Ugly mugly ugly is only.., p.1
A Short Short Story
Copyright © 2014 by J.C. Hulsey.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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Cover Art & Design by J.C. Hulsey
1st Edition: November 2014
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I don’t know exactly how this idea got into my head. One day it was just there. I told my son about the story line and he made the comment.
“That sounds like a sad story.”
Yes, it is a sad story. It’s sad that the people of his day didn’t understand that people with a facial defect weren’t that much different than the rest of us. And I might say, it isn’t much different in our modern times. I don’t really know what kind of defect my character had. When I thought of how he might look, my first thought was of Quasimoto in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. No. He’s too grotesque. On the lighter side, perhaps he had a birthmark down half his face. People in the 1800s didn’t understand marks like that. If you had a purple or red birthmark on your face, people considered you cursed. Whatever it was it made his life miserable. I’ll not tell you the ending. You must read the whole story to learn that. However it won’t take long to reach the conclusion of this short, short story.
I hope you enjoy. J.C. Hulsey
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Whoever wrote that never had hurtful words hurled at them like brimstone from Heaven.
1880s in the Western United States
Ugly is only skin deep.
I was born with a deformity that the doctors had no name for. You see, I was born ugly. My earliest memories are from my days in the one room school house where I attended school. The kids that went to school with.me were unmerciful. Of course what could you expect from young kids?
They called me Ugly Mugly. My mother tolerated me, but I could tell she didn't really want me around. My twin brother. Twins. Now there's an oxymoron if there ever was one.
Matthew was fourteen minutes older than me. He was an easy birth and a beautiful baby and grew into a very handsome man. On the other hand, my birth was long and difficult. My ma almost died when I was born.
All the girls hung around Matthew like flies on honey. That wasn't the case with me. Girls were repulsed by my looks.
The Pastor of our church told me one time that God used up all the pretty stuff on Matthew. He didn't have any more of the pretty stuff when He got to me. But, he assured me,
"God don't make mistakes."
"Then what am I?"
He looked at me and shook his head. "I really don't have an answer for you."
The only friend I had that didn't let my looks bother her, was my dog, Ginger. Ginger was what people call a Cur dog. She was a mixture of a lot of different breeds and she wasn't a pretty dog. I found her in an alley, lost, alone and skinny. She looked really bad. Maybe that's what made me love her, but I think the real reason I loved her was, she didn't care how I looked.
Folks would always say, now that's a pair for you. Ugly Mugly and his mongrel dog. Ginger and me would go every place together. We had so much fun running free in the woods around the little creek on the outskirts of town. She would sit beside me as I tried my luck at catching fish out of the creek. I reckon the fish must have caught a glimpse at me because I never was able to hook one. We went hunting in the woods on the other side of the creek. I enjoyed watching Ginger rabbits and squirrels around and up trees. Well, the rabbits didn’t run up trees. We had a very good time. She would walk with me to school every day, go back home, then be waiting for me outside school, when it was over.
Pa gave up on being a father very early in my life. He left when I was five.
"I just ain't cut out for this family life."
I will always believe the way I looked had something to do with his leaving.
It was real hard on Ma, raising my brother and me alone. She took to washing other people's clothes so we could eat.
Thankfully, our house was paid for, so she didn't have to worry about providing for a roof over our heads.
I could feel her eyes watching me at times. I could see the confusion on her face as if she was trying to figure out how she could have given birth to such an ugly person. She never once told me she loved me.
I began spending more and more time away from my home.
As I said, Matthew was fourteen minutes older than me. And he, like all the other kids didn't care to be associated with me. He was so ashamed of me that he would deny we were kin at all. He would join in with the other kids calling me names. Sometimes the adults weren't any better. They would tolerate me, but it was easy to tell, they would rather have me in the next county.
Somehow, I wasn't bitter about the way I looked, or how people treated me. When I reached my teen years, I quit school. I pestered Mr. Hornsby to let me help in his livery stable. He finally give in and let me help. When he learned that I was good with animals. It was like they could sense I was their friend and was there to help them. After a few weeks he said he was going to pay me a small wage. I felt really good about that. However, even Mr. Hornsby was ashamed of me. He never called me by my name. He just made sure I could see him when he talked to me.
"I want you to go out back or into the tack room when a customer comes into the stable."
"Sure Mr. Hornsby, I can do that."
Instead of going home at night, me and Ginger would sleep in one of the stalls in the stable. We would scrounge in the garbage cans behind Ethel's Restaurant and any other place we could find something to put in our empty bellies, and satisfy our hunger. I didn't go out a lot in the daylight. There were too many painful memories in the bright light of the day. Too many people to look and stare at me. It seemed my looks were more easily tolerated when it was dark and it was harder for folks to see how I looked. So, Ginger and I became wanderers of the night. I would hire out at the saloon sometimes to sweep the floor and clean out the spittoons after closing time. It was so much easier when I didn't hear those words. Ugly Mugly.
Ginger died when I turned eighteen. I buried her down by the creek under a big oak tree where we had spent many hours just sitting and watching the clouds. It was sad day for me. I had lost the only friend I had in the whole world.
Every so often, when I was finishing up at the saloon, I would see Matthew with a pretty girl on his arm. They looked so happy, laughing and carrying on like they were well acquainted.
When we turned twenty two, I heard he was engaged to be married. I knew he wasn't going to invite me to see him get married, but I slipped up to the window on the side of the church and watched undetected.
"Will I ever find happiness like this?"
My brother had played with me until we started school, then he found out by watching and listening to the other kids just how different I was. Our relationship was never the same after that.
The days seemed to get shorter as I got older. I was almost thirty. I had seen Matthew, his wife and three kids at the general store on more than one occasion. His kids, two twin boys and a little blonde headed girl were the most beautiful kids I had ever seen. Even though they didn't know I was their uncle, I was as proud as a peacock.
Matthew worked in the bank and he and his family lived in a small house on the outskirts of town. I would pass by it in hopes of catching a glimpse of my niece and nephews. Som
One night when Matthew was working late at the bank, I was taking my stroll past his house, hoping that this was the night I would see my beautiful family.
I had to jump out of the road to keep from getting run down.
The two horses stopped in front of the little house. The riders jumped from their horses. They ran up to the door and kicked it in. The splintering wood made an awful sound, but the next sound made my heart stop. My brother’s wife and little blonde girl screamed, loud and long.
I heard the voice of one of the men.
"You get the boys, I got these two."
"I want my turn with the woman."
"You'll git your turn. Tie them kids up and git back in here and tie up this whiney baby."
My blood started to boil. I ran to the house. I stepped inside the door just as one of the men threw my sister in law to the floor.
He fell on top of her and began ripping her clothes. I didn't see the other man. I rushed across the room and tackled the man. The momentum of my body knocked him off her. He was a large heavy set man. He had black hair and was wearing miner’s clothes.
My sister in law had quit screaming and was sobbing quietly. Little blonde girl was tied up in the corner of the room.
I began wrestling with the man. He was very strong and was able to twist loose from my grasp. The other man ran into the room.
"What's going on? Who's this guy?"
"I don't know, but get on in here and help get rid of him."
The two men began circling me. The man from the other room wasn’t as big as the one I had been wrestling. He was also wearing miner’s clothes. He kicked at me with his heavy shoes.
"Get up and help little blonde girl!" I shouted to the woman. I glanced at her for a second and saw her scurrying across the room. She started untying the girl. She got the rope off, picked her up and they both ran into the other room.
"Let's git him!" The large man lunged at me.
He pushed me back against the kitchen counter where my hand landed on a large butcher's knife. I closed my hand around the handle and stepped away from the counter. I walked slowly toward the man I had been struggling with. I was thankful that the family was out of danger.
"Look out, he's got a knife. Let's rush him at the same time. On three. One, two, three."
When one came close enough, I whipped my arm out and sliced with the knife. The man howled when the blade took a big slice of meat out of his arm.
"He got me. I'm bleeding like a stuck hog. Can you git to him without gittin’ cut?"
He grabbed his bandana and wrapped it around the wound. The man who had come from the other room picked up a chair and slammed it against my body. I was so angry, I didn't feel a thing. Before he could recover, I jabbed the knife at him and jerked it back. He grabbed his throat and fell to the floor, blood leaking between his figures with this every heartbeat. He was kicking and flailing around, then he lay still. He was no longer trying to catch his breath through the blood.
"You killed Albert, you're a dead man."
"Not yet, I'm not.”
I stepped forward and used the momentum to thrust at him with the knife. He grabbed my arm and started twisting my arm. He twisted it back toward me and I felt the blade slide into my belly. I was able to push away from him. I pulled the knife out, and jumped at him, swinging the knife in an arc. The blade opened his midsection and his intestines started falling onto the floor. He grabbed with both hands trying to stuff them back inside his body. He groaned loudly and fell to the floor next to his dead partner. He looked up at me, his body shuttered once, his eyes faded and then he lay deathly still.
I was feeling dizzy from lose of blood. I fell to my knees as blackness started surrounding me. I looked and saw my brother's family was safe. I smiled at them, fell face down onto the floor, then I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
I was buried next to my mother in the cemetery behind the church.
The whole town turned out.
My brother spoke words at the funeral about how sorry he was for the brother that he had denied.
The town council voted to erect a statue for me.
The inscription didn't read UGLY MUGLY.
It read Michael Milligan - LOCAL HERO.
A man who was born and grew into a man in this small town and became a hero.
It’s a shame that Michael’s niece and nephews never got to know of their uncle’s loving nature. Their lives could have been so much richer had their father not had a hurtful and prejudice attitude toward his own brother.
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Even More Stuff I Wrote
Newest Stuff I Wrote
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Ugly Mugly Ugly is only Skin Deep by J.C. Hulsey / History & Fiction have rating 2.5 out of 5 / Based on32 votes