Jack ‘o lanterns, interlude

Good evening. Our car broke down a few yards back. May we come in to use your phone?

–from “Count the Pumpkin Skins,” the 1980s horror film about a vampire who gets turned into a living jackolantern, who then preys on unsuspecting teenagers.

Creeper Corner Films. Air date: October 1981

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Luxury, interlude 

It’s the feeling you get when you traverse through a field of golden wheat ready for harvest.

 It’s the sound you make when given the opportunity to bathe in hot fudge frosting. 

It’s the taste on your tongue after biting into a fresh-from-the-oven oatmeal cookie. 

It’s the scent of that same cookie you bit into moments before, five minutes before it was removed from the oven. 

It’s the look on your rival classmate’s face at lunch, when he realizes his sad, stale, ordinary oatmeal cookies don’t measure up to what’s in what your lunchbox—————–Luxury.

—-from an ad in Microculinary, Bourbon & Shoeleather Magazine, Fall Issue, Sept 1988

Off the block, interlude 

The latest addition to our family of products doesn’t need an introduction. They can speak for themselves. But we’re not going to allow them to speak. It would be bittersweet. To say the least.

–from an ad in Culinary Anger Magazine, June 1987, for Luxerious cookies, now in bittersweet chocolate chip.

Monumental Luxury, interlude 

It’s what you think about before bed. What visits you in your most benevolent of dreams, but cannot be caught. In the darkest corner and in the sunniest of hilltops, you want to say it, on the tip of your tongue, elusive to all— except to those who are driven to pursue it with a cup of hot tea: Luxury.

-from an ad in “Culinary Golden Rectangle” magazine, May 1988, advertising “Luxurious Golden Oatmeal brand oatmeal cookies, now 25% bigger.”

Luxurious, interlude 

It will be the sound you hear when you take your first bite. The small voice inside will tell you everything with the finish. The key word inside each spectacular artisan cookie: Luxury. 

From an ad in “Culinary Robberbaron’s magazine” for “Golden Luxury Cookies” said to contain a real nugget of 24 carot gold in each cookie.

 The ad went out of print in 1978 after a lawsuit was settled out of court when a consumer suffered injury due to eating the gold nugget.

Wait for the End

I’d Rather Not, Thanks

Don’t come any closer or I’ll swallow him whole!” warns the monster jacket.

You decide to obey rather than defy, so you wait and don’t move. The monster suddenly realizes this and laughs as the bulge in the monster’s belly you knew was the trapped little boy suddenly disappears.

“Ha! I can’t believe it! You really believed I wouldn’t do it!”

The monster collapses even as he laughs at simply pulling the wool over your eyes. It is now just a large overcoat busily taunting you. Yet you immediately realize the child somehow found a way to escape. Even as the cackling overcoat continues to taunt, you see the boy run to his mother and embrace her.

The park ranger comes over and picks up the over coat.

“Hey, park ranger, can you believe this guy?”

“Zip it, Oswald!” says the ranger to the mouthy overcoat. Then he turns to you.

“Thank you for your help today,” says the ranger.

“What?! That guy just got fooled by an overcoat, and you congratulate him?”

He gives you a brochure.

“Have you considered becoming a park ranger?”

Your hike in the Park could be a full time job. But for now focus on today.

You realize your efforts to find the lost child. He’s back with his mother. But there are still some loose strings to tie up. Why was he kidnapped in the first place? Are there other children like him who are still out there? Will the perpetrators be caught? What about those other jewels? What will they open once collected?

Whoosh. zzt.

Something zips past you and hits the nearby marble of the park mansion. It’s a blow dart. The needle has stuck into the stone. Blue liquid oozes out of the vial of the needle from the blow dart and runs hissing down the wall.

Two more darts follow the first and also hit the wall behind you. You’re almost certain they’re aimed at you. But then you hear the marble stone begin to grunt and growl.

To your horror, the side of the mansion has formed a large humanoid figure. It pulls itself out of the wall, raises its arms in clenched fists, and bellows. It hungers.

“Holy cow, we’ve got trouble!” says the park ranger into his radio, “A marble animate, I repeat, a marble animate. Someone is targeting the mansion!”

The boy and his mother run back inside the mansion. The marble monster wants them, but the ranger gets its attention first. Other park rangers arrive on the scene and open fire with their guns. The marble animate doesn’t go down easily. It doesn’t need to move fast. The bullets hit their intended mark. They open into nets made from steel chains and their weight eventually begin to out weigh their target.

While the park rangers wonder what has happened, you see up in a nearby tree something white. He scratches his ears with his back feet and cleans his whiskers, checks his lab coat. You see him put a bamboo blow gun back inside his lab coat. Then he looks up and sees you. The white cat in a lab coat returns his gun to his coat and jumps down from the tree. He’s in no hurry. The cat casually walks behind the mansion and out of sight.

This is the crossroads where paths are woven,
Now is the place of a road newly chosen. **

*Beware of White Cats. They’re crazy.

*Desire for treasure outweighs curiosity.

–editor’s note: stay tuned, hikers!

Out here be monsters seen on your Hike in the Park.