HONORABLE
MENTION
GeminiMAGAZINE
2014
Flash Fiction
Contest
$25 Prize
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The men who come and sit in my chair never
ask what I do with their hair. But then, why would
they care? There's no need to share I get a thrill
from their hair. Or say what I do with said hair.
That’s between me and their hair….

When the bell over the door rings signaling
another customer, my own bell begins to tingle.
Today, for example, it's Justin—tall, lean, pretty
Justin and his well-toned arms. He comes with
his unwashed hair and three-day scruff. He could
wash his own hair. They all could. But they leave
it and their scruff for me. They know this is the
way I want it. It's possible one or two have
figured out my thing for hair. But nobody knows
my real secret. The big one.

Justin knows the routine. He sits in my chair
looking at me in the mirror. I look back, giving
him my best naughty grin. We are alone in the
shop. I can't resist licking my lips. 'We'd better
get started,' I say. 'The usual?' Justin nods.
There's never really much need for talk. The men
come to me dirty and scruffy, knowing I will
make them clean. Scratch the surface of that
thought, dig deeper. They seek salvation through
me. Maybe that is their secret. Everybody has
one.

Justin has come for my specialty. I don't cut hair
much anymore. I can when I need to, but I've got
enough clients now to concentrate on what I
crave—the hot towel shave. While I adore all
hair, facial hair is revered. It's what makes a man
a man. Moustaches, beards, goatees—all are
worshiped and adored, trimmed, groomed and
shaped to perfection. And if they desire to be
clean, I take it all off, no questions asked. I'm
here to serve and please. Both them and me.

Now it's Justin with the devilish grin on his face.
We're back at the chair after washing the hair.
I've put the cape around him. I begin
preparations for the blade. Gently I cleanse the
skin, then apply the first hot towel. It softens the
bristles, opens the pores, relaxes the face. A
brush applies the foam. I gently but firmly run the
blade over his features, taking care as I stroke
up the neck and Adam's apple. My face comes
close to his as I work. So easy to lean over and
plant a kiss, caress a cheek. But I am a
professional. I apply another hot towel and lather
again. I want the closest possible shave. And all
possible hair. I glide the blade around the
contours of his chiseled face. The stubble falls
and collects in the folds of the cape. My
excitement builds.

And when he goes, when Justin or Joe or
Tommy leaves me fresh-faced and smooth, I
close up shop for the day. I take that hair, that
stubble, those bristles and gather it together. It is
my reward. It doesn't matter it's from different
men with different colours and different lengths.
This hair has purpose. In the evenings on my
own, my play begins. I apply a thin layer of
Vaseline to my face. Then I apply the hair. When
I see myself in the mirror I sigh; closer to
complete, closer to my secret. I experiment with
different styles late into the night. Then I shave
myself back to reality. 'Soon,' I say. 'One day.' I
dare not dream more.

Those men who sit in my chair and give me their
hair think it's for them I provide this service. But
it's for me. Me and my salvation. Me and my
secret.


Sherry Morris is originally from a small town in Missouri, but has
been residing in London for nearly 15 years, working as a university
administrator and dreaming up schemes to retire early. She now
loves a crumpet and a cup of tea in the morning, but makes no
attempt to disguise her American accent, as it occasionally comes in
handy. She has an allotment where she grows flowers, butternut
squash and elephant garlic, although parsnips elude her. A short
story she wrote about her Peace Corps experience in Ukraine has
been published in A Small Key Opens Big Doors.
THE BARBER
NOVEMBER 2014
by Sherry Morris