Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Costume Drama

The first Halloween I can remember I was about four years old. My mother took me to the dime store to get a pretty little costume. How about Raggedy Ann? Nope. A Nurse? Nope. A Bunny? Nope. A Majorette? What's a Majorette? Oh. No. What about Batgirl? No! I want that one! Are you sure? Yes! Yes! That one!

And so it was that I wore a glow in the dark flannel skeleton costume with a bloody skull mask that had a knife handle sticking out of it. I loved that costume. I wore it as my pajamas every night for months. There are two years of Christmas morning pictures with me wearing it. It was soft. It was gory. It glowed in the dark. What more could a little girl want?

I honestly don't remember my mother ever taking me to buy another costume. After that it was "Look in the closet and see if you can make something.", or a series of hand-me-downs. It was one of those hand-me-down costumes that started all my troubles the year of the black eye incident.

I was at the neighborhood park milling about with the witches and scarecrows and robots in Middle Sister's hand-me-down old crone mask and wig. I'd just finished eating about seven cinnamon doughnuts with about ten cups of cider and I was bored. Whichever sister was supposed to be watching me had wandered off so I decided to go home by my seven year old self. That was mistake number one.

Outside the entrance to the park I encountered the neighborhood bully. Not the crazy teenager who shot out all the streetlights with his bee-bee gun and delighted in telling all the children that there is no Santa mind you, it was just the sixth grader who knocked the little kids down to steal their bikes. He didn't scare me one bit. I walked past him without giving him a second glance. Mistake number two.

He catcalled something about being so ugly he couldn't tell if I had on a mask or my face. I wasn't going to let him get away with that! I marched right up to that kid and told him he was a creep. The Creep From The Deep Lagoon! Mistake number three.

Because I hadn't given him a second glance, I didn't notice that one of his friends had circled behind me, grabbed the hood of my coat and was egging him on to sock me one. He did indeed sock me one. Thanks to his buddy holding me for him, I had no chance to sidestep or duck the punch. That was my first and only black eye.

I learned three important lessons that day.
Lesson number one: My sisters will help me to hide the evidence when I get in trouble while they are supposed to be watching me.
Lesson number two: My mother is fooled by nothing including Crest toothpaste and pancake makeup covering a black eye.
Lesson number three: Always keep your eyes on the accomplice. He is more dangerous than your enemy.

All three lessons have served me well throughout my life. And that is all of my Costume Drama.