"There," Susan sighed as she pushed the last shipping container into place. As it hit the ground it kicked up a cloud of dry autumn earth that made The Missing Link cough. He blinked and waved the dust from his face as the giant stood and brushed off her hands. "You guys sure you can get it all set up? I can stay and help for a little bit, I have time."
"That won't be necessary, Susan, we have plenty of capable hands. And I do believe the decoration requires a more- delicate touch," Dr. Cockroach called up to her. He was busy scurrying between several animatronics and a homemade generator, testing each of them before they were whisked away and set into place by volunteers.
"What's that supposed to mean? I'm a halloween expert!" Susan crossed her arms in defiance as she eyed the truckloads of props being unloaded.
"It means we found the zombie you tried to set up earlier," Link mentioned with a smirk and a nod back towards the truck. Susan winced a bit.
"I was hoping no one would notice that…" she breathed. They wouldn't be getting their rental deposit back.
"We love you, Suz, but nothing you do is hard to notice. Poor guy didn't stand a chance." The ape nudged Dr. Cockroach, who was suppressing a giggle.
"Man, it's not fair." Susan dropped into a cross-legged sit with a thud that rumbled the immediate area. "Decorating is my favorite part of Halloween."
"It's the price you pay for having stupid-cool superpowers and being a global hero." The Missing Link flexed his arms as he spoke, striking a heroic pose. Susan looped her little finger through the crook of his elbow and curled, lifting him effortlessly off the ground. Link held his arm steady and allowed himself to be elevated. At one time this would have spooked him, but now it was an exchange that happened often between the two of them. The giantess couldn't help but crack a smile that spread to her finned friend, and after a few bounces she let him safely to the ground.
"Don't get too down on yourself, dear. Stay with us a bit and lend your expertise. Here." The doctor scooped up his clipboard and clamped it between his teeth, so as to use his hands to scurry up Susan's side and sit on her shoulder. From his perch he flipped through the clipped pages and found the plans. He held the clipboard in front of Susan's face, but it was too small for her to see. She took it gently from him and held it at a distance with two fingers, squinting intently. "The patrons will enter here, and exit here," Dr. Cockroach illustrated, connecting the drawing to the complex of containers before them. "The last two rooms go to Link and I, and the rest will be stuffed with actors and animatronics. Bob and Butterflyosaurus will be outside for pictures, under Monger's supervision of course."
Susan nodded, handing the clipboard back to the doctor.
"How are you decorating your rooms?" Susan asked, curiosity and a twinge of caution in her voice.
"Well, I can't speak for Link, but I'm just moving some of my older experiments in. They're already rather crude and dusty, so I thought they'd fit in nicely." Susan turned her head and gave the mad scientist a skeptical look. "So long as nobody touches anything, it's perfectly safe." It was a futile attempt to reassure her, she merely blinked at him to renew her stare. With a sigh he conceded. "Very well, I'll go rummage for some more stable decor." He bit his clipboard again and scurried back down Susan's side.
"I think that's a great idea," She added.
"At least he'll listen to one of us," Link huffed as he set down a large box.
"I just figure, since the proceeds are going to repair the children's hospital, we don't need to send them any new patients." The ape chuckled at the response as he straightened his back.
"You sure you don't wanna stay? People will be pretty psyched to see you."
"No, I'm going to my parents. The only time I ever missed a Murphy Halloween was last year, Derek dragged me to some party another anchor was throwing."
"Oh geez," Link winced.
"It was a horrible party too, and he spent the whole time schmoozing to try and get some promotion."
"Why did you even go? He knew how much Halloween meant to you, I assume," asked Dr. Cockroach, who had returned with a crate of discarded equipment.
"He was always so pushy, but I guess I was kindof a pushover. If I'd have known it was the last Halloween I'd be able to fit in the house I'd probably have put my foot down," Susan answered lightly.
"I can think of something else you should've put your foot down on," Link grunted. "Actually, you should invite him to the party. The holiday's a good excuse for me to scare him into next week." Susan had a good laugh.
"As much as I would love to see that, he's the last person I want to spend Halloween with. Today's just me, my parents, and my monsters."
"If I'm not mistaken, it's about time you move out, Little Debbie," Monger barked, appearing from behind the unloaded trucks.
"I think it is," Susan replied, getting to her feet. "Good luck tonight guys! I'll see you after." At the sound of her voice, Bob whizzed over from where he had been chatting with some of the movers.
"Susan! I need my goodbye hug!" The blob stretched his arms up toward Susan, but was interrupted.
"Now wait just a minute, I've got something I want you monsters to see." The general whistled loudly and a large black truck rolled into view. As far as the monsters could tell, it looked like a souped-up, tactical eighteen-wheeler. The great machine hissed to a stop as Monger spoke up again. "This here's the MT-GV, Monster Transport Ground Vehicle."
"A monster truck!" Bob cried out. Link's face brightened and he exchanged a high-five with the blob. Monger grunted, and continued to speak.
"Jet fuel is expensive, and as a certain 50-foot Californian tree-hugger pointed out, we certainly use a lot of it shipping you around." Monger eyed Susan, who smirked slightly. "So, for short-distance monster moving on occasions like tonight when Butterflyosaurus is occupied, we whipped up this little rig."
"Sweet!" Link loped over to the truck, prying the passenger side door open and finding Private Arons in the driver's seat. Link waved her a small salute before barreling past her and into the cab. Bob bounced in behind him, and Dr. Cockroach followed with a little more grace.
Monger waved Ginormica to the rear of the vehicle, where he unhooked the reinforced trailer doors. She knelt to see inside and found the floor was padded, there was a skylight toward the front, and an intercom control on the far wall.
"This will be your quarters. Might be a little tight, but we did our best to make it comfortable. Despite our many loopholes, we did have to keep it street legal."
"It reminds me of the bunk beds at summer camp," She remarked, placing a hand on the cushioning. She leaned in, testing her weight on the trailer. It shifted beneath her, but didn't protest. She carefully clambered inside, laying herself down on the padded interior.
"You in, Suz?" Link asked through the intercom.
"I am," she responded, shifting her shoulders into place. Monger wasn't wrong about it being a little tight.
"Are you comfortable?" Dr. Cockroach's voice buzzed.
"Yeah, it's, uh- cozy," Susan answered, not wanting to sound ungrateful.
"Private Arons will be doing the driving tonight. Soon as the haunt closes the other monsters and I will meet you at your parents' house."
"Sounds like a plan to me. Happy haunting, General." Susan gave a little salute and Monger shut and latched the doors behind her. The muffled sounds of the other three monsters exiting the cab filtered through the trailer walls. A few seconds later, the intercom fired again.
"Ready to go, Ginormica?" Private Arons asked.
"Absolutely," she chimed. She shimmied a bit to settle herself, shaking the whole truck slightly. The engine fired, and Susan felt the trailer lurch forward.
A few minutes into driving, Susan felt her eyelids getting heavy. It was still early in the day, but she and the other monsters had risen before dawn to meet the delivery and assemble the haunt. The close, dark quarters warmed up quickly with her body heat, and the gentle rumbling of the truck was lulling her to sleep. With a yawn she shifted to her side, a little too quickly for Private Arons' liking. The trailer and attached cab shook, and Susan swore she heard a soft yelp from the driver's seat. Quickly, she searched the wall for the intercom and mumbled a word of apology. She let her hand fall limp from the button and carefully folded it beneath her head, feeling her body melt into the padded floor as sleep overcame her.