Johny's Halloween Bonanza!
Johny, Johny, yes papa, the speakers faintly echoed in the hollow room.
Johny’s empty eyes reflected back the blinding glow of his screen. A tear rolled down his cheek as he scrolled through the countless comments mocking his dance moves, accent, and large disproportionate head. He scrolled back up and watched the like and dislike ratio play tug of war. Stupid baby shark, he muttered under his breath. Ripping off me and my success.
Johny heard faint footsteps outside his door, and braced himself to hear the dreaded words. Johny, it’s time to film! Mechanically, Johny lifted himself up from his chair. Light streamed in from the hallway as Johny opened his door for what seemed like weeks.
Johny, why the long face? Papa knelt down to be at the same level with Johny. Today’s the Halloween special! We get to have cool props, right, kiddo?
Johny forced a smile on his face. Yes papa, I’m ready. His dad smiled in response as he stood back up and took Johny’s hand. Johny wrapped his stubby fingers around Papa’s thumb, happy to spend this little moment with him.
As they approached the backstage crew, Johny and Papa were separated by swarms of crew members, clamouring to put makeup on Johny’s face, to adjust his costume, and to make sure the lighting was perfect. Soon, Johny transformed into the little boy with the bulbous head and charming smile that his fans grew to know and love. This time, he was wearing a pumpkin costume.
He met Papa at the green screen, not recognizing him at first. I’m a vampire, Johny! He flashed his new fangs and twirled around in his cape. Are you excited to get some candy?
Johny nodded. He took the Halloween candy, wrappers and all, and stuffed it into his mouth. The cameras began rolling, and Johny performed his funny dance moves, played up his accent a bit, and bobbed his head side to side.
Pumpkin pumpkin, the vampire growled.
Yes vampire? Johny flailed his arms, the pumpkin costume trapping the movement of his limbs. Johny’s chest felt at the verge of bursting.
Eating candy? The vampire taunted him, his eyes glowing red.
Johny shook his head adamantly, the insides of his mouth pierced by candy wrappers with every slight moment of his jaw. No vampire. His ears were ringing.
Telling lies? The red of his eyes seemed to only intensify.
Johny’s eyes widened. No papa!
The vampire growled, smiling. Open your mouth.
Johny obeyed. Halloween candy, dripping with a gooey combination of saliva and blood fell from his mouth. The director jumped up passionately, pointing to a large sign that said HA HA HA. Johny, his head up to the sky, bellowed the words. HA HA HA!
Johny closed his eyes, remembering the sugar that he once dearly loved. The sugar that had once won him the attention of his dad and the media. Most of all, the sugar that he loved; the sugar that he loved for its taste.
He yearned for Halloweens of trick-or-treating with Papa, of enjoying candy for the fact that it was candy, and not for a performance for an audience. Johny lowered his head and wiped the blood from his face.
He opened his eyes. The director was clapping, lifting Johny up. Genius, Johny! Absolutely genius!
Johny’s lips curved up into a hesitant smile. He glanced at the applauding director, whose smile reflected back the blinding spotlight. He looked at the vampire, whose laugh revealed sharp bloody fangs. He squinted at the backstage crew, with their shadowy, concealed faces. The red light on the camera blinked, flickered, and shut off. Johny looked to the ground at the bloodied candy wrappers.
He picked one up, unwrapped it, and opened his mouth.