Tag Archives: scary

Dear Blood Manor

5 Nov

To Whom it May Concern:

My name is Rebekah and last Thursday after work my friend Jessy and I visited your establishment. For Jessy, who loves all things scary and apparently was not afraid of a movie called The Babadook (which, admittedly, I have never heard of and will never be seeing) this was an outing to be excited about. But for me? Totally different story. I agreed to go because I am always down for an adventure but immediately after agreeing I thought to myself,

Self, that was maybe the stupidest decision you ever made.

You see, I startle quite easily. If there is a thunder storm I jump at every single clap. You could say to me,

Rebekah, I am going to hide out around the corner of this hallway and then when you come down the hall and get to that outlet over there I am going to jump out and scream BOO!

And I will walk down the hallway, completely aware of your plan, and still have a near heart attack. It’s awful. I haven’t watched a scary movie since the 7th grade when a few of my girlfriends and I watched Psycho in the basement of my friend’s house. I didn’t sleep through the night for weeks afterwards and I still have flashbacks of that scene where Norman Bates watched the car sink in the lake whenever I see a bag of Raisinets. There was this one time, over a Labor Day weekend, when my roommates and my then-boyfriend were all out of town and I was home by myself and decided to have a Law and Order: SVU marathon in my bedroom. That night I had a dream that I was the victim in the show and that when I went on the witness stand I realized that the judge in the case was actually my attacker and I had to sit there and continue to testify while he stared at me and then all of a sudden <flash forward> and I was running through some dark, damp house and he was chasing after me with a hammer. Only he wasn’t running. He was walking, calmly, and I knew that he would eventually catch me because I was headed for the roof even though I am fully aware that people in these shows always head for the roof and that is their demise because once you get to the top of whatever building there is nowhere else to go but down or dead. Anyway, I woke up at that point and nearly gave myself a stroke from fear when I thought that a sweatshirt hanging over an open closet door was actually a homicidal maniac watching me sleep, waiting for the perfect moment to bash my head in. As you can imagine I am not well suited for haunted houses.

The days leading up to our visit were a blur of anxiety for me. I am not someone who likes to flake and I had given my word so I knew that barring a freak fire that I would have no role in igniting (….) I would be walking through that haunted house. And then, the day came. All day long I hoped my friend Jessy would forget (there was no way) or just become tired and decide she didn’t want to go (she is the energizer bunny!). I thought maybe she would smell the fear radiating off my body and think, well, maybe this isn’t the best idea. But no. There was no escape. So we got on the train and made our way to your house of ghouls, stopping for some liquid bravery en route.

Before I knew it we were waiting on line to enter. As if the screams coming from inside the building weren’t enough to ratchet up the anxiety level, there were some scary people milling about outside, working the line. There was the woman dressed up sort of like a demented Big Bird, the guy on stilts in something that looked like a zombie costume with a tiny little zombie head on its shoulder and gross-looking gauze dangling all over the place, and a lady in a bustier with dollar bills attached to her body, walking around with a stapler trying to entice us to staple dollars to her skin with real staples. I think maybe that requires repeating. She wanted us to use a real staple gun with actual, real metal staples to puncture her skin. There was blood. It was horrible. I hope she got a tetanus shot. There were two guys ahead of us in line who were amused by my fear and I think maybe thought I was flirting with them a little? I don’t know. It was weird. I mean, they couldn’t know this but I would never flirt with someone in line for a haunted house. How could I think about anything other than maintaining a certain level of calmness in the face of sure doom? I mean, I am a multitasker by trade but that is too much. Even for me.

And then, we got into the House. Everything was dark. And loud. There were laser lights. There was this weird robotic thing that was remote-controlled that would lean into you and blow gross, scary air on you as you walked by. Everyone knew I was afraid. Maybe it was the sweat. Maybe it was the eyes darting frantically to and fro. Or perhaps it was the fact that I was holding onto Jessy’s backpack for dear life, audibly weighing the option of walking through the entire house with my eyes closed like I did at those catacombs in Lima. As we began our adventure, they all came straight for me. The rooms were all decorated with gruesome scenes of torture chambers, demented clowns, circuses gone wrong. And then there were people, always people, impeding your progress with their bodies, getting onto your personal space, breathing on you, whispering not-so-sweet somethings into your ears. We darted around them. I felt like we were in a post apocalyptic version of Frogger. One of the dudes leaned into me and said

I am going to follow you home. I will find out where you live. I will rip you apart.

And this is where it all went from fun to maybe not-so-fun. Just so you know, owner of Blood Manor, this is something that we out in the world call triggering. As someone who has had a weird-o do regular drive-bys of my house when I was in high school, who was followed home here in Brooklyn and who was stalked to a hotel in a mountain town in Guatemala, the fear causing me to lose all access to the Spanish-speaking part of my brain, this was not received as emptily as it had been intended. My stomach dropped. My brain swirled. And then we encountered the angry gorilla man. We entered his lair and he herded us into the corner of the room. We looked around – every single door had an exit sign on it. Which way do we go?! How do we get out?! There were people walking towards us from every direction, looking lost. I couldn’t tell whether they were visitors like us or zombies, walking undeterred towards their next victims. I looked around and said, in a semi-panic,

Where do we go? Which way do we go?!

At that moment I sort of felt like maybe we would be in the house forever. And I didn’t know whether or not we could trust the demented gorilla man. Would he send us in the right direction? Would he tell us to go through a door only to lead us back into the room with the clowns, or worse, the one that looked like a root canal gone wrong?! But he didn’t do either of those things. He hissed

You’re fucking the whole thing up!

And called security. We almost got kicked out of the haunted house. Seriously. Jessy and I almost got ejected by a huge dude in black pants and a black, Blood Manor polo for being afraid of a dude in a weird gorilla suit. I felt like I had left Blood Manor and walked straight into Crazy Town. I looked at the security guard in utter disbelief and simply said,

We’re lost. All the doors have exits on them. And it’s dark. How are we supposed to know where to go?

He pointed at one of the three “exits” which led us into a room we had been through before. We walked around, the shine taken off, the fear evaporated. I looked around the room and rather than seeing gruesome scenes I saw poorly designed sets for underfunded plays. And instead of jumping from monsters and the orchestrators of torture chambers, I saw actors in face paint and gauze, simply trying to pay their rent. They got in our faces, we stared back at them dead-pan. There was no more fear, no more fun. We just wanted out. The gorilla man was a total buzz kill.

We emerged from the house pissed off, trying to figure out what we had done to be nearly ejected. Did we make it through the house too quickly, fucking up the flow? Did we make a wrong turn? Or did we just encounter a ghoul at the end of a long, arduous night, his patience on zero after dealing with scores of assholes, who took his anger out on the wrong people? Lord knows as bartenders we have been on the other side of that equation more than once.

It was a weird ending to what was a fun, albeit anxiety inducing, night. It made me think a lot about perception, about what we bring to the table when we enter an interaction, about what it must have been like for the people acting in the house. My ears were ringing from the loud noises for the rest of the night and into the next day and my eyes took a bit to adjust to normal lighting after spending the better part of 1/2 hour being visually assaulted by flashing bulbs and lasers. I can’t imagine it is a comfortable work environment. Or maybe the guy was just an asshole, not well-suited for his role as an undead gorilla. Either way I sort of feel like you ripped us off, Blood Manor. We will not be back next year. Maybe you should look to hire a new gorilla. Oh, and lose the triggering threats.


Penelope the Missing Pregnant Tarantula

10 Jul

Alright you guys.  So today I was walking down my street in order to go get some frozen yogurt (I ended up deciding to spare my stomach and bought ice pops instead) when I came across the following sign taped to a pole:


Apparently there is a tarantula running rampant around my neighborhood.  No, scratch that, apparently there is a pregnant tarantula running rampant around my neighborhood.  One of my friends, Michael, said that he looked up the number and it appeared to go to a landline somewhere in Oklahoma,* so I suppose it could be someone playing a cruel, cruel joke on an old friend or something but whatever, let’s pretend that is not the case.  Let’s pretend, for just a moment, that there is, in fact, a pregnant tarantula named Penelope crawling around somewhere on my street, ready to pop out at any second.  You ready?  Let’s go.

So I don’t know if you guys really know how I feel about bugs.  The other day I found a dead roach under a suitcase in my bedroom and it took me upwards of two hours to somehow scootch it onto a dustpan and hurl it out the window.  I had convinced myself that it was likely to come back to life at any moment and exact its revenge on me for contemplating throwing it out the window by eating my eyeballs.  Or something.  I almost had my friend Ben come over to deal with it but I worked up the courage to be an Adult and Handle It.  I am not actually that much of a wuss but there are certain things that are simply above my pay grade.  Dead roaches and pregnant tarantulas are two such things.  So upon seeing the sign, snapping a photo and sharing it on social media I did what any reasonable adult would do.  I called my mother.

I don’t know if you guys do this when you call your mothers, but I tend to just launch into whatever it is I am going to tell her about without an appropriate greeting.  This is funny because my mother doesn’t use a cell phone and the landline phone she uses is insanely old, is the size of a brick and does not have caller ID.  Or, if it once did it no longer works.  The conversations go something like this

Mom: Hello?
Me: I was walking down the street and I stepped on a ketchup packet and the ketchup shot all over the place but somehow it didn’t get on my pants!


Mom:  Hello?
Me:  Seriously?!  What the fuck is wrong with the Supreme Court?!  Who raised these fucking guys?!

Or, in the case of this afternoon,

Mom:  Hello?
Me: There is a missing Mexican red rump tarantula in my neighborhood named Penelope and she’s pregnant!  What if I find her?!

I like to think my mom finds all this amusing.  At any rate, my mom and I then proceeded to have a 25 minute long conversation, 95% of which was centered around Penelope.  She said to me,

“You know, Rudy really should have spent more time on things like tarantulas rather than focusing on ferrets.”

I didn’t actually know what, or who, she was talking about but my mom knows all sorts of things so she filled me in.  Apparently Rudy Giuliani really hated ferrets and made it his mission to rid the city of them.  I knew nothing about this (although I can’t say ferrets are my favorite creatures) so obviously I did a little internet research and found this awesome rant.  You guys it is so funny, you really ought to listen to it.  He gets a call from this guy named David Guthartz from New York Ferrets Rights Advocacy (does that even make sense grammatically?) which is an actual organization that exists in real life.  I mean, ferrets are animals too and shouldn’t be mistreated and blah, blah, blah but I mean, really?  You can’t make this shit up.  Anyway, so Rudy calls the dude deranged and then elaborates on that with the following comment:

“The excessive concern that you have for ferrets is something that you should examine with a therapist.”

I know it really wasn’t very nice of Rudy but I could not stop laughing.  This was a thing that happened live on the radio and is now on YouTube and I can’t get over it. It is so good.  I might listen to it again.  But I have gotten off topic.  So my mom and I were talking about Penelope and what I would do if I were to come across her in the wild.  Would I scream?  Would I run?  My mom suggested that I mace her but given my track record with mace I thought perhaps that was not the smartest of all options.  After a little while of joking about Penelope and the possibility of hundreds of itsy bitsy little tarantula babies stalking around Brooklyn I walked past a vegetable garden and, noticing some patty pan squash I exclaimed,


My mom, understandably, thought I was still talking about Penelope and shared her concern that if I were to step on Penelope I could inadvertently pop her eggsack, sending baby tarantulas running all around.  Could you imagine?  There I would be, shuffling around my apartment in my ridiculous slippers.  I notice a tarantula, step on it, baby tarantulas spew all around and, likely, many of them go running up my leg.  What would I even do?!  Could you imagine?!  I can and it is absolutely terrifying.  It actually reminds me of a story.  So back in 2003 I was in Tanzania as part of an epic year of study abroad that I am pretty sure I have mentioned here before.  Anyway, a bunch of us were sitting around, chatting, when my friend Lauren noticed a big black dot on the big toe of her right foot.  She did what I think was the reasonable thing and squeezed it and out came a whole bunch of some sort of baby insect.  Some mommy insect had laid an eggsack under her skin and when she put pressure on it they hatched.  It was probably one of the most disgusting things I have ever witnessed.  I don’t know how she didn’t vomit.  I would have.  I would have vomited, then fainted, then vomited again, then probably choked to death on my own vomit all because some asshole insect laid a bunch of eggs in my big toe.  Ugh.  I am shuddering just thinking about it.

So anyway, given how things go for me in general I think it is highly likely that Penelope will somehow find herself into my room and make herself a little nest and then lay all her tarantula eggs and I will wake up in the morning, put on my slipper, feel something furry and realize that instead of a slipper made of synthetics I had tried to put on a slipper made of baby tarantulas.  So, stay tuned for that.  If I don’t choke on my own post-faint vomit and die I will write about it.

*I looked it up and it suggested a cell phone so, who knows.  Apparently the internet doesn’t know it all.  Or at the very least it gets confused sometimes.