There are 3 Haunted House incidents that I believe dictated the trajectory of my future. By “trajectory” I mean, “flat-lined mental maturity somewhere around 10 years old”.
Haunted House, October, 1976
I was 6. My older brother was 11. He wanted to go to the haunted house hosted by a radio station (which was apparently staffed by some seriously sadistic motherfuckers, I have to say). I could only go with a guardian, so my mother accompanied me.
My brother always had an air of theatrics about him. He couldn’t just go to the haunted house in sneakers, jeans, and a sweatshirt. He wore a cape. He also wore an old Frankenstein mask that he enhanced by melting crayons over the mask and letting them drip onto it. He really had the “nuclear holocaust victim” look nailed. I lacked the confidence to to go in public looking like Ground Zero (on purpose) and went with the less attention-getting jeans, sneakers, mom ensemble.
My brother went into the house well before mom and I did — citing such things as “not looking like a loser” and “coolness”. Mom and I followed in shortly after. And that’s where things really went south.
The first “stop” in the haunted house involved a lady on a hospital gurney being sawn into bite-sized pieces by the Texas chainsaw massacre-er. My mother and I rounded the corner to see this play out before our eyes.
Mom tried to re-assure me, “it’s just make-believe, it’s fine!” she patted my shoulders.
Oh hell noes. I was having NONE of that. Unfortunately, we were packed into a single-file line. Our only option was to go forward, through the rest of the haunted house. Or so they thought. Amateurs.
The chainsaw -wielding psychopath waved his saw in front of us, lurching toward us in what was probably a good-natured “boo!” I heard it as, “I’ll cut a kid in HALF and make a necklace out of her INTESTINES!” to which I objected. There we were, a line of people in front and in back, my mother trying to soothe me so we wouldn’t stop traffic, and a chainsaw massacre-er stepping into my personal bubble (which is significantly larger by several feet when dealing with psychopaths).
And turned around.
And shoved people out of my way as I made like a line-backer through the throng of people and bolted for the door. No one was safe. I was swinging, punching, kicking, and biting. I was in a panic of epic proportions. My mother trotted along behind me, apologizing and probably handing out tissues to mop up the blood I spilled. I was like that saw-blade in woodshop that cut off Curtis Fellmore’s left thumb – nothing was stopping me, not even the screams and pleas of those whose blood I drew. I had a door to get to and they were in the way.
When I finished throwing up, we waited in the car for my brother, who described the haunted house as ‘awesome.’
Next time: Haunted Houses — Take 2, aka “Screw Disneyland!”