Bartholomew J. Pinafore–that wretched cad!–tied his last knot, affixing dear Rosaline, fair of both skin and heart, to the railroad tracks. With an elegant hand gesture, he produced a handkerchief, flamboyantly embroidered with the villain’s initials. He had no issue with the townspeople discovering whose handiwork had sullied the landscape and destroyed the girl.

Lashed to a tree overlooking the grisly scene, simple yet noble Floyd watched helplessly as the girl for whom his heart had spent many a moonlit hour pining was gagged, her cries for help stifled. How desperately Floyd wanted to bargain for the girl’s life! To appeal to Pinafore’s humanity! Or, at the very least, damningly paraphrase Paster Gimsby’s last hellfire sermon. But alas, his mouth too was silenced by one of the bastard’s perfumed handkerchiefs.

With a flourish, Pinafore turned to face Floyd, a wicked grin stretching the boundaries of his face. “See now, boy, that you and the rest of the townsfolk take this as a lesson that it is I, Bartholomew J. Pinafore, who makes the rules around here!” Pinafore let loose a diabolical cackle and twirled his magnificently waxed mustache, black and shining in the midday sun.

“Now, please excuse me, boy. Mother always said I had a weak constitution when it came to blood and guts. Besides, I do believe I have an appointment with your own mother.” With that, Pinafore leaped onto his horse and shot off across the plains. By Floyd’s estimation, in no more than two minutes, Pinafore would pass the very train scheduled to decapitate dear Rosaline. One minute later, it would pass the tree, having already performed its wicked deed.

Naturally, within two minutes and fifty-five seconds, Floyd had loosed himself from his bonds and saved the life of dear Rosaline, carrying her in his arms back to town. Together, they would lead the townspeople to stand up to Pinafore and end his dreadful influence. And at long last, they would be married.

Nonetheless, the image of Pinafore twirling his magnificently waxed mustache, black and shining in the midday sun, would stay with Floyd for the rest of his life. For truly, it was a magnificent and beautiful thing to behold.


About John D. Moore

Writer, cartoonist, filmmaker, and student of Japanese language, literature, and cinema at the University of Utah.

3 responses »

  1. Many the hearts that ever preserve the memory of seeing a truly beautiful mustache.

  2. Redoubt says:

    It is beautiful indeed. Indeed.So any idea which specific film this trope comes from? I’ve seen my fair share of silents but I haven’t seen this one.

  3. If you’re referring to the mustache-twirling, rope-tying, railroad-loving villain, I’m just drawing on conventional villainous imagery, much like we did in the initial concept of The Flamingo. Obviously, Snidely Whiplash plays a huge role in defining this image.If you’re referring to anything else in the story, I can’t say that I know where it came from. Not so much from the silents, I suppose, but rather just a archetypal story imagery from numerous sources.

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