Sympathy for the Devil
Last year, Sister Madly spent Halloween with Tallulah and (the now) Mr. Tallulah watching Disney propaganda films, the highlight of these being Der Fuehrer’s Face: a peculiar little picture chock-full of Nazi ridicule and an unfortunately catchy tune- so catchy, in fact, that Sister Madly had to forcibly stop herself from singing it in public.
This year, the Professors have decided that not only should Sister Madly accompany their group to the party of a colleague, but that they should all attend said soiree dressed in a similar fashion- in this case, Día de los Muertos.
This, for your FYI, was decided without the consent of Sister Madly, as these things usually are. Six weeks worth of protests have been met with the usual disregard as plans were made in her absence, which included elaborate costuming and makeup, with the finishing details to be outlined in temporary tattoo.
Sister Madly sees no way in which this last one could possibly go wrong.
While never having made herself up in this grotesquely festive nature, Sister Madly is well aware of the drawbacks of unfamiliar cosmetic mediums, which stems from an incident that occurred well over 5 years ago.
It happened when Sister Madly was 6 years-old, when she was still under the blissful delusion that there was no way in heaven and earth that she could possibly make a mistake. Her friend, Serafina, had invited her to a church party thrown as a ‘safe alternative’ to the usual Halloween festivities, which Sister Madly didn’t quite understand but decided to overlook as there was still the promise of candy. But with this promise came the gentle reminder that since the party was to be held at a church- and a strict, unfun denomination at that- their costumes had to be biblical in nature.
It wasn’t long before Serafina was announcing that she would be dressing up as an angel, which was not surprising. Serafina always had a fondness for silver linings and all things pink and fluffy, offsetting Sister Madly’s healthy skepticism of the bright side of things. While in many ways they were complete opposites, somehow it worked for them (i.e., Serafina ate all the black jelly beans, and Sister Madly… well, gave them to her.)
So Serafina was going to be a pink, fluffy angel.
And Sister Madly? She settled on the Devil. The Devil is biblical.
But what, exactly, does the Devil look like? This was not something one covered in Sunday School, it turned out, as Serafina balked at the question. What they did know of the Devil was gleaned from the usual media outlets: red, naturally, as most depictions agree on this, with horns, a tail, maybe some fangs, and occasionally brandishing a pitchfork.
While a 6 year-old’s standards aren’t very high, Sister Madly was disappointed at what was guaranteed to be her lack of authenticity. She would have to forgo any and all genetic mutations, and as for that pitchfork thing- that was just out of the question. No; if Sister Madly wanted to be the Devil, she would have to make do by simply being red.
Unlike the other features, being red was something she could achieve. One Christmas not too long before, she received an inkpad and a stamp of her name surrounded by hearts (there was a time her parents thought it was a good idea for Sister Madly to possess such an instrument of destruction.) There had been some rules laid out at the onset, such as no stamping the walls or the carpet or the dog, but nowhere in these unwritten bylaws was the stipulation that Sister Madly could not stamp her own person if she so desired (nor, incidentally, the inside of the closet door… or the nightstand drawer… or the underside of her desk… or the swing set.) Not that Sister Madly always did what she was told, but she rather liked the stamp at that time and didn’t want it to be taken from her.
And so Sister Madly made herself red by stamping her name all over her face.
But mostly her face.
In the end, it was all in vain; Sister Madly never went to this Safe Alternative Halloween Party, and by all accounts doesn’t remember being all that upset about it. And while Sister Madly wandered around with the subtle imprint of her name all over her face for days after, no one ever thought to ask what impulse brought about this latest act of personal vandalism. It was merely chalked up as one of those things a young Sister Madly thought was a good idea at the time.
POST’S THEME SONG: Red Right Hand, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds