When I was 8 years old, his sister Robin was my best friend. We walked to school together, and since Bradley was only a year younger, he walked with us, tormenting us every step of the way. He ran in circles around us. He dangled any grubby thing he could pick up off the street in front of us (and that child would pick up ANYTHING.) He made up idiotic little singsong rhymes to annoy us. He was the first (sadly of many) to call me “Farty Marti,” despite my lack of excess gas at that tender age. He was a nuisance extraordinaire. Next door to Robin and Bradley the Brat (which even I admit doesn’t have the ring of Farty Marti) was a vacant house. It had been vacant as long as anyone could remember. The weeds grew high and some of the windows were broken. Naturally, we assumed it was haunted. Stories grew of eerie lights and strange noises. It scared the bejesus out of me. No one dared go trick or treat there, as it would certainly lead to some gruesome demise. A few days before Halloween, I ran over to Robin’s house excitedly to show her my new gypsy costume. Knocking on her front door, I allowed myself one quick, nervous glance at the haunted house. I saw. . .something. . . move inside, and became paralyzed with fear.
I wanted to run, but my brain was no longer connecting with my legs, and I experienced the horror of being unable to move. Bradley answered the door as I stood there in shock, trying to force my muscles to function. I remained immobilized. Bradley glared at me and snarled, “Whaddaya want?” I didn’t answer. I couldn’t, so intense was the grip of paralysis. Never one to miss an opportunity to terrorize, Bradley unzipped his shorts and peed on me. That’s right, he let loose with a stream of urine that saturated my beautiful new costume.Nothing will bring you out of fear paralysis like being peed on. I let out a blood-curdling scream. Bradley’s mother appeared just as Bradley was laughing hideously, zipping his pants up. She took in the scene and grabbed Bradley by his ear, dragging him inside. I started running home, crying, but could hear the slap of a paddle on Bradley’s behind, and paused.I stopped sniffling and turned around, and felt the sweet rush of retribution wash over me as I heard him crying louder with each “thwack!” Then, I kid you not, I heard a faint chuckle come from the haunted house. I ran home faster than I’d ever run in my life, and to this day, I think that something in that house was amused by it all.