I’m on the checkout line in the supermarket when a teenaged boy comes up to me with an extra large carton of eggs.

“Excuse me, sir.” he says. “Could you buy these eggs for me?”

My shopping cart is loaded with stuff. “You have one thing.” I say. “You can go ahead of me.”

“Could you buy them for me instead?” he says, offering me a ten dollar bill.

“Why can’t you buy them yourself?”

“Uh,” the boy says. “Because tomorrow night is Mischief Night and they might not sell them to me.”

Realization dawns on me. “No way,” I say. “You want to do the deed you’ve got to take your chances.”

The boy waves the money in front of me. “You can keep the change.”

“Kid,” I say. “I’d be more understanding if you wanted me to buy you beer. But the answer would still be no.” I should be glad they didn’t ask me to buy them porn.

The boy is about fifteen, has braces, pimples and is wearing some kind of school uniform. Behind him his partner in crime is looking at me like I’m an clueless old man. He’s not far off the mark. I completely forgot tomorrow was Mischief Night.

Cabbage Night. Goosey Night. Mischief Night. Whatever you call it, I’m against it. My parents kept me locked up tight on the night of October 30th – forbidding me to participate in any youthful hooliganism. I never wanted to anyway. When I was small I left my Big Wheel in the driveway that night and awoke to find it buried in a mountain of shaving cream. I also watched my neighbors cleaning eggs off their cars, getting toilet paper out of trees and scraping the scorched remains of burned dogshit off their stairs. Not my idea of fun.

The next night I finish work at eleven o’clock and my wife picks me up. My car’s in the shop and I’m without wheels for a few days. As we drive home and see bands of kids wandering the streets I’m suddenly glad my car is behind a chain link fence. Maybe the owner of the shop has a German Shepherd on patrol. Or even even better, a retired Secret Service Belgian Malinois attack dog. Grrrr.

When we get home I change Natalie, give her a bottle and put her to bed. By the time the milk is half done she’s zonked out. Then I take the dogs outside, give old Buster his evening meds, tuck my wife in and grab my computer, Jim Beam on the rocks, a cigar, and head outside.

As I puff and surf the web, several police cars coast past. The cops in my town take a dim view of Mischief Night. They’ll have to be more vigilant. We passed a toilet papered house on the way home.

Listening to music, I tab through the days news stories and sip my bourbon. Then I realize I have a can of dog crap in front of my house. A few years ago I bought a miniature garbage can to hold all the poopy bags my two dogs produce. Unfair to leave it in the regular garbage and gross out my town’s sanitation engineers, don’t you think? But when I pick it up I realize it’s empty. My wife, fearing the poop could be used against us, is way ahead of me.

It’s a nice night. Not too cold, not too warm and bourbon’s making me feel no pain. Shifting in my seat, I feel my military grade Surefire flashlight jab me through my coat pocket. If any vandals come calling they’ll be greeted with a 500 lumen blast of eye searing light. That’ll teach ’em. My cell phone is also with me; ready to call the local constabulary if any kid tries egging my wife’s car. Yeah, I’m turning into a cranky old dude.

Twenty minutes later, a trio of young boys walks past my house. Illuminated by my porch light they can see me and I can see them. Giggling to themselves they walk by and I give then a friendly wave. I see you little bastards. 

Then an evil thought hits me. Why don’t I call out, “Hey kids! Is this Mischief Night or The Purge? I get the dates mixed up!” That would send them running.

I’d probably end up only getting probation.

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