AUTHOR'S NOTE: This Three Word Wednesday story features Vince Mott, a character from Diana's Diary, which is part of my Will and Diana series. You can read more about Vince by following the tag at the bottom of the post.
Peru was on watch when they came knocking. They didn't seem like a threat but one could never be sure. He called some of the other gang members over.
Ozone peeked out the crack in the door. "Weird, but they look harmless."
Three brushed her hair out of her face and glanced over his shoulder. "Strange outfits, but they seem like ordinary ankle-biters to me."
"Can't be," Speedball grumbled, reaching for his knife. "It's a trick. They said so themselves."
"Trick or treat," Ozone corrected him.
"So we get a choice. Big deal. I'll show them a trick or two."
The others restrained him before he could go outside and do something rash, but that still left them with the dilemma of what to do about the two costumed children outside the door of their gang's headquarters.
"They could be a decoy," Peru pointed out. "We open the door and whoever put them up to this jumps us."
"It's a possibility," Three said. “I’m inclined to be cautious.”
"But what if they're innocent?" Ozone asked. He peeked out the crack in the door again. "I hate to send them away empty-handed if they're just ordinary kids trying to have a little fun."
Peru and Ozone discussed the matter and agreed to go out via the emergency exit and search the area. Three stayed behind to guard the door, checking from time to time to see if the children were still there.
After a few minutes Vince came around the corner. "What's going on?" He frowned. "You're not supposed to be on watch. Where's Peru?"
Three explained about the trick or treaters. “It’s an old custom from before the Resource Wars.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard of it. What does everyone think this is, the twentieth century?” He looked out the crack in the door. "For figments of someone’s overworked nostalgia, they sure are patient."
"I guess they figure if they wait long enough they'll get a treat."
Vince absently rubbed the blue stripe on his face. "Let's find them some treats, then."
"You're right. The only types of treats we have aren't suitable for children."
They were still pondering when Ozone and Peru returned. "I don't know what their deal is," Peru said, "But they're still out there and we don't see any evidence that it's a trap."
"We need to give them something," Ozone said.
"We’ve got nothing appropriate," Vince reminded him. "What do you want to do, give them some whiskey? Marijuana? Something out of Speedball's meth stash?"
Ozone stalked off in exasperation.
"We'll just tell them we haven't got anything," Three finally said. "We can't let two little vulnerable kids stand out there all night."
Vince agreed. "Give them these." He dug in his pocket and produced two silver coins. "That ought to do it."
Cautiously, Three opened the door.
"Trick or treat!"
She gave the children a tight smile, complimented them on their patience, and gave them each a coin. "Now run along. It's late and you don't want to get in trouble."
The children were about to leave when Ozone came running from the other room. He darted out the door and put something in each child's bag. "You kids have a happy Halloween!"
After a few thank-yous, the children walked away. Ozone went back inside and Peru closed the door. "What did you give them?"
Seeing all eyes upon him, Ozone gave a little shrug. "Nothing much."
Outside, the two costumed children paused under a streetlamp and looked inside their bags. "Beans?" one asked.
"I got hominy."
"I thought grownups were supposed to give candy."
"I guess that's not how they do it anymore."
With small sighs of frustration, the children continued up the street to the next building where lights suggested someone was at home.