Cemetery Caper

A perennial summertime visitor to Hinoba-an’s Happy Valley Beach, Dodo B. was an affable, disarmingly charming young man with a knack for organizing beachside junkets that were always a smash. So when he invited me to a nighttime jaunt to the town cemetery in the company of a couple of attractive teenagers—the ‘R’ sisters—I accepted without a moment’s hesitation. 

Though this was the sisters’ second summer in our little corner of paradise, we were still just passing acquaintances.  This outing could change that.  And, seeing as it’d be akin to a visit to an amusement park house of horrors, the spooky setting might well induce the ladies to seek close physical contact to calm their jitters.    

That Dodo is a genius, I thought to myself as pleasant scenarios played out in my mind.  Like a blood-thirsty vampire I eagerly…nay, cravingly awaited the onset of dusk.

Little did I know that the evening would be one of exquisite horror. And, as it turned out, one of considerable embarrassment to yours truly.

The balmy evening air was thick with excitement as we gathered at a prearranged spot on the beach.  Along with a coterie of Bilbao cousins and a contingent of Reyes, Henares, Bustamante and Zayco co-Happy Valleyers (essentially every youth on the beach), who had caught wind of the outing and begged in, we commenced down a path leading to the town cemetery half a kilometer away.

Reaching the cemetery, our giddy disposition quickly turned to apprehension as we surveyed the foreboding final resting place of many a townsfolk, including our own grandparents.  The pale quarter moon tempered the darkness as it cast an eerie glow on tombstones and grave markers that laid haphazardly about.  The ‘R’ sisters clutched Dodo’s arms tightly as we made our way deeper into the graveyard. 

Suddenly, Dodo stopped dead in his tracks. With a trembling hand, he pointed to a rectangular raised tomb some eight or nine yards from where we stood.  Paralyzed with white-hot terror, I couldn’t believe my eyes. A white specter was slowly rising up from behind it! 

Seconds later, the quiet stillness of the night was shattered as everyone screamed in absolute fright!

Screaming at the top of their lungs, the scared-out-of-their-wits youths high-tailed it out’a there as fast as if they’d seen a ghost… and they just had! 

Dreadfully pale and conceivably close to fainting, the ‘R’ sisters simultaneously lunged at Dodo from either side nearly knocking the wind out of him.

And Moi ?  Scared beyond all sense of reason with nary a trace of composure (or shame) left, I too grabbed Dodo tightly from behind, clinging to his neck with a chokehold that left him gasping for air.

Dodo had had enough.

As loud as he could, he yelled: “Time-out… everyone calm down!”  Whereupon he quickly called out to the apparition to let down the white bed sheet cover and show himself.  Turns out the spook was a local youth Dodo had contracted to play the phantasmal role.  Our bloodcurdling haunting was nothing more than a practical joke!

The prank exposed, we all breathed a sigh of relief as our ashen pallor returned to normal.  The youths slowly made their way back to the scene as the hysterically giggling ‘R’ sister kept punching Dodo’s arms.  Forlorn and dejected, I stood quietly by, my machismo irreparably in tatters.

“What happened to you?” Dodo asked as we made our way home.  He good-naturedly chided me with what I already knew in my bones.  I should have faced fear down, valiantly stood my ground, and been nothing less than a knight or a Van Helsing to our damsels in distress.  Instead, my lily-livered reflex left a dubious impression on the ladies.

“Well, had you warned me we’d be seeing a ghost…” I countered, feigning indignation—there was just no getting irked at the fellow.  His delightfully wicked cemetery caper was, after all, one for the books.

Safely back home, we couldn’t contain our boisterous laughter as we rehashed the frightful yet irrepressibly hilarious affair. 


It has been brought to my attention that the pandemonium on that terror-filled night decades ago, brought on the untimely demise of a brand new pair of tsinelas (flip flops) belonging to a then young Reyes girl. Long since buried in the sand, we can only hope it is resting in peace.


One Response to “Cemetery Caper”

  1. I remember this episode!!! How could I have missed this hilarious account of that night!! You never fail to amaze me!! xoxo!

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