawkes, is burned on a bonfire.  In the past, the effigy was often taken from house to house asking the householders to give ‘a penny for the Guy’.   This was not begging, it was tradition.  November Fifth, back then, was the only night on which, whatever the weather, fireworks were lit and as tradition dictated, damply fizzled out.  The traditional Fireworks Night now runs from mid-September to Christmas.
Mischief Night – November the Fourth.  The night on which all of those who did not stump up the ‘penny for the Guy’ learned the error of their ways.
Smarties – Like M&M’s, but less so.
Fisherman’s Friends – A small brown throat lozenge, also useful for removing the non-stick coating from Teflon pans.