One Mask Or Many

By Thomas Bogner 

“Goodness gracious,” was all Mr. Jones could say when he stepped outside Saturday morning to retrieve his newspaper. He was shocked to see how his yard was covered with leaves the day after he had raked it. “Now I know Fall is here,” he said to himself. As Mr. Jones picked up his newspaper, he realized something else, “it’s October 1; I must start preparing for Halloween.”

By the morning of October 2, Mr. Jones had all the Halloween decorations out and properly placed to make his house look like something fresh off a horror film set. Plastic bones and skulls lined the doors and windows, while black bats hung over the front porch. Creepy creatures stood still on the front lawn. There was no mistake about Mr. Jones’ devotion to the holiday spirit of Halloween.

Regardless of the new face of Mr. Jones’ residency, there was still one issue to resolve. Every year, this issue has resurrected, and this year matched the prior. Mr. Jones had to find a costume. Just as Mr. Jones wanted his property exotic beyond that of everyone else, so too did he want his costume to be in its own class.

With a rough scent of ambition, Mr. Jones made his way around Market Square; looking at every stores’ costume stock. Mr. Jones was determined to discover something original that enchants everyone at his Halloween party. Each store departure seemed to be ending the same, as Mr. Jones was dissatisfied with everything he saw. “What am I to do,” said Mr. Jones, “not a single costume left for me to obtain.” There were actually plenty of costumes, but none of them satisfied Mr. Jones.

After seven hours of shopping Mr. Jones made his way homeward, and without a costume. “I don’t believe this” said Mr. Jones as he walked the lonely road leading to his residency. At this point, it almost looked like there would be no Halloween this year, as a costume was essential for the party, and the party was the climax of the holiday.

When Mr. Jones reached the midway point of his evening walk, he made a sudden stop as someone started to scream for help. “Just great,” said Mr. Jones in response to someone who was trapped under a car after the slipping of a car jack. “Hold on, hold on. I’m right here, responded Mr. Jones to the distress call. Swiftly, the jack was reinserted and the car lifted beyond the danger level. “I can’t thank you enough,” said the fallen car victim. Mr. Jones did not care to stay and chat with a person who appeared to be a new resident on the block. He simply said “no problem” and moved onward. The new guy on the block stopped Mr. Jones and said “where are you going?” Before Mr. Jones knew it, he found himself as a guest inside someone else’s house for dinner.

Without hesitance, Mr. Jones was introduced to the new family in the neighborhood. “George Riley is my name” said the gracious one, “and this is my wife Eliza, and my two sons, Eric and Stewart.

“Good to meet you,” stated Mr. Jones in a polite manner. Mr. Jones could tell that he was dealing with a church loving group as Christian decorations bloomed in every room. To add to that, the simple dinner that night involved a simple, but finely dressed family who remained polite, and never lost their smiles. Mr. Jones wasn’t the religious type, but he would not be rude to the hosts because of that.

Despite the dinner, Mr. Riley felt the need to do something more for his savior. “Mr. Riley, it’s no problem, really. Besides there is nothing that anyone can do for me, except maybe find me a decent Halloween costume (In a sarcastic tone).”

“You’re in luck Mr. Jones,” claimed Mr. Riley “I just happen to have this old, eccentric mask here that might help you.”

“You must be joking,” responded Mr. Jones.

Mr. Riley stepped away, and then returned with something that put Mr. Jones in a brief daze. The mask was a rusty silver color, tarnished with reddish-brown streaks. The nose darted out with a deadly point, while the eyes revealed lifeless crevices. “You’re right Mr. Riley, I do like this. This could save my Halloween season,” said Mr. Jones. That night, Mr. Jones returned home a happy man. He then thought not about his costume till the day of the party.

October 31 arrives and the town accepts its new identity for a day. It’s just the one day when people strive to be peculiar and eerie. This is the time when people seek horrific insults for satisfaction. Mr. Jones’ attire was rather simple because it was just a long-sleeved black shirt, and then black pants. His last addition was the silver mask. Mr. Jones was so fascinated by the mask that he really did not care about the rest of his costume. Upon completion of his attire, Mr. Jones stepped out of his room and called for the beginning of the festivities.

Down the stairs, Mr. Jones lurked. Only thoughts of simplicity came to mind as Mr. Jones viewed the other costumes. Witches, vampires, and even a giraffe were among the first to greet Mr. Jones. The host tried to be polite by not noting the lack of originality in the costumes. The guests, on the other hand, were curious to know where Mr. Jones’ costume was. Appalled, but puzzled, Mr. Jones moved along to the different rooms. The most outstanding aspect, though, was that the guests’ reactions, in all the different rooms, remained the same at the sight of Mr. Jones; like someone forgot to put on a costume. One guest complimented the black, subtle look, but claimed it was too humble for the event.

Mr. Jones grew outraged. He wanted to know what sort of conspiracy the guests had agreed upon. All those people in their dull flavored disguises refused to acknowledge the pride of Mr. Jones. By the night’s end, Mr. Jones sat by his dining room mirror, locked in a state of melancholy. Why would so many people conspire to ruin a man’s most favored day of the year?

Ready to retire for the night, Mr. Jones finally stood up at 12:01 A.M. and began to walk. When Mr. Jones eyed the mirror, though, he noticed something rather odd. He saw his face. Reaching for his head, Mr. Jones felt this hard wooden piece atop his face, but he could not see it. He tried to pull it off, but the mask was stuck to him like a parasite. Mr. Jones suddenly went from melancholy to mad; running through each room of his house without reason. After twenty minutes, Mr. Jones passed out on his kitchen floor.

The following morning, Mr. Jones went to see his doctor for aid. Prior to that, neither his wife, nor his son, could notice the mask that was stuck to the face of Mr. Jones. After hearing the problem, the first thing the doctor asked Mr. Jones was if he had any recent social problems. The doctor, unable to see any physical structure atop the face of Mr. Jones, thought maybe that mask was a metaphor for something else. Mr. Jones was wandering more towards a mental state of loose stability.

Mr. Jones ran home with sense of determination. That mask of the devil was leaving one way or another. This man was being devoured by mosquitoes, but his reactions ignored the event. All Mr. Jones could think about was making his true self visible once more.

Finally, Mr. Jones reached his front lawn, and he charged towards the back yard. Upon entering the tool shed, Mr. Jones grabbed his crow bar and stabbed it into his face. He pushed and twisted, and he refused to let pain interfere. As soon as the crow bar was six inches in, he pushed upward and forced the mask into the air. Oh, the suffering was so massive that Mr. Jones fell to the ground; flat and unconscious.

The following morning, Mr. Jones awakened with a sense of renewal. He looked into an old cracked mirror beside him, and he saw his face. He rubbed his hand across his face and felt what he wanted to feel, himself. Mr. Jones, minus the horror, went into his home. He woke his wife to reveal the news. Mrs. Jones darted off the opposite side of the bed only to question the identity of Mr. Jones. The husband insisted that he was back and the mask was gone. Mrs. Jones saw a gruesome looking old man with a chopped up face, who did not belong there. Mr. Jones was confused, he separated himself from his disguise and his wife was horrified. The ultimatum came out as Mrs. Jones warned the mysterious creature to leave. Mr. Jones continued to prove his identity, and finally the terrified woman pulled out her husband’s .44 magnum and erased the head of Mr. Jones.

Mr. Jones was a man who lived behind disguises. So often he tried to be someone else. It got to the point that he could not recognize his own true self. The situation reached the point where any of Mr. Jones’ costumes looked normal to everyone else. Everything was noticeable and normal, except his own face.