Another year, another Halloween costume—and this time I’m dressing up as Mario “Spleen-Blaster” Manocchio, the rough-looking gentleman who saunters into my dad’s meat shop once a month to collect a brown paper bag full of hundred dollar bills, under the stipulation that if my dad doesn’t “pay up” he’ll find himself with a “Geiger counter rammed so far up his ass that his nose will start beeping anytime he’s near a power plant.”

When I told my friends that I was going as Mario for Halloween, they laughed and shouted nonsense like “Mario Time!” and “Mario Kart Wii! Wahoo!”, apparently thinking that that I was going for a ‘cute’ or ‘sexy’ costume this year by impersonating Nintendo’s hot little mustachioed plumber. This assumption was false. I told them as much, elaborating that one of the most beloved video game characters of all time could never barge into my father’s protein parlor and threaten to tie a Maserati Quattroporte to his ankle and throw him into the Strait of Messina if he doesn’t “get snappy with the scharole—because this is Cosa Nostra, and that’s how things work in this borgata, capisce?”

It took some convincing, but my friends came around once I showed them a video of Mario shouting point-blank at my dad’s cowering form that if he didn’t “produce the cheddar, and no, not the cheese kind of cheddar” that he’d take my dad’s credit card, go back in time, and invest all of our family savings into faulty mortgage-backed securities just before the Financial Crash of 2008. This really got my friends spooked, and now I can’t wait to see the look on my dad’s face when I come home after trick-or-treating and threaten to beat the living hell out of him with my candy bag if he doesn’t pay me my allowance. Tis the season!

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