The Spike's family holds a fierce belief that everything from holidays to horoscopes is the work of Satan, so The Spike had "Egg and Bunny Day" instead of Easter, and went to church carnivals instead of celebrating Halloween. When trick-or-treating, The Spike was escorted by its pistol-toting father because Satan sometimes gives out razor blades and LSD.
But in sixth grade, The Spike sneaked out to a secular haunted house and, almost parable-like, the costumed demons jumping out of corners made The Spike pee its pants and cry. The Spike decided that perhaps an alternative Halloween was the way to go, and attended church haunted houses instead. These hallowed houses taught the evils of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll and told how Satan forced people to commit suicide, have premarital sex and smoke pot.
This year, The Spike decided to relive the nostalgia and go to Judgement House at First Baptist Church in Mesa, just for old times' sake.
At Judgement House, the vacationing Mike and Jennifer encounter Lisa, an old friend who used to have blue hair and tattoos who was going on a mission trip. Jennifer accepts Christ on the plane, but Mike refuses, much to his chagrin when the plane crashes and he shows up in (yep, you guessed it... ) H-E-L-L.
That'll teach him to deny our Lord and savior.
The peppy teen leaders in their bare-midriff hip-huggers ask, "If you were to die today, do you know where you'd spend eternity?"
After looking at the dead bodies from the wreckage, everyone goes to hell, which is on the patio. It seemed to The Spike that, since Satan controls all of the wealth and power of the earth, his digs would be more indicative of his status as King of Hell. But it's possible that the penalty for defying God is living forever on a patio in Mesa, surrounded by black tarps.
Of course, Jesus didn't fare any better. Heaven was a funeral-home-like room covered in cotton, gold lamé and plastic flowers. And poor Jesus' hands were still bleeding when he came to welcome The Spike home. You'd think that after 2,000 years, he could have had that looked at.
After being condemned to a life of eternal torment, The Spike was hardly in the mood to reflect on its spirituality. But the Judgement House folks seemed to think warnings of hell would spur people into accepting Christ because nothing motivates love and trust better than the threat of eternal damnation. They must have been right, because three people raised their hands.
But Judgement House left The Spike feeling more scared than any secular haunted house, and The Spike decided maybe it was time to conquer this irrational fear and an incontinent bladder, and go to the granddaddy of haunted houses: Alice Cooper's Nightmare.
Calmly, The Spike purchased a ticket and got in line behind a group of boisterous young men trying to psych themselves up for the horror. They told The Spike they had done shots of Jagermeister before arrival to calm their nerves.
Damn. The Spike should have thought of that.
They agreed to protect The Spike, should any danger arise, and one named Chad (a.k.a. Man-Whore) offered The Spike his arm for clawing. "My arm doesn't feel pain," he claimed, proudly.
Great. There's nothing that makes The Spike feel safer than being surrounded by a bunch of drunken guys unable to feel pain.
Once inside, a computer-generated Alice Cooper (arguably one of the scariest things in the known universe) mumbled some instructions before opening the door and motioning us inside the place where Cooper said we would "sweat and laugh and scream."Gulp.
The problem with haunted houses is that, like bees and dogs, actors in costumes can smell fear. They instantly knew The Spike was a huge pussy. One began following The Spike, shouting, "Nibble, nibble, nibble" in a maniacal voice that would frighten even Jesus. It made everyone else laugh more than scream, but The Spike was traumatized. That thing wanted to eat The Spike's ears.
Soon, there were three ghouls tormenting The Spike from room to room as The Spike desperately clung to Chad's button-down Henley, using him as a human shield.
But then the tables turned.
A man with short, bleached hair tried to scare The Spike. But before he could say "Boo," one of The Spike's new friends remarked that he looked like Billy Idol. The Spike uncovered weeping eyes and realized that the guy did, in fact, look just like Billy. The Spike told him so, and Billy let The Spike pass.
The Spike tried this in several other rooms. The Spike clapped for the Angel of Death (who bowed to the praise) and tried joking with the faux smack addicts as they exploded a toilet full of goo. Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel appeared: the parking lot.
The Spike was free! Hope was soon crushed as a tattooed man with a chain saw cornered The Spike on the exit ramp. The Spike tried to jump over the railing, but tattoo man was too fast.
Trapped, The Spike could do nothing but face it, so with a gulp, a breath, and a tight clutch on Chad's pain-free arm, The Spike walked bravely past.
Ha ha, Satan, get thee behind The Spike!
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After some reflection, The Spike realized that the deep-seated fear of haunted houses was probably a bit irrational. Alice Cooper's Nightmare is still less scary than, say, spending eternity in a lake of fire or shaking the bloody hand of Jesus.
So if you see one haunted house this weekend, see Alice Cooper's Nightmare. Tell Billy and the "Nibble, nibble, nibble" guy The Spike says hello.
But if you're feeling like being told you could die tonight and go to hell, Mike and Satan will be waiting for you on the patio.
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