“Sean? This is Mark. You gotta check out the moon.”
“Why?” Oh no, I thought. It's turned blood red. The Apocalypse is neigh upon us! It's hard to shake that Baptist upbringing.
“There's this incredible halo around the moon! You have to see it! I've never seen anything like it!”
“Cool! Call you back in a few.” I hung up; Spring and I headed outside and we looked up. The sky is clear except for a very light haze which was causing the halo effect.
“It's beautiful,” said Spring, lying down on the grass.
“It looks like a Q” I said, pointing to a small cloud just hanging off the halo.
Spring giggled, and we continued to stare at the sky—Spring lying on the grass and me still standing.
“Does it look lopsided to you?” I asked.
“What, the moon?”
“No, the halo.”
“No. I think that's because you're having to look up. Why don't you try lying down?”
I lay down on the grass. “Great,” I said. “Now I have pesticides all over my back.”
“Then you don't have to worry about bed bugs, do you?” said Spring. We continued to look at the moon and halo. Some wispy clouds passed in front of the moon. “That is so beautiful,” said Spring.
“Oh nice. Now the werewolfs are going to come out and attack us,” I said.
“Werewolfs. Whenever a werewolf attack is imminent in a film, they always cut to a shot if thin wispy clouds flying by the moon.”
“But dear,” said Spring. “We're in Coconut Creek.”
“I did mention the Hellmouth in Margate.”
“Ah yes, you did.”
“You're not worried?”
I love Spring.
That bit about the Hellmouth in Margate is true. Well, nearly true. It's not actually in Margate, but North Lauderdale. But “Hellmouth in North Lauderdale” doesn't quite have the same ring as “Hellmouth in Margate” does.
And it's close enough anyway.
But other than the location, it's true. Or, at least a few friends think so. The story, as it was handed down to me, goes something like this:
Many years ago (being the late 80s and thus still under Reganomics) my friends JT and L received a frantic visit by a mutual friend JS. It seems that JS and his girlfriend had sensed a disturbance in the psychic fabric of the universe and realized that a portal to Hell, a Hellmouth (a term popularized by the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer) if you will, had opened up in a park in North Lauderdale and they were the ones that needed to close it, as JS channels an elf (or was an elf in a past life, I don't exactly recall) and all that but they need help in preventing The Ceremony from being interrupted. Thus they need the help of JT and L.
JT and L relunctantly go to the park in order to help JS and girlfriend to close this portal to Hell before something horrible happens. JT and L have to tie JS and girlfriend up near a certain tree and under no circumstances are they to be untied, no matter what they say. Once suitibly tied, JS and girlfriend start chanting their way into a trance. JT and L wander around the park, keeping an eye out for anything suspicious.
Now, here's where the story gets wierd. (Starts? As if it wasn't wierd already?) Apparently, JS is possessed and starts making threats, head turning, spewing forth split pea soup, the whole Exorcist thing. JT and L, true to their word, do not untie JS and girlfriend and remain on patrol.
Then JT, swearing on his life and backed up by L, say that they saw a shadowy figure wandering around the trees, but upon a closer look no one was there! There was no way a person could have disappeared since the tree cover wasn't that great (it's South Florida—have you seen how much shade a palm tree provides? It ain't much) and it was near the center of the park; they would have noticed anyone trying to leave the park.
And what they saw was a humanoid shape. Not quite a man, not quite an animal. Some black, shadowy humanoid shape wandering around the trees while JS and girlfriend were spewing forth threats and obscenities and split pea soup.
After some twenty minutes or so, JS and girlfriend go limp, then seem to snap out of it. They report that the portal to Hell, the Hellmouth as it were, was successfully closed and now North Lauderdale is safe from demonic possession.
Yes, I have some interesting friends.