It’s the spookiest time of year and you’ve either just completed your intricate “Slacker” costume or have merely decided to be “Drunk” for Halloween. Either way, if you’re like some of the DJs at KUTX (or as the Wiccan community calls us, “KUT-Hex”), then you’ve been binge watching horror movies the past week and finding that you just can’t relate. How are you going to find the time to be a teenage babysitter or spend a night in a secluded cabin in between all the live music? Thankfully, we’ve got some local nightmare scenarios that’ll scare the pants off your “Sexy Congressman” costume and keep your heart pumping throughout All Hallow’s Eve (or as some debonair night owls call it, “All’s Shallow Eve”). Read on…IF YOU DARE.
Drag Bats – “Scare Some Change?”
An eager crowd gathers on the Congress Avenue Bridge as the sun begins to set. As bugs swarm and people whip out their camera phones, the hundreds of Mexican freetail bats calmly disperse themselves across the city, with most of the colony relocating to Guadalupe. Once the mini-colonies have settled, the bats begin convulsing under the glow of the moon and transform into disheveled humans with canine teeth. A cursory internet search reveals that countless vagabonds were struck with vampirism in the 19th century, a curse that has only recently been lifted. With the ruffians, rapscallions, transients converted back to their natural form, Austinites are now eternally plagued by outdated facial hair and old timey banjo performances that are somehow more irritating than their hip modern counterparts. With their resources quickly depleting, a motley crew of mismatched Drag Rats must unite to defeat the Bud(weiser)-thirsty Drag Bats or face extinction! Despite the high tension, many Austinites walk past this dramatic action every single day, often refusing to remove their earbuds or even glance over.
Pubmauler – “Three Death Minimum”
A group of old friends starts what should have been an ordinary night on a Pubcrawler. But after the first bar on Dirty Sixth, the friends notice one of them is missing. They reassure one another that their lost comrade can “handle themself” and continue onto the next bar…where another one of the companions mysteriously disappears. As their numbers dwindle, the remaining few debate whether or not they should call it a night and search for their friends or keep on pedalling. After a brief argument the group decides they cannot afford to stop now and push onto the next bar. When it narrows down to just two people left the real dilemma becomes apparent: they must either pedal on despite the lack of manpower, face certain doom by either losing one another or succumbing to alcohol poisoning at the next bar, or embrace the ultimate humilation of abandoning their tabs (and reputation among Dirty Sixth socialites).
BYOBrains – “At Brainklin Barbecue”
It’s a morning like any other in Austin; around a hundred tired-eyed people prepare to wait up to five hours to get food at Franklin’s BBQ. As the air is filled with the sweet smell of brisket and impatience, the calm is broken by a shrill scream as someonein the extensive line is bitten. Before there’s time to react, the entire block is infected with what can only be described as The Hunger. Whether those in line were zombies before the doors opened is debatable (their tired appearance hasn’t changed much; if anything they actually look more alive) but now the city is threatened by the sudden outbreak. With Franklin’s compromised, hungry Austinites must resort to other restaurants for food. Unfortunately most food places are covered in decorative cobwebbing, leading to food contamination and disease among those who aren’t undead. The clusters of fake cobwebbing begins inexplicably multiplying in a Blob-esque situation even outside restaurants, and Austin is soon covered in a thin film that obscures vision. As the best minds in science come together to discuss a solution, their problems are compounded when the (disembodied) original Emo’s bathroom materializes above ground for the first time in years and becomes a disturbing center of congregation. To stop the outbreak, humans must brave the perils of the Emo’s bathroom and discover a cure. Nobody volunteers.
Pumpkillers: Horror in Horse Boots – “Spice Up Your Death”
Panic erupts at coffee shops across town when a young woman orders a Pumpkin Spice Latte – the very last one in existence. After the initial in-store verbal exchange of rage and confusion, flocks of young women scramble across the city in search of their precious pumpkin spice. Once these women realize their efforts are futile (following a mass martyrdom of fallen baristas), they break off into violent factions of “Pumpkillers” that rob convenience stores of all their seasonal pumpkin ales and manufacture their own bathtub pumpkin spice lattes with it. Anyone in the street drinking coffee is an easy target for mugging by strung-out Pumpkillers, who have now manage to move quickly in complete silence despite their horseriding boots. With the city under constant assault by Pumpkillers, families must adapt if they want to provide for a memorable Halloween experience; faced with the drastic shortage of pumpkins (now assumed to be extinct) people switch over to carving oranges. However, come the fateful day, the majority Austinites fail to remember that oranges are flammable and fire engulfs numerous household porches. In a world ravaged by Vitamin C-fueled flames and coffee-crazed hipsters, only the coming of Winter and its respective seasonal ales can save Austin.
The East Side of Hell – “Beast Side King”
A little bit of rain does nothing to deter booze hounds in search of a quick meal, but when lightning strikes the 6th & Waller Food Trailer park, the engines of food trucks ominously rumble in synchronicity. The trucks are alive – and they want what’s theirs…food. The sight of high beams and sound of screeching tires in conjunction with the smell of fried food fill the East Side with terror as foolhardy pedestrians are baited with delicious high-calorie meals and quickly plowed over and harvested. A convoy of ravenous food trucks makes Christine look like a wind-up car. Residential buildings are largely demolished, with only carports and garages remaining – where food trucks slumber between their feasts. A mob arms themselves with torches and pitchforks (after unsuccessfully attempting to live a life of eating at restaurants and at home instead) and marches to 6th & Waller. In a fleeting moment of human triumph over machine, the mob cheers when they finally destroy a vehicle in a heap of fire. Unfortunately as the smoke clears, smiles contort to frowns as the mob realizes they’ve just demolished a Google self-driving car. Now their only shot at survival is to assume some semblance of responsibility by regularly going to the grocery store instead…humanity is doomed.
Lost In City Limits – “Population: Full”
In a freak migration (perhaps resulting from a mass scheduling error), thousands of out-of-towners arrive for Fun Fun Fun Fest a week early…simultaneously. As Austinites prepare their bug out bags in fear of a tourist-induced doomsday, dregs of disoriented and confused SXSW 2016 attendees show up months ahead of time. Upon seeing Austin in its natural form, uninhibited by music festivals, countless are taken by the city’s quaint charm and decide that they could totally live here. Within hours bags are unpacked for good and Austin’s population skyrockets with no relief in sight. Bars soon become Thunderdome-esque venues of combat in an effort to control population density, the epicenter of which is the Violent Crown – where combatants duke it out for a spot in line to get ridiculously cheap beer. In a paranormal twist (the likes of which only M. Night Shyamalan could predict/concoct) the legendary ghosts that are purported to occupy the Driskill make themselves apparent to all – only to relocate to more affordable and quiet living far from downtown, aka the Historic “Haunted” District. With spirits dispersed across the city and housing costs shooting up astronomically from the influx of people, long time residents find themselves moving into the Haunted District. Many feel like ghosts of the old city as central Austin becomes solely inhabited by transplants and pre-2015 Austinites begin to turn transparent. With their solidity jeopardized and plenty of ectoplasm to go around, neighborhoods full of Austinites have to haunt the ever-loving crap out of the transplants to the point that they move out and Austin as we know it is saved from vanishing.
These premises don’t have adaptations…yet (get at us, Hollywood;). But if you live here, your heart may be pounding from the fear and dread instilled in these vignettes. Good luck sleeping tonight and this Halloween, be sure to Keep Austin Feared!
– Jack Anderson