Hot water pounded down on Officer Tom Hanson's unruly mop of brown hair. The young officer sighed as the spray relaxed his body, still all knotted up from a poor night's sleep. With out looking, he slapped on the small, waterproof radio that hung in his shower. It had been last year's Christmas gift from his best friend and partner, Doug Penhall.
BOOOOOO! Happy Halloween! The DJ howled over the radio. For all you ghouls and ghosts out there, here is "Thriller"!
Eyes closed, hair filled with shampoo, Hanson sang with the radio. "It's close to midnight! Something evil's a lurking in the dark "
Outside Hanson's front door, Officer Dennis Booker dropped an overflowing shopping bag and hammered on the wooden door jamb. "Dammit, Hanson!" Booker growled.
An old woman, at least eighty years old, shuffled over to the angry officer. She was of Chinese decent and stooped over. Her hair had long ago gone white. "You friend of Officer Tommy's?" She asked in a strong voice. Dennis looked her over. The woman's eyes were still bright and alert despite her great age.
"Yeah. I'm Officer Dennis Booker. Err, Tommy is supposed to give me a ride to work," Dennis held out his badge for the woman. She took it and looked it over.
"Very good. I let you in with pass key," She opened Hanson's door. "You tell Tommy that Mama Chin says Happy Birthday."
"I will," Dennis promised.
"And Happy Birthday to you too, Dennis," She smiled and waddled away. Dennis looked at the retreating figure in shock. How had she known that he and Hanson shared the same birthday?
Booker entered the apartment and sighed. Hanson was no where to be seen. A large shopping bag stood near the couch. It was Hanson's costume. Booker heard water running and decided to follow it. As he got closer, he heard a voice singing: "That it's a thriller, thriller night, 'cause I can thrill you more than any ghost would dare to try. Girl this is thriller, thriller night so let me hold you tight."
'So, Tommy-boy likes to sing in the shower,' Dennis giggled to himself.
Suddenly, a gun pressed against his temple. "Don't move," A voice growled. Dennis turned and let out a sigh. A soaking wet, nude Hanson glared at him as the smaller cop put his gun down. "Booker, what the hell are you doing here?"
"You're supposed to give me a ride to work, remember?" Dennis answered.
"I still had a few minutes before I had to pick you up!" Hanson said as he hurried to put on a pair of clean boxers and jeans. "Just go and fix yourself a cup of coffee."
Dennis turned and scurried into the kitchen. He found a coffee maker ready to go. He turned it on and took out two mugs. One had a scarecrow on it and the other said, "How do you spell relief? S-E-X!"
From his bedroom, Hanson yelled out "Who let you in? You don't have a key."
"Mama Chin did. She said to tell you Happy Birthday."
"Damn," Hanson sighed as he emerged from the bedroom in a plain tee shirt and tight jeans. He slid on a pair of hiking boots, then ran his fingers though his still damp hair. "She always does know stuff."
"Tell me about it!" Booker shivered as he poured coffee in the "Relief-Sex" mug. He sipped it and made a face. "How much coffee do you use? Anyway, she also wished me a Happy Birthday as well. How did she know that?"
"Mama Chin has her ways. I've lived here for three years and I still can't explain it," Hanson took the other mug and filled it with coffee.
The officers finished their coffee in silence. Then, they gathered up their costumes and left. Once in the car, Booker started to light up a cigarette, but Hanson took it from him.
"No smoking in this car, OK?" Hanson shook his head.
"OK, fine," Booker slumped in his seat.
Soon, the pair arrived at Jump Street Chapel. Hanson pulled the car into his normal slot, then shut off the car's engine. "You ready?" Hanson asked.
"Of course," Booker smiled. The officers grabbed their shopping bags. Hanson waved at Blowfish, the maintenance engineer who keep Jump Street Chapel running. The Italian man's eyes widened and he ran up the stairs to the main door of the Chapel.
"What's with Blowfish?" Hanson asked. "Does he owe you money?"
"No," Booker answered confused. "You don't think that the others are "
"No, they wouldn't," Hanson assured him. "They know I don't celebrate my birthday and you hate surprises unless it involves two blondes and a waterbed."
The pair hurried up the stairs. Hanson tried to open the door, but it was stuck. "Damn," He growled. "I thought Blowfish fixed this last week!" Booker slammed his shoulder into the heavy oak door. It still didn't open. Hanson pounded on the door with his open hand. "Hey, guys, open up!" He yelled.
The doorknob giggled. Booker, who was taller than Hanson by several inches, could see Doug Penhall staring through the stained glass.
"Penhall, open the damn door!" Booker ordered.
Hanson stood on his tiptoes and managed to make brief eye contact with Penhall. Penhall smiled, then backed away from the door. Booker swore under his breath. "OK, let's try ramming this freakin' door open!" Booker snarled. He and Hanson slammed into the door and it flew open. A shower of glitter and confetti fell on the two startled officers.
"SURPRISE!" The Jump Street team, Judy Hoffs, Doug Penhall, Harry Ioki, and Captain Adam Fuller and Blowfish, jumped out from behind Hoffs' desk.
Hanson jumped back and squeaked with shock. Dennis shook his head. "They wouldn't do it, huh?" He growled at Hanson.
"Hey, I didn't know! I'm a victim here too!" Hanson held up his hands. A shower of black and orange glitter floated from his hands.
Hoffs ran into the backroom and returned carrying a large cake covered in candles. She counted the candles then yelled, "DOUGLAS JAMES PENHALL! You jerk!"
"What did I do?" Penhall cringed.
"You put on all these extra candles! Dennis and Tom are only 23 years old!" Hoffs scolded.
"Well, each are 23, so that's 23 times two. That's " Penhall's voice trailed off as he did the mental math.
"46," Hanson answered warily.
"Thank you. Then, they each get one extra to grow on, so that two more added to the 46." Penhall justified himself.
"I'll give you one to grow one!" Hoffs snarled at Penhall. Penhall ran behind Hanson and Booker.
"Protect me!" He tried to duck down so he was smaller than Hanson. "She won't kill you, you're one of the birthday boys." Hanson stepped aside so that Hoffs had a clear shot at Penhall.
"Sorry, buddy. You do the crime, you gotta do the time," Hanson grinned evilly.
Hoffs placed the cake on a table, in the middle of plates, napkins, forks, punch and candy and a few presents wrapped in Halloween theme paper. The large sheet cake held two ceramic figurines, one tall with wild dark hair and the other one smaller with unruly brown hair. A vintage Harley and light blue 1968 Mustang rested next to the figures. Mellowcreme pumpkins, candy corn and pieces of candy shaped like bats surrounded the border of the pale orange cake. A few sheaths of wheat, made from brown icing, completed the decorations. Near the little figures, in Hoffs' copperplate handwriting, was HAPPY BOO-DAY DENNIS AND TOM! Candles had been sprinkled about the cake.
"Nice cake," Booker commented. He swiped a dab of icing and popped it in his mouth. "Tastes good too. You make it?"
"Yeah. I came in early so I could finish decorating it." Hoffs blushed. "Hey!" She protested when Hanson stole a piece of candy corn covered in icing.
"Dennis is right. It tastes great!" Hanson smiled. He didn't notice a spot of icing on his check. Penhall came over and wiped it off with a napkin. "Thanks, mom," Hanson teased his best friend.
Captain Fuller grabbed a camera from Ioki's desk. "OK, you guys, stand behind the cake. Dennis, tilt it so I can see it in the camera," He ordered. Hanson stood at the end of the group, but Fuller said, "Tom, you stand with Dennis in the middle. Dennis, lower the cake some. We don't want to waste it on the floor!"
As Fuller took the picture, Penhall reached over and stole a finger full of icing. "PENHALL!" Hoffs cried out in despair.
"Well, Tom and Dennis did it!" Penhall protested.
"It's their birthday!" Hoffs scolded.
"Let's light the candles so we can eat," Fuller suggested. Dennis pulled out his lighter and went to work. By the time he light the candles, there were far more than 48 candles on it, the entire cake was ablaze. Fuller snapped another picture.
"Doug, how many candles did you put on this thing?" Hanson asked, his eyes wide.
"I sorta lost count," Penhall admitted sheepishly. "Everyone sing before we set off the smoke detectors!"
After a hurried rendition of "Happy Birthday," with the word "Birthday" replaced by "Boo-day," Hanson and Booker blew out all the candles. Smoke from the burnt candles filled the Chapel.
"Hey! Open the doors!" Hanson coughed as he fanned his hand in front of his face. Ioki, the one closest to the door, pushed it open as Blowfish turned on the fans. Hoffs cut the cake, giving the first and biggest pieces to Hanson and Booker.
"Can I ask you a question?" Booker asked suddenly, his mouth full of cake.
"Swallow first," Hoffs suggested. Booker hurriedly chewed and swallowed the cake.
"OK, why did you put "Boo-Day" on the cake?" He asked, then shoved more cake in his mouth. "This is great, by the way!"
"Well, you and Tom are "Boo-Babies." You were born on Halloween. That's all," Hoffs flashed a flirty smile.
"You know," Penhall said, his mouth also full with cake. "I heard that Boo- Babies could like see ghosts and stuff better than anyone else. Tom, Dennis, did you ever see any ghosts?"
"No," Booker answered. Hanson frowned, but didn't answer Penhall's question. Penhall quickly covered for his friend's sudden silence. "Hey, why don't you two open your gifts!"
Booker shoveled down the rest of his cake then went over to the table. Hanson put his unfinished piece down and joined the other officers at the table. Fuller passed out the gifts that the Jump Street cops purchased for Hanson and Booker.
"Are you the Great Pumpkin?" Booker teased his captain.
"Shuddup and open them," Fuller lightly shoved Booker.
"Open them! Open them!" Penhall chanted as he bounced from foot to foot.
Booker tore into his gifts, which included a Harley Davidson ID bracelet with his initials on it (from Hoffs), a book of modern Haiku (from Ioki), a naked women's mud wrestling tape (from Blowfish), a book chronicling the history of Harley Davidson (from Penhall), and antique Harley emblems (from Fuller). Hanson took his time; carefully unwrapping the shiny paper so he could save.
"Hurry up!" Penhall wailed.
"I don't want to rip the paper or the ribbons," Hanson protested.
"AGH!" Penhall threw his hands up in the air.
Finally, Hanson removed all the paper and placed it aside. Hoffs had found a man's ring with Hanson's initials and birthstone in his ring size. (Thanks to Hanson's smallness, it was hard to find nice men's rings that fit him.) Ioki gave Hanson a collection of traditional Asian literature. Blowfish's gift was a pumpkin shaped box of Godiva chocolates. Fuller gave Hanson a book on Salem Witch Trials, one of Hanson's favorite time periods. Penhall's gift consisted of two presents: a copy of Stephen King's latest novel, in hardback, then an antique ID bracelet engraved with "Best Friends by Blood, Brothers in Spirit," then Hanson's name, Penhall's initials and the date.
"Thanks," Hanson hugged Penhall.
"Hey, it was nothing," Penhall shrugged.
Hanson drifted away from the group as the others started eating the rest of the food Hoffs had prepared for the small party. He picked up the Stephen King novel and sat on his desk. He opened the novel, but didn't read it. Instead, Hanson watched as the smoke, left over from the candles, and the glitter swirled in the room as the fan pulled it outside. Hanson felt a chill go down his spine as the smoke slowly took a human form. Captain Richard Jenko, the original head of the Jump Street program, and Hanson's father, smiled at the shocked officer.
"Happy Boo-day, Sport," Two voice whispered in Hanson's mind. Then, the smoky, glittery forms dissipated. Hanson looked at his book and let out a small cry. Resting on his lap were a large mood ring, last seen when Jenko was buried, and a pair of dog tags that his father had always worn and had been buried with him.
"Hey, Tommy, you there?" Penhall intruded on Hanson's thoughts.
"Sorry, Doug. I was distracted for a moment," Hanson shook his head.
"You OK? You look like you've seen a ghost!" Penhall joked, but Hanson could see real worry beneath it.
"I think I did," Hanson answered quietly.