From the Malafarina Files, ‘Don’t Stare, Don’t Point’ a short story by the master of horror Thomas M. Malafarina

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By: Thomas M. Malafarina © 2017

“It’s quite stressful knowing that every time you walk out the door, someone is going to be giving you a very good look up and down, judging everything you wear.” – Emma Watson

“I’m not the judge. You know, God didn’t tell me to go around judging everybody.” – Joel Osteen

“Justin Thurston Williamson, you stop that this minute. How many times do I have to tell you? It’s impolite to stare and downright rude to point! You wouldn’t like it if people did that to you.”

That’s what Justin Williamson’s mother often told him back when he was a kid. However, now that he was a grown man of almost fifty, it seemed not only had he not learned his mother’s lessons, but his wife Britney had taken over where his mother had left off.

“Dammit, Justin! How many times have I told you not to gawk at people and, for the love of God, don’t stand there pointing at them? It’s embarrassing. I don’t care how odd, strange, weird, or freaky they may seem; you simply don’t have the right to point them out and stare at them. I’m sure you wouldn’t like it if someone stood around pointing and gaping like that at you.”

“Yes, Mot… I mean, yes, dear,” he replied, realizing he had almost said, “Yes, Mother.” Whoa! That wouldn’t have been a good thing by any stretch of the imagination. Because not only was his wife a lot like his long-dead mother, but there were times when Justin felt as if she was his mother, reincarnated. He didn’t want to think about what such a concept might say about him. He decided it was probably better to keep those sorts of ideas out of his head.

“But seriously, Britt, did you see the size of that woman? She was massive. She was huge! No, she was huger than huge! She was humongous!” He started to raise his finger to point at the oversized woman again.

His wife slapped his hand down, “Justin Thurston Williamson! Don’t you dare point your finger at that poor, disabled woman! She can’t help it if she’s disabled and has to ride around the store on that electric cart.”

“Lard cart, you mean.”

“Stop that! It’s not funny to make a mockery of someone’s disability.”

“Disability? Look at how her enormous butt hangs over both sides of the seat of that cart. It looks like two saddlebags on the back of a Harley, fat boy. It’s a wonder the seat doesn’t get sucked up inside her sphincter and never seen again. Look, Britt, the only disability that particular woman has is that the hole in her mouth is bigger than the one in her butt. Input exceeds output, simple math.”

“But maybe she has some leg or back trouble that causes her inability to walk or exercise. If that’s the case, she can’t help but gain weight, and you shouldn’t assume that she’s lazy.”

“It’s likely a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg. Did that lady become fat because she overeats and can’t exercise, or is it that she can’t exercise because she overeats and is fat?”

“We don’t know the answer to that. We don’t know anything about the poor woman. Therefore, we have no right to judge. And we especially have no right to point and stare.”

“But take a look at her husband or boyfriend or whatever the heck he is standing over there. He’s skinny as a rail. What’s his deal? And tell me, why is it that these enormously fat chicks always have some scrawny little man following them around like a puppy? These guys have got to be enablers, allowing those freaks to get so fat by doing everything for them. Maybe these guys are just chubby chasers and figure as long as they keep their women huge, no one else will bother with them.”

“That’s a terrible thing to say,” Brittney scolded, looking down at herself, “I’m not exactly skin and bones, you know. I’m sure you wouldn’t want people talking about me that way.”

“Look, Britt. We all could stand to drop a few pounds, myself included, but these broads could stand to drop a few people, for God’s sake.”

He pointed at another large woman riding one of the handicapped scooters through the store. “Look at that bovine over there. You could put her in a printed tent dress and have an image of her on a banner for a sideshow, billing her as the incredible fat woman.”

“I think you’d better stop this sort of talk right now, Justin. It’s rude, inconsiderate, and does nothing to make you look good in anyone’s eyes.”

Then he pointed in another direction, “And look at that mutant over there. He’s got more tattoos and body piercings than anyone I’ve ever seen. He could be the star of a sideshow and billed as “The Human Pin Cushion” or “The Illustrated Man.” Take a minute to look around you, Britt; the world has become an admission-free freak show, with a new oddity around every corner. No wonder you seldom see freak shows in circuses anymore. How could they possibly compete with what we see shopping here every day? So how can I help but point and stare?”

“You know Justin, someday this is all going to backfire on you, and this staring, pointing, and commenting is going to get you into big trouble.”

“Trouble? Seriously? What sort of trouble could it possibly cause? It’s a free country, and if some weirdo wants to parade around the same streets with normal people, then they should expect to get stared at.”

“I don’t know what sort of trouble could occur, but I’m telling you, Justin, no good can come of your persistent and annoying behavior.”

“I think you’re taking all of this a bit too seriously, Britt. It’s not that big of a deal, and it’s not like I do it all the time. Whoa, heads up, incoming, look over there!” He pointed toward the entrance to the store, “Now that’s a real freak if I ever saw one.”

“Oh my God, Justin. How can you be so insensitive? You should pity that man, not ridicule him.”

“What, man? Don’t you mean men, as in more than one?”

Justin had been pointing at what Agnes thought at first to be a hunched-back man. But after closer examination, she realized what she saw was two men. One was normal-sized and hunched over. There was another smaller man who appeared to be attached to the front of the larger man.

“Siamese twins! Bingo! Score!” Justin shouted much louder than he should have, “Now, don’t that just beat all? This store really must be a freak magnet. I mean, it’s like flypaper for mutants.”

“Oh, Justin! You’re despicable! I’ve had enough of your comments. I’m leaving. You can stay here pointing and staring to your heart’s content.”

Brittney reached into her purse and withdrew her car keys.

“But you drove me here. How in the hell am I supposed to get home?”

“That’s your problem, Justin. Maybe if you go out front in the parking lot and point at a taxicab, one will stop for you. I don’t care what you do, Justin. I’ve had enough of you and your rude behavior for one day.”

Brittany turned and walked out of the store, leaving her husband standing behind her, baffled, mouth agape.

He mumbled to himself, “I wonder what the hell’s gotten into her. I mean, seriously. You make a few comments, point out a few physical flaws, and suddenly you’re a bad guy? Oh well, I suppose there’s nothing I can do about it now. I might as well get my shopping out of the way. Then I guess I’ll call for a cab or something.”

Justin turned to walk further into the store and suddenly stopped in his tracks. A crowd of strange-looking people blocked his path. There had to be at least ten of them, all standing and silently staring at him. Every single one of them fit right into the category of what Justin considered to be freaks. There was a man on crutches with one leg, the empty pant leg pinned up to keep it from flapping uselessly, and a woman in a motorized wheelchair whose legs were tiny and shriveled from atrophy under her small pants. He saw the fat woman on the handicapped cart and her skinny partner. The tattooed character he thought of as the illustrated man was also there. And at the front of the crowd stood the Siamese twins he had most recently noticed.

“Um, ah. Is there something I can do for you?” Justin asked, suddenly feeling the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end.

After several awkward moments, the tattooed man said, “You pointed at us. We saw you.” Then as one, the crowd took a single step forward, feet and crutches simultaneously slapping the floor and sounding like an army on the march.

“You stared at us too,” the one-legged man snarled. The crowd took another step closer.

“And you laughed at us,” the fat woman said as they came even closer.

“You called us freaks,” the larger Siamese twin said, followed by another step closer.

“Yeah, freaks,” his smaller, conjoined brother agreed in a much higher pitched voice as they all took another step closer.

Justin looked at just how twisted and deformed the conjoined twins were. The smaller one only had a small right arm and part of a right leg. He appeared to be growing out from his brother’s chest, which in essence, he was.

The larger brother said, “I wonder how you’d feel if people stared and pointed at you everywhere you went?”

“And laughed at you and called you a freak,” Some unidentified voice in the crowd shouted.

The look of the twins had so enthralled Justin; he hadn’t realized the gang of oddities had somehow surrounded him.

The larger conjoined twins said, “But you’ll know exactly how it feels very soon.” That was when they all fell upon him.

***

“Justin. I’m going to the store,” Brittney called. “Are you sure you don’t want to come along? We have to try to get you out of the house more. I know you don’t like going out in public much anymore, but maybe just this one time? It might be good for you.”

She hesitated momentarily, then called, “Very well; maybe next time. I won’t be very long. See you soon.” She was doing her best to cope with the guilt she still felt at having gotten so angry that day several months earlier when she left Justin alone in the store.

Justin didn’t reply. He seldom did anymore, not since that day. He used his two twisted arms to try to struggle and lift himself into a sitting position. As difficult as this was, it had become much easier now that his heavy, useless, crushed legs had to be amputated. It was unbelievable how much their dead weight had slowed him down. He looked around his bedroom through his one good eye. It was the one on the side of his face that they hadn’t smashed in the attack. He was also starting to see hair finally growing in random patches between the ruined areas of his pink, tender scalp. That was where the mob had torn his hair out by the roots.

He hoped he’d be ready to go out in public again, but he had no idea when that might be if it ever would be. He knew he needed to get out and couldn’t spend the rest of his life cooped up in his house. Justin knew, however, that he couldn’t accept the thought that people might be staring and pointing at him.

About Author Thomas M. Malafarina

” I’m not a writer; I’m just a secretary transcribing the ideas that clog my mind in the hope of relieving the pressure of a never-ending flood of creativity.” Thomas M. Malafarina

Thomas M. Malafarina (www.ThomasMMalafarina.com) is an author of horror fiction from Berks County, Pennsylvania. To date, he has published seven horror novels  “What Waits Beneath,” “Burner,” “From The Dark”, “Circle Of Blood”,  “Dead Kill Book 1: The Ridge of Death”, “Dead Kill Book 2: The Ridge Of Change,” and “Dead Kill Book 3: The Ridge Of War”. He has published seven collections of horror short stories; “Thirteen Deadly Endings”, “Ghost Shadows,” “Undead Living,” and “Malaformed Realities Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3,” and most recently, “Horror Classics.” He has also published a book of often-strange single-panel cartoons called “Yes I Smelled It Too; Cartoons For The Slightly Off Center.” All of his books are published through Hellbender Books, an imprint of Sunbury Press. (www.Sunburypress.com).

In addition, many of Thomas’ stories have appeared in anthologies and e-magazines. Some have been produced and presented for internet podcasts, and radio plays as well. Thomas has shared anthology pages with some of the biggest names in horror fiction, such as Jack Ketchum, Joe Lansdale, Jonathan Maberry, and Luck McKee, to name a few.

Thomas is best known for the twists and surprises in his stories and his descriptive, often gory passages. Thomas is also an artist, musician, singer, and songwriter. A native of Ashland, PA, he now lives in Western Berks County, Pennsylvania, along with his wife, JoAnne.

A list of Thomas M. Malafarina’s books
https://www.fantasticfiction.com/m/thomas-m-malafarina/

 

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