So there should be a very silly -- and fashionably late -- Halloween-themed Know Not Why novella headed your way within the first week or two of November! Expect lots of banter and shenanigans, as well as some glimpses into the heads of characters who are not Howie. (Twist!)
I'm a huge fan of zany workplace comedies like The Office and Parks and Recreation; both shows inspired me a lot when I was creating a fictional workplace comedy setting in Know Not Why. So this novella kinda exists in the grand tradition of ridiculous Halloween episodes.
Here is one of the early scenes in the story, just to give you a little teaser. :) You will be seeing more soon!
From Toil & Trouble: A Know Not Why Halloween (Mis)adventure
It’s not really a huge surprise that Cora Caldwell is bonkers for Halloween.
But Howie does not anticipate just how bonkers.
No one could anticipate just how bonkers.
He and Arthur show up to work a little late one morning. The longer the store lives on like some ungodly and unkillable demon, the more relaxed Arthur becomes about his policy on arriving to work two hours before they open.
Especially when there’s more important stuff to do at home.
Like, say, in the bedroom.
And the shower.
And then the bedroom again.
And then, briefly, the kitchen, before Arthur’s ‘We eat at this table’ prudery kicked in.
What a nerd.
They’re teetering dangerously close to late when they show up at the store. But at least they’re both in a good mood.
Turns out, crazy things happen when you leave arts ‘n crafts stores unsupervised.
They step inside to find that Artie Kraft’s Arts ‘N Crafts has been transformed into an orange-and-black shrine to jack-o’-lanterns, cobwebs, and life-sized plastic skeletons posed in various jaunty positions.
“Hey look,” Howie says. “Tim Burton broke in and puked his soul all over.”
“A very reasonable explanation,” Arthur says.
Cora shimmies out from between the shelves, dressed in a peppy orange cardigan and one of those scraggly black witch dresses from the Halloween aisle of the grocery store. Her knee high socks are covered in smiley bats. She’s holding a bag of cottony cobwebs, and at their arrival, she throws a handful into the air in celebration. Some lands on Arthur’s head. He looks frankly dashing.
“You’re early,” Arthur says, uncomprehending. Howie cannot blame the dude for his bafflement.
“It’s Halloween, bitches!” Cora announces gloriously.
She does a little The Sound of Music spin, like this is her own personal nun mountain.
(Or whatever. Howie has never actually fully grasped the complexities of The Sound of Music.)
“It’s Halloween in thirty days,” Arthur says.
“If it’s October, it’s Halloween. This month we’re playing by my rules, boys.”
“Why?” Arthur asks blankly.
“Can’t you just let me have this?” Cora pleads. “I already fucking lost my dream role.”
It’s true: Cora’s theatre group is putting on an all-female production of Frankenstein, featuring an original script adapted by none other than Amber. Cora had her heart set on playing the creature; unfortunately, Heather Grimsby showed up to auditions and blew everybody away with her ability to convincingly channel a horrifying monstrous life-ruiner. (Secretly, Howie wasn’t really surprised by that news.)
Now Cora’s stuck playing Dr. Frankenstein, which is apparently tantamount to having all your hopes and dreams shattered.
Even Arthur’s capable of some sympathy over that one.
“Please?” Cora says.
Arthur glances around. His eyes land on a skeleton propped up in the corner in a pose that can only be called bootilicious.
Or maybe rumpishly eager.
“Is that really necessary?” Arthur frowns.
“He’s twerking,” Cora says defensively.
“Again, I ask: why?”
“Fine.” Cora stomps over and readjusts the skeleton into a less saucy position. “There. Happy?”
Arthur considers it for a moment. Then: “Halloween it is.”
“Aw yeah!” Cora shimmies triumphantly over to the stereo.
The strains of a familiar eerie ditty fill the air.
Howie is immediately catapulted back to not-exactly-proud memories of scampering around Amber’s family’s living room floor.
“What is this?” Arthur asks, bewildered.
“What is this?” Cora repeats, aghast. “Blasphemer!”
“You haven’t heard The Monster Mash?” Howie says.
“Oh yeah. Amber made me choreograph a dance routine to it when we were eight. And not to brag or anything, but I was good.”
Arthur grins. “Can I request a repeat performance?”
“I immediately regret telling you about it,” Howie realizes aloud.
Arthur asks, “What move does the choreography call for ... right now?”
It’s sad that Howie doesn’t even have to think about the answer. “Zombie twirl.”
“What’s a zombie twirl?” Arthur asks way too delightedly.
“Yeah, you’re never finding out.”
“We’ll find out,” Cora says, slinging an arm around Arthur’s shoulder.
“I expect so,” Arthur agrees, pleased.
“That is never happening,” Howie informs them sternly.
His sternness does not work on Cora at all. “Whatevs. Happy Halloween, zombie dancer.”
She reaches a hand down her top and pulls out—why, look at that!—two tiny bags of candy corn. She tosses one to Howie and one to Arthur.
“Maybe straight guys are onto something,” Howie marvels. “Go, boobs.”
Cora winks at him.
“I don’t think I’m comfortable with eating bra candy corn,” Arthur says, staring down at the little packet in his hand. “It’s warm.”
“Sucks to be you, man,” Howie says, and pours a handful of candy corn goodness into his mouth.
To be continued!
If you'd like to visit the GoodReads page for Toil & Trouble, click here.
(I may or may not have given Howie my addiction to candy corn. Since he is fictional, he can eat as much of it as he wants without his body crying out in angry rebellion. It would be a lie to claim I was not super jealous.)
Hoping everybody enjoyed a very jolly Halloween!