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The Halloween Project 2020 - Story 6: Street Signs

                                       

I've heard these stories of yard signs being stolen.  These are difficult times




 VOTE FOR

POPE


      Arthur's sign announced firmly on the edge of the lawn.  He felt strongly about the upcoming election and decided it was about time to state his beliefs publicly.  The election was only six days away and Baxter Pope was Arthur's choice for State Senator.


        The next morning in huge black magic marker the word "NOPE" was emblazoned across his sign. 


       "Sonofabitch!" Arthur's annoyance heated him up.  "This is America, buddy.  We'll see about this."  He jumped into his Chevy truck and turned in the direction of election headquarters.


POPE IS

NO DOPE


        ... appeared on Arthur's lawn the next day.  He took a couple of extra hammer blows to the wires extending into the ground.  "There we go," he murmured to himself. 


        In the early light Arthur checked his sign.  The word "NO" had actually been whited out with glossy paint and a big letter "A" inserted.  Now it said,


POPE IS

A DOPE


        "Well, you want a fight, I'll give you a fight."  This time he made his own sign on a small piece of sheetrock he had leftover in the garage.  Painted it by hand and thought it was pretty clever.


VOTE POPE

"HOLY"

PREPARED


        The following morning, with more letters whited out and new ones added, it read:


 VOTE POPE

ASS "HOL


        Pushing his shopping cart out of Home Depot, Arthur evaluated the contents.  A five-foot by three-foot piece of plywood, spray lacquer, some letter stencils, two six-foot metal stakes and white and black paint.  He nodded in approval and worked on his yard sign for three full hours.


SENATE

POPE

VOTE


        He tried to stay up that night and watch, but well past midnight he was asleep on the couch.  He woke just after sunrise and hurried out the front door.  The sign now shouted:


S    T

OP


        The missing letters and word "VOTE" were not etched out or painted over.  There were holes blasted in the plywood as if a nighttime vigilante had meticulously taken a shotgun, leveled it carefully toward the sign and fired off at least a few rounds.  He heard nothing throughout the night, now gaping holes obliterated specific letters.


        An hour at the police station resulted in a visit to his house by a squad car and two officers who asked polite questions and took pictures.  Next, a trip to Walmart and over $300 lighter in his wallet, Arthur assembled a Defender Ultra HD 4K surveillance system on his property.  When done, he erected a double thick 4 x 8 foot piece of plywood.  Two neighbors had to help him screw it into the four supporting two by fours, and it took all their strength to mount it into the deeply dug holes.  It simply said, in gigantic letters:


POPE


        Arthur drank several cups of black coffee and set his chair stealthily behind a sheer curtain in the dark.  Sometime around three A.M. a murky fog rolled in.  He could see the huge back of his sign only as a giant rectangle outline against the distant streetlight.  He fell asleep sometime after that.


When he abruptly awoke at the clear dawn he pulled back the sheer, eyes unbelieving.  The huge sign 30 feet away stared back at him.  It said, plainly, in gigantic letters:


POPE


        Arthur flinched, rubbed his eyes, and looked again.  The sign hadn't changed.  He rushed to his door, threw it open, and ran to the front of the sign.  Someone had managed to pull the sign from the ground and turn it around.  In huge letters, tagged in black spray paint, it read:


NEVER


        He stood for five minutes trying to make sense of the sign.


        "It's impossible," he whispered.  He rushed back inside and went to the recordings made by the video cameras over the previous eight hours.  He ran them in fast forward once, twice and a third time.  Nothing.  A fog, and nothing.  Then the fog clearing and the sign turned around.  Arthur flopped onto the chair facing the window and the sign.


        "Impossible," he repeated.


        One day later, election morning, the paper's headline read:


        "Pope, Senate hopeful, Found Dead in home."



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