Spring 1978 – It Has Worn Me For Half a Century

Felix laughed. The sound was friendlier than I would have expected. The mask made it impossible to tell whether the laughter was good humored or ironic. He said, “I’m eighty six years old. I feel better than I did when I was twenty. I can sleep anywhere. I eat for the fun of it, not because I need to. I’ve been shot and stabbed and drowned and should have died in so many other ways but the mask keeps me going. I’m a monster but it has it’s benefits.”

I poked at the fire with a stick. I said, “What is it that you want of me? Are you hoping I will be able to remove the mask?”

He laughed again. “Mother of Mary, no! Without it I’m dead. I didn’t have a pretty face before they put this on me and I doubt if I have one without it.”

“Then, what?”

“I’m hoping you can help me change it. I’d like it to be able to move. Just enough to smile.”