There once lived a man named Marc, spelled with a “c” and not with a “k.” Marc was a man who lived by a schedule. Thursdays were meat loaf night. Mondays were food-shopping day. And on Wednesday nights and Sunday nights, at 9:30pm, he would shave.
Now above Marc’s upper lip grew a glorious mustache. Lush like a Nebraskan cornfield, his hair were like golden stalks protruding from the pores in his skin. Because his hair was blonde, Marc could get away with shaving twice a week. By the time someone truly noticed what was growing on his face it was whisked away with the scythe provided by Gillette. Due to a genetic quirk, hair did not grow on the sides of his face. The only places where hair assembled were above his lip and on his chin. If Marc wanted to, he had an easily assembled goatee on his face. All he had to do was let things be.
Yet, to not shave would destroy Marc’s world.
You see, Marc grew up with a single mother, Denise, who told him all about the world and its great expectations. Of all the many things his mother taught him, the one that stuck the most was to live by the schedule and never deviate from it. A man who cannot keep his word to himself is not a man. Therefore, from the age of sixteen until the end of his days, no matter where he was or what he was doing, on Wednesday nights and Sunday nights at 9:30pm, he shaved.
The Mustache cannot claim to remember time before it was born, much like a person cannot claim to remember events preceding his or her birth. You are only when you are born, and even then memory does not start until you reach the age of two to three. To ask the Mustache what life was like when Marc was seven would be the same as asking you what it felt like to live inside your mother’s womb. Those early years, when the Mustache was simply a modicum of peach fuzz, are merely a blur, random moments remembered more as photographs than video.
However, ask that same Mustache about the first time it died and the Mustache will take a deep breath, look for a cigarette and tell in excruciating detail the events surrounding its murder.
The first real memory the Mustache has occurred when Marc turned sixteen. At that point it was not used to the vocalizations coming from the mouth below, nor could it determine what it was that Marc’s mother was saying back to him. Later on, the Mustache learned speech and perhaps it was better for all parties that the Mustache remained ignorant of the conversation Marc’s mother was having regarding schedules and keeping to them. To not know what was coming would be better than how the Mustache lived for the rest of its life, fully aware and understanding what it meant when the harsh light above a bathroom mirror illuminated the totality of Marc’s face. The Mustache had come to understand what a mirror was and enjoyed the way Marc admired how the Mustache grew, as if the Mustache was his son and Marc its proud father. This love wrapped itself around the Mustache like a protective field, which was why the betrayal was on a level beyond conception.
The Mustache remembers feeling hot water splash upon its fine hairs. There was no cause for alarm though. After all, how was this different from other times Marc washed his face? Even when Marc covered the Mustache with a thick white cream, the Mustache didn’t give off a whiff of alarm. Marc had put similar substances on top of his head since the Mustache could remember. Perhaps this was another type of cleaning fluid. No, the horror only arrived the first time the Gillette razor slashed down and chopped off the edge of the Mustache.
Oh the pain! The pain!
To feel yourself being torn to shreds while fully conscious is the worst possible way to die. The pain so intense that when Marc would watch nature shows that showed lions eating gazelles the Mustache would think, “I would trade places with that gazelle in a heart beat.” At least the animal eventually dies during the feeding. The Mustache is awake for every stroke, every slash, and every fine tuned maneuver. The little dabs of toilet paper Marc would place above the cuts were not due to clumsy shaving techniques — they were due to the ritualistic dismemberment of the Mustache. Did not Shylock say in “The Merchant of Venice,”
“If you prick us, do we not bleed?”
The Mustache does not remember anything that happened after the first time it was shaved off. It was not aware of the events down below, on the chin. Its existence was wiped off, literally by a towel, thrown into the heap on the floor. Gone and easily forgotten. Poor Mustache.
Until the next morning.
The Mustache does not understand the hows or whys regarding its reappearance in the cosmic fabric. It does not know why it was reborn, or what happened in the place between shave and regrowth. No, all it knew was one second there was death, the next, life.
Time passed and each time the Mustache returned it grew a little smarter, eventually learning to read the clock and a calendar. It knew the days of the week and what constituted day or night. It knew what 8pm or 11:28am signified in terms of time and its relationship with the Earth and the Sun. Most importantly, it knew much like a condemned prisoner who knows the day of his execution, what Wednesday and Sunday nights at 9:30pm meant. During those dark, early years the Mustache tried in vain to prevent its demise. Yet, what can hair growing above your lip truly do? It could not talk. It could not cry out. All it could do was sit there and learn to accept its fate.
Knowledge that was impossible to acquire.
The Mustache always believed that maybe this time around would be different. The Mustache was almost Hinduistic in its approach regarding reincarnation and the notion of karma. Every rebirth, in-between the next Wednesday or Sunday, the Mustache tries to do good here on Earth. Maybe next time it could be reborn as a flower, or a tree or an intangible object like love. The Mustache doesn’t dare to dream to become people, for people are the height of the karmic scale. To be people meant that the Mustache or any other thing not people lived a pure life and would be rewarded as a conscious being, able to speak its thoughts and express notions such as happiness or sadness. Every time the Mustache tries, and every time the Mustache fails. For again, what good can hair truly do?
Yet there was is one thing, a slight inkling of hope that exists inside the consciousness of the Mustache. There has to be a way out. There has to be a way to evolve into something else for there is something truly evil and vile that exists in nature. The very existence of this thing means that there is something Greater. Something or Someone in some higher plane of existence who judges your actions. To be this thing must mean that the Mustache or something else lived a horrible life and was forever condemned to inflict pain upon others only to be eventually tossed away in the trash. This thing is the antithesis of love, and if there was one thing the Mustache wants to be, needs to be, it is love. The Mustache lives a good life, tries to do right because the one thing it never wants to be is,