by Mak Faene
Lewis Wepkin was a stout and tubby boy of thirteen years. Slow to advance in school, Lewis was normally seen in the company of boys three or four years his junior in age. The younger boys suited Lewis' mental age quite a bit better than the boys he'd grown up with.
Mrs. Wepkin was an unemployed alcoholic welfare recipient who was very close to having herself and her single child, Lewis, evicted from their home. The time of Halloween was more than just an occasion for Mrs. Wepkin to get Lewis out of the house for a night, it was a heaven send that he would be content to survive on candy for the next week or so.
What Mrs. Lewis did not know was that despite her young boy's efforts each year at Halloween time, his bag of loot never saw it home. He normally went hungry for the next week or so, save for the scraps he would be able to scavenge from his more fortunate play mates.
Why Lewis came home empty handed was the same reason year after year. That reason was Tim Ray Washington.
Roughly the same age as Lewis, give or take a few months, Tim Ray was a sturdily developed and strong boy who governed the neighbourhood's young. As younger children Tim Ray and Lewis had grown up together and played together almost daily. This was all before the reality of economic differences separated their families and animosity grew between them. Animosity on one side, at least. More like fear on the other.
It was the same as it had been for three years now. Lewis and his two smaller play mates were cutting home through the park, lugging with them their pillow cases filled with treats. Why they continuously chose the dark path of the park was beyond comprehension. Inevitably they would meet up with Tim Ray and his bandits. This Halloween was like all the others and sure enough Tim Ray appeared from the trees. This year he smoked a cigarette as he approached, saying "Well, well, well."
Lewis, under a bed sheet desecrated with two eye holes stopped in his tracks. His two younger companions, both dressed more convincingly as pirates, coward behind him.
"It's Tubby Wepkin," Tim Ray chuckled "and his two little homo friends." Tim Ray didn't know what "homo" meant, it was just a term his father used a lot.
Lewis said nothing. The two boys whimpered behind him, fearfully glancing between the band of goons and their feet.
"This is toll road, kids," Said Tim Ray. "You need to pay to cross."
"Then we'll go back," said Lewis.
This kind of defiance was completely new to Tim Ray. It was new to Lewis as well, but he could not help himself from talking back. Tim Ray was instantly enraged and he stole forth and snatched the pillow case from Lewis' hands. With the same motion he pushed the chubby boy backwards. "Just gimme your candy, homo."
The other hooligans stepped forward and yanked the loot from the other two boys effortlessly. The little pirates were on the verge of tears.
"Can we go now?" spoke the bed sheet ghost.
Tim Ray was even more frustrated now. There was an even tone to Lewis' voice that traced of no fear only defiance. Though Tim Ray now had the loot, the pillow case may as well have been empty. It was the satisfaction of empowerment that he sought. This fat little homo, was not giving in to him.
"Look at the sissy. Fat little homo. Your mom's a cunt," Tim Ray said.
Nothing. Instead, Lewis turned and began to walk away.
Tim Ray lost it. He grabbed the boy and swung him around. "What's wrong homo? Going home to cry? I bet you're crying under that sheet!" He tugged the dirty sheet off of Lewis' body.
Beneath was the defiant face of the pudgy boy, looking up to meet Tim Ray's eyes. This face was even worse than the voice. This face was almost smug in it's lack of expression.
Tim Ray sunk a quick fist deep into Lewis' gut. The boy huffed at this but remained standing. Taking him by his soft shoulders, Tim Ray threw him to the ground.
Laughing, Tim Ray backed away reaching in to the pillow case still hanging from his fist. He began unwrapping a mini chocolate treat.
"Tim Ray," came the even voice.
The laughter stopped. Lewis was rising from the walk way, nursing his scraped hands. "You shouldn't eat that."
"Are you talking to me, homo? Haven't had enough yet?"
"Before I went trickortreating tonight I put one special candy in my bag," Lewis continued. "Only I know which one is the special one."
Tim Ray did not eat the candy. He swallowed hard on nothing instead. His frustration was turning inward. He could do nothing but stand over this little tubby boy and listen.
"I put rat poison in that special candy and you'll never guess which one it is."
After a moment's reflection Tim Ray said: "Oh, so you think I can't find it? Huh?"
The full implication finally sank in and Tim Ray threw the chocolate bar off to the woods nearby. Then he heaved the entire bag towards the woods but only after stomping on it first with his heal.
Lewis walked away and was not persuade. His companions took a quicker pace and waited for him by the gate to the park. When Lewis arrived they walked together up the street. Most people had retired indoors by this time and the little pirates were sobbing quietly. "Now we have no candy," one of them whined.
"It's no good for you anyway," Lewis said and smiled to himself.