Every seventeen years, there was an infestation of moustaches. They creatured along sidewalks and crawled up tree trunks, while barefaced men with bated breath and butterfly nets, lay in wait.
Their hairless faces were a sight to behold. They may as well have had ‘not a man’ written on their top lip in shaving foam. They tried as best they could, to pick a moustache that matched their hair colour, but it was every man for himself.
One dark-haired guy grabbed the first he could find: an auburn offering that sat on his lip like a bristle brush. It twitched as he ate, and nibbled at any leftover crumbs.
Newspapers reported one woman who’d come face-to-face with a face full of moustaches. She’d woken in the night to find the Chevron, the Dali, the Handlebar and the Horseshoe crawling from her forehead to her chin. It was reported that at one stage, even her eyebrows had become moustaches. She was horrified… but not for long. For the first time in her life, running away and joining the circus was an option.
Of course, most women, during this season, ventured out armed with hair removal cream. They blobbed it on any moustaches that scaled the garden walls and awoke screaming if a moustache migrated onto their face during the night. Blame the patriarchy or blame panic, but many women were seen wearing a full ‘beard’ of hair removal cream over their face at all times — if only as a preventive measure.
Of course, every season, people forgot about the birds. Men fought to get the moustache of their dreams, and the women fought to rid themselves of the dreaded bushy hairs — but the birds didn’t fight at all. They were beady-eyed, early risers. They were decisive. They picked their moustache in seconds — not by type, or hair colour, but by volume — which would keep their nests the warmest. As soon as beak met moustache, the hairy thing went limp, like the scribble-moustache drawn on the morning paper.
Then, there was the chosen one — every season there was one — the teenage boy who suddenly found himself in possession of a tiny little moustache, barely any hair at all — like a tiny little mouse. It crawled onto his top lip and stuck there. News would carry, it wouldn’t quite make the papers, but close enough. The teenage girls, of course, would notice, then turn their attention back to their own problems: the tiny sprouting hairs on their legs. There was no season for that. It was relentless.
Liz Wride is a writer from Wales. Her short fiction has recently appeared in Okay Donkey Mag, Turnpike Magazine, and Pop To...Magazine. Her work will soon appear in: Apocalips, Milk Candy Review and Cabinet of Heed. In 2015, her short piece ‘Potato’ was shortlisted for the ELLE UK Talent Awards. Find her on Twitter: @lizwride, or at: lizwride.wordpress.com