To end the year I collected garbage around my school campus with my Creative Publishing class. We mined the experience to build creative prose. Below I include my own contribution to the project.
by Brett Ramseyer
50 cent beer ruins Halloween.
At 50 cents Halloween teens shotgun Natural Light in the Detroit suburbs outside Webster Elementary. At 50 cents they spend too little to care if they spill on the playground equipment. They crawl up the slide and jump off the top in two footed leaps that splash down in the layer of wood chips, their young joints already too lubricated and loose to cause injury.
Three cans into the night they set them atop the slide like milk bottles at a carnival game and unzip to fire their a stream at them, knock them down. When the cans fall they float around the green plastic curve on a straight pipe slurry of societal disdain and poor decisions. Meanwhile more Natural Light pours down each of these clowns’ mouths.
I imagine them in the dark of the Friday night Halloween ensconced in the elementary fortress fifty yards from the nearest streetlight, eschewing costumes, too “grown up” for trick or treating. I bet three of them gather. Eight cans a piece. The evidence trail speaks too stupid for just two friends. Such “men” swilling tiger piss, reminisce about Mrs. Johnson in second grade who taught them how to multiply in the dark shadowy building just past the monkey bars.
The third one arrives late, a one-third empty bottle of Midori radiating green like the hands clutching glow sticks that jitter by on the sidewalks with pillowcases full of candy in the other. He steals the Midori from his mother’s liquor cabinet, an easy lift because she never stays home or if she does she sits in the glow of her iPhone until midnight looking for his new stepdad. He walks out with it in his backpack and greets his friends with it from afar, stops, holds it aloft, a statue of their liberty.
They spew emerald puke into the cardboard beer case for safe keeping, into the playground speaking-tube snaking across the kiddie fortress and overboard into the sea of wood chips.
In the morning the trees ringing the school ground snag ten thousand candy wrappers, from eight-year-olds on sugar fueled benders. Wax paper and aluminum foil reflect the early light dripping through the morning haze. They tumble into brambles, catch on branches, flap in the breeze and chatter in a gale in neon colors or clear plastic. The scene says kids are pigs, filthy, live for this instant, run squealing toward the next fix – pigs.
In a few years those innocent Halloween ghosts, princesses and superheroes will gather as more promiscuous mortals at the elementary school playground. Their liquid treats will reduce them to their bodily functions.
I hold out my hands to my young son and niece standing below the slide. I lead them away, confused about why they cannot play.
“Come on kids. 50 cent beer ruins Halloween.