>Horseshoe Staches And Childhood Laundromat Intimacies


I shaved myself a horseshoe mustache. It differs from a fu manchu mustache in that the latter has shaved sides so that the lip hairs hang wispily down, whereas mine grows along the sides of the mouth as well. That part of the mustache is the “pipes.” It is excellent and I proudly wore it to the Bushwick Mega Laundromat. Sometimes I forget that it is on my face and I am surprised at the looks I get from people and then I remember, that’s right, they think I’m an asshole.

Which is why I was so surprised when last night, I had a moment with a little girl. I noticed her noticing me, and glanced up from reading. She quickly looked away and I went back to reading. Back down, little girl. I’m a mean mother with a horseshoe mustache. Then to my surprise, the little one crawled onto the seat next to me and there she sat, nervous and scared. Yes, that’s right. But I’m really a nice guy underneath the stache and she knew that; she scampered away after a few moments.

When I moved my laundry to the dryer, she came up to me in her little black pea coat with her ponytail rising from the top of her head, and what did she do, but offer me candy. Dumdum, Tootsie Rolls or Grape Trident. “Thank you,” I exclaimed, “that is so nice of you!” I said fingering a couple of pieces of gum as I tried to take one. “You can have more than one, it’s okay,” she said insouciantly. “That’s very kind, but I’ll just have one. Thanks.” And Daniel Adler never saw her again.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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