|A drawing of a submarine I did years back|
Tale of the Lampshade Samurai
Amelia White hurried down to the living room, her feet clomping on the dark green carpeted stairs echoing through the whole house. Tomorrow was the day of the convention, and that meant two things. One shed again see friends who shed only see on that one particular day, as they traveled from other cities across the nation for this event. The second was of course the annual Cosplay costume contest.
You going to the store? her father asked from the kitchen. Not even going to eat some breakfast? There was humor in his voice, as if he could sense her anxiety. Brian White walked out of the kitchen, his graying brown hair caked in flour and dough. His gray eyes twinkled at his daughter.
Well of course, I am, dad, she said in a huff . If I dont go now ,
The good costumes and materials will be gone, Brian finished for her. He threw his head back and laughed as her face reddened. He kissed her cheek before turning back to his cooking.
Amelia watched him disappear, and turned to the door, briefly staring at her watch. Nine oclock. There was still time.
The streets were practically paved in bodies. There was hardly a path she took, where Amelia wasnt bumping elbows with someone, or stepping on somebodys foot. It didnt help that the sun was burning hot across her head, or that after six hours not one store had any good costumes left. Oh come on, she muttered.
Im so sorry, miss, the last of the cashiers said with a lopsided grin. If it was at least six weeks before the event, maybe. But with the convention tomorrow?!
Are you saying something? Amelia growled.
Youd be lucky to find twenty patches of gum and dress up like a poorly dressed Scooby Do villain, the woman craned her neck, to look at the next costumer. When it was obvious the girl wasnt going to move, the woman blinked. Anything else?
Amelia opened her mouth, but decided against it. With a sigh, and a whip of her brown hair, she turned and walked away. I cant believe this, she groaned.
I can, said a soft voice, laced with giggling. Amelia turned and saw her best friend, Samantha. The girl was a few inches shorter than the other girl, with tight curls of golden locks, bright green eyes and so many freckles stretched across her face that she must have made the angels nearly collapse for all the kissing they had, had to have done. You always to do this, Amelia, Sam said, draping her arm over her friends shoulder. You wait, and wait, watching so many anime and reading so many Japanese comics, that before you know it, you cant decide who you want to be.
Amelia rolled her eyes as she walked with the other girl. Inch by inch they made their way to their favorite fast food place, and managed to find a seat. I know, I know, she said. The smell of onion rings, greased splattered meat, and body odor wafted all around them. Ugh, I feel like Im in an oven with a batch of bad chicken.
Sam giggled, and wrinkled her nose. So true, she said. She looked over her menu, ordered the veggie pizza, and than sat back. You going to go as the catgirl ghost of that one manga again? she giggled.
Oh, funny. Amelia ordered the triple angus double bacon deluxe sandwich and waited. They watched the massive pulse of humanity inch and swerve around each other, everyone either complaining about the mass of bodies, or the excitement of tomorrow.
Aw, come on, you were cute, Sam tried.
Yes, its always cute to have a bed sheet over your ears with the ears of a torn stuffed animal glued to your head, Amelia laughed a little. I honestly believed I did a good job on the face paint though. I really thought I stood a chance.
Uh, huh. Same chance as you did three years running with the same costume, Sam giggled, dodging as her friend tossed a pepper shaker at her. Her smile melted as her eyes focused on something. Uh oh, she muttered.
Uh oh, what? The other girl followed her line of vision, and felt her body tense. Melisa Benjamin sat just a little bit off from them, eating her salad and drinking a glass of imported water from some country with an impossible name to pronounce. Or so she had always claimed it was where shed gotten all her water. Amelia scowled, her appetite slowly leaving her.
You think if we pretend we dont see her, shell leave us alone? Sam asked in a low whine.
Amelia shrugged and looked away, watching as the waiter brought their order to the table and left. Just as her hunger had left, so it returned as she remembered what the platinum blonde, with an attitude that made many Hollywood rich snobs look like saints, had done to her two years ago. Melisas face appeared on the burger, her brown eyes taunting the other girl. Amelia grasped the burger and downed it quickly, smirking.
Always the pig, arent we? the high and mighty accent that reeked of East Cost Money made her want to puke. Melisa smirked, whipping her hair away from her face as she took a chair and sat to look at the other two. I thought it was you, Ame, I really did, but my friends all were certain youd be too smart to show yourself in public.
Ignore. Shes not really there. Amelia took her coke and gulped it. Time seemed to slow down, and still the little witch just stared. Thought you were going to Milan, she finally growled.
Thought about it, but once youve been, it so dull. Melisa flexed, her perfectly tanned skin catching the light of both sun and the buildings light bulbs, which caught the eyes of many single men there. Besides, how could I not come to the convention?
Shes not interested saying anything to you, Sam snapped.
Melisas head snapped toward the other girl, her eyes narrowing. Im sorry, was I talking to you? she asked. Many patrons shivered with her words, and slowly inched away toward the exit.
You might as well, because Im so not wasting time talking to you, Amelia said. She stood up and threw away her trash.
Ah, but didnt you just speak, mon ami? Melisa laughed as Amelias face reddened, making all her friends bark with laughter too like the bloated, circus, sea lions they were. Honestly, Im not sure what all this hostility is all about, Ame, Melisa cooed innocently. I mean, I knew we were never close, but who kept who at bay, hmmmm?
Her name is not Ame, its , Sam snarled, her words shut down as Melisa took a glass of water and dumped it over her head. The young girl screeched in shock and horror as half the restaurant laughed along with the snobs friends. The only two who didnt make a sound were Amelia and Melisa, the former glaring at the rich girl, the other at Sam.</P>
Im sorry, but this is a place for people with manners, not babys who wet themselves, she snapped.
Samantha looked up at the other girl and launched herself to her feet. Her face trembled, burning red as tears sting the edges of her eyes. Her fingers flexed inward and out, as if she contemplated some great violence, and then, she turned and walked away.
Amelia watched her leave, and turned her blood shot eyes at the other girl. In her mind, the freak was laying on the floor dead. She opened her mouth to speak and shut it again. She isnt worth it. She isnt worth it. She is not worth it.
Gonna cry like your little friend? She waited for a response and received none. Or should I tell Rick, that youve , she made a tiny sound like a mouse, as Amelia pushed past her, running her shoulder into and away from the other girls. That assault you know, I could have you arrested I could ,
Someone in in the crowd, someone not the very least interested in the girl or her tan, or her hair, howled and banged a fist into his table. Shut the hell up.
Melisas jaw dropped and she blinked only once. As she recovered she glared at the man, who stayed eye to eye with her, until his wife asked him to ignore her. The rich little brat turned to her friends, and motioned with her hand. I forgot what a dump of a town this is. Once I win the contest again, she cried out, giving a smug smile as she saw the word sting the vanishing Amelia, were so outta here.
It took Amelia two hours to calm down, less time than it had to console Samantha, who had been cheerfully arguing with a cashier about a certain dress. Despite their best efforts searching for a good costume for Amelia, nothing panned out as they had hoped. They agreed to call each other that night, and went their separate ways.
But even calm, Amelia could not totally relax. The mention of Ricks name was a thorn in her side. She had really liked him, and was certain he had liked her. He definitely enjoyed her costume three years ago, but when a certain blonde appeared, dressed as a character who was most definitely a tramp in one particular show, all interest faded.
Amelia paced back and forth in her room. This was the last time she would be allowed to enter the contest. The age limit was set for twenty two, and though she was only twenty one now, the conventions date differed from year to year. Next year it would be held six days later. Six days from now shed be twenty two, the cut off date. She wouldnt be able to compete next year. She had to win it!
But with no good mind of what she wanted to be, and no costumes, what could she do, what could she wear? Her room was a mess of books, literature, pictures, videos, dvds. Bed sheets and blankets scattered the floor, next to scissors and markers. In her closet, dozens of poor stuffed animals cluttered. If only she could read their minds, she thought shed hear the pounding of dozens of stuffed hearts hoping shed not go the same route yet again.
Sweetie, her mother called, opening her door. Amelia, she sighed. Darling its nearly midnight, and you honestly do need a good nights sleep! Her mom scanned the floor and sighed, long having given up on arguing about the mess of her room as this certain day approached.
I know mom, I really do but what am I going to do?! I cant let that witch beat me again! I have to win, I have to find some costume that will really blow the socks off of the judges. I mean it doesnt even have to be serious, does it?! Ive gone silly before, a few judges seemed to really like it.
Each time Mora White tried to respond to one question, shed be shut off with the next. She smiled, kissed her daughters cheek and turned to walk away. Suddenly she stopped and gasped. Amelia rolled her eyes, bracing herself for an exclamation at just how messy the room truly was. Just another part of the convention experience. But no such words came.
Samurai Fudo and the Holy Blade! Mora bent down and picked up a copy of a very old manga. I thought your father got rid of this thing years ago! She flipped through the pages, sitting on the extreme edge of her daughters bed. Oh, this was so my favorite story. And Samurai Fudo was always so handsome! Her mother blushed, and stared at the pages. It had such a unique ending too. The first of its kind, which I guess most of your comics have copied more than enough times. Mora sighed and stood up. Anyway, you really do need to get to bed, sweetie. I wont have you getting sick, and missing school.
Amelia closed the door behind her mother, and then picked up the old manga. For the next thirty minutes, she paged through it, absorbing the story and characters. It was cool, and a bit corny. But she could definitely see connections between the story lines, and things they were doing today. Samurai Fudo had definitely been a pioneer. His costume he wore was odd, and definitely not your typical Samurai armor. In fact it looked a lot like Amelia scanned her room, and then smiled.
The convention area was huge, and loaded with people dressed in millions of different costumes. There were elves, vampires, gunmen, summoners, demon hunters, armored battle suited warriors, the usual. Isaac Asimov, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Lucas, and all other Sci-Fi gods and goddesses would have either been proud, or horrified at the devotion of their fans.
Amelia walked through the door, catching sight of Samantha, who dressed as Princess Leia, came dashing over to her. Her eyes were wider than the sun, and her blushing face was as red as the sun of Supermans home world, Krypton. Are you drunk? Or on something? she whispered, taking hold of her friends wrist.
Amelia smiled, pulling away. Not at all, just in costume, she giggled. She twirled to show it off, taking satisfaction of certain eyes that looked at her. Certainly many thought she was mad, others no doubt, those who knew her the best, decided that she was clearly out of ideas. Dressed in three very large lamp shades, two covering her waist, one placed on her head, so it looked as if it was slowly slipping off, the young woman was in her prime. She wore her favorite blue jeans, and dark black shoes. All of her arm that was visible was those of her wrists and her fingers.
So youre supposed to be like, what? A lamp? Or a lamp monster? Samantha shook her head. Um, I really think that you would have been better off as the catgirl ghost.
Her other friends at the convention all seemed to feel the same. Their eyes filled with both humor and sympathy. One friend from Boston had commented that poor Amelia had again wasted time, and was now at the bottom of the barrel. No way shed win the contest dressed like that.
They walked through the convention center. Eight rooms, each with its own booth, connected each other to form a octagon. In the center of the area was a medium sized park, paved with cement and trees, lamp posts and flowers. After talking to their friends and purchasing books, models, DVDs and a few shirts, the girls walked toward the park. It was there that the contest was being held.
As they reached it, they caught sight of two very familiar figures. Both baneful, though one not so much to Amelia. Melisa and Rick were talking, Rick standing by the judges booth, dressed as a blue mage from a Final Fantasy game, and Melisa dressed with so little clothing, she might not have been dressed at all. Flowery designs glued delicately to her chest and thigh covered areas that didnt need to be seen to understand how they looked.
The witch turned and looked, nearly doubling over in laughter as she spied Amelia. She waltzed toward the other young woman, petals of the flowers occasionally falling. She took in the dark admiration of the men around her, and teased them, as she approached the other girls. I must say, I thought youd at least try! she cackled. She circled Amelia, tapping at the lampshades. Very original.
Isnt it though, Amelia said with a grin.
So, what are you, to be honest? She blinked her chocolate eyes and cocked her head.
I am Samurai Fudo, Amelia said, her grin wider. She looked about, as she had all day. Lost of ancient Japanese warriors here, but not one single Fudo. Cool.
I am sorry, Samurai who?! The platinum blonde laughed again, and it was all she could to do to deck the little witch. I do not think you can just apply for entry into the contest being one of your own original characters.
Im not, Amelia said.
Then why havent I heard of this Samurai Fudo before? Explain, she said, as if she was a stern teacher who decided to take a rebellious student to task.
Its from the nineteen sixties, Rick said, approaching. Richard Layman was a figure of manhood. Fit, firm, and looked as if he could go twelve rounds with the heavy weight champion of the world. His hair was pitch black, and his eyes were a beautiful shade of lime green. He pushed his wire glasses up across his nose and smiled at Amelia. So very original. I dont think Ive ever seen someone think outside the box. He eyed her and chuckled. Lampshades, interesting choice. Not one Id make, but knowing your history of procrastinating ,
Well, weve got to go to the stage, Amelia cut him off. With each of his words up to that point, shed felt her body grow lighter, and lighter. Then he had to ruin it, although playfully, with that teasing. She blushed and hurried on past them.
Melisas head turned back and forth between the man and the other woman. You honestly liked that?!
To be honest, its original as I said. I like original.
Youve always said you liked what Ive worn, she cooed, her voice turning softer. I know you like Nami Fuijiwaka. Melisa stroked his arm, and gasped as he pulled away.
True, she is hot. He eyed her and smirked, allowing her to pose for him. But then, again, hot is so much around its not all that original anymore. And besides, Im a judge this year. Cant have favoritism by seeming to date or be romantic with one of the contestants, now can I? He turned and left her to her shock.
The five judges questioned and watched the contestants very carefully. These questions were always hard, thought provoking. They wanted to see if these people honestly knew their character, if they were a true fan. It finally came down to Melisa as always, and Amelia, which had startled many people not the least which was Melisa.
The young woman stood, heart pounding as she stared into Ricks eyes, forcing herself to remember that there were other judges than just him. She gulped, and sat down.
A very unique costume, the first judge said, eyeing her. So who are you, and who are you dressed as?
Amelia White, and I am dressed as Samurai Fudo, the title character of the Holy Blade series.
And why did you choose such an interesting character? the judge asked.
I liked the characters, and the storyline very much. In many ways, the manga was very brave in the direction it when at the time it was published. Many manga nowadays would never have been published had Samurai Fudo never come out.
The judge seemed to accept the answer, and looked to the next judge. Why dress in such a fashion? I must admit I have never heard of the said manga until today. Is this what the artist had the character dress?
No, no not at all. Amelia blushed and chuckled as many in the crowd laughed as well. I have a tendency to be a put a lot of things off, do to indecision. So I couldnt find a proper costume or even make one in the time I had.
So, this is a last minute costume design? the judges eyebrows raised.
Amelia could practically fell her heart in her throat. Yes, maam. It is. She couldnt see Melisa, but from the look of Samanthas frown as she stood in the crowd, she could tell that the great platinum twit was enjoying this part.
Do you look anything like, this Samurai Judo? the woman judge asked, tapping her chin with a pen.
Yes maam, she brightened up. His armor was not true Samurai ware, as he started life out as a farmer, and created his own suite in order to avenge his family. These lamp shades arent all that different from his original design.
The female judge cleared her throat, chewing on the pen. I see.
In fact, the lampshade on my head is very similar to his hat. She knew she had spoken out of turn, but had to take the chance.
Very interesting. The woman turned and looked at an ancient man, whos broad smile was stretching with every moment.
For someone so young, it is most interesting and a breathe of fresh air to see someone interested in the such an older story. Tell me, where is your Holy Blade? As we know, Judo used it to vanquish many enemies.
Not true, sir, she shot out. He never received the blade until the end of the series, to defeat the main adversary. His weapon of choice was a mental blade which he summoned with the help of a kitsune partner. The elder judges smile grew so wide it might have sliced his face in half. That was a trick question, wasnt it? He laughed and nodded.
Then he turned to Rick. What made you change tactics?
I dont know what you mean, Amelia frowned.
You normally picked cute, silly characters, even before the catgirl ghost. Why pick someone so serious, so much darker than the characters youd been a fangirl of before?
It was something that came to me, last night. Or maybe early this morning. It was just after midnight when I really found and read and fell in love with the series.
And you really know your characters from this series? he asked, resting his chin on his hands. She nodded. Who was his wife?
She was a Swedish woman who was preaching to the Japanese during the sixteenth century, Amelia said.
Her name was ?
Helena, she said. He frowned, but she quickly blurted out, But she changed her name to Hoshi after she married him. He would always call her that in public, but he refused to refer to her by that name in private, always calling her by her true name.
Rick asked her a few more questions, impressed at her knowledge of the dark and interesting areas the story took. Finally he turned to the last judge and gave him an nod. The young man was awestruck at how thoroughly she knew her stuff, and couldnt think of a thing to ask. Rick bent over, and whispered something in his ear.
The judge cleared his throat, and straightened his back. Ms. White, there are many here who cross dress to show their love of devotion for their given favorite characters. You werent the only female dressed as a male character up on that stage. So my question to you is what sets you apart from them?
The butterflies hit her strong, and hard. She tried to come up with an answer, but it wouldnt come. Amelia stood and sat, and then repeated the action. I ., she began. Behind her she could hear the cackle of Melisa. Samanthas eyes were filled with worry. How could she have come so far, and blow it with the final question? Why had Rick done this to her again?!
Then, as she stared into his eyes, and noticed both interest and worry it hit her. Rick had been the one to come up with the question, though hed given it to the judge. And Rick had done nothing but grill her about the canon of the series to the point of it becoming inquisitional. She understood. Because, she said, her voice strong and resounding over the park. Because Samurai Fudo was the first manga to come to America to break an interesting taboo.
In the end, Samurai Fudo is revealed to actually be Helena. It turns out that Fudo was the one murdered by the warlord and his band. The Kitsune who becomes Helenas partner transforms her physically into her husbands appearance, so she could get revenge. Once the final villain was defeated, the emperor discovers what has happened, but before he can punish her, the kami of Fudos village appears, and forbids it. He allows Helena to become an immortal, and live happily with Fudo.
The crowd was speechless. Eyes blinked, heads craned to stare up at the stage. I am sorry for spoiling the story for those who would be interested in reading it themselves, but I wont give out other secret details of other story arcs. Her smile matched that of Ricks.
So you can see, Im not actually dressed as a male character at all. And thats why Im different. Rick chuckled and looked down at his papers, completely impressed. Amelia thanked the judges, the crowd and her competition, and sat down next to a scowling Melisa.
The two sat for a good few minutes, before the judges came back with their decision. The first judge stood, microphone in hand, and walked up to the stage, having the two young women stand between him. In a vote of four to one, the judges panel has decided to grant this years best of costume contest to Ms. Amelia White! The crowd roared with approval, clapping their hands, whistling, stomping their feet.
Wait, wait! This was fixed, Melisa roared, pushing the judge away. A long, witch like finger jutted out and pointed at Rick. He helped her. He gave her answers to say!
There was a bit of murmuring. How do you know that? the head judge asked, looking between the woman and the male judge.
Oh come on! You didnt see him kink his head to one side, or use hand movements as she spoke, answering his questions, and yours? She looked desperately at all of the judges. At all of yours? Come on!
He equally moved hands and blinked, craning his neck at you, Ms. Benjamin, the head judge pointed out. How can we be sure that he wasnt giving you answers?
She puffed out her chest, the flowery display nearly coming unglued from her chest. Of course he didnt. I gave all my answers of my own mind, without any help.
Thats why you stuttered most of the time, when answering your own questions, the judge growled, narrowing his eyes. You might know your show, the character youre portraying on the surface, but not entirely. You could not answer what her whole name was, or her family background. You didnt know why she acted the way she did need I go on?
But I , Melisa stuttered.
Thought that showing a lot of flesh would earn you your latest win. But I guess this time, it wont will it? There were a few boos at the judge from the crowd, but mainly they were drowned out by the cheers of those who had grown tired of being harassed by the vixen.
That still does not prove that he didnt help her, she barked, her face flush dark red. The last judge couldnt think of a single thing to ask. If Rick hadnt told him what to say ,
Then one of the others would have, Rick piped in from the judges booth. I wanted to see if she absolutely knew her stuff. And she did, obviously.
She could have just looked it up on Wikipedia, Melisa cried.
Even that would count for decent research, Rick countered. But I know she didnt, he continued, turning his laptop over so that those on stage could see. Then he pressed a few buttons, and lit up the screen on the stage, so those in the crowd could clearly see the web page. Its not listed on the site.
Melisas body shook, like a tree being ripped by its roots by a tornado. Then how did you know about it?! she bellowed.
Because my parents and their family liked it, Rick said. I grew up with it. Never thought about dressing up like any of the characters though. Ill say it again, very original!
People, come to your senses! Shes wearing lamp shades! She screamed so hard that she coughed afterwards for a moment.
Even more original, the elder judge said with a chuckle. Im sorry my dear, but you did not win this time.
Melisa looked as if shed need an exorcist. Her head spun in a dozen directions, looking for anyone who might join in her argument. Instead she received faces of scorn, or other kinds of interest. Oh, whatever! she barked. This whole thing is stupid. I dont need any of this crap! Or this godforsaken town! The platinum vixen stormed off the stage, thrusting her way through the crowd, her cronies right besides her, covering her from leering eyes.
It was late in the evening of that same day when the phone rang in her room. Amelia rushed over to pick it up, and felt her heart tug at her chest when he spoke. Quite the performance today.
She smiled. Thank you, she giggled. Her eyes turned up toward the large trophy and the bookshelf loaded with many different manga that shed won. It was all she had hoped for, and yet this call trumped it all.
You think well ever see poor Melisa again? he laughed, the clank of dishes in the background giving off that he was doing his job of washing dishes.
Does it matter? she asked, narrowing her eyes playfully.
I suppose not, but I do want to apologize for that time, a few years back. We never really talked after it. There was a pause. Listen, I was young, and stupid ,
Well, youre still young, I wonder about the stupid part sometimes, she teased.
Not everyone can be a local college cutie like you, Amelia.. But hey, I run a close second, right? They both laughed. Anyway, Id like to make it up to you, by taking you out someplace. Say seven-thirty tomorrow night, some good Italian food?
Her heart now felt as if it was going to explode. Make it eight-thirty, and Chinese food, and you might have a deal! That is, if this isnt about being on the arm of the latest Anime Convention costume winners arm kind of thing!
Thats the stupid part of me thats over and done with, he laughed. Im more into original things now, not the latest fad or fashion. He laughed harder. See, Im growing more brain cells just talking to you! Keep me around and I might prove evolution is possible for people!
Eight-thirty, Chinese food, tomorrow, Mr. Caveman. And any funny business and Ill have to use the Holy Blade to kick your butt! Her smile grew, and she blushed so hard she couldnt stand it.
Eight-thirty, tomorrow night at a Chinese restaurant of your choice it is, my dear Lamp Shade Samurai!
They talked for a few minutes more, and then hung up. Amelia waltzed over to her bed and plopped on it, smiling as bit as Helena had at the end of the story. And all because of a little procrastination.
As I sit and think of things that were
The past that haunts me as the daylight fades,
Voices and visions cloud my mind, unearthly shades;
And I turn my mind back to her.
Caroline, a beauty so fine and so pure
A bonny sweet lass, laying in the sweet grass of the glades,
Smiling at me, a girl whose light could not be dampened by other maids;
And I think of my girl along the lane, and Ive never been more sure.
Sure that to her I would remain
True as the oceans bearing the fishermen upon the waves,
Homeward bound will I ever be bound.
To my Carolines heart I do so claim
The loyal knight to the queen I race back, ignoring the jest of knaves,
I am hers, her loyal soul, her mate, her heart, her faithful hound.
Okay, okay not the best poem I know, but Im trying! Anyway this is the first Ive attempted at an Italian sonnet. It could have been worse you know.
I suppose this could be interrpereted two different ways. One as a wayward lover, who was for one reason or the other separated from his love. Or, perhaps it really is a hound, who strayed to far, and decided to return to his mistress.
|first italian poem|
If you have line art, but can not seem to color it in, OR have time to color it in, I will be happy to do so for you if you like. Please do not, I'm still NEW at it, so its not always going to come out looking awesome.
It should take me some time as well because I do live a hectic offline life, but I'd be happy to try my best for you. Just tell me what you'd like via note or whatever and we'll go from there.
Well you can see me for yourself.
This is me in all my me ness.
All hail the ME.
Okay I admit it, I am a dork.
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