The Mustache Man

Chapter Fifteen


            Pete felt a shiver run down his spine as Carlton turned her chair toward him and waited. He waited for her to blink but those god damn blue eyes kept staring at him.

            “Pete, if you don’t mind…your “god damns” really upset up. I’ll tell you anything I can about myself but keep the cursing to yourself.”

            “What are you a fundamentalist?.”

            “Where I come from we don’t curse our creator.”

            “Why not? Why not curse god or the creator or Vishnu or whatever you want to call him for making the mistake of creating us, the deadliest species ever to stalk this planet?”

            “Pete, I’m joking. Keep your thoughts clean of that kind of cursing and I’ll talk to you about myself.”

            Pete laughed that deep baratone laugh of his. Carlton smiled. Her smile lit up the perpetual half lit darkness of The Vault.

            “Jesus, you have a beautiful smile.”

            “Uh…would you mind not using his name in vain either.”

            Pete got up and did an impromptu somersault across the floor.

            “I have it. You were brought up in some fundamentalist house with benevolent tyrants who had devotional books in every room, even the bathroom.   And your mother discouraged you from the Thespian society because she thought theater was profane and you loved being in school plays because until you discovered computers in q college lab being in plays was the only way you could stay out of drugs, sex and rock and roll.”

            Carlton smiled again. Actually Pete could have sworn she grinned and even blushed. It was hard to tell in the half lighting of The Vault.

            “You’ve just lit up my life. Yes my blessed mother who I haven’t seen in years was a very devout Christian and if I swore she’d quietly take me in the bathroom and wash my mouth out with soap. Three times. I hated her.”

            “When did you leave home?”     

            “Seven years ago. When I entered the police academy and met Shul, Detective Robert Schulman.”

            “Are you a virgin, Carlton?”

            Carlton leaned forward and took the Mustache Man’s hand in hers.

            “Do you feel chastity in my skin, Pete?”

            “Jesus, you, I mean when you touch me my balls light up like someone is sticking a cattle prod on my testicles. Sorry.”

            “I’ve heard it all, Pete. I grew up with three brothers.”

            “When did your mother first suspect you weren’t mortal?”

            Carlton swiveled around on her chair and rolled it across the floor.

            “Still on this angel thing, are you?”

            “Yeah. Still on this angel thing. Oh I believe you had a mother who was a version of Mother Mary from a horror flic and I believe you had brothers….”

            “If I am an angel then I was sent here to learn the sufferings of mortals so I wouldn’t ever dare judge another human being. I was molested by my father and my brother.”

            “I didn’t ask for all this.”

            “How am I going to get you to really probe those dark storms inside you unless you know you’re who talking to. So I ran away. One night when I was on a boat up at Lake Tahoe with the captain of the football team from our high school he tried to rape me. I dove off that boat, spent five hours in the water until I came to a dock and there was a woman there and she fished me out and she’s still my friend to this day, Sister Mary Margaret Miller.”

            “You’re catholic.”  

            “I am.”

            “How did you ever get to the police academy?”

            “I was so good at computers they recruited me in college and Shul was teaching the class I was part of. Can I take a breather? Have I told you enough about me now to pass the ball back to you?”

            Pete paused and looked at Carlton. If she blinked he couldn’t catch her at it.

            “Yeah. I’m good for now. “


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