|Perhaps a life of ease and options, thought the brothers. Photo found here.|
|(For those of you who saw the earlier version of this post, I've
changed illustrations. I presumed to borrow another artist's work,
which had inspired the story, and did so without her blessing. She was
enormously gracious about the whole thing.)
While Ambulancia and Sireena threw themselves like volcano sacrifices into the costumes of the season, the brothers favored clothing as close to normal as they could muster and extravagant face makeup, for which the sisters were their advisers and practitioners. The boys would gladly have sported their Halloween pallor and smudged, sunken-appearing eyes year 'round but had to be content with as many days as they could squeeze out of the holiday without being ejected from public places, like the library. When a staff member hissed at them, "Go wash your faces or go home," they invariably chose home after a pair of deep glowers and what they hoped were death-ray stares. Yes, they practiced, in the mirror, on each other, on their parents, on the sisters. They were actually quite fond of the library employees but boundaries were meant to be tested, or so they told themselves. In their journals, each kept a running list of potential adult employment for which their painted faces would be suited. The jobs of clown and mime did not appear on the list of either. It pretty much narrowed down to something in the arts or wealthy eccentric. Being creepy for no good reason didn't appeal to them, yet the thought of growing up wearing nothing but their own pinkish complexions day in and day out made them gloomy. Ellington had the task of reassuring Henri that just because there was no solution today didn't mean there would never be one. Henri hoped with crossed fingers that he was right.