I offered to show Craig a good place to get costumes. But I had to practically threaten Eric to get him to show up. The three of us went to the Lido, the costume supplier for several downtown theaters.
Some guys would roll their eyes at the thought of going into such a place. But Craig and Eric were pleasantly surprised. First of all, the place was immense, with an incredible selection. Second, the mannequins on display looked fantastic. There was a roman centurion, a renaissance courtier … And third, most of the costumes were real. Not cheap plastic, not imitation, but real, quality cloth.
Craig was impressed by a Captain Morgan outfit, but wouldn’t rent it.
– “That looks too fancy. I think I’m just a common sailor.” He settled on an oversized, brightly colored, striped shirt. It looked like a rugby jersey, to me, except that it had laces at the throat. He liked the look of a polka-dotted headscarf, too.
We found him some black boots made out of soft leather, and a wide sash to wear around his waist. Black pants that he could tuck into his boots completed the outfit.
– “I like the sash. Good for tucking a knife in, or hiding your driver’s licence.” I told him.
– “Should I get an eye patch?” he wondered.
Just then Eric came around the corner, with a bundle of clothing over his arm. He was wearing two eye patches – one over each eye.
– “Where are you guys? Ahoy, mateys!” he called.
Craig and I exchanged a look.
– “Maybe not.” he said.
Eric fell in love with a dark grey thing that looked like a vest. It was long enough to reach below his knees. It might have been appropriate if we were doing a samurai murder mystery.
But he had found a pair of boots from the Three Musketeers era, and a huge tricorne hat. I left Craig to help him find a shirt and pants, and wandered off to find my own costume.
Some people would hesitate to spend $200 – or even $100 – on a costume. I’m not one of them. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve spent that much on a fancy restaurant meal, or a sports event, or concert tickets. Some of those outings were memorable, others not so much. But a really cool costume can create a memory that will last a lifetime.
I found what I wanted: a black coat with silver trim and enormous cuffs, a soft tricorne hat, soft black boots, and a wide black belt with an ornate silver buckle. Add a large white shirt with a high collar and black knee-breeches, and I was good to go.
Perhaps a bit too splendid for Ned Mulligan, you might say. Too bad. Let the others think that I was some sort of gentleman pirate. A little deception can go a long way. Besides, when I tried it on, it felt remarkably good. And a glance in the mirror confirmed that it looked great, too.
Eric had somehow found a scruffy grey beard.
– “Doesn’t this look awesome?” he asked me.
– “It looks itchy.” said Craig.
– “How can you put a price on art?” retorted Eric. It made no sense, of course, but he never let that hold him back.
– “You look like Captain Child Molester.” I told him.
– “Precisely!” he roared. “I’ll take it!”
I took them out for beer and wings afterwards. Craig turned out to be a decent guy, as I had anticipated. He found Eric funny, and we had a few laughs.
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