SmokeLong Quarterly

Share This f l Translate this page

Donat Bobet’s Halloween

Story by Bruce Holland Rogers (Read author interview) September 15, 2005

Art by Marty D. Ison

Donat Bobet invited me to his home for the night of Halloween. I came as a pirate, a costume which I assembled out of a bandana and the cardboard spool from a roll of paper towels. I tied the bandana on my head. Before I stuck the cardboard tube into my belt, I wrote on it with bold, piratical letters: Wooden Sword. I considered whether or not to write on my face with a black marker the words False Beard. I decided against it. I had work the next day, and the ink might not come off.

I arrived a little after the appointed hour. I knocked on the poet’s door, expecting that the party would already be underway. To my surprise, when Donat opened the door to his rooms, he was entirely alone.

“Am I the first?” I said.

He looked puzzled. “The first?” Then he saw my sword. “Ah! No! I should have explained myself,” he said. “This is no party for the grown-ups. For me, Halloween is an affair entirely for the children! I meant only that you might come and help me with the candy!”


“And you have gone to the trouble of making a costume! A very fine one, too!”

“You can tell what I am, then?”

“My friend, do you think I do not have eyes in my head? But one moment!” There were colored pens on his dining table, and small squares of paper, many with writing and drawing on them. He took up a blank piece and wrote on it in red: Scarlet Macaw. He pinned the bird to my shoulder. “There!”

“Thank you,” I said.

“It pulls it all together, I think.”

“And what sort of candy will we be giving the children?”

“I’m afraid that I have eaten it all,” Donat confessed. “There is nothing to give them but the wrappers.” He picked up three of the squares of paper and gave them to me.

The first, with a red and yellow design, said Sugar Bomb. “Ingredients: Raw sugar, corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, fructose, sucrose, brown sugar, gunpowder, BANG!”

The second, with a blue moon and white stars against a black background, was called Space Dust. “Ingredients: Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, sulfur. May contain traces of the rings of Saturn.”

The third candy wrapper was for Dead Poet Yummy. “Ingredients: Spun sugar and air. Some of the air in this candy was once breathed by Jean Genet. Swallow it whole and then write a poem about stealing, you little thief!”

“But,” I said, “aren’t the children disappointed?”

“Ah, the children,” said Donat Bobet. “They never come.”

About the Author

Stories by Bruce Holland Rogers have won a Pushcart Prize, World Fantasy Award, two Nebula Awards and the Bram Stoker Award. He teaches fiction writing for the Whidbey Writers MFA program, and also teaches annual fiction seminars in Greece and Italy. He lives in Eugene, Oregon.

About the Artist

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison’s work here.

This story appeared in Issue Ten of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Ten

Support SmokeLong Quarterly

Your donation helps writers and artists get paid for their work. If you’re enjoying what you read here, please consider donating to SmokeLong Quarterly today.

SmokeLong Fitness--The Community Workshop

Book Now!

Included in the price of SmokeLong Fitness:

The Community Workshop in small groups
One live Zoom webinar each month with killer workshop leaders (recorded for participants unable to attend).
One open-mic party each month (or other live Zoom events)
Discounts on intensive workshops
Discounts on senior editor feedback
Surprises (good ones)