Graham researches the internet for the makeup requirements of a zombie face. It morphs, as only internet research can, into how to do a half unzipped zipper face where the flesh around the mouth is exposed. Sixteen million other Halloween hopefuls have followed this google path. All manner of gory can be found – you just need to click. Someone else demonstrates how to do a face half-eaten away, a fake tongue half-ripped from the throat. You can find anything on the internet. Degloving injuries to get a plastic surgeon’s heart all a flutter. Graham is transported from his other unusual distraction of the moment; the construction of his own steady-cam from hardware found around the house, a skateboard shop and Bunnings. All for forty-five dollars. There is gluing, hammering, use of the oven. The guys at the skateboard shop know what he is up to when he asks to buy a single bearing for a gimble. Making your own steady cam – cool man.
A zombie face is made with a paste largely made of kaolin. A bit of kitchen sponge with rounded corners to apply. For a house of natural, blemished faces, unaccustomed to makeup of any kind, it requires the rapid attainment of a new skill and a trip to the discount chemist warehouse. The goo is plastered to the skin of the semi-reluctant ten-year-old model. But it is preferable to the plastic mask from last year, with its claustrophobic, I-am-buried-alive feel. The paste is grey blue. The colour of rot. Beneath the eyes black and purple eye shadow complete the putrefaction. The fake blood dribbles from the ears. He will not be saved. As the blood dries, it cracks and peels, lifting like decomposing flesh.
First we have piano lessons. It is Gypsy’s first time teaching the undead. Jasper plays a lullaby while blood congeals around the edges of his lips. His unmade-up hands are angelic and swift across the keys. Meanwhile his face continues to die a little. His teeth are too white, too perfect. Next time we will have to go the whole hog and get the teeth rotting goo. Sweet piano music from the fingers of a decaying boy. It is itchy beneath the mask. An instinctive scratch reveals healthy skin beneath the grey. A touch-up in the car will be required.