The family scanned the wall of stylish family portraits.
“I see you’ve found my masterpieces.”
The father focused on a row of black frames, set off from the others, and pointed. “Why’s that one empty?”
“It’s reserved for my next perfect family. Could that be you?” Maybe. You came perfectly coiffed. Ah, there’s that knot inside. Maybe they will be next. Remember to smile. “Let’s get started, shall we?”
The family of four posed with effortless charm, so I stuck them in different positions, threw various alternative backdrops at them. Everything worked. It was all too elegant, too easy. Too damn perfect. The knot grew, throbbed. The need to break something. Someone. The little boy, this time?
Ooh, he slipped. Is this their chance? Maybe they’re not…
Ugh. The mother scooped him up. He didn’t even cry. You will though, when he’s gone. Puffy eyes. Red noses. No amount of makeup will make that picture perfect. Smile.
“I’ll call you when the prints are ready.” Something to remind you of him. “See you again soon.” Sooner than you think.
As they walked by the wall of portraits, the mother pointed to the empty black frame, smiling proudly. “That’ll be us.”