only on vashon – the weekly rundown 11/5/2021

We had a proper Halloween in town with costumes and candy.

My husband went dressed as a giant inflatable polar bear. He could barely see through the small plastic peep hole in the front, he had to shuffle as he walked because the costume’s legs were stumpy, and he could barely hear over the sound of the motor. 

While our older daughter hit up every trick-or-treat stop along the highway multiple times with an ever-growing flock of children, our younger daughter and I were in charge of guiding my husband around. We held his hands and warned him whenever there was a step, or a low-hanging branch, or a dog dressed as a lion. Managing his snout’s clearance under the branches lining the IGA parking lot was a lot like driving a Uhaul.

We had to pass candy to him through the only opening in the suit- the footholes. 

We ran into people we hadn’t seen in ages, and whenever they approached, I’d have to shout to him who they were. “IT’S CATHY. HER KIDS WANT TO GIVE YOU HIGH FIVES. I TOLD THEM THEY CAN PUNCH YOU.”

He got photographed by Jim and made it into the Halloween photo post, which made all the effort worthwhile. 

There were some creative costumes, but the one that sticks out most in my memory was the couple dressed as a stackable washer/dryer and an asphyxiation specialist. I didn’t think it was possible to dress up as the embodiment of Facebook drama, but they pulled it off. 

Halloween costume of a washer/dryer set
This has become the new cover photo for Vashonites Rant

And then there was the giant bottle of Purell, a reminder of the ones we carry as talismans against the plague. 

Ring around the Rosie, pocket full of Purell.
Tell me I’m not the only one who infers a saucy narrative from this setup.

Now that Halloween is over, we can move on to an important local issue: the horse.

There’s this sign hanging near AJ’s Espresso. It has a picture of a horse, and the caption, DO NOT ASSIST HIM.

In my role as investigative blogger, I researched how to read a QR code, which involved downloading a QR code reading app and learning how to use it. I scanned the QR code and it took me to a five minute video of horses running. Nothing in the video gave a clue as to why we shouldn’t help this particular horse. I emailed the address on the flyer, but got no response. 

This leaves us no recourse except to speculate wildly. We’re told he’s a service horse who can fetch groceries. I practically live at Thriftway, and I think I’d notice if there was a horse shopping there. But it’s possible that he’s always just an aisle away. We can never really know the depth of our own ignorance. 

We also get this lovely tangential story in the comment thread: “I knew a guy who got so many DWIs and jail times that he rode his horse to the bar and the horse would take him home when it was no longer able to control it. No problem. Until one night he went out of the bar and no horse. Someone had stolen it.”

Perhaps the horse put up the poster because he doesn’t want to be reunited with a drunkard.

The plot thickens, as another poster was spotted near the hardware store.

This QR code on this one led to a video about Parents and Homeowners West King County Safety Association, which I’m pretty sure is not a real thing, telling about an upcoming winter picnic and someone named Samantha running for an unnamed office. 

Some islanders were appalled by the quality of writing on this poster and think maybe the horse needs a proofreader.

I emailed the following to the address listed on the poster:

Hi Phwkcsa,

I’ve seen your poster in town, and I have some questions. Who is Samantha and what office is she running for? Why is she so afraid of the horse? Is the horse a danger to others? Is the horse in danger?

Thank you,


I got the following response a few hours later:

Hello fellow West King Countians, I am sorrowful to alarm you that this email is no longer in use. we [sic] have allocated all of our precious recourses [sic] to finding the Horse and the Horse Culprits. We are now using to answer questions about our organization. Good days people of West King County.

They really do need a proofreader. 

When I emailed the new address, I got an error message that the address doesn’t exist.

I can only assume that the horse has deleted the email address from the server, or perhaps from the space-time continuum entirely.

We also learn that horses only type with one finger because everything from what looks like the knee down is actually just a finger.

One islander taught us this horrifying fact: “Everything circled in red is a finger. One long, creepy finger.”

Also, someone has made T-shirts:

I Can’t wait to dress up as a horse-related typo for Halloween next year. 

But none of this answers the question about the horse. Is it dangerous? Is it involved in crime? Is horse crime on the rise? Are children being taught horse propaganda in schools? Is our society, the world’s greatest and strongest and bestest nation, vulnerable to horse?

Finally, a beautiful brown horse was seen on the loose, galloping along Monument Road and Quartermaster.

Anna Shomsky
Author: Anna Shomsky

I'm a former teacher and a data engineer living on Vashon Island. My writing has appeared in Five on the Fifth, Women on Writing and on the Post-Culture Podcast. I wrote and produced the radio show Whispers of Vashon for 101.9 KVSH. I’ve had short stories published in the anthologies Island Stories and Chicken Scratchings, as well as through the Open Space Literary Project.

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