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digital art by phil gennuso

digital art by phil gennuso

Old man Decker never liked kids; on Halloween he used to leave sour crab apples at the edge of his property; if you ate one you would get sick. All year long we would plot, how to put the trick back into trick or treat and even up the score with old man Decker. So we would go to the edge of his property, all of us, with sticks, and stones and look at his house from afar. This is how it looked. We would not go any further. We dared not go any further. We could not figure out what the hell was going on.

Years later, long after I had moved away, I read in a local paper that old man Decker’s house had burned down. He had died earlier, so no one was killed in the fire. I could not resist driving the 50 or so miles, back to my old home town, to see what was left of the house, a house that was so much a part of my childhood. A crowd of people were milling around, and the general consensus was wherever old man Decker was these days, his diet was strictly a diet of sour crab apples.

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