07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

First in Fright

By Robin Weaver

Anyone who knows me knows, in my formative years, my grandfather was my favorite person.  He told the best stories—usually by the fireplace, and being frugal (later termed cheap) sans lights.

One night, he started the tail of the Giant Toe. Okay, he really said “Giant Toad,” but being four, I only knew about frogs. Toad was an alien concept—thus my preschool brain converted the term to Toe.

As I sat on Gramps’ knee, and my brother squirmed on our grandfather’s other leg, this giant toe came to life. He created all sorts of mayhem and I gripped Gramps’ bicep with all the strength in my four-year-old body. Gramps had included many scary creature s in his tales—the big bad wolf, Rumpelstiltskin, Briar Fox, and evil opossums. For some reason, none of those villains caused any fright, barely a bleep in my make-believe world. But the Giant Toe? That thing was the substance of nightmares.

The evil appendage hopped toward the farmhouse—in my mind, he headed toward our place, in search of children to eat. While the thought of being dinner for a Giant Toe scared the be-geezus out of me, I also pondered how a toe could hop, especially one the size of a silo. Did the toe have legs? Or springs. (Okay, confess, you now have that image in your head, too. Right?)

Anyway, while I pondered the great mystery of the bouncing toe… BAM! BAM!!!

The entire house shook. Had the Big Toe arrived?

I thought so. And wet myself. And my grandfather’s leg.
Being the good grandpa, Gramps only laughed. Although I suspect he had to wash his overalls a bit ahead of his normal schedule.

So what actually happened? As with most seemingly supernatural stores, there was a logical explanation. One of the big sows broke out of the pigpen and ran under the house, hitting a rafter with her three-hundred-plus pounds.

My mother’s younger sisters—twins who at that time were still in high school—took great pleasure in retelling the story. For years and years and years. I was in my thirties before I found any humor in the incident.

The Giant Toe was by far the scariest thing I’d ever heard, but I continued to read horror stories (once I learned to read, of course). Or at least I continued until I read William Peter Blatty’s The Exorist.

What’s the scariest thing that’s happened in your life?

Styrofoam Corpse is currently available via Windtree Press and Amazon.com.

Casey Randolph hopes to follow in his deceased father’s footsteps, serving the community with a star on his chest.  He’s a shoo-in to win the election if he can hide his necrophobia—fear of dead bodies.  As a young deputy, his condition posed no issues.  Drunken NASCAR fans and fistfights over the Duke-UNC basketball rivalry were the extent of criminal activity.  No more.  Growing like kudzu, the Charlotte metro-area has invaded his sleepy little county, which now boasts a quarter-million people.  The body count, both living and dead, keeps increasing.

All the skeletons in Casey's closet dance on a very public stage when a body is discovered in his new girlfriend's pool.  With no sign anyone but Shannon can be the murderer.

1 comment:

Sarah Raplee said...

As usual, you had me laughing so hard I cried, Robin! Great story!

Your question about the scariest thing that's happened in my life stirred up memories of various incidents I'd rather not revisit.

The only one that was funny was when a ghost showed up in our room at the haunted Frenchglen Hotel in eastern Oregon. My husband had joked for years that the 3 things on his Bucket List were: see Bigfoot, be abducted by aliens and see a real ghost. (He always laughed at the ghost hunters on tv who would get so scared when they saw or heard something unexplained.)

When a smiling little old lady ghost speaking a foreign tongue appeared in our room walking back and forth around the bed and patting the bedclothes, he totally freaked out! I could hear her footsteps going back and forth around the bed, but I couldn't see her or hear her speak. After a few minutes she faded away. My husband was mortified that he'd been so scared of a harmless little old lady!