“You ready for the school Halloween party, Kassandra?” Sally asked, tugging at her pointy hat (she was dressed up as Hermione Granger from Harry Potter).
“I was born ready,” Kassandra, who wasn’t dressed up, responded. “Let’s go see a really bad haunted house populated mostly by English teachers in unconvincing masks!”
“You don’t seem very enthusiastic,” Sally commented.
“No, I am. I realize that sounds like sarcasm, but I’m actually one hundred percent looking forward to watching Mr. Roberts try to scare people while wrapped in a blanket.”
Sally laughed at the mental image of one of their nicest teachers shouting “Boo!” and flapping his arms in a distinctly non-intimidating way.
“That doesn’t start for another hour, though,” Sally added after a moment. “Let’s go see what else they have.”
Kassandra agreed, and they wandered outside into a field where several booths had been set up. “What’s this?” she asked a parent at the first booth.
“This,” the parent responded in an overplayed mystical whisper, “is the… mystery food booth.” There was a pause. “Scary food booth. It comes …
with non-toxic pain.
“Uh… what?” Kassandra asked.
“Scaaaary non-toxic pain,” the parent repeated.
“What does that mean, though?” Kassandra demanded.
“It means… two tickets to find out.”
With a sigh, Kassandra handed over two tickets, and Sally followed suit.
“First,” the parent explained, “you must put on blindfolds. It… deepens the sense of mystery.”
The blindfolds were actually sleep masks. Kassandra and Sally slowly slid them over their eyes.
“Now for the non-toxic pain. Hold out your hands.”
As soon as they’d done as they were told, Kassandra and Sally felt objects being placed into their hands. A second later, they identified the objects as very small cups.
“Go ahead, take a sip,” the parent urged. Both girls slowly tilted the cups back until they tasted something.
“Well, that’s…” Sally started.
“That’s…” Kassandra echoed.
They finished their sentences at the same time.
“Certainly non-toxic pain,” said Sally.
“Literally just hot sauce,” said Kassandra.