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How The Stag Got It’s Horns

One of the great things about being a bike messenger is that you can

get away with doing a lot of very silly stuff at work. Stuff like

singing songs over the radio to your controller and calling your

fellow riders by increasingly sillier nicknames. And especially stuff

like dressing up for Halloween.

Bambi, who at this point was simply plain old Dan Chabanov, had gone

to some effort to concoct a costume that would turn him into road

kill. He had decided to put tyre tracks over his body, get a load of

fake blood, and attach antlers to his helmet. Another friend of ours,

Drew, had bought a pumpkin and was going to wear it over his head

whilst wearing a suit, like some sort of weird headless-horseman meets

American Psycho.

Every morning we all met before calling on at The Papaya Dog at the

end of the Williamsburg Bridge for coffee and knishes. The morning of

Halloween it was just me, Will Tang and Dan Chabanov. Dan had run out

of time, hadn’t gotten all the stuff he needed, fell asleep early,

whatever. He looked completely normal except that he had zip-tied the

antlers to his messenger bag. When I laughed at him he just shrugged

and said “well, at least I tried. By the way, what happened to your


My very favourite thing to do for Halloween is to only slightly dress

up. Just give enough weirdness that you have no idea if I’m in a

costume or if I look this way normally. The original meaning of

Halloween had more to do with the idea that you are dressing up to

look like something that scares you instead of say, a slutty

princess-cat. I think that my “costumes” are always scary because you

can never tell if they are a costume. This Halloween I had decided to

just give myself a massive fake shiner that took up a good portion of

the left side of my face.

Dan, Will and I parted ways, and I soon ran into Drew downtown in his

pumpkin costume. It was amazing to see someone riding around on a

track bike in a grey “pure power” business suit and a messenger bag,

with a jack-o-lantern on his head. I tried to flag him down and it

took a lot of yelling and arm waving before he eventually stopped. It

turns out that he couldn’t see anything out of the pumpkin and he was

trying to find a knife so that he could hollow out the eye holes

enough to allow him to wear his glasses. I unfortunately couldn’t help

him, but I did get to watch him teeter off into the middle of Spring

Street traffic to the tune of screeching tyres and horn blasts.

At a messenger center in midtown I was pulled aside by the massive

black man that was in charge of receiving packages. He’d always been

super nice to me in a fatherly kind of way that went beyond signing

and printing. He directed me into a corner and said very quietly “OK,

do you want to talk about what happened?” I was confused and asked him

what he meant. “You know, what happened to your face. Do you need me

to call somebody?” I did my best to hold back a smile and said, very

quietly “it’s Halloween. This is my costume”. I don’t think he got it,

and I’m not even sure he believed me, and he didn’t really have

anything to say to me again for the rest of the time I was in NYC.

At the end of the day we went to the The Levee for $1 Black Label beer

in a beer cozy and free cheese puffs. Drew had gotten pretty mad at

the pumpkin and had smashed it on Broadway, and Dan had spent the day

having receptionists asking him what he was supposed to be. His

answer? “I’m horny!”

I told him that was a terrible joke, and that it wasn’t even that

funny. If anything, I said, you’re Bambi.

And, at least for me, it stuck to him a lot better than those antlers did.


2 responses »

  1. I’ll be back in December! Second half. Or would it be the begining of January? Still, cool stuff.

  2. One for Xmas? Please?


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