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"Mom – stop! What was that for?"

"Eat your eggplant!"

"I would rather die!"

"Oof! Hey! Ouch!"

Leo looked up from "Sugarman vs The Eggplant". Drawing comics helped him to think. He sketched in a thought bubble, carefully linking it to his hero's head with a line of diminishing circles.

"Quick, it's time for... SUGARMAN!"

His older brother, Jack, had stayed after school again. Jack usually turned up his nose at school musicals but this one involved an insane dentist and a man-eating plant and had a band instead of an orchestra. He was playing lead guitar in the band. Jack played the piano too, but he liked guitar better. Like their Dad, he was a gifted musician and seemed able to play any instrument he could get his hands on. Leo didn't mind when Jack stayed after – he liked having afternoons to himself. He finished tapping in a haze of dots around Sugarman.

"Good, that's enough sugar for now."

"But wait... I sense something-"

This week especially he appreciated the time; he needed to think. In the off season, Mad Tom Farm made money by hosting special events – parties and teas and such. The Mardi Gras party was one of the big ones. It was very fancy and people paid a lot of money to come to it. Leo needed to come up with a costume for it by Saturday night or his Aunt Sallie would stick him into a silly jester suit or some cheesy, little kid pirate outfit. What could he wear? He had to think of something, something unique, something that would make them realize he wasn't a little kid anymore.


"An Eggplant – Ha!"

Thoughtfully he shaded in Sugarman's underpants which, of course, being a superhero, he wore on top of his everyday pants. Why did superheroes do that? he wondered. And, more importantly, How did they get away with it? No one thought a superhero looked dumb or immature. In fact, everybody Leo knew thought superheroes were cool.

"I'll bury him in sugar..."

"Boing-Boing... GULP!"

His eyes meandered across the room to where Crunchy lay snoring next to a laundry basket filled with folded red tablecloths from the Holiday Teas. Jack had a bright red speedo just that shade. It was funny how a tablecloth could bring a swim suit to mind, he mused.

"You're going down Eggplant- you can't escape SUGARMAN!"


Leo's head snapped up in surprise. Of course! Why not? He'd go to the party as Sugarman! He could wear Jack's swimsuit over his mom's white long johns and borrow one of the tablecloths for a cape. Jack even had a pair of cool black boots loaded with buckles and straps, and there was a wide black belt with a huge buckle in the costume box in the basement from when they were kids. It would be perfect! Leo stippled over the villainous eggplant with a fluffy pile of sugar and drew Sugarman, victorious, on top.

"Ha-ha," he wrote, "Sugar RULES!"

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