Kate hated Halloween. Bad things often happened, like when her mother found a razor blade in an apple, or when Jimmy Howard set her witch’s wig on fire with his stupid sparkler, or when Frankie Gleason stole her bag of candy and shared it with his friends, or when David unexpectedly dumped her to go on a mission trip to Africa. It was also the night she planned to tell him she was pregnant with his child.
But that was the past, and Kate wasn’t going to let the bad things that happened to her spoil Halloween for her daughter. This year, like the past nine, she and Melissa would dress up and go to the Town Common where everyone gathered for games, and rides, and food, and music. Melissa chose to be Albert Einstein, a fitting costume given her recent report card. She looked so cute with her auburn hair teased out and powdered white. Kate purchased a set of doctor’s scrubs, a white coat, and a black bag at a second-hand store. It wasn’t because she had any affinity for doctors. It was because of all the rapes and robberies and shootings during the past year. The bag provided the perfect place to hide the .38 Special revolver and extra ammunition.
Ready for the evening, Kate adjusted a black strand of the wig that made her look like George Stephanopoulos, then pointed her finger at the mirror as if holding a gun, pulled the imaginary trigger, her finger recoiling just as the gun had at the range, and imagined the tiny missile racing to its target. She blew on the end of her finger and put it in a nonexistent holster.
“Let’s go, Sweetie,” Kate yelled. “We don’t want to miss the Mayor’s opening speech about being safe and having fun.”