The last time we took Chooch to Castle Blood’s daylight matinee, he was three-years-old; The Lost Boys was still his favorite movie; he was super-enchanted by one Jason Voorhees; and we still spontaneously flinched every time he opened his mouth in public, praying the word “Asshole” (or worse) wouldn’t come rolling out. He spent the whole goddamn tour of the castle bitching about Dracula’s absence.
The denizens had been waiting for Chooch and his silver-tongue to return and we finally had a chance to take him last Sunday. This was my friend Laura’s first October in Pittsburgh so I insisted that she come along because everyone needs to experience the Castle, even if it’s in daylight. Chooch never STFU once during the 40-minute car ride, and guess who was in the back with him? HIS WEARY MOTHER. We eventually joined “Are we there yet?” forces and Henry wanted to blow his brains out. He’s the only one who hates me sitting in the backseat more than me.
When we arrived, some of the denizens were milling about and suddenly it was all, “Chooch! Is that you? Chooch is here!” and he took a giant step behind my back because I guess he thought I was joking when I told him that they were all waiting for him. Normally he handles attention with way more panache than me (I go through life hiding behind Henry’s back like a kicked puppy), but I think the costumes were throwing him off. One minute we were just walking down a sidewalk in a quiet town and then bam—there’s a bunch of dead people in gowns with the facade of a castle behind them.
We got in line after formally introducing Chooch to everyone, and he was sort of starting to get that smart-ass Chooch attitude back while being asked questions by the denizen guarding the entrance, like he was so put out and exhausted having to talk to someone and he kept turning away from her but then I realized he was blushing through his zombie flesh-wounds, most likely because he was trying not to look at her boobs.
Uncle Vlad soon appeared on the front steps and we were sent in with the family of four behind us, the parents of whom I had originally used my Ph.d. in Debasement to prejudge because the dad had a mullet and the mom appeared to be blitzed off Benadryl, but they ended up being pretty inoffensive, plus they had two little girls whose presence alone was enough to hold Chooch’s tongue through the entire tour.
That and the bountiful corsets of the female denizens. I finally found my son’s Kryptonite and it’s the same as every other boy in the world.
He walked through the entire Castle looking nervous and blubber-ready anytime he was spoken to, but this didn’t stop him from nearly knocking a bitch down anytime a candy bowl was presented.
Meanwhile, the mulletted dad would laugh and look to me for some sort of approval every time one of his little girls would say something that was mildly funny but not enough to have Bill Cosby come calling. The mom was always trailing behind with her eyes mostly-closed, laughing to herself and trying TO BOND WITH ME. Clearly my “Don’t even!” exterior is softening because strangers are trying to penetrate my anti-social bubble more and more. Sometimes EVERYDAY.
I need to start practicing that snarl some more.
Oh goodie, the Gypsy Room! There are these beautiful strands of beads that fill the doorway into the Gypsy Room and on that day, I learned that not only are they beautiful, but sharp as fuck thanks to HENRY whipping one at me. One of the half moons or stars, I don’t know which but it was something with SPIKES AND THORNS ON IT, punched me in the lip in such a way that tears spontaneously sprung to my eyes it felt like my top lip had been triple-shot with Botox.
Of course, I couldn’t bitch about it to Henry right away because I didn’t want to interrupt the Gypsy and get a talking-to from our (extremely intimidating) guide, so I sulked in the back and periodically checked with my tongue for blood. But you better believe as soon as we walked out of that room, I gripped Henry’s arm and yelled at him the best I could without raising my voice above a strained hiss. If it had been bleeding, I would have sued his broke ass for a hard copy of his entire SERVICE history because I know he did it on purpose.
Meanwhile, the mom of the two girls in our group kept slurring for me to go on ahead of her, probably because she needed privacy to huff beneath a gargoryl.
In the pirate room, Henry was volunteered by our guide to get up in there and show his bravery, which made me snort to myself because unless bravery involves reading Food Magazine and having a foot run over by a pallet jack with no retaliation, Henry had no business being up there.
But on the bright side, it helped him realize he has a pirate fetish.
After the tour, we hung around outside and talked to our new friends while I tried to appear as socially together as possible but inside my head I was screaming, “MY HANDS! WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY HANDS!?” I ended up just keeping them inside my hoodie pockets.
Someone mentioned that Chooch was way quieter than they imagined; Henry and I, nearly in tandem, said, “It’s because there are girls around.” Even Laura seemed surprised at how docile he had become.
This was all the knowledge of my son that Professor Scrye and Lady Die’s little girl needed to know before chasing him around and antagonizing him with little else but her femininity. At one point, I think he was trying to dive into a garbage can.
The good thing about Chooch’s voice being smothered by estrogen was that he actually paid attention in there and took something away other than candy for the first time. Granted, he was still too young the other times we took him to really grasp the concept. I think 5 is the perfect age for a trip to Castle Blood. 5 and surrounded by little girls.
“I thought those little girls on the tour with us had makeup on, but then I realized they were just dirty,” Henry laughed like we’re so much better than them, I guess forgetting that people probably say that about our kid, too. Yesterday I unknowingly sent him to school with half of his head still caked in fake blood and he usually has last night’s meal hugging the corners of his mouth. My eyes don’t start properly seeing until at least noon, OK?
Chooch ate his whole bag of candy on the way home without me knowing (and by that I mean I wasn’t paying attention) and then caused a scene inside the gas station, making everyone in there believe that he earned his facial bruises and contusions.