Once in a Blue Moon

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He remembered it well—the crisp autumn air, the sounds of excited children, the crowded streets full of strange and sometimes terrifying costumes. It was the one night of the year when all the city’s residents poured out of their homes in celebration of All Hallow’s Eve—young, old, rich, poor, living, dead.

Drifting unseen through the city, he observed the rarest sights. Vampires holding hands with werewolves. Monsters limping alongside humans with not one scream of terror uttered by anyone. Genies granting wishes in the guise of sideshow fortune tellers. Preternatural beings bestowing both curses and blessings upon those around them. For this one magical night, all were welcome. All belonged.

At his destination, he shifted form to something corporeal and more appropriate for the occasion. In his hand jingled the odd coins and discarded bills he’d collected along the way. The Blue Moon diner had always been his favorite, and as he walked inside he hoped he had brought enough.

(Image created by John Matychuk on Unsplash)

“Place is dead tonight,” he said to the waitress in way of conversation.

“Everyone’s in the street partying. Menu?”

“No,” he replied with what would be described on any other night as a haunting smile. Money now on the counter, he was searching his pockets for more—fistfuls of quarters coaxed from teens who’d ventured into the cemetery over the summer, a wad of $20 bills he’d rescued from a wallet lying unnoticed on the ground, and a crisp $100 bill he’d gotten in payment for participating in a seance. He chuckled recalling the astonishment on the medium’s face when he set the terms of their arrangement.

“That’s a lot of money,” the waitress said as he deposited the rest of it on the counter.

“Too much?”

“Depends on what you’re buying,” she said.

“I’d like an order of scrambled eggs with a side of home fries, a plate of buttered toast . . .”

“White or wheat?” she asked without looking up.

“Both. Waffles with maple syrup, a cup of coffee . . .”

“Free refills on the coffee,” she said automatically.

He nodded before continuing. “A side of bacon, some of those jelly packets, a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, buttermilk biscuits, a cheeseburger with the works, no, make that two . . .”

“How do you like it?”

“I don’t really know. However the chef wants to do it is fine by me. Do you have milkshakes?”

She nodded.

“Three milkshakes—chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry—some pie—lemon meringue, pumpkin, cherry, apple—and a dollop of vanilla ice cream.”

“Will your party be arriving soon?”

“No, it’s just me.”

Her pen stopped scratching on the notepad. “The cook won’t make all this food for one.”

He removed the $100 bill and slid it across the table. “This is for you. Just keep it coming, a few dishes at a time until the money runs out.”

She hesitated before saying a quick “thanks” and pocketing the money. “That’s a lot of food for one person.”

“I’ve got all night.”


This story previously appeared on the Alone in a Room with Invisible People podcast.
Edited by Erik Homberger.
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Danielle Cormier is a writer—of both stories and letters—living in Massachusetts. Her interests include fairy tales, artful envelopes, and genealogical breadcrumbs. You can find her on various socials: @ctegan