“I can’t believe I let you drag me to this,” Bones grumbled.
“Oh, come on, you love this stuff.”
Bones gave him an incredulous look as they stood outside the theater waiting for it to open.
“I do not. First of all, there is no such thing as a headless horseman.” He paused. “There’s no such thing as a headless anything. Well, I mean that still lives…sorta lives. You know.”
Jim chuckled. “It’s all based on folklore. And anyway, tell that to Irving Berlin.”
Bones frowned. “What does he have to do with it?”
“Well, he wrote The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. What we’re about to see.”
“Lord, why do I know you? Irving Berlin wrote White Christmas.”
“Yeah, the song. Sleepy Hollow was by Washington Irving, genius.”
Jim grinned, unphased. “Whatevs. Spock and Uhura are in the play and I said we’d come.”
“What are they playing?”
“Uh. Uhura’s playing Katrina Van Tassel. Spock’s playing the horseman.”
“No, I’m not. She roped him into it. He’s the biggest, strongest looking guy and he fit the costume. Since he didn’t have any actual lines, Spock agreed to this one time performance.”
Bones smirked. “Now I’m actually looking forward to it.”
“Believe me he told me he regrets agreeing. He’s had to do rehearsals every night for two weeks. Comes home every night so exhausted we can’t even—”
Jim rolled his eyes. “I’m just glad this is finally the performance night. Now he can get back to performing—”
“La la la.” Bones stuck his fingers in his ears.
“The doors are opening. Be quiet.”
A couple of hours later, Jim and Bones exited the theater.
“I have to say that was a an unexpectedly chilling performance out of Spock.”
“You mean you almost peed your pants,” Jim joked.
“Not quite, but he does make a believable headless horseman. It was a better time than I thought, Jim. I apologize.”
Jim choked and grabbed his chest. “Oh no, Bones apologized, I’m dying!”
Bones grinned. “Shut up.”
“Why is Jim shutting up?”
Spock had appeared suddenly, it seemed, though Jim was sure it really wasn’t. He still wore the dark clothes and the long cape of the horseman.
“Oh, he isn’t,” Bones said. “He never does. I would think you’d know that. Great performance, Spock. I mean that.”
Spock nodded. “Don’t lose your head over it.” He paused. “I mean that.”
Jim burst out laughing. “You made a joke. You’re so cute.”
Bones gagged. “I see Uhura over there. Gonna say hi. Nighty night, boys.”
Jim grabbed on to the edges of the cape. “I gotta say, you look delicious in this. You should have worn this on the ship.”
“This attire does not meet Starfleet regulations for appropriate attire.”
Jim sighed. “I guess so. It’s cold out here.” He shivered. “If we don’t get home soon my joints are gonna stiffen up. It’s hell getting old.”
“You are hardly old, Jim. Didn’t the Admiralty just send you a message about another five-year mission?”
“Uh-huh. But sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t leave that to younger guys.” He smiled. “Anyway, you ready, honey, or do you have to do something else?”
“I should remove this costume and return it to the costume department. Can you wait here?”
“Sure, but hurry. It is cold.”
Jim moved to the side of the theater to get out of everyone’s way and huddled there. The minutes passed and passed and still Jim was waiting. He would be getting concerned but it was Spock, and no one was more reliable than Spock.
But soon Jim was pretty much the only one still standing outside the theater. He turned to the door, but it was locked. He bit his lip.
“Shit. What do I do now?”
He felt for his communicator even as he heard a noise behind him. Suddenly his heart rate picked up. The show had been spooky. But there were no such things as headless horsemen tossing jack-o-lantern heads at unsuspecting victims.
And yet…why did it sound like the clip clop of horse’s hooves behind him.
Breath held, Jim started to turn around when the theater door opened.
“I am so sorry, Jim.” Spock rushed toward him. “The zipper got stuck and the costume department head wanted to be careful with it so they could use it again in the future. I intended to just rip it.”
Jim blew out his held breath and looked around. There was nothing there. He turned back to Spock, swallowed, and attempted a smile.
He was a starship captain, for God’s sake.
“No big deal. But can we go now? I’m freezing.”
Spock took his coat off and put it on Jim. “Yes, ashayam. We will go now.”
They turned in the opposite direction from the sound Jim heard and he couldn’t help but be glad.
He made it home without losing his head. That was a huge plus.