The knock on the door sent a chill through my spine—we had turned off the lights an hour earlier, signaling the end of trick-or-treating at our house. The sound was at once ominous and familiar. Hadn’t we answered too many knocks already? Hadn’t we done enough?
I opened the door and stared into my worst nightmare. “Oh GOD!” I screamed, both in terror and as a prayer, in reaction to the contents of my doorstep. Then I realized they were costumes—they had to be, right? Yet I had never seen such likenesses. For before me stood an unholy trinity indeed: President Barack Obama, David Axelrod, and Stephanie Cutter. And for the life of me, I could not detect wig lines or mask shadows anywhere.
“Trick or treat,” they murmured in unison, and I chose humor as my weapon.
“I don’t have any money left—you took it all from me in taxes!” I cried, holding my hands up in surrender.
They didn’t laugh.
“We’re not here for that. We’re here for your vote,” the President look-alike said.
“Wow, you’re better than that guy on Saturday Night Live,” I replied, and saw Axelrod’s porn ‘stache twitch in response. Cutter rolled her eyes and checked her phone, bored with the exchange already I guess, because it appeared she had clicked on a Groupon for a massage/Botox treatment.
“I’m not in costume. None of us are,” fake Obama intoned.
Yikes, I thought. “Prove it,” I said.
He turned around to reveal several egg yolks and a mess of eggshells across his back, and Axelrod and Cutter did the same. “Would you neighbors have done this to us if we were just in costume?” he asked.
I considered his question. The Southern ‘burbs are known for being pretty red, and my neighborhood in particular has become a repository for Romney/Ryan signs. Still, there was only one way to be sure.
“I’m going to need to pull the ‘stache,” I said.
Now all three rolled their eyes, and Cutter clicked “Book it” before saying, “Just let her. The one time I’m telling the truth, I better get props for it.”
Axelrod leaned forward obligingly, and I yanked his nose skirt. To my surprise, it remained firmly in place.
“Damn,” I whispered. “Honey, could you get over here?” I yelled toward the kitchen, where my politically moderate husband was inhaling the last of the candy that we “ran out of”. He had voted for Obama last time around, so whether it was to pay for his sins or take the heat off me, I figured he should be present for this exchange.
“Ha!” he ambled over, pointing at our guests. “Nice masks! Except…” he pointed to Cutter. “Who’s the angry chick? Is that Renee Zellweger? With the lemon face?”
Obama remained straight-faced while Axelrod mouthed “tell me about it” silently. Cutter pushed the door open and looked around. “Where’s the bar? I need a damn drink.”
Within minutes we were all awkwardly seated, the Three Musketeers facing me and my husband on our L-shaped sectional.
“Nice place,” Axelrod said.
“Nice tax credit,” I shot back. “Guess we shouldn’t expect too many more of those?”
“Well, it looks like you’re doing pretty well for yourselves,” Obama said. “Maybe that revenue should be redistributed to someone in need.”
“Maybe if they’re so in need, they can take a day of my work schedule too,” I fired at him, and my husband told me to tone it down. I couldn’t help it—Cutter kept snarling at me and looking toward the counter where my wallet lay.
“You should have dressed as Robin Hood, that’s all I’m saying,” I said in a rush as my husband pinched me. “Okay, I’m done.”
Axelrod cleared his throat, and Cutter reached into a briefcase and handed Obama a paper with the title “TALKING POINTS” across the top. Axelrod pushed the paper back toward her and hissed, “You know how he likes it.” She sighed deeply, then stood up, walked about five feet directly away from Obama, and turned to face him, holding the paper up so he could read it.
“Is that a makeshift teleprompter?” I asked incredulously.
Axelrod ignored me, saying, “We’re here, like we said, to win your vote. Or redistribute it from the Romney camp, you might say, heh heh,” he laughed, and I glared at him. He fell silent.
“Stephanie, could you hold that a little higher please?” Obama requested, and as Cutter obliged, I couldn’t get over how much he sounded like that guy on Key and Peele.
“Okay folks, here it is: our vision for the next four years, Halloween-style,” Obama began.
“Hang on,” I interrupted him. “I need more wine for this.”
A minute later, I was pounding some cab while he continued.
“Envision with us,” he said, “a neighborhood without fences. A community in the truest sense of the word. Houses without doors. One yard blending into the next, each the same as the last. You run out of sugar? You walk to your neighbor’s house and grab some more, no questions asked. Your car out of gas? Just cross the street to your neighbor’s garage and borrow his car with the keys already in it. People sharing life the way it was meant to be shared, no differences or boundaries between them.”
I noticed that Axelrod had a tear in his eye and wondered if his face feather had reached up and poked him in the cornea.
“Next Halloween, you wouldn’t even have to decorate your house or shop for candy,” Obama continued, and that had me listening. “You just wait for the government crews to arrive with candy distribution kits and decorating teams and within a couple of hours, your street will be a uniform Mecca of tricks and treats.”
“Interesting you chose the word Mecca–” I began.
“Silence!” Cutter yelled from her position, and I imagined her with a broom and pointy hat.
“And as for costumes?” Obama said. “No worries there either! The crews will bring your administration-friendly scary wear in time for the big day. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter masks and attire, whichever your preference—we don’t discriminate on the basis of gender!” He rubbed his hands together gleefully. “No more insecurity over whether your costume is as good as the next guy’s, because they’re all the same! And you didn’t make them!”
My husband put his head in his hands and murmured softly, “All my fault. I brought this upon us.”
“Oh,” Obama said, ignoring him, “And birth control will be distributed at every community point.”
“Community point?” I asked.
“That’s our new word for houses, since we’ll all be sharing,” he explained, and I rolled my eyes. “You see, I used to be a community organizer…”
“We know, we know,” I moaned. “Look, guys, this is just ridiculous. Do you even hear yourselves? You sound Chinese. We don’t want the government to run our lives. We want to spend our money on however many big screen TVs or trans-fat snacks or gas-guzzling cars we want to, because it’s our money. We made it—“
Obama put a finger up, attempting to interrupt me.
“SHUT IT,” I barked at him. “I did so make it, and I’m writing a big fat check to YOU every month to pay back the loans it took to get me that job, and YOU CAN’T HAVE MY STUFF!” I began to wail, and my husband put his arms around me.
“I think you need to leave. She’s really drunk. I mean, upset,” he said.
The three stooges gathered their things and headed toward the door, but not before Axelrod swept our remaining pieces of candy off the kitchen counter so he could “spread the wealth”.
“Wait a second,” I called after them. “Shouldn’t there be four of you? The horsemen of the apocalypse and all? It feels like someone is missing.”
Axelrod giggled through his lip curtain. “Yeah, we lost Joe a few houses back,” he said. “He ran into a kid wearing a Mitt Romney costume and things got heated. Then he stole the kid’s flask and yelled ‘bullshitter’ and…well, we have to go pick him up now from the lamppost we propped him up against.”
I opened the door for them, and they began to disappear into the night. As he turned to say goodbye and presumably beg for my vote, Obama had a wistful look in his eye.
“You know…maybe this neighborhood isn’t so bad. I mean, where I grew up, we didn’t have Halloween at all.”
“You didn’t celebrate Halloween in Hawaii?” I asked.
“Hawaii?” he responded, looking confused. “Oh—Hawaii. Yeah, of course. Hawaii. That’s where I was born. I mean, yeah, we had it, but it was mostly—you know what? Never mind. We have more future community points to visit. Oh, and remember—your first time should be with someone special.”
“It’s not our first time, and that ad made me throw up in my mouth.” I slammed the door behind them, and my husband led the way upstairs.
Hours later, I awoke. I laughed off the events as I recalled them, knowing they must have been a scary dream. I showered and got dressed, then headed downstairs. As I entered the kitchen, I beheld a gray-haired man in my terrycloth robe at the coffemaker with his back turned to me.
“What the—“ I began.
The man turned around and I was ten feet from Vice President Joe Biden. He grinned, and his teeth hit me in the face. “There you are!” he shouted. “I can’t figure out this damn Keurig and I have one hell of a hangover. What’s yours is mine, amirite?”
I began to scream.