By Avis Yarbrough
Derrick was pissed. He sat on his bed with candy bars, pennies and an assorted other kinds of sweets surrounding him. Derrick was dividing the candy in individual piles. The chocolate bars in one pile, sour candy in the other etc. Derrick turned his head occasionally to stare at the Batman mask that he had tossed into the corner after he had come home tricky treating. He had not wanted to be Batman but Ken, that is Ken’s Barbie.
Derrick had imaged himself as Ken with a single minded intensity since he was studying for his school’s spelling bee. As Ken, he had envisioned his jet-black hair covered up with a blond wig. He would have worn a starch white shirt, and blue slacks with loafers. Instead, he had been practically suffocated in a black plastic mask that made him sweat like a pig. Derrick just turned twelve in June, so he knew this would probably be his last chance to get free candy and he was graceful. He really was, but dressing up as Ken would have made this final Halloween sublime. When his mother had brought home the mask, and presented it to him like it was freaking gold instead of freaking crap Derrick could have cried.
“I want to be Ken for Halloween,” said Derrick.
His mother had looked at him strangely and said, “Your twelve now, you don’t want to give people the wrong impression.”
“What impression is that? That I rather be Ken for Halloween then Batman,” said Derrick.
“Wanting to be Batman is normal for a young boy,” said Derrick’s mother.
“What so great about being normal,” asked Derrick.
“It makes life easier.”
His mother had refused to change her mind, so Derrick had wore the mask, and everybody pleased but him. Derrick opened a candy bar and wondered what people’s reactions would have been if they opened the door and saw him dressed as Ken. Would they have been amused, shocked or surprised, or would they just have pretended that he was normal?