I cannot be trusted. The fact that I am almost universally trusted seems to have no bearing on this. My uncle sent me a list of key objectives. I completed none of these.

Assignment 1) Guard fifty dollars in quarters for my uncle. I only had to watch them overnight, but mailed them across the border and had them exchanged for Canadian tender, shipped back and reamaericanized. The cost was considerable (over $45) but the remaining five dollars had a sense about them that was unmistakable Canadian.

Assignment 2) Trick or treat without incident. Ensure the safety and well-being of a neighborhood child. I spent the evening alone, having convinced the youngster that tricking and treating were best solitary exercises. I tricked and treated myself around the neighborhood attempting to trade families’ sewing machines for the ones in my bag—identical models. Unfortunately the Singer Gambit met with only limited success. As for the boy, he returned home at 2 am, fully tricked and treated by a kindly pumpkin. He is a local gourd of some renown who, from what I have been able to gather, takes a yearly shine to children on All Hallow’s Eve. Good luck all around, except that I had to use the last of my Trickortreat money to hire a cart to haul my demonstration models home. All the models made it except the Keyholers, which are far too independently minded to accept that sort of assistance and be carried anywhere.

Assignment 3) Carry a message to a friend. Inform him that his mother is in town and that she wished him a happy birthday. I immediately interrupted him at his foldmaster’s job at a local dry cleaner’s (the styles of the season were mini-kilts and angora half-sweaters-- a boon to everyone except the folders and cleansers, who were forced to carry home with them every night two lungfuls of airborne angora and suffered periodic fits of night plaids) to tell him that his mother had been killed in some as yet undetermined, but perfectly grisly fashion, but not to worry, as the authorities had concluded it was completely his fault. These experts were a team of coroners who were called in to identify his mother’s ghastly and far flung remains. I added that after the wretched news had passed to me by his weeping, and now sadly deceased, father, he had choked out something that may or may not have been “Happy Birthday, even though you aren’t my real son.”

Despite these failures, the old man has sent for me, and I can do nothing but respond in the manner to which I have become accustomed. I will sequester myself in the darkness of a nearby copse and deliver into my hungry bloodstream a near lethal dose of Medusa’s Kiss—a mixture of Heroine, Winstrol, and a broad spectrum antibiotic. After I wake, refreshed, clear-headed, and ten days older, I will contact him.