Characters: Rufus (Gen, Humor)
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Summary: Everyone has a different idea of what constitutes Halloween fun.
Author's Notes: For spn_halloween and the prompt of, "What? Rufus always answers his door with a shotgun."
Also for writers_choice ("Halloween").
Rufus was putting up the last of the storm windows when the phone rang in the kitchen.
Probably some fool asking for money—let the machine get it. November was coming, and this was the first weekend in ages without rain. He fitted the sash.
"Rufus, pick up the damn phone."
Hell no, he wouldn't. He'd call Bobby back when he was good and ready, not halfway up a stepstool with a mouthful of nails. Bobby only ever called when he wanted something anyway, and Rufus was fresh out of give-a-damn.
Thirty minutes later, he locked the tools in the shed and went inside to wash up before dinner. The light on the answering machine was blinking, but he'd already done all the chores he cared to for one day, and his throat was dry. He poured a glass of Johnny Walker and looked through the mail instead.
Department Of Law Enforcement. What now, another fundraiser? Sure as hell wouldn't be some parking ticket, not in this town—you'd have to leave your truck on the sidewalk first.
Dear Mr. Turner, October 29, 2008 The Department has received complaints from neighboring citizens about the excessive use of lighting on your property at 2559 West Elm Avenue. City Code 5A7.4c sub-paragraph 12 restricts residential lighting to a total of no more than seven thousand watts. Your property is in violation of this code, and must comply within seven days or be subject to fines. Sergeant William Anderson Department of Law Enforcement Canaan, Vermont
That sonofabitch Bill, with his officious titles—like Rufus hadn't run into him at the hardware store just last weekend!
He threw the letter on the table. So now a man couldn't keep his home safe? You let the perimeter collapse and anything could happen. Well fine—he'd kill the klieg lights and install more motion-triggered lamps, move them higher on the house so they'd be out of reach from ground position.
Let the damn bureaucrats chew on that.
The doorbell rang. Rufus picked up his shotgun and checked the video monitors to see who the hell was there.
Uniform, clipboard, package. He opened the door.
"F-Fed Ex," the man outside stammered. "Delivery for Mr. Turner, if you could just sign," he finished with a squeak, thrusting the clipboard at Rufus.
"All right." Rufus stood the shotgun against the doorframe and added his signature.
"Your package," the man said, snatching the clipboard back and shoving a box into Rufus' hands. He bolted to the delivery van and roared off down the street.
Rufus watched him go. Eventually the man would learn to just leave the packages on the porch, like U.P.S. and the post-office did. Saved everybody unnecessary trouble.
The box was from Solvang Harper, a hunter in Wisconsin. Rufus opened it to find the copper bowl and the set of silver-tipped crossbow arrows he'd asked Harper to send him last week.
He owed the man now. Payment would probably be in wood-based weaponry and herbs, unless Harper was chasing something new.
Rufus put the box on the table, glancing out the window. It got dark so fast this time of year, and here he was, standing like a target inside his lit-up house. He closed the curtains and blinds, careful not to disturb the salt lines on the windowsills. He was all the way around to the back of the house when the doorbell rang again.
Haven't even had my damn dinner yet. He picked up the shotgun and cracked open the door.
Bunch of kids in costumes—a witch, a devil, and an astronaut.
He opened the door the rest of the way. A woman screamed and darted over, snatching the kids up and hustling them down the stairs. They vanished into the shadows.
Must be new in town. They'd learn—people always did.
Rufus shut the door again, and turned on the stove to heat up some chili. He hoped that'd be the last interruption for a while. It wasn't like he could turn the porch light off, now that it was all that stood between him and the kinds of things that roamed the night. Goddamn city council and their tightass rules, making him shut down his best defenses. The video cameras were fine during the day, but they'd be useless at night without enough light to show what was out there.
The can opener was in a drawer near the phone, and it reminded him to check the answering machine.
"Rufus, this is Bobby. Are you there? Why the hell do I even—of course you are, you never leave the house. Rufus, pick up the damn phone… Jesus Christ, you're slower than an old woman… All right then, fine. I just called to remind you that it's Halloween, so don't—"
Rufus hit the Delete button. As if a hunter with all his years of experience couldn't keep track of the calendar his own damn self! What kind of idiot did Bobby Singer think he was?
It made him so mad, he'd have salted and burned the message tape except he didn't have a backup. He poured himself another drink of whiskey and ate his chili instead.
He had a nice buzz going when the doorbell rang again. The video monitor showed a pair of teenagers decked out like zombies. Rufus went to the door and pump-loaded the shotgun nice and loud before mounting it on his shoulder and opening the door to aim the barrel out the crack.
"Holy shit!" one of the kids yelled. The two of them thudded down off the porch.
"That's right, you'd better run!" Rufus hollered, listening to their footsteps scatter down the street.
He couldn't help grinning as he closed the door, knowing he was pushing things and might be on the verge of earning another letter from the police.
So—like he even gave a damn anyway.
As far as he was concerned, the evening was finally starting to get interesting.
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