The Mustache Man

Chapter Twelve


            “I never think about god or religion or church of any of those damn things.”

            Pete rose out of his chair and took the ramps in that long, stride of his. “It’s just that when the changes come over me and I have to vanish I feel like I’m inside this storm and I feel this cold sweat and the last thing I can think about is god. God is no comfort to me.”

            “Cold sweat?”

            “It’s a terror I can’t’ name because I don’t know what it is that’s scaring me. What scares you, Carlton?”

            “ Who or what do you have to get away from?”

“I don’t know. I don’t care. I have to get away do you understand?”

            “You have to disappear.”

            “Yes. So I go into the darkness and in the darkness there is a wind and a storm that’s getting stronger and there’s something or someone following me and there’s something or someone drawing closer to me and if I would just turn around I would see who is hunting me but I dare not. “

            “And if anyone is close to you and talking to you the last thing they see is that mustache of yours quivering in the air.”

            “Why are you bringing that up? I don’t have a mustache anymore. I shaved it off.”

            “It’s growing back Mustache Man.”

            “Don’t call me that.”


            “Because I couldn’t stand that nickname and I couldn’t stand the thought of a part me, a mustache quivering in the air for the seconds after I disappeared. How can you stand it when you vanish, when you’re called?”

            This time Carlton didn’t bother to reply. Her fingers touched the keys and just flew.

            “Why do you bother typing? You could just record my voice and send it with my image to Chance and Jewels and Bert without your fingers flying over those keys.”

            “I like the feel of the keys just the way I like the absence of color in the old black and white films of the forties and fifties.”

            “Who are you Carlton really?”

            “Just an old fashioned scribe taking down your story Mus…Pete.”

            “And that ex-detective friend of yours you mentioned?”

            “Detective Robert Schulman. Shul.”

            “Are you sending him my story and my voice and my image?”

            “I am.”

            “Are we going to visit ex Detective Robert Schulman soon?”’

            “Not yet. When your story goes from bits and pieces to the whole of something then we’ll go visit my partner. If you’re willing.“

            “Maybe I’m willing. Maybe I’ll go with you. Will your Detective friend have answers? Will he have a way to get me back to Chance and Jewels and Bert without hurting them?”

            Carlton heard Pete stretching on the bars above. Her voice stroked the light blurred darkness of The Vault.

            “Pete, are you ready to tell me why you think people die around you?”


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