October Bizarre Horror Issue

Mustachio Moon
Michael A. Arnzen

On the midnight of the full moon, I looked up in the sky and noticed that the man in the moon had grown a mustache. At first I was not bothered by this quirky observation. It seemed sort of cute. But later that night I could not sleep peacefully because the very thought began to disturb me. What would cause the moon to change so radically overnight? At work the next day, I asked if anyone else had noticed the upper lip of the moon, but my coworkers just laughed and waved my crazy notions away as they bustled about their business.

A full cycle passed as I waited in anticipation of the next full moon. When it rose, I was amazed to notice that the man in the moon now had a full beard! I woke up my wife and children and made them look up to the night sky to confirm my vision. Everyone saw it. My wife said we all must be dreaming. My oldest son said it looked like a terrorist. My youngest daughter was horrified and ran crying into her room. The middle child said she saw Grandpa in the sky...no, Santa. My wife and I laughed. We noted more than just the beard—it's eyes and nose, too seemed more prominent by contrast. Together we held hands and watched the big bearded moon until we fell sleepy.

The next day, I checked the newspapers and the television. No one had reported about the hirsute moon! I was amazed by my coworkers' audacity when they all laughed at my observations again. But this time I knew they were the crazy ones. Was the whole world blind? Was everyone loony? Next time I would make sure they all actually looked up to the sky at midnight. I researched the astronomical charts, I marked my calendar, and I wrote letters to not only all of my coworkers but also all of the news stations and papers and magazines, even all of the government officials all over the planet. I urged them to look to the heavens on the next full moon.

On the day of its arrival, my family sat in our backyard and watched. My whole neighborhood was out, staring at the sky. I knew my letter campaign had worked. At midnight, the moon came out with its full beard and mustache. And even more hair had grown on its round cheeks and shiny head. Vindicated, I shouted to the world: "Look! I am not crazy! See! The man in the moon really does have facial hair!"

And then it smiled down upon me. Wide. The werewolf moon bore its sharp fangs.

The mouth moved closer—got larger and larger—and I suddenly thought: this is it. The Earth is full. Far too full.

"Mustachio Moon" from the forthcoming collection 100 JOLTS originally appeared in Dark Animus, Mar/Apr 2003