He sat in his sagging armchair and ate soup. It was a thin, tasteless affair reconstituted from a can. Cranston didn't really much care what he ate, it was more a ritual than anything to be savored.
He spooned more of it in, dribbling it down his whiskery chin. His house was small, old and shabby much like its occupant. Cranston didn't care, it suited his needs. His ancient TV got poor reception, but his custom was to watch the local news as he ate.
The screen lit up with computer graphics as the blonde bimbo anchor spoke, "Remember tonight between 7 and 9 is the designated hours for trick or treating here in Central City. Be prepared with plenty of tasty treats for all those adorable little ghosts and goblins."
Cranston swore to himself. Was it THAT time of year again?!? He was single, never married and had no freakin' use for a bunch of grubby little bastards intent on getting something for nothing. Damn, he hated kids! Well they were shit out of luck at HIS house. He wasn't about to spend his meager pension on sugary junk for the worthless little scum.
Totally put off his feed, he stumped to the kitchen and deposited his bowl into a sinkful of unwashed dishes. He caught sight of the kitchen clock and swore again. Little pricks would be around any minute! Time enough to get ready for them though.
Slowly bending his creaky old body, he snagged the handle of a bucket and stood back up. Clunking it down in the crowded sink, he filled it almost full with cold water. Cane in one hand and bucket in the other, he tottered carefully to his front door.
With great care, he placed the bucket on the floor. Grinning to himself, he actually hoped there were some kids stupid enough to ignore the prominent "NO TRESPASSING" sign and knock on HIS door. He would have something special just for them.
He went back to his old chair and plopped down to watch an old movie. Time passed and, in spite of his planned prank, he was relieved not to be disturbed by hordes of costumed children. Only half an hour to go, he noted grimly.
It was if Fate had read his mind and decided to play a joke of Its own on him. He heard the giggling first, then the tread of small feet on the warped boards of his front porch. Sunavabitch!, he swore. Close but no cigar.
He heard a small fist rap on the door and hauled himself to his feet with a grunt. Well, at least the bucket wouldn't go to waste, he grumbled. At the door, he saw three figures through the thin curtain. He opened the door slowly.
He saw two children, a boy and girl, barely as tall as his waist. She was dressed in a pink frilly dress with a plastic crown and a cheap-looking cardboard wand with a crude glittery star affixed to it. The boy wore scruffy, ripped clothing and his face was smeared with greasy greenish make-up and fake blood. Behind them, a girl of perhaps 12 was standing. In ripped jeans and a tattered leather vest, her hair was spiked and teased into a wild mane. She wore exaggerated eye shadow and day-glo red lipstick. Cranston stared at them suspiciously.
The "princess" broke the silence with a sweet little voice that cracked as she asked, "Trick or Treat?"
Cranston grinned evilly as he took a firm grip on the handle of the brimming bucket. His voice was deceptively mild as he spoke. "Oh I guess I would have to go with...TRICK!!" As he roared the word, he swung the door wide open. With a swinging arc, he slewed the bucket around to drench the unsuspecting children.
The younger two were completely unprepared and were soaked, head to toe, in the deluge of cold water. The older girl dodged nimbly aside, but still got wet all down her side and on one leg. Cranston hooted with laughter as the youngsters shrieked with alarm and burst into tears. The older girl muttered and growled.
As he cackled with glee, the "punk" girl stepped forward, sweeping the others behind her protectively. She leaned forward towards Cranston.
"Waaay uncool old man! They're just a coupla kids! If ya don't wanna give nothin' out then FINE! But you need to get your head outta your ass and lighten up, ya senile old fuck!!"
Cranston reeled back under her verbal assault before regaining his composure. He snapped back, "And you need to get these whiny little urchins and your smart mouth off my porch before I give you my cane upside your thick little heads! Now scram!!"
"I hope Halloween has a trick for YOU before this night is over you...you...asshole!" With a hand gesture as old as time itself, the girl put an arm around either of the children and led them away into the night.
Cranston waited until he was sure they were off his property before slamming the door. He laughed again, seeing their horrified faces as the water flew. As he turned toward the kitchen, the toe of his left shoe slipped in a patch of spilled water.
With a startled yelp, his leg flew out from under him and he fell face-forward onto the dirty hardwood floor. The point of his chin struck with crushing force and bone shattered. His jaw popped from its socket with a sick sucking sound. As the weight of his body settled, the exposed bone drove relentlessly through his soft palette and lodged deeply into his brain.
Cranston's feet drummed the floor with an erratic rhythm before they stilled and he lay dead on the floor. It was certainly no treat for the hapless postman who discovered the old man's dead body the next morning.