| Jr. Feature |

Little Mr. Sticky Costume

It wasn’t like he was trying to take other people’s things or steal, G-d forbid. Stuff just stuck to him

Illustration: Marion Bellina

MR. Sticky Costume (Mr. Sticky for short) was round and usually cheerful. Usually. But not always — because he had a rather “unique” trait that was, let’s face it, odd, peculiar, abnormal, and annoying: Anything that came close to him got stuck to him. Like Velcro! Like Crazy Glue (it really was crazy!) It wasn’t like he was trying to take other people’s things or steal, G-d forbid. Stuff just stuck to him.

Everyone in his little town of Sillyville knew him as “the guy who took and never let go of anything.” It wasn’t meant to be an insult, but it didn’t exactly feel like a compliment.

One day, Mr. Sticky Costume was in the mood to get some fresh air, and decided to walk in the park. As he walked, his body picked up leaves and twigs and pieces of litter. It was going to be such a pain to declutter himself back at home! But he persisted. When he finally reached the park, he was so heavy with junk stuck to him, he could barely walk. Not only that, he waved to two different friends, and neither of them recognized him!

He sat down on a bench and began pulling off pieces of string, shoelaces, feathers, a random bunny slipper, and even a little girl’s headband. He couldn’t help it when a few tears rolled down his cheeks. And just as he was finishing off his front, he felt something on his back. Something heavy — and it was making an awful noise!

A stray cat had gotten stuck to him! As he tried to remove it, the cat clawed him and only got more stuck! Soon the cat was practically screaming, and Mr. Sticky felt like screaming, too. He finally asked a kind pedestrian for help. When he got home, he decided he wasn’t going to go back out again for a long, long, long time.

But then he saw his calendar and his heart sank. Purim was only a few days away! How was he going to give mishloach manos to anyone?

He closed his eyes and remembered the previous Purim, and the Purim before that, and the one before that. As he had walked around town, he had “picked up” beards, mustaches, hats, capes, clown wigs, bowties, and other pieces of people’s costumes. He couldn’t help it, but he had ruined everyone else’s Purim for years! He even remembered some little kids crying because their costumes had become hopelessly stuck to his body.

That night, Mr. Sticky went to bed feeling a little overwhelmed and very, very glum.

For two days and two nights, he stayed in his house wondering what to do. There was no way he could walk around on Purim. But it would be so sad to stay home alone. And he had mitzvos to do! Mr. Sticky just felt so… stuck.

Then, on Taanis Esther, he woke up with an idea….

Right after neitz on Purim morning, Mr. Sticky set up a booth in the town square and spread a nice, clown-themed tablecloth across the top. In front, he set up a boldly lettered sign: Quick-Change Transform-a-Tron. Beneath the title, he carefully wrote: Instant costume upgrades! Come as yourself, leave as someone else! Come as someone else, leave entirely different!

On the table he laid out a colorful variety of mustaches, beards, sunglasses, capes, gloves, wigs, jackets, more gloves, ears, more glasses, swords, noses, teeth, tails, headbands, and other assorted costume parts. And then he carefully wrapped his sticky self… in sticky tape. It was hard to stick sticky surface to sticky surface. But with lots of persistence, he did it. Then he donned his nametag: Mr. Non-Adhesive.

It wasn’t long before his first “customer” showed up: He was dressed as a cowboy. “Mr. Non-Adhesive” didn’t recognize the guy, and he didn’t recognize Mr. Sticky either. “What’s this all about?” he asked. Ahh, Mr. Sticky thought, it must be Mr. Abrupt! He didn’t even wish me a Purim Samei’ach.

“Costume gemach,” Mr. Sticky said, deciding to be equally abrupt. “Take what you like.”

When Mr. Abrupt just stood there, Mr. Sticky pointed to some clown hair. “Why not be a Clown-boy instead of just a Cowboy?”

Mr. Abrupt laughed so hard and so abruptly, it came out like an extra-loud guffaw. “Great idea! Great idea!” He put on the clown hair beneath his cowboy hat. As Mr. Abrupt was turning to leave, Mr. Sticky remembered himself. “Oh, here, Purim Samei’ach!” he said. He handed a mishloach manos to Mr. Abrupt. It was sticky buns and gum (what else?).

Soon there was another visitor. It was a pirate. Mr. Sticky wished him a Purim Samei’ach and looked around his table. His eyes instantly fell on a T-shirt that said: “Terrific Tenor.” Mr. Sticky must have (inadvertently) “picked it up” one year. “Try this,” he said to the pirate. It was a perfect fit. “Now you’re a Pirate of the High Cs,” Mr. Sticky said.

The pirate may or may not have gotten the musical joke/pun, but he seemed pleased nonetheless. And he was even happier with his mishloach manos from Mr. Non-Adhesive, which consisted of taffies and caramels, which were actually very adhesive.

Soon, another visitor arrived at Mr. Sticky’s table: a spy! “Are you trying to figure out who I am?” Mr. Sticky/Non-Adhesive asked.

“No,” said the spy, holding up a magnifying glass. “I have already deduced your identity through the powers of observation,” he said. “But I can be persuaded to keep a secret, if you like,” he added, holding out his hand and rubbing his fingers together as if asking for a bribe.

Mr. Sticky looked at the spy’s eyes and then his mouth. He was smiling. Broadly. Oh! People like my gemach! he thought. Mr. Sticky looked around at his table. “I have just the thing,” he said. He held out a pair of googly-eye glasses. “Now you’re not just a spy, you’re Eye Spy!”

The spy started to chuckle. His chuckle turned into a rumble, and then a good laugh. “Mr. Sticky Costume, you’re really something else!” he said through his laughs. “Oops!” he whispered. “I mean, Mr. Non-Adhesive.”

The townspeople had soon used up all of Mr. Sticky/Non-Adhesive’s supplies. But that was okay, because soon everyone was stopping by to drop off more supplies. There were new bowties and beards and colorful wigs and sparkly ties. The Quick-Change Transform-a-Tron was a resounding success.

“You know,” said a clown who was in the crowd surrounding the table, “I think the only one who hasn’t had a ‘Quick Change’ is you!” He pointed at Mr. Sticky.

Mr. Sticky held out a crown to the clown. “Now you’re the Crown Clown!”

“Don’t change the subject!” reprimanded the clown. “Your sign says, ‘Instant costume upgrade: Come as yourself, leave as someone else! Come as someone else, leave entirely different!’”

“But I am someone different,” Mr. Sticky argued. “I’m Mr. Non-Adhesive now! Instead of taking, I’m giving!”

“No,” the Crown Clown argued. “You’re still the same.”

Mr. Sticky’s face fell. “I am?” He couldn’t keep the dejection from his voice.

“You were always a giver inside, Mr. Sticky. It just took finding your inner Mr. Non-Adhesive to bring it out.”

After that, Mr. Sticky couldn’t stop smiling. It was true. He had been created with certain “taking” tendencies… but he didn’t have to let that limit his giving. For him, the Quick-Change Transform-a-Tron wasn’t about the outside. It was about finding a way to bring the inside out. After all, wasn’t that what Purim was all about?


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 951)

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