A short story by Thomas Malafarina
To introduce you to the works of Thomas Malafarina, the author has selected one of his short stories. Entitled “A Few Imperfections” this short story deals with a couple returning from the hospital with a newborn that is, as many newborns are, somewhat less than perfect in appearance.
Try your hand at rewriting this short story as a screenplay. If you enjoy it, let us know. We will pass along the word to the author. He enjoys knowing what others think.
“There is a kind of beauty in imperfection.” – Conrad Hall
“Things are beautiful if you love them.” – Jean Anouilh
“In our world of readily available cosmetic surgery, it is possible that an attractive couple could end up having an ugly baby and not understand why.” – Thomas M. Malafarina
The young, obviously wealthy couple drove along the winding country road at a speed much faster than they should have been driving. Despite the fact that their Lexus LS 460 with its $80,000 price tag was equipped to handle the curves; they were still traveling at too high of a speed. This was probably the result of the intense discussion going on inside the vehicle; one that was rapidly degenerating into a full-blown argument.
“What in the hell are we supposed to do, Stephen?” Angela asked, genuinely concerned.
“What do you mean?” Stephen asked feigning ignorance yet knowing exactly what she was talking about. It was all she had been talking about since they got in the car after leaving the hospital. Tucked away in the back seat of the sedan, safely secured in his car seat, their newborn baby boy, Stephen Thurston Wellington III cooed to himself, oblivious to the conversation, which was taking place in the front of the car or the fact that he was the subject of that conversation.
“You know exactly what I mean. What are we going to do about… the baby… and his… appearance?”
“Angela, please. I don’t understand what you’re getting so upset about. He’s only two days old for God’s sake.” Stephen said trying to look at the situation rationally and simultaneously calm his wife down. However, he knew his effort was likely wasted since once Angela got an idea in her head nothing could stop her from venting.
“But… but he’s… he’s hideous Stephen. There… I’ve… I’ve finally said it aloud. And don’t tell me you haven’t been thinking about the exact same thing. I saw the way you looked at him.”
“Jesus Angela. That’s an incredibly horrible and thoughtless thing to say about your own child. My God… how could you even think such a thing let alone express it?”
“I know… and I feel terrible saying it but for Christ’s sake Stephen. Somebody has to address the ugly elephant in the room. You have to agree with me, Stephen. He’s… he’s heinous.”
“Now I wouldn’t say anything as drastic as that, Angela. He might be a bit odd looking, maybe even a tad on the funny-looking side but all newborns are less than attractive than they should be, with their wrinkly pink skin, and pinched faces. It’s perfectly normal. I’m sure he’ll look better as he grows. I’ll admit he has a few imperfections, but I’m sure we’ll get used to them.”
“No… no, I don’t think I can Stephen. I think there is something very wrong with him… with little Stephen’s looks. I mean how in the world could two people as good looking as we manage to create such an atrocious looking little child? You know we’re both very attractive Stephen… I don’t think it vain to admit such a thing, do you?”
“No. I suppose not.” Stephen replied, not certain he agreed. He knew what she said about them however was true. They were both quite attractive.
“Maybe there was a mix-up at the hospital. Maybe they gave us some ugly couple’s baby and they got our baby by mistake. Do you think that’s possible Stephen?”
“No… I don’t. They have all sorts of safeguards in place for that kind of thing. Besides, we both saw him being born. We saw him the second he took his first breath. That’s our baby Angela. Now getting back to your original question about how we could have a… less than an attractive child. If you think about it, the only reason we’re both so good looking is that we can afford to look so good. Our parents were both wealthy and we were only children so fixing our imperfections wasn’t a big deal for them. After they died, we inherited all of their money. We also earn good incomes on our own. We eat well, we go to the gym, we pamper ourselves at spas and we generally take good care of ourselves. Also as you may recall when we met a few years ago, you had told me you had some work done over the years before we knew each other.”
“Yes, I did mention I had a few minor alterations. And you admitted to having some cosmetic work done yourself, didn’t you?”
“I did. But now that I think about it, I don’t believe we ever discussed what sorts of procedures we had done. Perhaps that’s something we should have discussed.”
“Maybe you’re right, Stephen. Perhaps we should have. I mean it’s not really a big deal. When I was a pre-teen, I had a severe overbite and my parents got me braces to straighten out my teeth. If I remember correctly you had braces as well didn’t you?”
“Yes… as did most the boys in my boarding school. My teeth were quite twisted and a bit gnarly, but the braces and a few orthodontic surgeries took care of that. And we both have poor eyesight and have had laser to correct our vision issues so we don’t have to wear glasses. When I was about ten I also had minor surgery to correct a muscular issue with my left eye that caused it to turn inward sometimes.”
“Well… that explains a lot.” Angela said with sudden realization, “I think little Stephen might have that same eye thing.”
Stephen shot back, “What do you mean? He can’t even see yet! His eyes don’t have the ability to focus, that’s why they seem to roam all over the place. Seriously, are you going to try to blame me for all of this? We made this child together Angela. He was created from genes from both of us. So tell me… what else have you have done that I don’t know about?”
“As I told you, it was all minor and insignificant things. For example, my nose was a bit wide and I had it thinned out a bit several years ago. I also just recalled something else I had forgotten about. When I was about four, my ears stuck out and my mother took me to a doctor who pinned them back for a while until they stayed back on their own.”
“Our baby’s ears stick way out.” Stephen added, “In fact, he looks like a taxi cab driving down the highway with its both doors hanging open. And he has a funny-looking wide nose. So those deformities obviously must have come from you.”
“Yeah? Well what about that weak chin of his. He barely has any chin at all. His mouth hangs open in a hangdog fashion that makes him look half-retarded. I think he got that from you Stephen. Tell me… was that jutting masculine Hollywood leading man chin of yours with you since birth or did you have it modified?”
Stephen hesitated for a moment then admitted, “Ok. I might have not had much of a chin when I was younger and may have had minor implant surgery to enhance it, but my chin issues were not as severe as the baby’s.”
“Ah ha!” Angela shouted, “Another flaw of yours, which apparently was destined to curse our poor malformed baby.” She took off her seat belt and turned around to try to examine the baby closer. But she was unable to see him tucked away as he was in his car seat.
“Angela, for the last time, he’s not malformed, he just has a few imperfections. And since we’re pointing out those imperfections, what about that unibrow of his? No one in my family ever had any such thing. As I recall from pictures of your Dad when he was alive, he had quite the crop of eyebrow foliage. Tell me Angela, did you inherit that and maybe have it surgically removed as well?”
“I… I… I might have once had a bit more hair between my brows than I would have cared for and maybe I did have it removed with a bit of laser work.”
“So… you are the one responsible for that wooly caterpillar crawling across my baby’s eyebrows after all.”
“But what about his big bulging eyes. My eyes are normal and they always have been. You’re the one with the protruding mooneyes… Dear!” Angela said sarcastically.
“Mooneyes? You used to call them ‘large luminous pools of emotion’. Now you call them mooneyes? Why don’t you just call them bug-eyes as long as you’re being so nasty? And to make matters worse you think my eyes are ugly on our baby! I really don’t get you Angela.”
“Yeah well maybe we should have had this discussion before we decided to create that little cave troll in the back seat!”
“Cave troll? Honest to God Angela! I can’t believe you could say such a thing about your own flesh and blood. You’re nothing but a self-centered cow!” Steven was now staring daggers at Angela feeling like he was speaking with some horrible creature he had never met before.
“Oh just wonderful! Make fun of my additional weight after I just gave birth to your little freak.”
Stephen was furious. For the first time in his married life, he felt like reaching over and punching his wife right in the face. As a result, he took his eyes off the highway for just a few seconds too long. As he approached a curve in the road, a large buck strolled lazily out of the woods and onto the roadway and right in his path.
“Look out Stephen!” Angela screamed.
Stephen did the one thing he should never have done and that was he swerved to avoid hitting the beast. He quickly lost control of his sedan and skidded off the highway, down a steep embankment and full-bore right into a giant clump of trees.
The front of their sedan slammed into a huge tree and one of its broken branches crashed through the windshield and pierced Stephen’s heart killing him instantly. His corpse was pinned behind the wheel as last of his blood spurted from his chest and trickled from his mouth and down his chin. A split second later Angela, who had not refastened her seat belt flew through the windshield and became impaled on several other remnants of branches. She unfortunately took several minutes to die as she hung pierced and screaming in agony. The last sound she heard, as her lifeblood pumped from her body were the cries of her ugly baby apparently still safe and unharmed secured in his car seat.
Several hours later the rescue workers had successfully removed both of the corpses from the scene and had gotten the baby out of the back seat of the sedan. One of the Emergency Medical Technicians was a young woman named Naomi Jacobson. She was holding the baby and rocking it after having determined the boy was uninjured. Naomi was a short stocky woman who at first glance one might consider a bit unattractive if not somewhat homely. She was, however, happily married to an equally stout man and less than attractive man who owned a plumbing business.
The two had been unable to conceive and had been on a waiting list for possible adoption for many years, yet to date they had been unsuccessful. Naomi wanted a baby more than anything else in the world. She looked down at the wrinkled little boy with his odd-looking nose, unibrow, slightly twisted mouth and ears which stuck outward and she fell instantly in love. She thought he was the most beautiful baby she had ever seen. Sure, he had a few imperfections, but who didn’t? She decided she would speak with the agent from Child’s Services when she arrived, and tell her she would love to be able to adopt this baby if by some chance there were no living relatives to claim the child. Unknown to Naomi at that time her wish would come true.
“A Few Imperfections” first appeared in James Ward Kirk Publishing Anthology “Ugly Babies 3” (June 9, 2016). By Thomas M. Malafarina © 2016
About Thomas Malafarina
Thomas M. Malafarina is a horror fiction author from the South Heidelberg Twp area of Berks County, Pennsylvania. He was born July 23, 1955, in Ashland, Schuylkill County, PA where he lived until moving to Berks County in 1979.
Many of Thomas’s stories take place in his native Schuylkill County and also in Berks County settings. Thomas’s books are published by Hellbender Books, an imprint of Sunbury Press of Mechanicsburg, PA.
Thomas’s early novels included 99 Souls, Burn Phone, Eye Contact and Fallen Stones; all four of which are now out of print, having been reworked and re-titled by Thomas from 2016-2019. They were replaced by the new books, It Waits Below\, Burner, From the Dark and Circle of Blood. Other novels include three in his Dead Kill series, Dead Kill Book 1: The Ridge Of Death, Dead Kill Book 2: The Ridge of Change and the third installment, Dead Kill Book 3: The Ridge of War.
His short story collection 13 Nasty Endings is no longer available having been replaced by 13 Deadly Endings. Several of his earlier short story collections, Gallery of Horror, Malafarina Maleficarum Volume 1, Malafarina Maleficarum Volume 2 are no longer available. His other short story collections, Ghost Shadows, and Malaformed Realities Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3 are available. Other collections in the series, Malaformed Realities Volume 4 and Volume 5 will be released in 2020, Malaformed Realities Volume 6 is currently in the works as well. He also has a collection of single-panel cartoons called Yes I Smelled It Too. In addition, many Thomas’s stories appear in many a variety of anthologies currently on sale online.
Thomas has had a life-long love of the horror and monster genre in all its form of books, movies and art. Annually, Thomas creates works of horror art, props and scenery, which he donates to a local non-profit Halloween Barn Of Horror.