For the most part, Hollywood's scary films bore me. The blood is fake, the screams are rehearsed, and the murder scenes are choreographed. Now Halloween is a laugh and a sugar rush. The skull masks and gorey costumes appeal to my sense of color and delight, but they don't spook me. Hey, I just don't find the obvious frightening.
There is, however, one thing that can send chills and sweat beads riding up and down my spine, that can churn my stomach into a gastric nightmare, that can beat my heart senseless. That one thing, that one little monster is my mind which can and has scared me to death.
Once in the middle of the night, thumping sounds came from deep in the basement. Alert, I armed myself with a flashlight, a rolled up People magazine and headed down. The noises seemed to come from behind the old furnace. I didn't turn the lights on...I wanted the element of surprise. Slowly I crept up behind the cold air return. Nothing! And then "BOOMPH!" Forcing me to shoot up from a crouched position bashing my head on the chimney exhaust pipe.
Hurting and bleeding, groggily I realized that the culprit was not some masked, blood-thirsty psychotic but rather the furnace motor making its last dying gasps. Shaken yet relieved, I returned to bed, bandaged, safe, and sorry.
Another time, home alone, during a late-night movie, I was positive that there were footsteps above, upstairs. This time I armed myself with a can of Raid. Silently and sock less, I climbed the darkened stairs. I tiptoed through the hallway to the back bedroom. As I grabbed the doorknob and slipped into the room, ready to disable the intruder with my insecticidal mace, I caught my toe under the partially opened door. In one quick, sick, and desperate move, I ripped a toenail off and dropped the Raid. The aerosol hit the floor, breaking the valve and spewing pest poison throughout. Gagging, I grabbed my throbbing, now blood-gushing toe and hopped to the bathroom.
There in the light I tried to stop the bleeding and access the damage: one toenail lost forever, one Raid grenade permanently debugging a room, and one imaginary maniac gone again.
Over the years my mind has created a number of situations and settings that have cost me plenty. But in all the years of buzzes, rings, knocks, and splats, I've yet to catch anyone or anything, and I've yet to find anything weird or out of place. Needless to say, I am always ready for anything since there is just no way to safeguard against all the scripts, dialogues, and special effects located in the haunted houses of my mind.