Much thanks to the great Tim Burton who created such wonderful characters. All rights to owner.

Much thanks to the great Tim Burton who created such wonderful characters.
All rights to owner.

“Did you hear that they are making a movie about Maple Lane,” Janine said with just a touch too much excitement in her voice for a Monday morning.

“No. That can’t be right.”

“Swear to God Lynn.” Janine looked around to make sure her slightly raised voice was carrying. “You know I watch The Morning Cup news religiously because Teddy, the lead anchor, is just cute enough to get out of bed for. Right? Well he was interviewing some hag in a bad skirt suit this morning, and she said that our community would be playing host to some real life Hollywood producers.”

“Why,” Shelly asked.

“Well why else,” Janine said pausing for dramatic effect. “The Maple Lane Massacre.”

“The what?”

Janine sighed and then rolled her eyes over to Lynn. “Look I know your new-ish to town Rob, but really. The Massacre is the only movie worthy thing to have ever happened here. Just, at least, tell me you’ve heard of the Tough Triplets.”

Rob’s shrug and the various head shakes throughout the group only bolstered Janine’s showmanship. “Lock, Shock, and Barrel?” Janine had asked the question innocently and acted aghast when there was no collective head nod of understanding. “You guys should really bone up on your local history. I mean, don’t you think it would be important to know that only 50 years ago three of the Tough family’s hoard went on a killing bender up and down Maple just becu…”

Janine’s voice dropped off as she made eye contact with the latest edition to her audience, Jackson Tough.

Rob was the first to turn and see what had stopped Janine. “No way! Jack?” The hurt in Robs voice was obvious as he asked, “Is this true?”

“Don’t let me stop you Janine,” Jack said his eyes never once leaving hers, “I recall how much you use to love telling this story.”

“We would all love to hear your take Jackson, at least, I know I would,” Janine said to his back as he passed her by. “I’m such a sucker for back story and… the inside scoop.”

“Would it be the facts or the story your after Janine?” Janine barely had time to purse her lips before Jack continued. “Facts? Lochlin, Shona, and Barlow Tough, not Lock, Shock, and Barrel, were arrested and charged with the murder of 13 people on October 30th, 1948. They were found guilty. Lochlin was sentenced to death by hanging as an 18th birthday present and Shona died in prison last winter. Barlow is still serving his life sentence.”

No one even coughed as Jack spoke either too mesmerized or too afraid. “The story,” Janine asked as she made a give me gesture.

Jack took a deep breath. “On the day before Halloween, over 70 years ago, the three youngest Tough family children were searching for decorations in order to festoon their front porch.  Flour sacs were found for ghost faced masks and the scarecrow was misappropriated from their mother’s garden, along with a gourd or two.  While Barlow worked on his Jack-O-Lantern and Shona her mask Lochlin went off to see what he could find in the attic.  When he returned it was with a large egg crate labeled All Hallows’ Eve.  The three eagerly examined the contents, which must have belonged to the house’s previous owners, and were happily surprised.  Inside were handmade costumes complete with painted masks.  Some were beautiful others horrible to behold, but all of them painstakingly crafted.  The crude sac masks forgotten, each child picked their favorite outfit and tried it on.

The pieced together theory on what happened next was that the three had gone trick-or-treating sparing those who treated and killing those who required tricking.  Whatever actually caused the incident though is still as mystery because all Lochlin, Shona, and Barlow have ever said since that night is…

             Trick or treat,
              Smell my feet,
              Give me something good to eat!
            If you don’t,
             Please beware,
             Else all will know, that we were there!

No one knew what to make of it really.  Maybe if they had chosen to be the friar, puppy dog, and angel rather than the witch, devil, and skeleton nothing would have happened.  But they didn’t and something definitely happened.  Thirteen people died that night and16 lost their lives. ”

Janine had no follow up and as she tried to think of anything to keep her co-worker’s attention she realized Jack had won, if you can call it winning, because she was never going to be able to tell that story again.

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