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Oct 31, 04 12:42 AM

Cue The Devilish Laughter.


And so, as I type this, we're nine minutes into Halloween:

I went out to Bushwick tonight and sat for my friend Todd, who's painting a portrait of me. He's been petitioning friends to model for him, and I assented; actually it's kind of enjoyable. Meditative. It's not the most flattering portrait--he's a real artist after all, not out to win me over via my vanity. But. He makes me a cheeseburger every session, and he has a way with cheeseburgers.

He dusts the cheeseburgers with an essence he got out of an Emeril cookbook. The essence is spectacular. I went to a bookstore last week, got the book off the shelf and covertly wrote the recipe for the essence in my notebook.

I came back on the L train. The Halloweeners started coming on in a trickle with each stop: the first, a Frida Kahlo, got on at Jefferson Street. A Steve Martin, with banjo, hair spray-painted silver, white suit, got on at Montrose Avenue. At Grand, there were a few more, and double that at Graham. By the Bedford stop the train was packed with costumed partiers.

It made me feel lonely. I don't think I've worn a Halloween costume since I was a kid; you'd think I'd give it a shot, the way I look at them and feel a sense of yearning. At some point between Montrose and Grand, the Frida Kahlo looked over at the Steve Martin with a warm smirk. I wished I was a part of that.

I got off at First Avenue and walked downtown; there were revelers all over the place. The streets were really packed.

A fight broke out among a bunch of boys. I walked right into them. One tackled the other. One of them stomped off in a huff. They stood there, two cliques of friends (I couldn't tell who was with whom), yelling at each other: WHY THE FUCK DID YOU TACKLE HIM?! FUCK YOU, WHY DID YOU HIT ME?! IT'S NOT YOUR FUCKING FIGHT, WHY THE FUCK DID YOU THROW THAT PUNCH?! They jabbed their fingers at each other.

One of them had had his shirt ripped off, and he stood there shirtless, with a big dirty pavement-mark on his back. They all seemed to have tears in their eyes, though nobody was weeping, just jacked-up to an emotional extreme. It occurred to me that maybe these boys jump into fights to access just the most modest hint of real feelings.

I may go to the Halloween parade tomorrow, and bring the camera. Although it will no doubt further this sense of melancholy.

Let me end this entry, in honor of the holiday, with my favorite Edward Gorey limerick:


A dreary young bank clerk named Fennis
Wished to foster an aura of menace.
To make people afraid,
He wore gloves of grey suede
And white footgear intended for tennis.

(That would actually make a good costume for me, wouldn't it? I might have to xerox the limerick and tape it to my chest to make it look like a costume at all. Kind of like the Frankenstein costume I wore in kindergarten, which my Mom bought at Wal Mart--the prototypical 1970's store-bought kid's costume: a cheapo mask and a kind of plastic smock with a picture of Frankenstein on it. I was all like, What the hey?!)

Happy Halloween, everybody.

Posted by Mike at October 31, 2004 12:42 AM

happy halloween, mike.

Posted by: wendy at October 31, 2004 1:24 AM

i don't know what to dress as. someone tell me.

Posted by: Jesse at October 31, 2004 3:14 AM

that photograph is phenomenal. I think you like to revel in your melancholia. Give free reign to your shadow side, let it decide what is wants to be, for this one night of the year when the veil between the worlds is the thinnest.

Posted by: Lauren at October 31, 2004 9:25 AM

i agree -- it's cathartic to explore your melancholia at Halloween, and even find humor in it, to be it -- you have a whole year to pull your costume together and make your plans

i remembered one of my favorite Halloweens when i went as the ghost of a bride to Georgetown, with a friend who i wasn't sure i was dating -- i had long dark robes with an emerald green lace overlay, a blond wig that went to my ankles which i kept over my face, and a Spring-like wreath for my head that i'd gotten that Summer at the Renaissanc festival -- i was crying a lot that night but no one could tell, but i was really grieving, and got a lot out -- my friend went as a nun and cracked me up with his wry expressions, which was a welcome relief -- there were these lovely Japanese women who gave us truffles because they liked our costumes so much -- it ended up being a beautiful night

Posted by: Amy at October 31, 2004 9:46 AM

(Did we come up with Gay Frankenstein before SNL did it?)

Anyway, don't be lonely: get a pumpkin smoothie!!

Posted by: DJ Gay Frankenstein at October 31, 2004 10:26 AM

the L train is always depressing. happy halloween.

Posted by: hillary at October 31, 2004 11:23 AM

I was a video game one year. My mom painted a scene from Mortal Kombat onto a cardboard box and then put the box on me. I was in goddamn heaven that night, or at least I was until it started raining.

Happy Halloween.

Posted by: Ken at October 31, 2004 11:34 AM

This year I was an Emo one really got it except for my girlfriend and I, to everyone else I was just a kid wearing a "Bright Eyes" shirt. I ran into the same thing on the B Green Line in Boston- about one third of the cities population of drunken college kids was on the same train. The sober, non-celebrating people seemed perplexed, like they were looking at a different world.

Posted by: ryank at October 31, 2004 1:07 PM

Mike, you should go as a robot next year, just for shits. You have tik-tok clockwork style Robots on the covers of both "Rockity Roll" and "Slanky."
Some ideas. The costume is easy, since it's just cardboard. When I made mine, the head was a regular unpainted color, with a red cup for a nose, a fake mustasche and a smile like a sinkfull of broken china. It has pie tins for ears.
P.S. Ryank - You should have gona as an undead Emo kid, people would have gotten that.

Posted by: Wribbon at October 31, 2004 4:31 PM

i had many years of those plastic face-masked costumes. the one i remember most was cinderella.

anyway the bad part was the wetness that accumulated from my breathing,
the best part was the smell of the plastic.

Posted by: marie at October 31, 2004 6:00 PM

smile, walk,*t's like that sometimes.

last night as i walked alone home from a thoroughly mediocre evening, i learned to be grateful for the small things - that i wasn't the chubby girl in the tiny sailor costume, looking like a giant red, white & blue sausage.

Posted by: dtotham at October 31, 2004 11:23 PM

I live in rural hell. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. When life was seriously sucking, a Wonder Woman or princess costume was a really empowering thing for me as a child( plus you got candy)

The churches here preach against halloween. I had a grand total of 12 trick or treaters. Last year I had 8. Adults truly suck sometimes.

Posted by: KimDG at November 1, 2004 4:42 AM