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The Halloween Trolley

October 11, 2017


The Halloween Trolley


fiction by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



When my guide dog Glenda and I left the weekday evening Mass shortly after six o’clock, I heard a few umbrellas pop up.  Then, I felt the heavy mist and pulled the hood of my coat over my head.  As Glenda and I turned east, we walked directly into the wind off the lake while dampened leaves lined our path on that Halloween night.  When we were walking by Spirit Park, I heard no other people nearby.  Although darkness had already set in, at that in-between time of after rush hour and before party time, I heard only a couple of cars on the Boulevard and, thankfully, no trolley.


As usual, Glenda, my creamy-colored Yellow Labrador Retriever, was guiding me especially well toward home.  I planned our route so that we would have to cross only two sets of trolley tracks–the ever-present reminder of too many negative changes in our city.  Two street crossings past Spirit Park, Glenda and I were on the west side of our home block when I heard footfalls behind me.  Suddenly, someone was on my right.


A bit too close to my right side, the gentleman said, “Good evening, little damp out here tonight.”


“Yes, it is.  Have a good evening.” I replied to dismiss our conversation; then, I stopped so that he would hopefully walk ahead of us.  He did not.  I wiped off Glenda’s head with a paper towel I had slipped from my pocket.


The gentleman continued: “You need not worry.  I told you once before that we –well, homeless people–watch out for you when you and your dog are walking around this area.  We see you walking everyday with your Lab.  You did really well working through those three years of construction for the trolley.  Now, don’t worry:  we will watch out for you with this quiet trolley zipping around Spirit Park and the whole area.”


“Thank you, but my guide dog and I are fine.  Good night.  Forward, Glenda.”


Walking right beside me, the gentleman insisted, “I want you to stop beside the next trolley, at the end of this block.”


Although I tried to explain to him that we would be heading east at the upcoming curb, he was determined that I must check out the next trolley.


I was still at a point of being upset whenever I spoke of or thought of the most unnecessary trolley.  Living where I did, I could not ignore it.  “I think you know that I was totally against this trolley–before, during, and after the construction of this most unnecessary trolley.  All I can now find any satisfaction in is living on my principle that I will never step foot into one of those new trolleys.”  Before I could utter another thought, I heard something like the trolley swishing by us.


“You look a bit puzzled, and you should be:  that is not the new trolley.”


“What is it?”


“It is what I want you to ride.  It is a trolley from the turn-of-the-century–not from the year 2000, but  vintage 1900.  You need to meet some people on this vintage trolley.  You and Glenda are most welcome to ride this Halloween Trolley.  You will not be compromising your principles–I promise you will be pleased with what you find on this trolley car.  Follow me.”


Without a moment to think, I found myself following the homeless man onto the trolley.  The trolley did not have any sort of “new” smell:  it did have an antique fragrance.  Pausing at the front of the trolley with Glenda at my side, I could hear that the trolley was filled with people.  The homeless man was standing in front of me and was trying to grab the attention of all the riders.


“Thank you, thank you.  This is the person I have mentioned to you–and her guide dog Glenda.  Starting from the back of this trolley car are our ghostly representatives from the 1890s, then our ghostly representatives from the 1900s. then the 1910s, next the 1920s, the 1930s, and finally the 1940s on your left, and the 1950s on your right.  None of these homeless people were able to ride the trolley for free during the first twelve months nor at any time during their own decades, but they all are riding the trolley for free now.”


I had never before had the opportunity to speak with ghosts–especially this many of the ghostly representatives of their appointed decades.  Before I could manage to say a word, the gentleman said with a large grin and a wink, “Guess who is driving this trolley car.”


Somewhat sheepishly, the driver introduced himself, “Mayor Bartleby, here.  Good evening, and Happy Halloween.”


“How long will you be driving this trolley car?” asked my walking partner as he turned toward the driver.


“Just to the next turn …”


Suddenly, as a chorus of ghosts who knew very well from their unique perspective how much the most unnecessary trolley had negatively impacted our city, all the riders shouted, “The next turn-of-the-century!”



Thanks for reading my fictional story!

Early wishes for a Happy Halloween!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


October 11, 2017, Wednesday


BOOKNOTE:  You are always welcome to visit my author’s web page, where you can find photos and a variety of links concerning my book The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season.



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  1. What a wonderfully ghoulish ride! Hats off Alice, and drop me off at the next century stop! dp

    • Deon–Thanks for the fun and creative comment!  Always good to hear from you–Alice and Willow

  2. Sue McKendry permalink

    Alice–What a clever way to make a statement (unnecessary trolley) by making it part of the dialog in this seasonal story! I also think it is nice to present homeless people in a positive way, while at the same time showing common sense about uninvited conversations–Sue

    • Hi, Sue–I greatly appreciate each of the points in your comments.  In the most delightful way, I must again say that you do still sound like a wonderful teacher.

      Hoping you are enjoying the autumn splendor, Alice and Willow

  3. Sue McKendry permalink

    oops–forgot I liked the dog’s name, Glenda–the good witch, right?

    • Good morning, Sue–You are right!  Although I have always liked the names Glen, Glenna, and Glenda–I confess to thinking of THE WIZARD OF OZ and WICKED when I chose the name for the fictional guide dog.

      Have a good Friday the 13th!

      Alice and Willow

  4. mfanyo permalink

    Such an intriguing story, Alice! Thank you for this early Halloween treat with no tricks. Happy Halloween to you and Willow!
    Love, Mary

    • Mary–Thanks for your comment!  Now, I have to think of another ghostly tale for the 31st.

      Sending autumnal wishes your way–Alice and Willow

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