Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala



            The Boston Convention Center has good security, but it doesn’t have missile launchers, which means it would have a pretty tough time defending itself against Evie Odom.

            My mother.

            If she knew I was outside this place, she’d probably descend from the low clouds on this foggy Boston morning like some sort of alien doomsday spacecraft and vaporize me.

            And if she knew I was standing out here in a costume that can only be described as “fungus chic” for all of Boston Seaport to see? Well, what’s worse than being vaporized? Whatever it is, that is what she’d do to me.

            Some might think I’m being dramatic. Which, okay, fine. Maybe they’d be a little right. But mostly, they’d be wrong. This is Evie fucking Odom here. The self-made millionaire artist turned gallery director. The woman of onyx eyes and champagne lips (according to her Times profile, which was for sure penned by a gay man).

            But in my opinion, Evie is just sort of evil. Like a fashionable Antichrist sent by the art world to look down upon all things pop culture, cartoon, and craft. So her son, Raphael Odom, the boy currently stumbling out of an Uber dressed as a cartoon made out of crafts, on his way into a pop culture convention? Evie would hate it. Actually, she does hate it, but we’re a two-person family—we can’t discuss the things we hate about one another without polarizing the entire house. So, to survive her wrath, I hide my crafting and my cosplaying. And I pretend I don’t spend hours fashioning incredible costumes out of hot glue and household hardware. And I lie. And I sneak. Basically, I do whatever I can to avoid Evie’s particularly flamboyant form of hate.

            What Evie hates, she destroys. It’s her thing. For a while in the early nineties, she was famous for hating and destroying replicas of her work. Usually she did this in front of an audience, often for a lot of money.

            So as you can imagine, I’m not trying to get caught sneaking into conventions. I’m rushing, dragging my friend May behind me as we exit the car and dive into the crowd of con-goers loitering outside. May is slow in her clunky costume (100 percent my fault, I built it—sorry, May), but we don’t let two tons of foam and hot glue stop us from hitting warp speed. People scream and scatter in our wake. Maybe someone loses an eye. I don’t know, I don’t care about injuries. There’s only one—only one—force I trust to keep me safe from my mother, and that’s the group of ladies that runs check-in at Controverse. I don’t know if they volunteer or if they’re paid handsomely; I only know that if you’re not on their list, you’re not getting into the con. Not if you’re the president, not if you’re Jesus H. Christ, not even if you’re Satan.

            And yet…

            Evie is Evie, so just in case they can’t stop her, I’ve taken every precaution to make sure she doesn’t know I’m here in the first place. She thinks May and I are camping. Camping! Out in the Blue Hills of Massachusetts, like some plucky settlers of CATAN! It is the most outrageous lie I have ever told her, and I was downright offended when she accepted it without protest, only saying, “Do not bring any ticks into my house, Raphael.”

            “Out of my way,” I snap at a group of girls trying to take photos of us. They lower their phones and drift apart, letting us pass to the front of the crowd.

            “Raffy, will you just calm down for two freaking seconds?” May protests.

            I certainly will not.

            “Come on, they just want photos with us.”

            “You’re not even on your stilts, and we still need to do final touches.”

            “Oh, you mean when you make me sit on the floor so you can glue mold to my face?”