The Mustache Man

Chapter Twenty Two



The grinder’s chest opened like a maw of hell. The lightning from Carlton’s sword hands leaped through the hole in the Grinder’s chest. She went through its darkness.

There was no substance, only darkness.

The Grinder and Carlton simultaneously disappeared into a blaze of light followed by inestimable night.

The Mustache Man was alone in the storm.

Pete Vargas knew this had happened before and he knew it would happen again. Detective Carlton Jamis who was more than human and perhaps less than angel would stop the universal grind down of matter and halt the slow entropy of the grinder swallowing up known worlds and known universes.

Out here in the storm the Mustache man moved out to new places.  He blotted out the storm as he woke up months, seconds later.

Pete felt the cash stuffed in his long pockets. He knew as he woke up in a small town or city who had been supplying him with cash during these black outs. Carlton, it had always been Carlton. He would wander through some small town or city in the western half of the United States of America in search of Chance and Jewels and Bert but never, it seemed never destined to find his way back to the little family he had known for all too brief a time. This was his fate.

Somehow he felt it was all as familiar as a recurring dream. His cell phone vibrated. Somehow Chance could still reach him on the other side of the storm situated somewhere on the other side of time and space inside this all too familiar world and all too familiar planet on this all too familiar western half of this United States of America.

Once again he refused to reply to Chance’s text. If he did he would bring the storm back and the grinder back and death and decay would visit his little family as it had visited so many people he met along his many journeys. And he knew, somehow he knew as he stood in front of a large window in a small western town whose name he would soon discover that the bills in his pockets were fresh and new, as though Carlton had just produced them herself. She took care of him as she struggled in the in between spaces beyond worlds and universes with a grinder who devoured reality and sucked the juice out of life, past, present and future.

Carlton sacrificed herself to keep the Mustache Man from disappearing into the Grinder’s slow buzzing dull angry roar of ultimate decay and dissolution.

He was alive again. The year was …..And in this street a television flashed in silence inside a box that no one had seen for fifty years or more. It played in black and white just as Carlton’s screens in The Vault had played old movies in black and white.

No, he could not move forward in time after the storm but he could go back, back to a west that had stood still in the fifties and a town still basking in the after glow of America’s triumph over evil in the great just war. And yet somehow Chance could reach him from a future that kept changing as he walked in this town with no mae in place that was as still as any old photograph, a place untouched by the future in a bubble protected by an angel who because of him, a nobody, a stranger to himself died again and again and again.

He had not idea why Carlton lived and died for him again and again and again. For he was nothing and no one and nobody at all.  Pete Vargas, dubbed whimsically The Mustache Man by his street companions,wandered into storms of entropy and reappeared in towns with no name that had withstood the ravages of the future.

It was all a dream, surely it was all a dream.

Yet Pete Vargas knew this was no dream.

Because he was hungry and he smelled greased and fries and butter and bacon and the smell of freshly ground coffee diluted down for weak stomachs. And it came to him wafted in from a breeze in this place, it came to him that a coffee no one had made for years in a diner no one had seen who alive in the future was waiting for him. He was here again and here was nowhere and he had no way to go to get back to the future and Chance and Jewels and Bert.

Until the storm came again and then he would risk annihilation and disappear into it in the hope that he would tumble awake back into the future and somehow reach his family, somehow find this man Carlton called Shul who might have answers to the mystery of his disappearances.

Joomla Templates - by