It was the night before Halloween. Sarah, a sophomore at Columbia University, was up late preparing for her anthropology exam. She had been resisting the urge to raid the refrigerator, but finally, she gave in. Only to find that there was nothing there to satisfy her. The problem was that it was really late now, 1 a.m. She felt like kicking herself for not stopping by the local Morton Williams supermarket earlier when she had the chance. Now she would have to walk from Elliot Hall all the way down to 115th Street and Broadway.
The famished student thought to get someone to join her, but she didn’t want to disturb her dorm mates, because of the ridiculous hour. She was slightly anxious, but she had made runs on her own as late as 11 at night. She convinced herself that she would be alright, and so she ventured out.
Walking down Claremont Avenue the street was deserted and tranquil. As Sarah turned left on to 116th Street, she encountered the full moon Shining brightly in the sky over Broadway. Turning onto Broadway, she came upon a pile of garbage bags that had been left out for collection. There was one orange trash bag that didn’t fit in with the others, which were all black. The other thing was that the orange bag appeared to be moving. Sarah hurried by suspecting a rat was feasting inside the pile of neatly stacked and packaged rubbish.
The supermarket was just ahead at the next corner. The young student breathed a sigh of relief, and thought to herself “That wasn’t so bad.” As the automatic doors slid open allowing her to enter and begin gathering mostly junk food and candy which is what she was craving.
At the cash register, there was a little old lady who rang up her dozen or so items. Sarah thought “Poor thing you should be at home sleeping.” Ironically the old lady was thinking precisely the same thought about Sarah. The two exchanged a smile, and the coed headed for the exit.
As she stepped out into the silent street, the now confident late-night shopper thought to herself “This is not as bad as I feared at all.” Then she came upon the pile of trash bags once again. Only this time the orange one was not just moving, but Sarah could hear a distressed cat’s meow coming from it.
“Here kitty, kitty, here kitty.” Sarah carefully pinpointed the cat’s exact location. Then she used her dorm key to tear open the plastic bag just enough to liberate the cat. The cat poked her little black furry head from the orange bag. Her wide green eyes stared back at Sarah’s smiling face, but for only an instant. The shiny black cat bolted free and raced around the corner like a missile before Sarah could even take two paces.
When Sarah reached the corner to make her way back up to Claremont Avenue, there was no sign of the cat. There were plenty of parked cars, so Sarah assumed that the black cat was spooked and was probably hiding under one of them. Sarah thought “Oh well, at least I did a good deed and saved an innocent creature from being crushed in the back of a garbage truck.”
As Sarah reached Claremont on the home stretch, she noticed a figure on the sidewalk apparently riding a bike toward her at a high rate of speed. At first, she considered crossing the street to avoid the person, but then she thought such an expression of fear might do more harm than good, so she decided to play it cool and stay her course in route back to Elliot Hall, which was now within sight.
Within 10 seconds Sarah found herself face to face with a witch riding sidesaddle on a broom. The witch was hovering about four feet off the ground.
“Hold out your hand young one. “ The green faced old witch dressed in all black and smelling like ashes told Sarah. Sarah was in a state of horror. She wanted to scream, but no sound came out when she opened her mouth. However, she did comply with the witch's request out of fear.
The witch then placed a one-ounce gold Kuggerand coin in the palm of Sarah’s sweating palm. “Thank you for freeing me. Have a Happy Halloween and keep up the good work.” With those words, the witch silently went airborne and took off in an arc up Claremont Avenue and back around 116th street towards Broadway and beyond.
Sarah dropped her groceries and took off running like a track star toward the dorm. She pumped her fist with each stride, tightly clutching the ounce of gold in the palm of her right hand.
Hi, I'm Lester Patterson,