Sidekick | Part 15
I laid there on the floor for a second to catch my breath before getting to my knees. I started to stand, then corrected my decision. Instead, I ran my hands across the wood paneling that lined the floor. I didn’t see or feel noticeable cracks or anything that would indicate that I was laying on top of another inevitable trap door that would continue my descent through elaborate and unpleasantly-timed falling. Travelling through secret tunnels is cool; Doing so by having the floors drop out from under you makes you sincerely question reality. Not in a psychological, “what’s truly real and what is simply a creation of my mind to make this world easier to process” kind of way, but in a “If the ground disappears one more time I’m spending the rest of my life supergluing the lines on the sidewalk until I’m provided a nice padded room to spend my free time in” way.
Once I had confirmed that the ground was in fact stationary, I stood up and dusted myself off. I had no interest in chatting with the kids whom I heard on the opposite side of the curtain, so waited until the sounds of their disillusionment disappeared. Once it had, I decided to make my exit, stage left. Cliche? Perhaps. But I never was one for the stage. The one time I had to perform a play in middle school, I made what I called a “creative edit” to my role. It turned my character, a rebellious youth and the son of the throne-holder in a forlorn kingdom that was known for his fearlessness and strident way of speaking, into an invisible mute. This small interpretation was met with resistance from my co-stars, who would have to perform with me off-stage as it was the only way to correctly display my invisibility. Honestly, I didn’t have a problem with the acting in practice–I just knew there would eventually be an audience. Despite the fact that I went out in public today in a super hero Halloween costume, I really prefer not to draw attention to myself. I bought the outfit so I would blend in. Unfortunately, now it was wrinkled in a ball in my backpack and the cape was sporting a tattered look. It’d be great if the cape were a flag and I were draped in it, made to look like a true defender of the American spirit that had been clawed and ripped at by the threats of dissenters of freedom. Alas, it was the door of a taxi and the stupidity of myself that was responsible for it, a far less noble background.
Lucky for me, my foray into the fine art of costume camouflage didn’t end simply because I didn’t have an ironing board and sewing kit. I was deep within the bowels of the arts department, and while that was an unfortunate way to word it, I knew there were plenty of threads for me to sift through. Tucked away near the exit was a long, rolling rack that was filled with hangers on which hung bunches of attire for my choosing. Stopping to sift through the clothing rack, I grabbed the garb of an Egyptian pharaoh and held it up to my body. A little long, and I’m not really sure if this green is my color. Maybe the 1920′s mobster suit, though it was clearly tailored for a “Fat Tony” type character. It could be any name, really–I’d hate to condemn Tony as being a gangster-specific type name. But regardless the name, it would definitely include the qualifier of “Fat.” I snagged my finger on the soft red silk of a cape. It was attached to a bright blue spandex suit, one that looked like it would be a tight fit. I stared at it for a second before realizing that I’ve seen that outfit before. I own it, and it’s in my backpack. It wasn’t until seeing it on the rack that I realized that it did, in fact, look kind of gay. That’s not a bad thing: I’ve always thought being called gay should be a compliment. It probably means I dress well, look like I work out, and am often seen with groups of women. But I can see what that one guy was getting at. I mean, I stand by breaking his face, but I’m noting to look in the mirror a little more often from now on. This particular cut of the costume was at least a size smaller than mine, but I did need a new cape. I unclipped it from the hanger, making sure the rest of the jumpsuit stayed in place. It’d come in handy, probably. One never knows when the time will come to don a cape.
Satisfied with snagging a single garment, I decided to make my way out of the arena where the masters of make believe would no doubt return to soon. By “masters of make believe,” I don’t mean to say they are good actors–I mean they keep tricking themselves into thinking they’ll be able to pay off student loans with a degree in Performance Art. This, of course, wasn’t an entirely fair damnation that I was casting the entire group of people into. I had run into a few people in the Arts department and knew they were very talented people and did not all fit into stereotypes. Then again the people I knew were on the lighting and sound crew and they were the biggest collective of stoners one could ever meet so, you know, draw conclusions as you will.
New cape acquired, judgements passed, and a stable path beneath my feet, I lept down the steps and stepped through the double doors that led me into the hallway. Following the pale tiled floors and oddly tilted signs that occasionally appeared on the walls, I made my way from the clearly neglected building that housed the Arts department and found my way back to the University’s Union. Walking through the Arts hallway, I noticed some people walking the opposite way were in costumes. I assumed there was a performance or dress rehearsal going on tonight. I was quickly corrected when I arrived at the Union, the main hub of every college goer on campus, and saw that everyone was in costume. There was more color walking around the building than was held in the biggest Crayola crayon pack, and I was standing there in my blue jeans and a t-shirt. It was Halloween in Polk, and I was dressed as the asshole without a costume. God dammit.