Ted lives in our cellar.
Wait, that is not a proper beginning…
Ted was born the year we moved to Snohomish. I had just entered second grade and was the new kid for the first time and there was no fitting in gracefully; I was a spot of red on a white wall. At my old school I was beloved and celebrated and when I announced that I’d be moving with my family to the next town over tears were shed and a giant party of showering gifts was given. I’ll admit that I was sad at my departure but mostly I was excited; these people knew me and they loved me this much, imagine being the new kid; everyone would want to be my friend. Naive little idiot.
I was Wednesday Adams dropped down into a Thomas Kinkaid painting. All the other eight year olds looked at me and knew right away that I wasn’t of the same cloth. “You’re not from around here, are you?” Brittany asked me one day. Maybe it was my cutoffs and flannels verses their pink stretchy leggings and Beauty and the Beast sweatshirts. Maybe because I never wore pigtails in my hair. Maybe because my mom dropped me off at school in our 74’ Volkswagen bus, Nirvana or Pearl Jam blasting out her old windows. It probably didn’t help that we moved into the towns infamous haunted house that sat perched on top of an overgrown hill. And then there came Ted.
For a week the local police who had very little to do took turns watching our house. 7am or 9 pm it didn’t matter, one of their bejeweled white cars would be parked across the street with two sets of eyes pointed our way. Was he real? Were these people serious? Obviously they don’t belong here…general consensus around town. They almost seemed disappointed when fake cobwebs were stretched across our deck and pumpkins were carved and placed down our stairs. Okay, he’s fake but still it’s weird.
Ted looked much like the locals dressed in beat up denim and red plaid buttoned up to his chin. He was given shaggy untrimmed dirty blonde hair and his face wasn’t all that bad that first year. He even wore shoes which were hard to attach. And when he was stuffed full of the leaves that my mother had made us rake into giant piles he was splattered with blood and hung up high in a tree. Yes, it was weird.
The school bus crawled past our house every morning and every afternoon and it wasn’t long before it started to spread that we hung dead bodies. And then my mom was a witch and we were quite abnormal children. Everybody soon wanted the token freak as their friend. If I disappointed them by being a giggling eight year old like the rest of them they never told me besides, the sleepovers at my house were the best…we had a ghost that lived in the bell-tower.
October came and went and Ted was unstrung and packed up with the rest of the Halloween decorations and stuffed into our cellar where real spiders would make home inside of him. Between now and then his face would rot a little and the leaves that filled out his pants would dry and crumble and Ted would shrink into an emancipated corpse…no longer fresh.
Year two we were still given the eye but by the third Halloween the ceremonial hanging became quite expected. People asked for Ted. It was quite an honor to be invited over to rebuild Ted’s face or re-stuff Ted’s legs…forget hanging him…that was my brother’s job.
Time has lapsed and Ted has been refigured and rebuilt. He has had several different faces and worn multiple shirts. He has lost nearly all of his hair and in general looks much older. Sad how that happens to us…and I too have grown and changed. I live some 2000 miles away and my mother just called; Ted has been hung. The season has officially begun.