Deathly Pale (Weekly Writing Challenge)

(Monday means a much needed Weekly Writing Challenge.  And seeing as how The Walking Dead came back on T.V. last night… well, you get the idea.)

I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters.” George A. Romero


Outside, the thick layer of gray clouds was not to be permeated.  Only a month ago, an early morning setting of bright blue skies joined by puffy white clouds would have offered up a promise of hope.  However, in the thirty days since September had waved good-bye and exited off stage, things had changed dramatically.  Gone were the picturesque sunsets.  There would no longer be beautiful sunrises flooding one’s windows with orange and pink hues that danced and melted into each other.  The mountains that looked so majestic and daring off in the distance were covered by an intrusive layer of dismal color.  The grayness was so absolute and so all-encompassing that it even began showing on the denizens of the world.

Rick, trying his best to keep warm, looked at his roommate.  Earlier in the year, Robert had been the picture of health.  He had spent his summers working at the beach.  His bronze tan had served as proof of the countless hours that the golden sun had shone down on his muscular skin.  Running around in only swim trunks, Robert had portrayed an image of perfect health.  The men had envied him, the woman had smiled his way; Robert had looked as majestic as the sandy beaches and the clear blue ocean that he stood watch over.  It seemed ironic to Rick that a man who had spent so much time being a lifeguard now personified the cold visage of decay.

Once again, Rick found himself standing back in horror.  The normally bright green eyes of his friend had gone dim.  A low, “nnnnngh” sound was coming out of Robert’s slack jaw.  Weirdly enough, Robert’s teeth were still as white as ever.  His tongue even retained its purple-red color, like a plum that had been left out in the afternoon heat.  Clearly, some rich blue plasma must still be pumping through the man’s veins.

Pic from WP Clip Art

The pallid skin tone, however, told another story.  The formerly tanned face was now ashen.  Deep lines masked any freckles or smiles that had once decorated Robert’s face.  It wasn’t enough to describe Robert as pasty.  His face now seemed the very absence of life or spirit.  Robert was at the halfway point between lively human and stagnant corpse.  Even his brown hair had joined in with his face and had gone completely dark.  Robert was not entirely lost to the world of the living, but he certainly had packed his bags for the trip.

Rick tried to look away, but couldn’t.  The newly added creases under Robert’s eyes haunted Rick.  They sagged and drooped under the depressed state that Robert had sunk into.  The man’s eyes, no longer charged with glimmering or shining, had taken on a vacancy that was horrifying.  Rick couldn’t take it.  There needed to be some color added to Robert’s morbid features.  With a dab, he drew a long line running from the blackened lip and traced it down to the chin.  Rick stood back and looked at the trail of blood.  He gasped.  The contrast of the deep, dark-red streak only showed just how desolate Robert really looked.

“Dude”, Rick finally said.  “That is messed up.”

“Really?  The makeup works?”

Rick nodded as he stared at his work of art.  “The face is frickin’ perfect.  We just gotta get you some tattered clothes.”

Robert clapped his hands.  “First prize, here I come!  No more losing to guys dressed like TeleTubbies.”

Tales from a Batsuit

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Tales from a Batsuit

It’s not who you are, it’s what you do that defines you.” –Batman Begins

There is an experience that only a select group of individuals have been subjected to.  Granted, the choice is usually their own, and in theory they take up the mantle willingly.  Still, the argument can be made that only those that go through this act of lunacy comprehend why they do such crazy things.  I am of course, talking about dressing up like a giant bat.

Other costumes exist and other heroes can be portrayed.  Spider-Man is especially fun because one’s entire face is covered.  Anyone can be Spidey.  Plus, the more you leap up on random objects and take on wacky poses, the “better” you are at being the Friendly Neighborhood wall-crawler.  I think Superman is a little harder to pull off.  If you don’t have the chiseled jaw and black hair, not to mention the muscled physique, then the whole thing can just come off as a sham.  (The attempt to pull Supes off led me to dying my hair, including my eyebrows, black.  The less said about the whole thing, the better.)  Sure all the kids love a good Superman, but one has to be able to pull it off.  Iron Man, Captain America; they’re all well and good.  In the end, nothing tops Batman.

The only trick is finding the right suit.  Thanks to the wonders of built-in padding, all ages, genders, and builds have portrayed The Dark Knight.  As someone who has dressed up for several movie openings at work, Batman is, no contest, seen as the coolest.  It helps if you have extra gear like batarangs or a Joker to chase around, though it is hardly necessary.  People see Batman, and they smile.  Fist bumps, photo opportunities, high-fives; all are common occurrences when a guy is dressed as Batman.

This is not to say that adopting the cape and cowl is all perks.  First off, the ears are floppy.  Have you ever seen a cool Batman with floppy bat-ears?  No, you haven’t.  There are ways and tricks to fixing them, such as ironing them stiff or inserting bits of cardboard, but it all seems rather silly.  Due to the open nature of Batman’s face, facial hair is simply a no-no.  If you’re going to play Batman, you’ve got to shave that beard off.  However, Batman is a creature of gruff and scruff, so stubble is quite okay.  Also, let’s just come out and say it.  The Bat-Booties don’t really cover up one’s shoes all that well.

Then of course, there’s the heat.  Batman movies have this annoying habit of coming out in June or July.  I may not live in the desert, but it feels like it in the suit.  The thing is all black and multi-layered.  The next time that you are going to the beach in your swimsuit, consider putting on a full-body, tight-fitting costume, then go ahead and drape an extra layer over your back.  Top that off by covering your hands and head.  The whole thing gets mighty toasty.  However, the kids like it, so it’s worth it.  And they’re not the only ones.

It has been said that, “Chicks dig the car”.  Well, the same can be said for the suit.  I don’t pretend to understand it.  Maybe women really do like dark characters.  Maybe Batman is fun for all ages.  Maybe we all want to be a little silly and leave our worries behind.  But for every guy that wants to hug, hang out, or take a picture with Batman, there are five females that feel the same way.  I have heard squeals of excitement, off-color comments, and then there was the gal who ran and literally jumped into my arms.  (Happily she wasn’t heavy and I wasn’t holding anything when she leapt at me.  That gal was either a little too excited or quite brave.  Or both.)  They smile, they wink, and sometimes they get a little handsy.  It’s odd, but also highly entertaining.

That perk is rather nice, but it is not the reason why I spend several minutes putting on a decidedly high-maintenance suit.  In the end, I think some movies deserve a little more effort.  I like romantic comedies, but those don’t really require anyone detaching their mind from reality.  Action movies are fun, however for those you mostly just have to turn off your brain.  Comic book movies; well there’s a certain suspension of disbelief that folks have to adopt.  If there’s a guy in a Batman costume waving and shaking hands, then it all becomes a little more plausible.  Really, I fell that folks want to have fun and I think some big goof in a costume helps that along.  Of course, none of them will ever know that fear the constantly haunts me.

They can’t see the run in my bat-tights, right?  I sure hope not.  The Bat-Sharpie only fixes so much.

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