Catherine and Vincent's Halloween
by Marit Rasmussen

"Oh, how I DREAD this day, every year!"
Father threw his pen on the desk with a disgusted look on his
face. Vincent sighed, and leaned back,- as if to seek support 
from the staircase railing. He too dreaded this annual argument,
and hoped from all his heart, that it would be over soon.
He watched Father,- now pacing up and down the room, muttering to
himself as he was trying to come up with new arguments,- but they
had both heard all the pro's and con's before:
"It is the safest day of the year, Father!" "There ARE no safe
days for you, Vincent! And what if..." and all the other
arguments, -same story, every year. In a way, it felt funny to
even ask  for permission, - but - just going somehow didn't seem
right . It was part of the tradition,- just as Halloween itself.
And Vincent was ready to endure it one more time, to be able to
go with Catherine on this very special Halloween party,- held on
the Rockefeller center ice rink,- on skates.
Father stopped right in front of Vincent and looked up on the
tall figure: "For the last time, Vincent,- it is too dangerous!"
Vincent sighed again: With all respect, Father,- I am known to be
able to take care of myself-" Father nodded,- he couldn't argue
with that. "You have proved that, Vincent,- an that is my only
comfort. ...-Well - if you MUST - but don't say that I didn't .."
"Thank you, Father!" Vincent was already on his way up the little
staircase,- an Father gave up: "Enjoy it then,- and give my
regards to Catherine..." As Vincent's footsteps echoed down the
tunnel,- Father  sat down and rested  his forehead in his hand.
He'd just have to hope that it would go well,- even this time.

Soon, Vincent was on his way to Catherine's balcony, where they
had decided to meet. 
Catherine had lit the candles again, and she welcomed him with a
glass of wine,. He gasped when he saw her, dressed as she was a n
old fashioned Sonja Henie Style skating outfit in blue velvet
with fuzzy white trimming around neck, wrist and hem, - and with
a little matching hat on golden curls. He wanted to tell her how
beautiful she looked, but before he could catch his breath, ,she
had sealed his lips with a welcome kiss.
 "You stun me with your beauty tonight--" he whispered in her
ear. "And you are the most handsome date I have ever had-" "At
least for Halloween!" he added  with a twinkle in his eyes that
made her laugh., and hugging him tight, she replied softly   "
For Halloween,- and every day of the year.."

Soon they were on their way. For Vincent, it was a thrill just to
walk beside Catherine down to the elevator and actually go into
it, rather than ride on top of it, as was his normal procedure.-
This was the day of the year when the whole wold turned in his
favour, and he was determined to make the most out of it.
They took a taxi down to the Rockefeller center, and the cab
driver complemented them both on their outfits. "Cool mask you've
got there, mister! Got it in this town, did you?" " Yes- oh
yes.." Vincent assured him. "Really neat that. Ain't seen nothing
like it since I was at sea! We sailed to Venice,- got there in
the Carnival-season- MAN- that was something! I tell you, those
masks cost a fortune...I bet yours cost a bomb too,- SO real,
"Yes,- it has cost me.." Vincent nodded,- but thinking along
totally different lines. "But worth it, - ha, Mister?" The taxi
driver sent Catherine an admiring look. "Definitely-"  Vincent
agreed, and felt Catherine's had squeezing his, her eyes
sparkling with amusement.

"Well,- here we are. Have fun now,- and don't fall over!"
The rink was brightly lit up , with huge artificial
"Jack-o-lanterns" everywhere, + the usual fluorescent skeletons
and flapping ghosts. There were already several couples on the
ice, waltzing around to the sound of a 20 piece band that poured
soft sax tunes over the arena from a bandstand above ice-level.
They sat down on a bench, and Catherine quickly changed into her
shining white boots. Vincent meanwhile strapped his  old
fashioned dutch style skates to his boots as best he could. 
Catherine studied them with interest: "Where did you get those?"
" I don't really know! Some helper brought them long ago,- but
they have always been too big for anybody else, so.." 
"And where did you skate" "On the pond in the park,- with
Devin.." Vincent smiled by the memory. "You and Devin must have
been quite a team..." "We were!- Father claims that he has most
of his grey hairs  from us, even though  he  knows but a fraction
of our adventures-"
"Which episodes did he learn about?" -"Usually whenever something
went wrong, and he had to patch us up afterwards. " Vincent
chuckled by the thought. "Sutures and scoldings,- an inevitable
combination in those days. It is a miracle he didn't chain us to
the tunnel walls" "He trusted you, after all.." "He must have,-
whether we deserved it is a different story.."
Vincent finished strapping on his skates and picked up his
gloves,- but Catherine stopped him. "Leave them off" she
whispered. He looked puzzled at her "Why?"  "Because-" hardly
audible now- "Because - if someone sees you putting them on,-
they might think you have something to hide.."" Vincent gave her
a grateful look, and stuffed the gloves back in his pocket. 
"Well,- time to see if I remember how to do this.." 
They supported each other out to the ice. The orchestra was
playing "The skaters waltz"  and Catherine asked" Do you know how
to waltz on skates?"  "I'm afraid I don't" Vincent confessed.
"Devin and I never thought of trying that.." "It 's easy",
Catherine promised. "Let me show you.."
It didn't take Vincent long to catch the idea,- and save for a
couple of embarrassing falls ("Are you hurt? Only in my pride!
Help me up!")  the waltzing quickly became a natural way of
moving over the ice. And soon, they were absorbed  in the
swirling kaleidoscope of music, lights, colors, laughter and
movement of the ice-party.
"Oh Vincent, my ankles are killing me!" Catherine hung on to his
arm after the 8th or 9th dance. "Let us sit down,- frankly I need
a rest too-" Vincent supported her over to the bench where they
took their skates off and wiggled their feet to get the feeling
back into them.
"I'll take this opportunity to powder my nose--" Catherine put
her feet into her shoes and went in search of the Ladies room,-
leaving Vincent to enjoy the scene by himself for a while.
Vincent sat on the bench, - taking in the marvelous sight of
people in all possible costumes twirling and swirling on the
ice,- whilst sweet music flooded over them from the bandstand. He
had never been so relaxed amongst "ordinary people" in his life,-
it was quite incredible.

Then - a jolt of fear hit him,- the familiar sense of danger to
Catherine,- and turning around, he saw two men following her as
she came walking back. "Hello, Beautiful.." one of them purred,
and tried to put his arm around her waist. - Vincent tried to
hold back,- but couldn't .
A giant leap landed him in front of  the three,- and a growl and
flash of the fangs made the man drop his hand as if he had burned
himself on  Catherine's  waist. " Hey - man,- take it easy!" The
intruder backed off, bumping into his friend  who quickly pulled
him away. 
"Jeezz - talk about being into it!"   The man muttered to his
friend as they vanished out of sight, stumbling on their blades.
Vincent turned to Catherine. "Are you all right?" "I'm fine,
Vincent,- here- please come - sit down--"  They picked up their
skates, and made their way over to a table for two in a shaded
corner. A couple of people stared at them as they moved away,-
but once they were gone from the scene, the incident seemed to be
"That was close-" Vincent whispered. Catherine nodded,- worry
written all over her face. "You MUST be more careful,  Vincent!" 
He sighed. "When you are threatened, Catherine,- I loose
control.....IT takes over.... there is nothing I can do"
Catherine grabbed his hands. "It's my fault, Vincent, we should
never have come-" "How can you say that,-" Vincent broke in
"-when I am having the time of my life!" "You are?" "I am,-  may
it never end! Come,- let us skate again..." "But is it safe?"
"Look around you! They have forgotten already, and as long as we
stay together..." "Then nothing can hurt me,- that I know"
Catherine was comforted, and they took the ice again, enjoying
once more the wonderful party atmosphere, and practicing their
waltzing skills yet again.
But not for long,- as  the announcer suddenly stepped up to the
"Ladies and Gentlemen,- before the very last waltz, we have a
little surprise for you all! -We have in fact had a secret
costume competition,- how about that!" Loud cheers followed.
"From this platform, the jury has had a splendid view,- which by
no means have made their choice any easier..." He paused to build
up the excitement, and he had the audience on their toe-rakes 
when he continued:
"There is one person, though, who has been outstanding,- not only
dressing the part,- but  even acting it, most convincingly too,-
so the worthy winner iiiiiss THE LION MAN!"
Vincent stared in horror at Catherine, who for once was lost for
words,- but  quickly came to her senses: "Vincent,- you've won!
You must collect your prize!"  "Catherine,- I can't !"
Vincent's desperate reply drowned  in the cheers from the crowd,
and Catherine took action: "You MUST,- anything else will look
suspicious! Let's go,- I'll come with you-"
She took him by the hand and lead him up to the platform, where
another loud cheer greeted them.
The announcer had obviously been worried about the delay,- but
now he was all smiles: "There you are! Congratulations, mr..?"
"Eh..Wells" Vincent whispered. "Congratulations, mr. Wells! Now
tell us about your costume and mask,- how DID you come up with
such a fantastic disguise?" "Well-" Vincent hesitated,- "I do not
really know,- it - came quite naturally to me..." "He has always
been a bit wild!"  Catherine supported with a laugh, that made
the announcer smile too. "Well, whoever made your mask and outfit
did a splendid job! Now,- will you be good enough to take the
mask off and let us get to know you better?" Vincent's eyes
flickered desperately: " I am afraid that is impossible.."
Catherine came to his rescue again."As you can see, it is glued
on all around the hair line. You need a special dissolver to
remove it-" " Oh,- I see-" The announcer was disappointed, but
let it pass. "But your acting, Mr Wells,- was what impressed us
the most,- the way you  so dramatically defended your beautiful
Sonja Henie here.- You must have practiced!" Vincent nodded,- at
least for this answer, he needed not lie. " I have,- yes.."  The
announcer realized that the winner was not the most talkative
person in the world,- and decided to cut it short: "Well, mr
Wells, congratulations once more,- and over here is your prize,-
a brand new model Microwave, with.." he explained all the
wonderful details, and mentioned the sponsor's name half-a-dozen
times.  "-and complete with all these ready-made meals, it's all
yours mr. Wells!" "--Thank you,- Sir,- but,-" Vincent made a
helpless gesture "I really can not accept this-" An angry wrinkle
formed  on the announcer's forehead, which made Vincent continue
as fast as he could: " If you don't  mind, I'd like to give it
away to a shelter for the homeless,- "The Brothers of Hope" This
made the crowd cheer even more,- and the announcers forehead
became nearly as smooth as his  voice: "Well isn't that SPLENDID,
Mr Wells! I am sure they will be delighted! We shall see to it
first thing in the morning! And now,-  Ladies and Gentlemen, the
very last waltz for this Halloween. May the memories linger with
you for ever...."
Catherine and Vincent joined the dancers for a few bars of
music,- but then stole away, to get ahead of the crowd. Silently,
they changed and left the arena. Only strands of the waltz
followed them as they disappeared up the street and melted into
the crowd of costumed people on their way home from various
"Let me come with you below.-" Catherine pulled Vincent in the
direction of the park entrance. "Gladly,- but why?" Catherine
smiled: "Because you are going to need a lawyer to defend you
when Father learns about this!" Vincent laughed "You could be
right!." More seriously, he added "He is bound to hear about it
sooner or later. It would be good if he heard our version
But tunnel news travel fast, and as Vincent and Catherine came
below,- they found most of the Family gathered in the large
chamber. There were helpers there too,- in costumes that
Catherine and Vincent recognized from the party. As they entered
the chamber, they were greeted  with exited cheers from
everybody, except from Father, who was sitting behind his desk
with a most disapproving look on his face. The rest of the group
clapped, cheered and congratulated them,- and only Mouse was
slightly disappointed: "Good job winning! But why give away that
great gizmo?" "Well,- we had no use for it, Mouse--" "Could have
wired it! Easy when you know how!"
 Then Father spoke: "No,- Mouse,- to give away that - thing - was
the only sensible part of this whole story,-"
"Father-" Catherine went over to him: "Please, Father,- do not
blame Vincent for this. It was I who insisted on us going,- and
the competition was a complete surprise. None of the guests knew
until it was announced-" The others joined her:  "And nothing bad
happened, Father! Vincent won,- and thanks to him, the shelter
now has a new micro! And lots of food! And.."Father surrendered
with a helpless gesture: "All right, all RIGHT! I suppose I am as
much to blame as anyone, since I gave you permission to go,
Vincent,- and believe me,- I am proud of the way the two of you,-
and especially Catherine- got you out of this somewhat tricky
situation. But I hope you have learned, Vincent, that the world
above is never safe for you, not even at Halloween,- so next
year.." "We will discuss it again!" Vincent concluded with
twinkling  eyes, making the whole group burst into laughter. And
finally, Father  gave in and joined the celebrations of Vincent
and Catherine's Halloween adventure....

Marit Rasmussen 1995