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Finn`s Wake : Beware the Blue Menace
© Mark Finn
November 04, 2002

So there I was, walking down the street in a Mexican wrestler mask, a pair of old welding goggles, and a battered fedora. Even in the chilly air, it was just warm enough to make the goggles fog up, which made the ultra-dark polarized lenses even more difficult to see through. This kind of thing never happened to Starman in the comic books.

As Halloween costumes go, it wasn’t my best effort; not like the Uncle Creepy makeup I did in college or the Mexican mummy outfit that took three hours to assemble. No, this one came together in about fifteen minutes. I went as a 1930s pulp hero. Once everything was together, it looked great. Black turtleneck, and my battered leather jacket over it; black leather gloves, hiking boots, and olive trousers; the aforementioned electric blue luche libre mask (with the goggles worn underneath so they protruded through the eyeholes and looked like a single Mr. Monster-esque unit) and the green fedora; a couple of pouches and straps to give the impression of equipment. I put a talking skull in the larger gas mask pouch. Every pulp hero worth his salt needs a talking skull.

Funny thing was, it looked really good. See, I know I can’t pull off a Spider-Man costume. Super hero costumes in general are not advisable for anyone not a gymnast, unless you’re actively seeking the laughs. But real clothes, albeit with an adventuresome twist . . . that I can do. And I’m sorry, but everyone looks good in a Mexican wrestler mask. It’s true. Plus, it was comfortable. After the age of twenty-five, Halloween costumes should be all about comfort. I would be working in it for eight hours, for crying out loud. As a manager, I shouldn’t be sweating, chafing, or dripping blood. You can appreciate that, I’m sure. Otherwise, I’d just come as a gorilla every year. That’s all I’ve ever wanted anyway; my very own Don Post gorilla suit.

Now all I needed to do was sell the outfit to my co-workers (who also came dressed in a variety of odd styles and themes), since no one would know who the hell I was. It took a bit of mulling it over before I dubbed myself The Blue Menace. A quick nametag written over my regular ones confirmed my identity to all who saw me, but I needed something more. Most of the dorks I work with caught on to the intent of the costume, if nothing else. But after three or four customers looked askance at me, like I was wearing bondage gear, I hit upon the solution.

The next customer who came in the door glanced at me and smiled nervously. I said in a deep voice, "Hello, Citizen."

She smiled back and said, "I have a question . . . "

I said, "Is it an evil question?"

She said, "What?"

"Because if it’s an evil question, I can thwart it!"

That got the laugh. And it set the tone for the rest of the day. The staff began referring to me as Blue Menace, even after I shucked the coat and packs "after a long day of thwarting evil." That part was cool. I mean, really, who among us got the respect of being called an alter ego for a whole day? And best of all, when I stepped out into the world (with name tag), it didn’t go away. More than one person would read my nametag and say, "The Blue Menace?"

To which I would reply, "I see you’ve heard of me."

I ordered food at the burger joint across the street, and when it was ready, the guy said over the loudspeaker, gleefully, "The Blue Menace, your order is up. Blue Menace, your order is up."

As I was walking back across the street and the cars obligingly let me dart between them, I realized that this was a world that I wanted to live in: a world of monsters, fairies, super heroes, and gorilla suits. It wasn’t just that everyone was all gussied up, but rather that everyone was being so nonchalant about it. Why couldn’t I be a 1930’s pulp hero? Dammit, I want to fight Nazi necromancers. For that matter, I want more weirdness in the world, provided of course that there’s an understanding that the person in the robot suit seems to know what they are doing at all times. That’s what makes Halloween fun, after all. We’re all in on the gag. To the man dressed as an ugly woman, riding the bus and arguing with someone who isn’t there, I say that you either need to let us in on the joke or knock it the hell off, because you’re creeping the rest of us out. Better yet, join our party, because we all know the rules.

That’s the best thing about Halloween. We all get one free day to act like a nut. Cathy’s in on it, too. You should see how she decorated the Bungalow of Love. It’s totally decked out. Thank god I’ve got a partner in crime for this holiday. She’s driving to Target today to buy up all of the heavily discounted Halloween items for NEXT YEAR. Yeah, we’re those people.

Mark Finn is the author of Gods New and Used and Year of the Hare, available from your local bookstore or from www.amazon.com.

Mark Finn can also be found at www.clockworkstorybook.com.

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