Once Ted was held at gunpoint.  His limp, dried up body lay draped across the dewy ground—ever so gracefully, entirely innocently. The policemen had been called. They’d responded quickly to a distressed young lady who had spotted a tall dark shadow lurking on her back porch. The Shadow had run, had hidden and left the young lady with an ever-growing fear that spread thru her little heart. He’d been tormenting her—watching her. The Shadow hung around, tucking behind trees & bushes and always running at the opportune time. He haunted her. This was the third time the policemen had been called to capture the Shadow in just a month. He had eluded them. He escaped. He continued to cling to the dark corners of Fourth Street, watching the young lady.

The police officers came on a mission. The Shadow was beginning to burden them with humiliation. A small town’s dark corners are always clean and he was a crumb—a little scape of filth that just couldn’t be swept away.

The house was alight and the young lady stood clutching the phone when the policemen arrived. A few words were exchanged and the men in blue split, circling the big glowing house.  The anticipation hung in the crisp autumn night; even the wind quieted to listen in.  The men shuffled around the house, searching for the Shadow. They held their guns high as their eyes darted from tree to tree.

And then, there he was! Fourth Street burst with commotion as the officers shouted at the Shadow to get up, to put his hands up—to give up! The Shadow had been caught; the guns were drawn and pointed directly at him. The men, in their beaming pride, had finally caught him. This was their moment of glory. This was the moment that they could look back upon with their heads high, noses pointed slightly upward. And just as their self-satisfaction was seeing them receive great honors & delicate kisses, it occurred to the men that the Shadow was not giving up. His arms had not been raised. In fact, he was not responding to their orders at all. The policemen cocked their guns, angry, giving the Shadow one last opportunity to respond. Still he sat, unmoved.  The men rushed the Shadow. They charged at his body with a shamed force. Their heavy booted feet hit the ground in a fury as they ran to apprehend this man who had tormented them; this man who had crept into this young lady’s life and filled her dreams with nightmares. They reached him quickly and when the policemen’s hands shot out to grab him, he sank to the ground, lifelessly.

He lay motionless; cold and exposed. The officers could finally see that it was not the Shadow at all, it was merely Ted, who had been brought out from the cellar, separated from the other Halloween decorations, to have a proper airing, to let the bugs free from his limbs that were filled with plastic bags and crunchy orange leaves.  Had the policemen not been so embarrassed, so worked up—had the disgrace not eeked thru them like a virus, they may have laughed.  Instead they slowly walked back around the big house defeated. They met the young lady on the front stoop who had excitedly listened in on the commotion that had taken place at the back of her house. But the officers held no Shadow locked in their grasp; they held only the story of the limp body of Ted who swung from the tree every Halloween.

The Shadow was never apprehended; his face was never seen but Ted grew in notoriety that day—The day that Ted was held at gunpoint.

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