The Prose Masquerade Think about what monster or creature you would most enjoy emulating if you were forced to become it for the rest of your life. (You can’t say a businessman is a monster and take the easy route out). Within the realms of ghouls, ghosts, vampires, centaurs, etc., pick your poison, and craft something that shows how you would cope at your worst, your best, in your newfound existence of monstrosity. Let the words run. 

I was walking across Prospect Park in Brooklyn one beautiful autumn day when out of nowhere I felt a push onto the floor. I must have knocked my head, knocking myself out. The next thing I remembered was being in a closed compartment bouncing around as if on some sort of 4D ride simulator of a space ship bounce landing onto a zero gravity space.
Suddenly we stop. I feel the warm and fresh air from a light and an open door. I am pulled and dropped. I am lifted onto my feet and guided, not delicately, several feet and then through a door. I walk up 22 steps and I am, once again thrown onto the floor. I am told to stand. I try to stand only to fall. I am assisted up and then pushed onto a chair to sit.
“You  cannot skip town on me, Mr. Castello.”
I feel a sense of relief. “I am not-” A stick hits my back and I am silenced.
“Do not speak until you are spoken to.”
“But I am-” Another swing and a hit, this time on my left shin.
I am silent.
“As I was saying, you think you can run and hide from me? I don’t think so.” Silence and then. “Give him the drink.”
“I am going to make your life a lot easier, Castello. You want to hide? This will do the trick for you. You!”
“Yes sir.” The guy who warned me not to speak is answering him.
“Give him the drink, I am out of here.”
“OK, what should we do with him after?”
“You have 20 minutes until it will take effect – drive him back to where he was and let him out. Its the last we will see of him. Text me 1234 once its done.”
I heard a door close, I felt a pull on my hair and then I could see again.
“Drink this.”
“No.”
“Drink this or I will put a flame to your eyes.”
“OK.” I wasn’t going to test him. “But one thing, my name-” Another swing and a hit this time on my right hand.
“Open up.” I took a gulp of the drink, which tasted like unsalted chicken broth.
“Drink it all.” I drank it all.
Next thing I remember I was laying on the grass in Prospect Park. No one had even noticed to ask if I was O.K. or needed any help. I guess I was just another bum in the park. I stood up and I felt a dizzy spell. I saw a bench around 20 feet away and pointed myself towards it. Sitting down I was sat upon by an older man; I pushed up and said, “What the hell? Why are you sitting on me? What am I invisible?”
Apparently I was; not only invisible but apparently my voice was not able to be heard nor my touch felt. I figured this out once I was sat upon by this gorgeous blond girl. I didn’t try and get her up and me, well, I was up and still un-felt and unheard. I could feel, as I felt the weight of the man and the glorious weight of the beautiful blond. But despite my voice yelling really loud in their ears and pushing really hard on their bodies – it was as if I was non-existent.
After the initial shock and the initial fun of walking into places where it was prohibitted I began to settle into a routine. At first it was great because I stayed in the best hotels, homes and took flights to anywhere free and clear. No lines, no costs and the best views of anything and anyone I could have imagined.
The first several days were fun, the next several weeks were amazing and then I hit a wall. I was in Florence Italy, watching an Opera at the Teatro della Pergola – no idea what was happening. But a sudden urge for the touch of another human being overtook me.
I took a flight back home and was there the next afternoon; I went back to my apartment to just get a sense of myself again. I was unmarried and was the only son of an only son and daughter. I had one good friend but he was unresponsive when I tried to scream, punch and send a sign to. I had no clue who had given me this “potion” or whatever this was. My name was Portello, not Castello. Even if I wanted to ask around no one would hear me.
That night I was jetlagged. I could not fall asleep and I was in a lot of pain. I never realized just how alone I was; how insulated and isolated I had made myself.
I was once married and she cheated on me.
I was once employed but I was fired.
My parents had both died.
My one friend hadn’t even tried to contact me – I had no messages on my cell.
I was completely alone and no one could recognize my existence.
I thought about the sights and sounds of the world around me – so beautiful, wondrous and captivating. But what good was it if I were condemned to a life of complete solitude?
I cried as I lay in bed as I considered a mercy suicide to free me but the prospect of my body laying anywhere never to be found and buried frightened me. I fell asleep with a plan in mind. Tears in my eyes and acceptance in my heart.
The next morning I walked towards the cemetery over on Blackstone and Boulevard. In my hand I carried a bottle of cyanide I had “borrowed” from the CVS down the way and found an empty plot. I said a quick prayer despite the fact I had no belief in a god or any higher power.
“Mom and Dad, I am sorry; but I cannot go on so alone anymore. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a punishment but this is the ultimate insult in my life. I -”
“Hey what the hell you doing?” I heard a voice so I quickly took the bottle of cyanide form my pocket. I was wrestling with the bottle cap when a man jumped on me.
“This is for the Mcwilliams family; not for you. If you want to kill yourself do it on your own turf buddy.” He grabbed the bottle of pills from his hand and jumped out of the plot.
“Who the hell are you to stop me from – hey wait, you can see me?”
“Yes I can see you; I am calling the cops buddy.” He went to dial on his cell phone.
“No don’t! I am fine – its a long story but thank you, thank you. I am out of here.”

I danced around the gravestones like Jimmy Stewart in “Its a Wonderful Life.” I was ecstatic and I knew that there must be someone watching over me; someone who was giving me a second chance. I was free from this curse that was forced upon me and it had turned into a blessing. I went home; I called my friend and I made a promise to myself to live life in a more connected and appreciative way. No more living in a world invisible from the sights and sounds of a world that although quite beautiful; could be quite cold at the same time. It was time for me to begin again and to begin to live, to love and to make sure I would always be visible and among the living and the loved.
(I know it says the rest of your life – no one said I didn’t die or that I wasn’t simply reborn)

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