Friday, June 12, 2009

"Never Special," Costume Concerns, pt. 12, 384 words

Alter Ego looks up with an appraising eye, and nods his approval after a moment. “It suits you,” he says, and I can tell that he’s not just trying to convince me to buy it. I imagine he can see the change in not just my bearing, but in my thoughts and feelings. The costume doesn’t just cover me over, it’s like a new me down to the bone.

“Maybe a little something else,” he suggests. “The suit’s not too flashy, which is good, but you need something to make you a little more memorable if you’re going to be a hero.”

I can’t help it. “Maybe a big red S on my chest?”

He chuckles. “Nah. The letter logo has been done to death. Gotta be a twenty guys out there just with some kind of S logo, and a third of them have it in red. Nah. A lighter color than red would look better, anyways. More of a contrast, more eye-catching.”

With a little frown, I ask, “What if I don’t want to be really eye-catching?” I understand what he’s saying, and even agree with it a little, but there are advantages to going unnoticed.

“If you don’t want to be eye-catching, you go out in jeans, sweatshirt, and a baseball cap, and drive a used car or a generic white van everywhere instead of flying,” he points out. “You maintain a lot more anonymity by looking like everyone else. If you really want a costume, it means you’re looking to be noticed.”

“Okay,” I admit. “What do you suggest?”

“Here,” he says, and slides a piece of paper over along the counter.

It’s a quick sketch, something he must’ve been working on while I was in the bathroom changing. Even so, he’s got a sure hand to produce this so swiftly. In faint pencil lines, he defined a circle, and jagged darker lines across it. The circle’s cracked down the middle, leaving one half mostly intact while the other half is split up in an array of angular shards. Some are longer than the original radius of the circle, like lightning bolts, while others are much shorter. The total effect looks like a sunburst done in stained glass, broken and with bits missing, and pieced back together from what remained.

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