December 7th – Two Halves of a Dress, Frayed and Worn
In retrospect, wearing a dress was not the best choice he made that night.
In his defence, it wasn’t his best dress. It was a little frayed at the edges, and there was a tear in the neckline where he was a little heavy-handed taking it off one evening, but it was a dress all the same. And it would probably have been easier if he hadn’t worn it that night, and just gone out in a shirt and jeans, but then again, who’s to say it would have been?
Luke was always a little different, though. That’s what his friends liked about him. There weren’t many of them, but those that he did count among his friends were pretty loyal and tolerated Luke’s sartorial eccentricities. He was known about town as the boy in the dress, and pretty much accepted there.
But the night in particular, the night of this narrative, didn’t take place in Luke’s surprisingly tolerant hometown. The events of this night took place in a bigger city, where Luke’s friends, some of their friends, and Stella, who found his dress-wearing fascinating were due to meet.
It would perhaps have been easier if Luke had taken the dress with him, and changed when he met his friends, if he had to wear it at all. But Luke was Luke, and he wore it on the bus.
Apart from a couple of odd looks and muttered comments, though, the bus journey passed off without incident. It was when he got off the other side that his problems started. And quickly finished, although, obviously, Luke was not to know this.
Two minutes from the bus stop, and seven from where he was due to meet his friends, Luke encountered Francis.
Francis, also known as Frank, was a Ninja.
In his head.
Francis had two charges hanging over him, and a court appearance due next Tuesday. That didn’t stop him walking the streets, in full shinobi shōzoku, carrying his katana. He had a mission, steeped in Imperial history, to clear up the city. And so, when he saw Luke, a man in a dress, his noble sensibilities were incensed. He challenged the outsider in his best Japanese, and when no response was forthcoming, drew the katana.
Francis would later tell the police that he acted out of a sense of decency and justice. This was of no consolation to Luke, who would never wear that, or any, dress again.
Because half on the pavement, and half in the road, under a sodium yellow glow, lay two halves of Luke, and two halves of a dress, frayed and torn.
Inspired by a prompt from here