First off, the title. Can we just stop and tilt our heads in happy wonder at “Love and the Floppy Musketeer Hat”? It’s the title of the collection and a particular story therein, and though it’s not the first in the collection, I couldn’t help but start there because, I mean, title. Right? And it’s cute as all heck. Now, one thing to know about this collection is how Hank Edwards collected all these tales together: they were prompts from a project he used to take part in called ‘Story Orgy’ (heh), and so content-wise, the tales don’t have a tonne of crossover or shared aspects. Well, beyond Hank Edwards’s usual upbeat/funny/quirky/romantic takes. You can always count on Edwards for some snark among the fun, is what I’m saying, and this is no different.
“Love and the Floppy Musketeer” hat begins in a restaurant where two co-worker friends are getting through a typical hectic day when the arrival of a very handsome jock stops our main character from being quite as productive as usual at his work. His friend notices, and sets a series of events in play so she can get the two men to interact—and it is, of course, revealed that said hot fellow is also gay, the woman he appears with isn’t therefore his girlfriend, and both the women are sick of the two mooning over each other and basically shove them together.
It’s a meet-cute that involves the aforementioned floppy hat (thanks to an ill-timed declarative nick-name from the server’s friend), a large group of circus workers (no, really), and a last-minute shift at the restaurant that might ruin the happy-ever-after chances for these two guys. It’s just the kind of avalanche of “wait, what?” I expect from a funny Hank Edwards story, coming just to the edge of over-the-top without quite tipping over. And of course, the fellows find a way, the story continues to be cute and quirky, and I was left with a wee smile and a happy chuckle or two, which is just the right tone for this week, frankly.