Raphael was Batman again. He was always Batman. I wanted to be Batman, but I couldn’t be Batman if Raphael was Batman. So I was Casper the Friendly Ghost again, wearing the same stupid costume I had from last year.
There was nothing I could do. It wasn’t like Mami could buy us new costumes all the time. Even if the rubber band on the mask was hurting my face.
One of Mami’s friends had given me a grown up mask because he knew that I liked monsters. It was a scary mask that look liked teenage Frankenstein. But it was too big and I couldn’t see through the eyes , so I would hit myself on stuff more than usual.
Mami had a lot of nice friends who came by to drink with her in the kitchen. There was Patrick, who always had grease in his hair and who wore lumberjack shirts. And then there was Steve, who had big glasses. He used to say good night to us by leading us in the prayer. We had learned “Our father who are in heaven” in church, but he would do “Now I lay me down to sleep . . . ,” which was a little scary, which I liked.
Then there was Mr. Jimmy, who used to buy us presents all the time because Mami said he was rich. He had white hair like snow and always wore suits. We told Mami to marry him so we would always have presents, but she said he was too old, and one day after that he stopped taking Mami out.
We didn’t trick or treat like they did in the movies. Mami didn’t want us going too far — she barely let me cross the street by myself — and she didn’t trust people giving us candy, because there was always something in the news about kids that got eaten by killers who gave them candy. So we just trick or treated in the building.
The only reason Raphael trick or treated was probably because he wanted to wear his Batman costume so I couldn’t. Evie came with us, too. She was dressed up as some princess lady, I think Cinderella. She was only going because Mami made her go. She didn’t even put her crown on.
First we went to the basement apartment, where Donna and her mother lived. It was always cold in the hallway down there, even though it was right near the entrance to Hell in the boiler room. I knocked on the door because I was the smallest. Donna opened it.
“Whaaat?” she said. She didn’t have a costume on.
“Trick or treat,” I told her.
“Maaa,” Donna screamed to the back of the apartment. “They want candy.”
Her mother Dulce came to the door. She was a big lady. “Oh, look, how cute? Let me get youse some candy.”
She went away and the hallway had light in it again. I asked Donna why she didn’t have a costume. She said she was too old for that stuff.
“You’re the same age as me,” I told her.
“But you’re a baby,” she said.
I never wanted to grow up more than right then in the basement hallway.