"I hate this holiday." Doctor Johnathan West cleaned egg off of the card-reader, swiped his ID, and entered the S & C Plastics building. Had this been any other Foundation-owned location, the jokers who had decided to plaster the site in chicken ovum (some of which smelled like it had been rotting since Easter) would've been detained. But no; instead, this was Site 87, and was in the backwoods town of… let's just call it Backwoods, and people would get suspicious of kids disappearing.
West nodded to the girl at the reception desk and took a pair of mini Twix bars out of the stainless steel bowl placed there. He noticed that someone had attached a note reading "Take Only Two" to the bowl, and had left a plastic severed hand in it. Cute, but everyone knew 330 was locked up in another site. Nothing like that would be here, and besides, they never decorated the site anyway.
He took out his Foundation-issue smartphone (quintuple encrypted, needed at least 6 different pass-codes to unlock, pain in the ass if the screen didn't respond) and checked his e-mail. He saw the invitation to the Site 87 Halloween party and automatically deleted it; after the fiasco last year, he wasn't about to go again. They'd yet to figure out who spiked the punch with E-5719, and Agent Ewell still turned yellow if you got him angry enough.
Ewell's used to being yellow, I'm sure.
Also in his e-mail was an invitation to Dr. Pickman's online seminar regarding anomalous works of literature ("Maybe I'll go to one of Pickman's lectures when he stops being such a self-important blowhard."), a reminder from Doctor Margaret Reese in Biology that it was his turn to pick up coffee tomorrow, and something about a pool for buying Halloween candy. He shrugged, pocketed his phone, and headed for his office in the inanimate objects wing.
"Oh, come on! Twice in two days?!" Once again, Site 87's exterior was coated with eggs, and this time, toilet paper, too. The security staff were scratching their heads, but West had to give the pranksters credit, they were efficient. In the space of only a single night, they had practically mummified Site 87 with sticky egg residue and toilet paper all over. On his drive around town to the local Dunkin' Donuts, he had seen that about a quarter of the houses had been either egged, TP'd, or both. The rest were perfectly intact, with their Jack O' Lanterns grinning, their fake cobwebs untorn and the foam gravestones sticking out of their yards unbroken.
Security was baffled, nonetheless. In the break room, the guards were talking about how nobody showed up on the hidden cameras, and that eggs and rolls of Charmin were being thrown at the building from just off of the frame. When security actually went outside the building to confront the vandals, nobody was there. West had to admit that was just a tad disconcerting, but it was security's problem, not his.
West traveled to his office and spent the rest of the day alternately looking out his window at the cleaning crew, checking his e-mail, and attempting to concentrate on a report about E-331.
Everyone was asking the same questions all day: "How the fuck did they get on the roof?!" "And who the hell makes toilet paper rolls that long?!"
A reminder to all staff was issued that "All Halloween costumes based on Keter Class SCPs are forbidden. Most of them are classified, anyway. And yes, this does include -ahem- "sexy" costumes based off of SCP-682." West sighed at the fact that they had to be reminded of that. He remembered briefly considering taking a Class-Omega amnesiac after seeing one of those aforementioned costumes at a party three, four years ago. 682 with tits was just… wrong.
"Sorry, West. You pulled the shortest straw. You gotta go buy the candy." West gave Dr. Reese a look, and held up his straw for comparison to the others, sighing. Melbourne was grinning like a fool, but Reese smiled at West. "C'mon. It's for the kids. And don't buy all black licorice; we want people in this town to think we're not completely evil." She handed West the money collected for the candy pool (about 400 dollars), as well as an extra 50. "The janitorial staff is running low on detergents."
Poor Maggie. If only she knew how Johnny felt…
"Got it. Mind if I use your van? I worked all night, and left my car in the lot…"
"Can't even see out of the windshield." Reese handed West her keys and nodded to him on his way out.
West drove through town, noticing that there were far more houses with decorations and far fewer houses that had been vandalized… he wondered if there was a connection, and remembered he had to tell someone back at the Site about that. For now, he had to focus on getting the treats for the kids (why Site 87 decided to hand out candy annually was beyond him; something about "Community Outreach". From a supposed plastics company.) and wondering what, exactly, was so bad about black licorice. It was delicious, once you acquired the taste for it.
An hour later, he drove back to the site. It was getting dark out. As he drove down a side street, he saw, out of the corner of his eye, a roll of toilet paper being thrown at a house lacking decorations. That tore it; he was going to find out who these little pricks were. He slammed on the brakes, took out his smart phone, and… took a photograph of a toilet paper roll throwing itself at a house.
And then an egg came sailing at his face. He quickly ducked back into his car and drove off, cursing loudly. "I HATE Halloween!"
"Let me get this straight," said a research assistant from the back of the presentation hall. "Living rolls of toilet paper? And… they attack undecorated buildings?
"Pretty much," West said rubbing his eyes, "But they're just autonomous. Not alive." The photograph he took with his smartphone was on display on the projector screen behind him; the director of the site had approved the meeting at the last minute because, in her words, "If it means we stop smelling egg everywhere, it's worth it".
"It explains why the security cameras didn't see anything; there was nothing to see. Just toilet paper flying at the building from nowhere."
Dr. Reese chimed in. "And how they got onto the roof… but what about the eggs?"
"I don't know, maybe it's a poultrygeist. I honestly don't know." He looked at the picture behind him and sighed. "I hate this holiday."
"Well, what can we do? Do we attempt to incinerate them?" Everyone stared at the person who made the suggestion incredulously; it was the same research assistant, who sank in his seat. "…right, I know, Special Containment Procedures, not Special Destruction Procedures. Just a suggestion…"
"Well, firstly… I propose we attempt to catch a 'live' specimen, and then attempt to…" West sighed. "Protect ourselves from this phenomenon." He picked up a box next to him and opened it; it was full of foam gravestones, fake cobwebs, and chains of plastic skull-lights. "Right. Once we actually catch one of these things, we… decorate the site. I've asked the horticultural department to provide a number of pumpkins for those who want to do Jack O' Lanterns and you'll find decorative materials by all the entrances. Any questions?"
Reese smirked at West. "I thought you hated this holiday, Johnathan."
"Desperate times, Doctor. Any other questions?" Nobody spoke up. "Right then. Let's get to work."
"Congratulations, agent. You've managed to successfully contain a roll of Charmin and some dairy products." Dr. West watched the new E-Class Object, E-5768, through the plexiglass window. It looked ridiculous; it was a roll of toilet paper, with a dozen eggs orbiting around it. Every time an egg got broken or thrown, a new one spontaneously generated itself. Dr. West was making notes on his clipboard. "Ectoentropic properties… telekinetic in nature… and… What do you think, Ewell? Safe-class or just Anomalous Item? The latter means I have less paperwork to do…"
Agent Ewell stood next to West, with literal egg on his face. It had taken him over an hour of driving around town to capture a specimen and then he had to grab it with a butterfly net… he didn't expect eggs to come flying out of nowhere. And now, he looked like an omelet. "Sir?"
"With all due respect, there are some times when I really fucking hate this town."
"Could be worse. You could be assigned to active MTF duty trying to contain sapient fungus or something."
"I'd take the fungus over this place any day."
West picked up a box of plastic vampire bats and handed them to Ewell, picking up a box of orange streamers for himself. "Shut up and help me decorate; we're supposed to have the western half finished by 1600 hours."
"Well, looks like your brilliant theory was correct, Doctor! Not a single egg or roll of paper on the building this morning!" Reese held up her coffee. "I propose a toast! " The rest of the break room all held up invisible glasses and said "Hear hear!"
West smiled amicably, running his hands through his hair. "Thank you, but there is no guarantee that the events will not occur again in another year…"
"They ain't egged us today, and that's what matters!" Matterson sighed. "Guess we can all get back to work now that we don't have to help scrape eggs off the building."
"Just in time for the party, too. Ya goin', West?" Reese grinned at the doctor.
"I don't think so, no." This was met by sarcastic boos and hisses. "Oh, so sue me if I don't want to have purple skin and blue hair until Christmas this year, too!"
"That was a fluke, West, and you know it."
"Tell that to Ewell."
"Even I'm going, despite what happened! C'mon, John, don't be a Hallowiener…" Eventually, after much encouragement and friendly jabbing, West agreed to go. He supposed he could always dig out that gorilla costume, even if it was a pain to breathe in.
For today, though, they'd just have to put up with giving out candy to the kids who came around. They kept the best for themselves, of course. And through it all, West couldn't help but find himself smiling. It had been a long week, but it had also been a pretty good one. So what if the place still smelled of egg and there were a few scraps of toilet paper on the walls? The anomaly was contained, he was appreciated by his co-workers, and he might even get an official commendation. For putting up decorations!
After the trick-or-treaters were gone and most of the staff had either gone to their apartments in town or their on-site quarters, he leaned against the door to his office, talking with Dr. Reese and chewing on some licorice. "You know," Reese said, "If I didn't know better, I'd say you're starting to like this holiday, Mr. Grinch."
"It's nice enough, I suppose." He looked at his watch. "Five minutes til Halloween. After tomorrow, this crazy month will finally be over."
"This is Halloween, This is Halloween…" Reese grinned at a rather unamused looking Dr. West. At least, he looked unamused because of the gorilla mask. "What? Not going to comment on my costume?"
"…a skeleton in a pinstripe suit?"
"Jack Skellington! Right, I forgot, you don't watch holiday movies."
"I do! I watched Charlie Brown Christmas, It's Thanksgiving Charlie Brown…"
"But not the Halloween one, I bet. Now come on. Everyone's waiting to see the man of the hour." She dragged him towards the break room, where the a techno version of The Phantom of the Opera was playing. Everyone was dressed up in hokey costumes, and, thank god, nobody was dressed as a skip. Everyone who recognized Dr. West gave him a pat on the back, everyone was dancing, and the punch wasn't spiked! Well, there was some vodka in it, but no amnesiacs, no chemicals that alter skin color, nothing anomalous. It looked like it was going to be a good night.
And then the containment breach alarms went off, along with the music. Everyone groaned, and the site director (dressed as the Black Knight from Monty Python) stepped up to tell everyone that it was a small breach, only one item, Safe class…
It was at that exact time that E-5768 flew into the room. Everyone flinched at the menacing roll of Charmin floating 3 meters above the ground, threatening to throw eggs at anyone who moved. It floated over to the DJ booth, and bumped into the record player, starting it up again. And then… E-5768 started dancing. If you could call it that. It wiggled and swayed about in midair, doing elaborate loops and trailing paper behind it. Everyone stared.
"…should we contain it?" Boris Badenov, AKA Agent Ewell, looked around the room at everyone, wishing he had his .45.
"…well," Doctor West said, "I suppose it's not hurting anything. So long as it's not flinging eggs around randomly, I guess it can wait until morning." Everyone nodded in agreement; the world wasn't going to end because a sentient roll of toilet paper wanted to have a good time.
The party continued long into the morning hours of November 1st, after Halloween was officially over. Dr. West and Dr. Reese were the last to leave the party, after West had escorted E-5768 back to its containment chamber. He held his gorilla mask under his arm and sighed. "Have I ever told you how much I love this time of year?"
Dr. Reese elbowed him in the side and laughed.