Tag Archives: boo

Fear me

Fear me. I want everyone to tremble in my presence. Or even just at the idea of my presence, of being in my presence. And my presents, I want the very mention of my presents to instill a type of almost primeval terror in the souls of those unfortunate enough to receive a package in the mail with my address on the return label. “A present? For me?”


Fear me! Because just because my presents are wrapped up all shiny with a red bow, it makes them no less horrifying. They’re actually even more horrifying. Because there is no return address. That was all a lie, I want you to think there’s a return address. And the wrapping, you’ll get excited, “Oh, how nice!” and when you open it up, well, I shudder for anybody unlucky enough to be standing in the same room as you while you unwrap the box, your facial expression alone, the very embodiment of panic, it’ll be like second-hand fear, you, stone-cold scared, everyone looking at you, just slightly less scared, but still that’s really, really scared, much more afraid than they’ve ever been before.

Seriously, be scared of me. Like, you see me coming down the street, sure, I’m waving at you, maybe I’m smiling, maybe not, it doesn’t matter. Be alarmed. Don’t say I never warned you. “Oh, but Rob looks so nice, very friendly. What’s that, he’s extending his hand to me to say hello? Well I don’t see what could be so scary about …” BZZT! Trick handshake. It’s from one of those prank stores, the kind that give you a very mild shock when you touch the metal sensor. And sure, once in a while you’ll shake a little too hard, and I’ll get a little bit of that residual shock energy, but I can take it.

Don’t even think about high-fives. Don’t even think about going to the bathroom. One time when I was in college, my roommate Ben pulled a prank on me when I was taking a shower, the old filling-up-a-pitcher-full-of-ice-cold-water-and-dumping-it-on-your-roommate-when-he’s-taking-a-hot-shower trick.

Classic abrupt temperature change. Shocking? Yes. Infuriating? Oh my God, I’m seriously still pretty pissed off about it. But scary? Not very scary at all. Fear me. That’s all I could think about as I stood there in the stall simultaneously shivering and scalding myself with water that took about a minute and a half to change temperatures after I turned the shower knob.

Fear me. That’s all I could think about as I got up at four in the morning, not really certain when Ben had to get up for swimming practice. All I knew is that it was early, much earlier than I ever woke up. I’d always get out of bed in the morning and there he’d be, already like three quarters of the way done with his day, so much free time to sit around, planning his next prank, what would it be this time, almost-boiling water? Or water even colder than before? Like ice, like an unflavored Slurpee?

It was the most boring hour and a half of my life, me crouched in the shower, the bathroom door closed, the lights off. “Fear me,” I had to repeat to myself, over and over again, because I was actually getting a little spooked myself, sitting there in the damp, dark, I thought I heard something. I did hear something. It was Ben’s alarm clock.

The bedroom door opened. Ben walked into the bathroom and I waited just a heartbeat to make sure he didn’t see me right away, and then I pounced, “Fear me!” I screamed as I exploded out of the shower, “Ahhh!” Ben stumbled backward out of the bathroom and tripped on his computer desk.

If we’re at work, and you look over at me from way across the other side of the room, and you’re thinking to yourself, “Is Rob staring at me? That’s weird, I can’t tell if he’s staring at me or not.” I am staring at you. And it’s not weird. It’s frightening. Tell everyone how scared you were. Nobody’s going to want to get locked in my impenetrable gaze. That’s how it starts, with a simple look, and then your stuck, everything’s set in motion. You won’t know when, but …

Boo! Fear me!

My friend Greg worked at haunted house on Long Island

When I was in school, I had this friend Greg. Every fall, Greg would work for one of those haunted mansion spook tours out toward the end of Long Island. I hadn’t been to one since I was a little kid, I remember I went with a friend and his parents, they took us on a hay ride from the parking lot to the house, and there were people running around outside with chainsaws, lots of screaming sounds projecting from inside.

creepy house

And yeah, it was cool, I think. I don’t know, I was little. It could have been circumstance that made it so exciting. Like, I was with my friend, and he’s acting all scared, so I could have been pressured to act scared, to fit in. It’s like when you go see a comedy movie with your friends, and everyone in the theater is cracking up, laughing out loud, and then months later you catch that same movie on cable and you sit back, ready to recapture some of those laughs, but nothing’s funny, you’re like, what the hell? Evan Almighty isn’t really that good. How did I enjoy myself the first time around?

So when Greg kept bugging me to make the trip out east to see him in action, I was pretty unenthusiastic. I’d have to take the train, I wouldn’t know where to get dinner, it would have been a huge thing. But he was persistent, “Rob, you coming this weekend? Only two weeks left. Come on man, I promise, it’s a really cool time, for real.”

And I don’t know, he caught me in a moment of weakness, I relented, and two Fridays before Halloween I found myself on the Long Island Rail Road, taking the train out somewhere far away. I got off at the stop and, you know how Long Island is, you need a car. There are usually a bunch of cabs everywhere, but not tonight, there weren’t any.

I considered calling a taxi service, but I really didn’t feel like waiting, and then I looked up the address on my phone, it was only a mile and a half away, I figured, I could walk a mile and a half, that’s not too bad.

So I made it to the house, the first thing I noticed was the total absence of any other people, no parking lot, no cars, no haunted hay ride. But my friend Greg, well, he was cool and everything, but if there’s one person I could think of that would work in an unpopular haunted mansion, well … well that’s a weird way to put it. Greg wasn’t weird. But if someone told me, “Hey Rob, do you know the haunted mansion that Greg works at? Yeah, I went last weekend, and there wasn’t anybody there. Like, I don’t know what kind of business they’re running, but the place was totally empty,” it wouldn’t be that hard to believe.

It was already dark out, and I’m not stupid, like if I walked up to an abandoned house, I wouldn’t assume that it was some sort of under-attended event, no, but there was a flickering light coming from somewhere inside, and so I figured this had to be it, maybe I was early, or maybe it just sucked and nobody wanted to waste their money.

The front door was open so I walked in. There wasn’t any ticket booth, no signs anywhere, in fact, the place looked pretty decrepit. If I wanted to set up a haunted mansion, I’d go over the top, add some fake cobwebs in every corner, maybe paint “HELP ME!” or other creepy stuff on the walls. No, this place was just old, it smelled old, dusty, like mildew.

And I don’t know why I wasn’t scared before, like I hadn’t even considered that I was walking into some creepy real abandoned house, but the sudden realization that this probably wasn’t where I was supposed to be hit me all at once, and I knew that I needed to get out immediately.

I turned around to leave and there was old man standing behind the open door, his face twisted into a grimace, I didn’t expect it, I freaked the hell out and tried to run, but he slammed the door before I could make a break for it. What could I do? I didn’t want to run any further in the house, should I try to get past him? Make a break for it?

“Boo!” he said. And then he just kind of stood there, he relaxed his face, and then he said, “OK, five bucks,” and he held out his hand. And I said, “Wait, this is the haunted mansion?” And he said, “Yup. Pretty scary, huh? You were pretty scared, I could tell. Five bucks.”

I said, “Where’s Greg?” and he was like, “Greg? He doesn’t work here. I’m a solo act. He gets a cut from everybody he sends over.” I said, “But, you didn’t even ask who referred me. If I hadn’t asked about Greg, how would you have known who to pay?” He went, “He should have told you to make sure to mention his name. I figured he had. He’s not the brightest, right? I mean, you see that, right?” I felt like I had to say something, try to defend my friend, but then I got pissed, because if Greg wasn’t the bright one, what did that say about me, apparently one of the only guys he successfully suckered all the way out east to give this old guy five bucks.

“Five bucks,” he repeated. I paid, I mean, I was pretty scared, if only for a second. I got back to school like two hours later, everyone had already went out for the night, Greg left a note, “Hope you had a great time at the haunted house! By the way, I drank your beer. I’ll get you later. Greg.”