We Don’t Need Another Hero

Those black woolen thigh-length coats with the big buttons are great in the winter. What are they called? Not a pea coat. Anyway, the problem with them is the way they shed buttons like autumn leaves. At any given time at least one button is hanging on by a whisper, and another one is missing altogether.

Until recently, following a drunken mishap my friend and I no longer remember very clearly, mine was missing one at the top, one at the bottom, and a smaller one at the cuff.

I stopped in at a cleaners/tailor shop to ask if I could buy some replacements. While he sorted through some Tupperware containers of random spare buttons, I noticed tacked to the wall a photo that I recognized in an uncomfortable way. It was identical to the profile photo of a stranger who once friend requested me on Facebook.

The reason I remember the picture is that the guy in it is dressed in a superhero costume of his own design: shiny blue and silver and black fabric, a black silver-edged mask. I thought little of it, assuming it was a Halloween picture, but a brief investigation into his profile revealed many, many more images of this guy in variously slick and slender and shiny costumes. Capes, masks, gloves — the whole bit.

It wasn’t the tailor, unless he had gained weight recently. He was probably just someone he knew. With tailoring skills. What if it was his younger brother. Or … maybe his boyfriend! Maybe the tailor made the costume, and he was showing off the work, and not the person. Whatever it was, I resisted the temptation to ask who the masked man was. I just didn’t want to get into it.

In his Facebook profile, he described his hobby of wearing superhero costumes. Just for fun. All year round. Like, to wear at parties and stuff.

There are pictures of me in a Green Lantern t-shirt on my profile, and I list comic books as an interest. I imagine that’s why he found me, but it ends there for me.

I did not accept his friend request.


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the untallied hours

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