Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"Never Special," Costume Concerns, pt. 4, 405 words

Unfortunately, I’m not one of the few people with flight who also have super-acute vision. It means I can’t actually fly very high when I’m looking for something, nor very fast. My eyes are already watering a little from the constant irritation of the wind just a few hundred feet off the ground, and I have to wipe them clear of tears every so often to keep a watch for the costume shop’s sign.

Finally, I spot it: bright purple, just a little too big for the storefront, lettering and a silly face traced in gold. “Altered Egos,” the owner named it, apparently trying to be cute. I shrug off the silliness of the name and descend to the sidewalk before the store.

The name makes a certain sort of sense, I guess. They do say that “the clothes make the man,” and I always feel a little more prepared for what I do if I dress for it. If I need to think differently, to think heroically, maybe a new costume really will help me. “Alter ego” not as alternate identity, then, but to alter one’s existing identity. I could, after all, be one of those heroes who goes around unmasked, let the world know I’m Amanda Park instead of The Golden Dart or Wings of Glory or whatever stupid name it is I come up with.

Wings of Glory? Geez. Why did I ever consider that for more than a second? I don’t even have wings.

My descent and landing don’t draw more than a few cursory glances, nothing more than the look any person would reflexively give someone walking in the door. An acknowledgement of presence, but not anything more. I let my hair out of the ponytail I had to tie it back into for the flight, and straighten my shirt and pants before opening the costume shop’s front door.

The counter stands right near the door, the better to observe it, and immediately on the far side of it begin the racks of pre-made costumes, costume accessories, and materials for making, patching, altering costumes. Some hang off the walls and others stand free in the middle of the way, creating narrow aisles for the curious searcher to slip through. I’m the only person here, though, aside from the middle-aged guy manning the counter. He looks up from the comic book he’s reading, and squints a little like he needs glasses.

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