Vol. 2, Issue 34, October 5, 2004
The Joy of Liquid Shrimp!
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In Search of Treats, Lest There Be Tricks

Ezekiel F. Watley, Esq.

October has reared its welcome blustery Head, harbinger of all good things Autumnal; including, of course, that quintissentially American holiday, All Hallow's Eve (or Hallowe'en in the Vernacular of the youth on the Street). Well do I remember the rosy days of my Boyhood spent carving small Gourds for the occasion and pestering our Neighbors for Sweets, threatening dire consequences such as only Children can devise if not adequately Bribed.

Tricks-or-Treats is a splendid tradition, but as an Adult it is my role rather to find suitable Fare for the marauding Youth rather than to plot my own mischievous deeds. I may be a Gray-beard now, but well do I remember the Importance of providing Adequate Treats: which old madam Kirkner never quite figured Out, as she plied me and my young Co-conspirators with pickled Beets year after year, and was then Shocked to find her Horse-cart upended the following Morn in prankish Reprisal.

I sally forth each Year early in the Month to ensure a plentiful Selection of sweets in the shop, my purse jingling with plenty of Coin - for I am not Niggardly in my dispensation to the local Youth. Many, indeed, do occasional Errands for me - the Baleen Street Irregulars, I call them - and so I feel I owe them a good Turn.

Alas, this task grows harder each Year. Madam Zelda's Prune Pastilles, for example, are very nearly Impossible to come by unless you know where to Look, but the purplish Savor of their glossy crackled skins is worth the look. Necco, those timeless and tireless purveyors of tasty sweetened Wafers, sells the standard flavors of Chocolate and Vanilla in most stores; but I know the children miss the Old Flavors, such as St. John's Wort and Crab-apple. Thankfully, Necco still makes these, though they are not easy to Find.

My basket grows Full! - Now to the corner General-store for those Salted Apples which are so delightful to Crunch on Hay-rides, and those tangy pure Licorice Sticks, which are Good for you Besides: pure Licorice, of course, is a splendid Demulcent, Diuretic, Emollient, Expectorant, Laxative, Pectoral, and Stomachic. I am surely doing the lads and lasses a Favor in giving them such Healthful treats.

Upon my return, I always entrust my Bounty to the capable Elisabeth, who carefully stores the goodies in a Locked Cabinet, lest Ephram and his cronies rifle through them before the Holiday proper. She also Dispenses the delectables to the youth on Hallowe'en - alas, my Duties preclude my personal handling of this joyous Transaction. But it is a great Treat to watch the street below from my office Window, seeing crowds of brightly-costumed Children meander by; I hear the Bell ring downstairs and the murmur of Elisabeth's gentle voice as she shares the glorious Treats I procured.

But I admit there is one thing that Puzzles me: for as many children Leave our door downstairs, I distinctly hear many of them say to Elisabeth, "Thanks for the Em and Ems!" Is this some modern Slang for Candy? If any of my Readers can illuminate this mystery, I would be most recognizant. Also, though Elisabeth hands out Candy the whole night Through, we always seem to have plenty of Prune Pastilles left over. How odd.


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