My parents, not surprisingly, know me well. They are simple country folks, farm folks; neither attended college, and one never even finished high school. Good, church-going, salt-of-the-earth types. Today they are rather cultured, knowledgeable about geek culture and all things odd and weird, as the result of having me as a son. I dragged them kicking and screaming all the way, but nowadays they accept me as I am. (I think they worried for me when I was a kid. I remember my mother trying in vain to interest me in the sort of things that “normal” boys were interested in; she bought me a basketball for my birthday one year, along with a goal. They never objected to me reading FANGORIA, as I was reading, and that was a good thing, they figured, but they didn’t know exactly WHAT I was reading when they bought me Alan Moore SWAMP THING comic books.) I grew up to be a huge honkin’ geek, weird as hell, but I like to think they’re proud of me.
The other day, my mom was driving past a yard sale. (You all know what yard sales are, right?) She spotted this old devil figure, an old Halloween decoration. She inspected it and found it in extremely poor condition. The guy at the sale wanted $10 for it. She convinced him that no one would buy it and he gave it to her. Then she gave it to me, as had been her intent all along. I named my new devil figure “Lester.”
Lester WAS in awful shape. His latex skin had dry-rotted in places; his wings were stripped of all “flesh” and were just wire bones. Both his arms were missing, and he’d faded from far too much time left in the sun and rain. I went to work, trying to restore him, but alas he was beyond salvage. Almost. The foam he was stuffed with had molded and stank to high heaven. The metallic skeleton had rusted to brittleness. The shoulders were bleeding black cotton. I decided to try to save the head, if nothing else. I cut it off, but the stuffing there was rotted, too. It had to go. That left me with the skin–a mask, for the most part, but one in desperate need of restoration.
It took several layers of paint, some putty, some glue, and some intricate handwork, but I was pleased with the final result. Take a gander at the above picture. That’s Lester today. Not bad, if I do say so myself. He currently sits on my bookshelf, happy to be in out of the elements. He is watching me type this article. He says to tell you all hello.