Letters by Kenny Mah

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November 2, 2008

Hey you,

Dance with us.

That’s what the witches say, that’s how they sing and reel their boys and their princes in. They like them young, juicy bones and a decent chew of rump, as sure as brooms are made for flying. This all sounds a little ridiculous, no? — but it’s All Hallow’s Eve, and one may tolerate much on this night of all nights. The ladies cackle and creak, as menacingly as they can manage. Whoever did their make-up is an artist. Gorgeous detail.

You bow slightly to the weird sisters and walk on.

The streets are littered with plastic pumpkins and ghoulish neon lights. Bright orange, bright green, alternating. Fear can be appropriated, replicated and mass-transmitted. A good scare is worth celebrating. You see red devils with pointy tails and perky horns prancing with ghastly white bedsheet poltergeists. Superheros and super-villains fight over cold candy in home-made costumes. Phantoms made real, courtesy of your neighbourhood Toys ‘R’ Us.

Everything you can imagine, except a scarecrow.

You keep looking.

A somewhat inebriated couple — Count Dracula and the Wolf Girl (woof!) — ask you for a light. You help them with the Zippo you always carry though you don’t smoke, it’s good to be prepared, the Boy Scout in you say, for what though, eh? They thank you and you ask them if they have seen a scarecrow. They look surprised, as though that was the oddest question in the world but politely nod in a direction. You follow their gaze.

The Fields. Of course.

Whereas would one find a scarecrow? We miss the most obvious answers sometimes, what’s right in front of us. The skies are lightening, dawn is close. The night will draw to a close soon enough, this night of nights, and you haven’t found what you are looking for yet. The scarecrow you stumble upon, soon enough, at least. He stands high on his perch, guarding the crops with a friendly smile. This one wouldn’t scare a sparrow away, much less a crow. Still, he would know.

You whisper into the ear of corn, and for a while there isn’t even a rustle of wind. And then you see it. Next to the scarecrow’s stump. A mirror. A puddle of rainwater from the storm before. An oracle. An answer to your question. The Question, always that question.

You take a deep breathe and turn to the looking glass…

Devil & his Scarecrow

Yours always and always,

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