Malcolm Why

Malcolm Why tells the heart-warming tale of MALCOLM, an odd-looking, 40-year old born-again Christian who bears the scars of a tormented childhood through a long list of afflictions and quirks.

The story is set in the remote coastal town of SECLUSION BAY, a logical choice for a social misfit seeking refuge from a conspiring world. However, the apartment complex (KELLY COVE) where Malcolm lives, frequently plays host to rowdy get-togethers in the outdoor entertaining area (THE ASYLUM) enjoyed by a group of party-loving neighbours. Malcolm hides himself away, occasionally peeking through his second storey window and catching the curious eye of EMMA, a worldly 8-year old who adopts Malcolm like an imaginary friend. KELLY, Emma's aunt and the group's full-time fun-doctor, takes pity on the friendless recluse and embarks on a mission to draw him out. A comical cat-and-mouse game eventuates, reaching a climax on New Year's Eve when the alcohol-charged group, led by lovable rascal JIMMY, seizes the chance to snake a congo-line through Malcolm's living room. As they dance out the front door, EMMA catches Malcolm nervously peering around a corner. With a reassuring smile, she takes him by the hand and leads him out to meet her family and friends.

New Year's Eve, five years on, and Malcolm's life has turned around. He's a confident and much-loved member of the Kelly Cove clan, and a soon-to-be published author, with his manuscript '9/11: You're Pulling My Dick Chainey' about to go to print. His best friend Kelly, however, is down on her luck. She's disillusioned with the dating game, and being pressured by her cancer-stricken father TOM who says she needs to 'find a good man' before he dies. While picking up items for the night's party, Kelly learns that some of the townsfolk had always assumed she and Malcolm were together, and Kelly starts to consider if her best friend is worth 'settling' for.

Add to the mix, Kelly Cove's new party-Nazi site manager, PETA. After a wild New Year's Eve bash, she introduces a string of 'rules' outlawing anything resembling 'fun' in Kelly Cove. Kelly wages war, and Malcolm visits Peta to 'talk some sense' into her. But, when he catches a glimpse of Peta's perfectly-toned body, and then learns that she's a fellow born-again, Malcolm's motives take a radical turn. He secretly starts dating Peta, and she suggests that Malcolm should cut ties with his 'heathen' friends. Kelly, meanwhile, searches for ways to oust Peta and turns to Malcolm for his support. Before long, our torn hero finds himself entangled in a thick web of lies and deceit. On a night when he takes Peta to a lavish restaurant in a nearby town, Kelly's father is rushed to hospital. Kelly tries to contact Malcolm, but in Peta's presence, he turns off his mobile phone. Next day, Malcolm returns to discover the tragic news. Tom is dead. He rushes to the side of his best friend, but Kelly has learned of Malcolm's whereabouts and wants nothing to do with him. And Peta, witnessing Malcolm's deep caring for Kelly, ends their relationship. Malcolm finds himself back where he started. Alone.

Shamed and guilt-stricken, Malcolm retreats to his unit and shows signs of the self-conscious man he once was. Emma, now a soulful and spirit-centric teen, empathises with her old friend and sneaks in to visit him. She helps Malcolm to see the error of his ways. 'Always be true to yourself, no matter what people think'. Malcolm embraces Emma's advice, and after two months without so much as a tea party in the deserted Asylum, Malcolm sets up for a traditional shindig. One by one, the clan emerge from their units and watch in bewilderment as Peta charges out, demanding an explanation. Malcolm declares his love and tells Peta he wants to marry her, but she must accept him for who he is, much of which he owes to his Kelly Cove friends. Kelly is disgusted, and delivers Malcolm an ultimatum - marry Peta and their friendship is finished. But, Malcolm is resolute. He knows what he wants, and with his heartfelt speech, Peta accepts his proposal.

All attend the wedding except for Kelly, who refuses to forgive her former best friend. But, when she finds Malcolm's newly published book on her doorstep, and opens it to discover that he's dedicated it to his 'best friend and saviour, Kelly', she has a change of heart. At the reception in The Asylum, Kelly appears. She finally forgives Malcolm, but also decides to leave Seclusion Bay. Like her good friend, it's time to start a new life.

'Malcolm Why' is inspired by a special man, a special place, and three to four hundred bottles of wine .... on special!

© Copyright Jon Barratt 2009

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