Billy O’Banion had to be the ugliest man alive. He was monstrous to look at – an absolute fright – and there was no hiding it.
Some liked to speculate that his father was a mutant clone or an alien invader. There was even a vicious rumor that his mother took a demon into her bed. Really though, the O’Banions were perfectly respectable. In fact, Billy’s birth was completely normal and he had a decent, happy childhood. He’d never succumbed to any horrible illness or accident and was never bitten by an irradiated lab rat. He simply started getting ugly at some point in his twenties, and kept getting uglier and uglier with each passing day. He was an inexplicable freak of nature…an awful, tragic figure…..how sad!?
The funny thing about Billy, however, is that he was perfectly okay with his predicament. He took it all in stride and made lemonade out of the rotten tomatoes he was dealt. He figured he was a cross between Darth Maul and a Gothic dragon…cool! See, Billy had an outrageous sense of humor which dwarfed his ugliness. He was a clever practical joker and filled his days with gigantic gobs of fun.
Nothing tickled his tendrils more than slipping quietly into a mob on the street, disguised in a hoodie…only to burst out suddenly, flashing his most charming grin, yelling “Surprise!!!” He could barely contain the giggles as they screamed, shat themselves and fainted (usually in that order). It never got old. He could clear a fast food joint or a movie theatre in seconds and never had trouble getting a good seat.
For a while, he made piles of money in the Mexican masked wrestling circuit but eventually retired on a generous pension provided by several New Jersey towns – “to stay the hell away!” These days, he lives quietly in a posh Hoboken penthouse where he writes creepy clown poetry and practices his banjo…but still gets a kick out of scaring the bajeebies out of solicitors, delivery boys and trick-or-treaters. He likes to leap out of the elevator and gobble them down whole. Oh, don’t worry, he craps them out onto the carpet an hour later…completely unharmed (at least physically), after all, he always was a vegetarian.
***I wrote this in our weekly, Saturday morning ‘Montclair Write Group’ free-write workshop with John’s horrible self portrait as the prompt. It’s good practice, good exercise and good inspiration. John’s image was originally published in a 2010 issue of Analog Magazine. We have 3 books available for sale, you can find them by following the link above to: www.sallemander.com -Marsha