It was a dark and stormy morning in Forest Park. I awoke with a sense of dread. My fears were realized when I discovered the coffee pot had mysteriously been drained of all its fluids. Getting through the day without caffeine would be like facing vampires without a wooden stake, but I headed for work anyway.

As I stepped out the door, I saw that one of the houses on my block had become … haunted. It was lifeless, like a tomb, and it looked like the mortgage company had wiped out all its inhabitants. I shivered at the thought as I drove oh so carefully through the construction on Harvard. The scarred landscape made me feel like I was marooned on Mars.

As I turned on Jackson, I felt a frightening knock on my right rear tire. Had I struck one of those illegal curb cuts the commissioners are trying to protect us from? No, it was a surprise attack from one of the new bump outs.

At the post office, the squat building had barely a pulse. I plunged my hand into the mailbox, hoping to grab a life-sustaining check. My hand was shaking as I removed the lone envelope. It wasn’t a check; it was a list of bloodthirsty vampires who’ve been sucking me dry. That’s right, my property tax bill.

Deeply shaken by how much the Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District was taking, I headed for the bank. I parked at one of meters where I had always deposited my dime. I was staggered to see a pay box, like some alien life form, had taken its place. Could my worst nightmare be true – did the village sell the parking meters?

I checked my account at the ATM, stifling a scream when I found its lifeless form drenched in red. I fled into Oak Park, carefully parking where the Orange Ticket People couldn’t assault my windshield. I walked past the YMCA and my spine shivered as I remembered the deal to move the Y to Forest Park was dead, dead, dead.

Turning the key in my office door, I heard fluttering. A raven, disguised as a sparrow, had squeezed through the space around the air conditioner. Seized with horror, I pounded down the hallway to beg the ladies in the front office to save me.

They couldn’t get rid of the evil creature, so I crept past the bird to search for a sanctuary to settle my shattered nerves. I went to the one place in Forest Park where I could find comfort. Strolling past the headstones of Forest Home Cemetery, I was at ease knowing that everything here was in its rightful place.