pages Rapunzel’s Mustache

by Christine Boyka Kluge

Published in Issue No. 66 ~ November, 2002
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‘Rapunzel’s Mustache’ – by Christine Boyka Kluge

Rapunzel lowers his Fu Manchu mustache toward the waggling fingers of the prince. The double gold strands twitch enticingly. Rapunzel has cunningly knotted the locks to form footholds, woven rose petals into the hair like perfumed lures.

From the perspective of the tower window, the prince is a pink pearl balanced on an overstuffed velvet pillow. But a thousand times as precious. Rapunzel chuckles to himself as the prince jumps up and down, jiggling. He imagines he hears the prince squeak in anticipation of the tower boudoir. Finally, one hair seductively grazes the fishlike mouth. The prince grasps the mustache in both fists and struggles to hoist his considerable flesh skyward. Rapunzel loves watching him sweat as he ascends. Sunlight bounces off his bald head, draws sparks from the slipping crown. The diamonds glitter like a distant constellation. Gorgeous.

It is not passion that tugs so fiercely on Rapunzel’s upper lip, but another form of desire. This is a wickedness worth its weight in gold. He coyly turns his head so the prince will not notice that he is…well, he. His neck aches. As the prince approaches, Rapunzel steps back into the shadows. Closer, closer. Come hither, my peach. He can smell the prince’s sun-baked scalp. He is tempted to toy with him, to yank his mustache and swing the prince like a yo-yo. At last, a beefy hand gropes over the sill to clasp the ribbons of Rapunzel’s bodice. Rapunzel cringes, but snatches the crown with his right hand, shoves the prince with his left. The prince plummets, eyes darting side to side, mouth wide as an empty bowl.A quick double slice of sword, and the mustache tumbles, too. Rapunzel places the crown on his own head. He takes a moment to absorb its heat and brilliance. It’s like wearing a halo. He strolls to the metal door in the opposite wall, jingling three keys on a ring: elevator, backhoe, stolen Ferrari. Soon he will be just another escapee from the Renaissance Fair, roaring back toward modern civilization. He pictures sunset, a plume of orange dust billowing behind him like all of dumb history.

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Christine Boyka Kluge's first book of poetry, Teaching Bones to Fly, will be published by Bitter Oleander Press in 2003. She has received seven Pushcart Prize nominations, and was given the 1999 Frances Locke Poetry Award by The Bitter Oleander, where she was the featured author in Fall 2001. She is also a visual artist.