Pointy Shoes


When Grier Fortini was a little girl her family took her to have her Christmas picture taken with Santa at Frederick and Nelson’s at the Aurora Village.

Back in those days the Aurora Village and outdoor shopping center ( it would be almost 20 years later that it would be covered ). Not quite in the center of the ‘street ‘ that ran down the center of the shopping square there was a gold fish pond with a little bridge arching across the pond that people used to stand from and toss pennies into and that was fine because in those days wishing wells and ponds were a thing.

In this case it stopped when people started to throw in popcorn that the hardware store sold and it made the fish sick and most of them died.

So before the fish died and the Aurora Village became a  ” Mall ” kids from all over the County would go to Frederick’s at Christmas time to see Santa and get a free candy cane

For this yearly event, Grier’s hair was curled her dress was new ( and always cut from velvet ) and sometimes her Mom  let her put a dab of perfume on her wrist.

Standing patiently in line ( so as to not mess up her hair ) Grier would wait her turn to visit. When it was her turn and Santa asked what she wanted she would look at him and ask for ‘ a doll ‘ .

With the pleasantries set aside, Grier would turn to the camera, she would smile and once the flash went off she would remember to tell Santa thank you as he handed her the little candy cane and off she went- her Christmas duty now fulfilled until next Christmas.

Years later when Grier Fortini had grown up and married and the Aurora Village was now a Mall and the Fish Pond had been filled in and standing over it now was a Kiosk that sold Caramel Corn ( which in my opinion was like dancing on the graves of those poor murdered gold fish ) Grier carried on the ” pictures with Santa ” tradition with her own two daughters.

Now of course you didn’t go to Fredericks ( which had closed ) for holiday pictures.

Everyone went to a ‘studio’ called Bisson Mills and not only could you have your pictures taken with Santa,  you could go back and your portraits taken with the Easter Bunny, Cupid , Baby New Year and The Great Pumpkin-  the costumes the holiday characters wore wear always plush and all of the holiday representatives were seated on the same bone white throne.

Grier’s daughters were a little more enthusiastic then their Mother had been about having their holiday portraits done.

Bisson didn’t hand out Candy- not even at Christmas.  At one point they did hand out holiday themed  stickers that most of the kids would peel and stick to the studios outside windows  after  they left the studio and eventually the staff at Mills just gave you a big smile and told you to have a great day.

However Bisson did let you choose out props that you could wear or hold in your pictures and Grier’s daughters, Pamela and Abbey preferred being able to dress up in costumes as opposed to getting stickers or candy.

Last Halloween they went in to have their pictures taken with a Giant Pumpkin and black cat with a purple sash that read ” Happy Halloween ” across her chest and both girls ran to the prop room and then minutes later they slowly walked out wearing pointy black witch’s hats and little brooms.

” You girls look festive. ” Grier told her daughters.

Pamela thanked her and Abbey pointed down to her feet. ” Look Mom, Witch’s shoes. Arent’ they great?”

Grier looked down. ” They look painful.”

” They are ” Pamela told her, ” but they’re perfect. Don’t you think?”

” I have to admit, they do work.”

The line was long, but it moved along at a clip and a few minutes later Grier heard a Mother who had joined the line trying to keep her own children in check. They were arguing and Grier was trying to not listen.

Eves dropping was a bad habit you know.

” I don’t care. It’s just a costume. Now just leave it alone. ”

“Mother, it’s fake. It’s not even a good fake. ”

The Mother behind Grier  dropped her voice and said, ” Stop it this minute. ”

” But MOTHER everyone knows Witch’s don’t have feet so how can they wear shoes?”

” This is just for fun. Now settle down this second.”

Grier heard a rustling sound behind her and someone bumped a little shoulder into her backside.

” I am sorry. ” the Mother said from behind her. ” My little devils just refuse to stand still for more then five minutes. Averil, apologize to this lady this second.”

Grier turned around to accept the apology and when she did she looked down into the face of a little girl with improbably dark eyes and then her gaze shifted to the Mother’s long skirt .

It was cinched at the waist and the bottom edges of her skirt were embroidered with heavy gold thread.

The little girl looked up at Grier and then she reached for her Mother’s skirt, and tugged it to one side.  ” I’m sorry I bumped into you Ma’am. But I’m right, Witches don’t have feet so they don’t wear shoes. Look for yourself.”

The Pumpkin Carver’s Tale

First Published 2008

 For Fandango’s Flashback Friday  and in honor of it being October1st I’ve dug up a story I wrote about carving Pumpkins. I based the characters on me and my Grandmother.

Photo A.M. Moscoso

” How did you get so good at carving pumpkins? ” Aubrey asked her Grandmother on that last autumn evening in their golden sweet smelling and warm kitchen.

” Practice.” Enid told her Granddaughter as she delicately put the tip of her butcher’s knife against the side pumpkin’s blank face. ” Lots and lots of practice.”

She pushed the knife into he pumpkin’s flesh and as she broke the skin she told Aubrey, ” I love that smell.”

” That pumpkin smell?” Aubrey wondered out loud.

Enid looked over the pumpkin and said, ” That what?”

” That pumpkin smell.”

Enid shrugged and then pulled the knife up and dropped it down into the pumpkin in one clean motion after another.

Instead of answering her Aubrey, Enid hummed.

When she was finished she put her knife down and wrapped her fingers around the pumpkins stem. She took a breath, closed her eyes and smiled as lifted and  heard the pop and rip as the top of the pumpkin’s skull came away in her hand.

Enid opened her eyes and sighed and then  she answered her Granddaughter. ” No. I don’t mean that smell. I mean that other smell.”

” I can’t smell anything except for Pumpkin.”

” Really?” Enid said, ” You can’t smell that?”

Enid set the top of the pumpkin’s head down and she reached for a large wooden spoon and plunged into the pumpkin and began to scrape it out.

” Go ahead. Take a sniff. You really can’t smell that?”

Aubrey leaned over the pumpkin and sniffed.

” What is it? What should I be able to smell?”

As Enid  stood up she picked the knife up off the table and said  to the back of her Granddaughter’s neck as her stealthy shadow crept across the table:

 ” Why. The Fear of course.”

Fandango’s Friday Flashback: Where Is Everybody?

Reposted for Fandango’s Friday Flashback: 

October 30, 2017

Our neighborhood doesn’t get Trick or Treaters anymore.

We haven’t had visits from ghosts or vampires or werewolves or mummies or a single witch for years.

The neighborhood kids go to the Mall or to festivals for their Halloween loot.

Those of us that are left behind  sit around and eat candy that no one collects and we

don’t even bother to carve pumpkins anymore.


On our way home from the movies, I asked Victor:

” Don’t you think it’s strange not to see a single Devil or Pirate or toilet paper streaming down from a tree or two?”

He said  it did seem odd.

” I think it’s depressing. Not a single costumed monster or little kids dressed up like food or candy.”

I searched through my purse and found my mints. Mints calm me when I start to feel stressed.

” One night, one night where anyone can be anything they want and be rewarded for it. And what do they do? They go to the Mall. I despair for humanity.”

Victor said he saw my point.

” I love Halloween so. ”  I popped another mint, rolled the window down and let the crisp night air chill my bones.


When we got home our street was pumpkinless, decoration free, there wasn’t a ghoul or a zombie or a hippie to be seen.

” I guess that’s it for tonight. What a bust. Guess we can turn in for the evening.” I pouted.

” We could still go out, ” Victor said touching my cheek which began to grow wider as my jaw grew heavier and fine silver wisps of fur began to spread from my forehead down  over my throat to my widening rib cage.

” I’d stick out like a sore thumb. One night. I used to have one night when I could go out and be like everybody else. People suck. I hope they all get brain rot from their cellphones.”

I got out of our car and slammed the car door shut,  and  then I dropped to my knees and fell forward.

I let out a howl.

Then I sadly trailed up the walk to our door,  dragging my tail behind me.

Cemetery Cats

Word of the Day Challenge: Crypt

Photo A.M. Moscoso

My Grandmother used to feed and care for feral cats that lived across the street from us in the sugar cane fields in Hawaii.

She wasn’t sentimental by nature and she didn’t keep things like pets and she didn’t tape our artwork on her refrigerator door and she didn’t joke around.

So I always found it curious that she took care of these cats- cats that she didn’t name or cuddle or buy little toys for. Strangely, she did sew them blankets from scraps left over from her sewing projects. It wasn’t a slap dash project and the little cat quilts were actually well made.

She’d place the little blankets around her garden and when they got messy she’d throw them out and sew new ones.

One day I asked her about the Cane Field Cats  because the timing was right. When she was crocheting or when she was sewing or working on a project she was more talkative and lo and behold she was ready to chat.  ” because cats can see Spirits and if there are bad ones around they know. ”

I asked her what they did about these bad spirits and she said something along the vein that they met the same fate as the rodents in the fields.

” Really. ” I said.

She looked at me and she did not smile, or wink or offer any reassuring gestures after dropping it on me that our house could be sharing a road with a field of evil spirits.

” Really.” she told me.

” How come you don’t give them names? ” I asked.

She looked up at me. ” They aren’t the kind of cats that you give names too.”

” How come. ”

And then she said something that gave me a little chill. ” Because they have names already. ”

I had another question and I knew it was an important one.

” So. They are cats. Right? Just ordinary cats. ”

My Grandmother said, ” How come you ask questions you already know the answer too. That’s a waste of time and nobody lives forever. Go turn up the tv. ”

” Okay, ”

” And  then go feed the cats.”

Below are a collection of pictures of cemetery cats. I think a few are staged but the candid shots are the important ones to pay attention to because, when I saw them I didn’t see Cemetery Cats, I saw Cane Field Cats and given where these cats live I would have to say they are very, very well fed.

Photographer Unknown

Photographer Unknown

Photographer Unknown

Photographer Unknown

Photographer Unknown