The Mustache Man

Chapter Nineteen



“Do you believe in angels? Do you?”

Shul stared at the woman. All he could take in was the red hair cascading down her shoulders. He couldn’t hear her ridiculous question about angels.  He would never reveal what he really thought to this stranger who had just arrived on his doorstep, invaded his apartment which he never locked and squatted there now on his favorite chair, her nine year old whelp of a daughter whistling odd little melodies to birds who appeared to sing back to her. Jewels, Carlton had said, the daughter’s name was Jewels. Bert the bulldog  looked like ancient pictures of bulldogs from the nineteenth century before we bred them artificially to look like adorable wrinkled walking rhinos. Bert sat there on Shul’s lap and stared into his eyes.  Shul could have sworn he saw the milky way reflected in those black eyes staring back at him.

Chance went on as if he’d answered her question.  He heard her questions through a kind of tunnel.  He must have been asleep for most of the day before she arrived. Shul glanced at his watch.  It read six fifteen. In a half an hour the sun would go down with a blaze of red mixed with polluted orange.  By eight o’clock he would have to work walking through mostly empty buildings through the mile by mile expanse of the University.

“What is the god-baby case?” he heard Chance ask through the tunnel of all day sleep he could barely stir from.  How, how did she know about  the god-baby case? Then, Shul noticed the file scrawled god-baby in large black markers in her lap.  She had reorganized all his files and read through some of them. She had no right.  Carlton had warned him she was coming this last night when she reappeared through one of her vanishing acts but Carlton had not prepared her for this young woman’s balls.  She had the god-baby case in her lap, the case that had gotten him fired, that had cost him his career, his pension, maybe his daughters trust. She had the madness of choirmaster Marlston’s confession in her lap and she had read it all, ever word. (End on line Chapter Nineteen)

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