Milky Way: The Sixth Moustachioed Gent

Hello.  This is the sixth moustachioed gent tale which was left out of the original collection for various reasons (though mostly because I hadn’t finished it then).  Now it is finished and can be read below. 

Somewhere on the planet an elderly moustachioed gentleman set himself down on creaking knees by the side of a canal.  From the pocket of his tattered flannel suit jacket he took a small rectangular piece of plastic and held it in his cupped hands.  It vibrated as though something was trying to escape.  Tenderly, as though it were one of an endangered species, he gently lowered it to the water.  It vibrated off into the murky canal water.

He always felt a moment of doubt as he let go, a nagging feeling that he was doing something stupid.  And then his moustachioed son was coming down the path towards him, chastising him again and telling him that they were phones and they didn’t swim and that now he would have to get a new one.  The moustachioed gent tried to mutter an explanation but gave up and walked back to the boat, unable to coherently explain himself.

He wanted to say that the vibrating was like… it was as if… as if… as if fish were being made into small telecommunication devices and struggling to get back out.

The moustcahioed gent decided to go for a walk.  There was a cold hard morning beating down on his face but the moustache draped extravagantly across his upper lip kept some heat like a hairy draft excluder.  The air seemed dead and the ground solid, the world a deathly place – the whole universe.

The moustachioed gent entered a newsagents.  The news was dull black words on a white background so he bought a milky way instead.  It cost him eighteen pence.

It transpired that the moustachioed gent had not just bought a milky way, he had bought the milky way.  He was some kind of lucky winner and had just won ownership of the entire galaxy.  The galaxy sat, unfussed, in the palm of his hand, in a plastic wrapper.  The cold, dead galaxy in the moustachioed gent’s suddenly warm and sweating hand.  He carefully placed it in his coat pocket, zipped it, buttoned it secure and left the shop.

The milky way is about 1,000 light years thick and is home to a billion stars, and there it sat in the moustachioed gent’s pocket.  The milky way is smooth and creamy with a milk chocolate coating.  It sat in his pocket whilst he wandered the unfamiliar town, owner of not just everything he could see but pretty much everything he could imagine.

Down a small side street, up some stairs in an office above a joke shop the moustachioed gent found what he had been looking for.  He was welcomed into the Galaxy Ownership Advice Bureau by a kid who looked like he had just finished school and the moustachioed gent thought how odd it was that this young man could give him such important advice.

The moustachioed gent carefully took the milky way from his unzipped, unbuttoned pocket and held it out in the palm of his hand for inspection.  The young man let out a low whistle as soon as he saw the chocolate bar.  The actual galaxy in his office in the palm of this elderly moustachioed gentleman‘s hand.  After this there would be little call for the existence of his office and he would surely have to find a new job but that seemed to matter little when compared to the honour of the galaxy being in his office.

“May I hold it?” asked the young advisor.
“I would rather you didn’t,” the moustachioed gent answered protectively, “sorry.”
“No no, quite right.  Well, that certainly is the galaxy.  You own it now.  The best way for you to keep it safe is to eat the milky way as soon as possible.”
“Is it safe?”
“Completely safe.  It should taste little different to any other milky way.”

The moustachioed gent saw little point in waiting any longer and so he removed the paper wrapper and was about to take his first bite of the milky way when the galaxy ownership advisor stopped him.  He explained that the moustachioed gent was under no obligation to pay a fee for his advisory services but he would be entirely grateful if he were to be allowed a small piece of the milky way.  The moustachioed gent agreed and broke off a small piece of the galaxy’s outer coating and passed it across the desk.  It was only as the advisor was gratefully swallowing the tiny piece of chocolate that he realised that he had probably just given away light years worth of space.

Now he could finally bite into the milky way.  It was gone in two mouthfuls and felt like eating ten milky way bars.  It did not taste of stars and planets and miles and miles of outer space.  But after eating the chocolate bar he did feel _____ .   As this had never happened to anyone ever before there was not a handy word to describe it.

The sun was out and shining away as the moustachioed gent left the office and continued to walk around the unfamiliar town.  It didn’t seem so unfamiliar and dull now that the sun was out and now that he owned the entire galaxy he felt that perhaps he should feel at home anywhere.

The world was the moustachioed gent’s oyster, or chocolate bar.

He bought a new mobile phone in one of the many shops in the town that sold that kind of thing.  He paid the customary fee for the phone, thinking to himself that as new owner of the galaxy he could probably get one for free, but unsure how to go about claiming this.

Feeling a new oneness with the ground under his feet and the air that he breathed the moustachioed gent strolled around the town for hours, bowled over by the sudden intricacies of his new acquisition.  There was so much for him to explore now.

It was dark by the time he walked back along the canal.  He kept one hand in his pocket, holding on to the milky way wrapper which he had kept safe.  He was looking up at the moon, at the stars in the sky, thinking of the galaxy and not of earth when disaster struck.

The moustachioed gent tripped and fell heavily, his head struck the stone path and bled stickily whilst his lifeless body flopped into the canal with a splash.  There was no chance for him to wonder who would inherit the galaxy now.

As his body fell, hundreds of small, plastic rectangular fish flitted around his body, vibrating through the water, frolicking freely in their fishy way, lighting up the murky canal with their brightly lit screens.

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