By Jane Lienert
There was only a week left until the competition. How had he not known of the Creative Hero Costume Competition until now? Maybe he’d briefly seen the ad for it and forgot all about it? Very unlikely Cody thought while frowning at his computer screen.
He was on Fortnite looking for some inspiration. There were many avatars in the game with impressive outfits. Cody began to feel disheartened when he remembered he had to make an original costume. This wasn’t a cosplay competition so whatever he made had to be 100% unique. Luckily, he knew how to make costumes from scratch as he had been doing cosplay, on a budget, for five years now and had a natural talent when it came to sewing.
Cody scrolled through the different Fortnite outfits, analysing the ones he thought looked the best. He wanted his costume to look flashy but not too flashy that it looked ridiculous. All these ideas were swirling around in his head but he could only pick one. He had to choose the best idea and stick with it and yet none of the ideas he could think of seemed impressive enough. Cody was about to write his ideas down only to have his ‘brainstorming session’ interrupted by his mum. She had opened his bedroom door to find him on his computer.
“I told you, no computer games on a school night.”
“Mum it’s not what it looks like! I’m-“
“Doing homework? No you’re not. Now shut that down. I need you to empty the trash and then do the same for Mr Winston.”
“Okay, okay!” Cody relented while he scrambled quickly passed her and out of the house.
Mr Winston was Cody’s neighbour who lived in the yellow two-storey house on top of the hill. Cody had to ride his bike to Mr Winton’s house every afternoon to do chores for him because he was in the early stages of dementia. His daughter couldn’t visit him because she had a very demanding job which is why she asked Cody’s mum if she could visit since she was a good friend to Mr Winston. However, she ended up giving this role to Cody. Sometimes Mr Winston would forget his name and instead call him Colby. Cody didn’t mind helping Mr Winston every day. Even though he was a forgetful old man he did take an interest in Cody’s hobby and would give him helpful suggestions whenever he was struggling to finish a project. He also was an interesting person to talk to in general. In the past he had done so many things so occasionally, when he remembered that is, he would mention an adventure he had when he was younger that would spark Cody’s curiosity.
After Cody had emptied Mr Winston’s bins he began to tell him all about the competition. He had only found out about it an hour ago but was already willing to stay up late for the rest of the week if it meant he could create an epic costume by the end of it. Cody and Mr Winston were sitting at his dining table when he got up and said, “Follow me, I want to show you something.” Mr Winston then showed Cody the door to his closet which he opened.
“Wow! Mr Winston I never knew you had a walk-in closet full of fabrics!”
“Neither did I till I remembered I used to be a tailor back in the day.”
Two fabrics caught Cody’s eye; some navy-blue leather and a roll of black material covered in spiky metal studs.
Mr Winston knew what Cody was thinking and took the two fabrics off the shelf and gave them to him.
“You can keep these.”
“Really?” Cody said ecstatic.
“Of course Colby, I know how passionate and talented you are, you’ll make something fantastic with these materials.”
That night Cody began to plan out his hero costume. He decided he would use the navy-blue leather to make sleeves that would be attached to the bulletproof vest and the spikey one-sided material he would turn into elbow pads. He also designed a sash to be worn around the waist that can be removed and thrown at the enemy to divert them from the surprise attack. The surprise attack being the hero takes the opponent down with his self-defence blades he has hidden in his shoes, shoulder armour or the fingertips of his bullet-proof gloves.
It was finally the morning of the competition and Cody jumped out of bed and started to get ready. He carefully put his costume on a hanger and bagged it before heading outside to join Loraine. Loraine was Cody’s best friend who would be taking him to the competition, which was being held at the Melville Creative Arts facility.
“The winner will be awarded the title Best Hero Costume Designer of 2021 and will be on the front cover of Heroes Weekly magazine. The winner will also win $1000 dollars! Furthermore the Judges here today are Cameron Wallace, Stephanie Queen and Paris Williams, the astounding heroic films costume designer! “Announced a voice through the speakers. All the contestants and everyone who bought a ticket to attend was in the theatre.
Cody’s costume had been voted into the top five. He was in the final round of the competition. Soon the judges would be asking each remaining contestant a question before making final critiques and electing a winner.
“So Cody, what inspired you to create this particular costume?” Stephanie Queen asked as she adjusted her glasses.
Memories flashed before his eyes. He was going to say the heroes Batman and Hawkeye but then he remembered who was really responsible for inspiring his creativity. It was someone who he didn’t realise until now.
“Gerald Winston inspired me to design this costume,” Cody smiled. He then told the judges how his neighbour use to design self-defence suits that were tailored to look like ordinary suits when in actuality, they were as resilient as the batman suit and had hidden self-defence weapons that the wearer would immediately access if he was being attacked. This had inspired Cody to add his own self-defence weapons to his hero costume.
After all the contestants had been interviewed the three best costume designers were welcomed back on stage and given awards. They then had their pictures taken with the judges while Cody watched from where he was sitting.
Cody’s shoulders sagged when his name wasn’t announced. Immediately all the negative thoughts he’d been blocking out the whole week leading up to the competition started to consume him.
You should’ve known you stuffed up the moment you decided to add a green hood.
You only spent one week on your costume of course you weren’t going to win.
He had run away with the false hope that he would win or at least place. He should’ve known that the judges wouldn’t even consider his costume after Cameron Wallace pointed out that it looked too similar to that of Green Arrow’s.
Cody waited outside the toilets for his friend. The competition had ended and all he wanted to do was go home and crawl back into bed. He sighed as he waited awkwardly near the ladies toilets for Loraine to return. Suddenly, Cody felt someone tap his shoulder he turned around to see one of judges standing in front of him.
“So you’re the young lad who’s been helping my father”, Paris Williams smiled while shaking Cody’s hand, “It’s nice to finally meet you, I’m Poppy Winston.”
“Wait you’re Poppy Winston?,” Cody asked in disbelief, “Your name’s not Paris Williams?”
“That’s just my stage name, “she chuckled after Cody gave her a confused look, “I started my music career before I became a costume designer for Heroic films.”
Cody was speechless. The famous and successful Paris Williams is actually his neighbour’s daughter? He just needed a minute to let this all sink in.
Poppy clasped her hands together before saying, “Anyway Cody, I just wanted to say even though your costume didn’t place, to me, it was a brilliant flash of inspiration. I knew when I saw your masterpiece I wanted you on my team! So with that having been said…Would you like to be my co-costume designer for the next Heroic film; Antorious?”