Wednesday, September 2, 2020

OUR HALLOWEEN ADVENTURE Jack Blanchard's Column September 1, 2020

Thousands of intelligent good-looking readers

To our readers at home and around the world:
As you are, we're busy trying to cope with this pandemic,
so we're sending you a few column reruns, the cheerier ones.
Love, Jack & Misty.


It was Miami,1963, during the Cuban Missile Crisis,
the closest the world had ever come to global nuclear war.
Fidel Castro was a real threat,
it was the night before Halloween,
and Misty and I were young and foolish.

The costume shop guy said this Halloween would be loaded with Castros,
in fact he was completely sold out of Castro masks and trick cigars.
I had already bought army fatigues and cap, black boots,
and a realistic toy M1 rifle.
Lack of a mask was not going to stop me.

My early theater training went not for naught. (Not for naught?)
I sought out a store selling stage makeup,
(I sought not for naught.),
and bought nose putty, black crepe hair, spirit gum, and tan pancake makeup.
An hour later I looked exactly like Castro.

I knew it was good when Misty didn't laugh.
She just said "You ARE Castro!”
Meanwhile, she had become a cowgirl.
That was the point where we went nuts.

I thought I WAS Fidel!
I chewed my fifteen inch cigar and swaggered like a man in command.
Tonight was just supposed to be a trial run, but it was too good to waste.
We hit the Miami streets not knowing what havoc would be wrought
(We wrought not for naught.).

On that Halloween Eve,
the world wasn't ready for a couple of premature screwballs.
We burst through the door of a prominent nightspot and stopped the show.
The emcee called me on-stage for an interview.
I told them, with a thick accent, "I just came over to get my welfare check.",
which may be the most conservative thing I've ever said.

It was so much fun that we started making the rounds,
winding up in North Miami Beach at 4 AM, bugging anybody we could find.
I got out and hitchhiked,
and cars made U-turns and went the other way.
I lurked outside diners until somebody spotted me,
then I'd disappear and let them try to tell the rest of the crowd.

At one diner, four cops were sitting in a booth when I stood in front of the window.
The other customers saw me and were laughing.
When the police finally spotted me they went for their guns,
and everybody laughed harder.
I melted into the shadows.

At 5 AM, exhausted, laughed out, and hungry,
we went into an all night restaurant
and waited for a waitress that never came.

We eventually gave up and walked out,
and were met at the door by a mob of police in uniform and plain clothes.
Patrol cars with flashing lights were all over the place.
I stuck my giant cigar in my mouth, hiked up my toy rifle,
and we walked straight to our car.
They watched us, unsure what to do.

A detective tapped on the car window and I rolled it down.
"I feel a little foolish", he said, "but please say something in English."
I said, "Happy Halloween."
He said, "We've had a lot of calls from citizens who swear they saw Castro."

The next day the Miami Herald headlines read: “FIDEL STALKS MIAMI NIGHT!"
I did TV interviews in full makeup, and they also interviewed the detective.
He said we were nuts.
But we weren't nuts for naught.

Happy Halloween.

Jack Blanchard