So, Halloween is coming...
The rather fantastic Nicola at micro-chasms wrote a post a while back about a game she played with her husband: Happy (and) in Bed?
The version that Aksel and I play is a bit more weird and has more elements of zombies, but essentially it is a similar idea. It started 12 years ago when we lived in Jutland. In the middle of nowhere. A little way down the road was a deserted (haunted), derelict (possessed) house.
On cold, stormy, very dark nights, while we lay all cosy in bed, we would ask each other: How much money would you need to.... and then the question would end with variations on the theme of getting up, (possibly) getting dressed, going to the creepy house and spending the night there (often in the basement), usually without a torch.
Although the question was obviously hypothetical, the rule is that you have to answer as though the money is on the table - yours for the taking.
Aksel is quite a lot cheaper than me and I definitely value my nightmare-free sleep more than him. He'd normally do it for 50,000 DKK whereas I would sometimes need that much just to get out of bed.
Years later, we moved to suburbia north of Copenhagen, in a cul-de-sac of tightly packed neighbours where everyone knew everyone else's business but pretended not to. The game changed a little.
There were no haunted houses in the vicinity. But if the Scandinavians actually used net curtains, they definitely would have been twitching. So the question was along the lines of How much money do you need to get out of bed right now, hop around naked to the neighbours and ask to borrow sugar? Extra money was awarded if you called upon the slightly freaky Ned Flanders-type family. Again, I valued my dignity and continued ability to live amongst these people slightly more than Aksel, who argued that they didn't speak to us anyway, so it wouldn't make much difference.
Since moving again this year, we are in the position to add the Zombie element to the question. There is a small building a little way down our street, full of nothing else but freezers, buzzing away. We think it is a left over from the days before folk had their own freezers, but a more plausible explanation is that it houses a dozen frozen zombies. All waiting to come and frighten us the day the power fails, eat our food (or us), and watch our telly.
Now Aksel, who has been known to read How to Survive a Zombie Attack guides, has got quite good at freaking himself out with this little story. And when the question comes up How much money do you need to go and spend the night in the zombie house... I am normally pretty willing to go for not so much, considering the inconvenience. Whereas on particularly dark nights Aksel can refuse all monetary compensation whatsoever.
Have you seen how fast those things can move? he asks.