A Barber's Tale

by D. Harlan Wilson © 2002

One day a barber’s customers decided to start shaving their heads on a regular basis so that they could put him out of business. The barber was a good man. He always treated his customers with respect, and while he was cutting their hair, he always made sure that the jokes he told were sufficiently dirty. He couldn’t understand why they had forsaken him. Bereft, he closed his barbershop and headed to the nearest whorehouse. To drown his sorrow in fornication.

Hanging over the front door of the whorehouse was a neon sign. The sign said, “No children, pets or barbers.”

The barber cursed under his breath. Then he cursed out loud.

Then he glanced over his shoulders one of a time, pulled a bowler hat and a fake handlebar mustache out of his briefcase, and applied them to his head.

“What’s your pleasure?” asked a whore as he walked inside. She was wearing just what the barber liked: red high heels and stockings and a Persian garter belt. He also liked her pointy yardsale breasts and the live (albeit drugged up and lethargic) fox that was draped around her shoulders (he had a fetish for sedated, conniving animals). But the whore had a shaved head. All of the whores in the whorehouse, he realized, had shaved heads.

“Why doesn’t anybody have any hair?” said the barber in a disguised voice, as if the voice of a barber might be as recognizable as the scream of an anteater.

The whore batted her mascara-soaked eyelashes. She ran her fingers across her skull. “Because hair is for posers. Real people don’t need hair to establish a sense of their own selfhood. Now give me fifty dollars and eat me.” She adopted the posture of a soldier at ease and pointed at her sex with the determinacy of a soldier at attention.

Admiring her sex with tender, understanding eyes, the barber said, “No thank you.” Then he tipped his hat and left. He no longer needed the solace, the psychotherapy that came from nailing a good whore. Clearly his customers had begun shaving their heads for personal reasons, for the purpose of asserting themselves as powerful social subjects, not for the purpose of skidrowing him. He returned to his barber shop, determined to shave his own head, determined to maintain a more positive outlook on life, but when he got there he was greeted by his customers. “Surprise!” they yelled . . . and ripped the bald masks off of their heads. Beneath the masks were a bunch of hairdos. Each of the hairdos were full-bodied, lopsided, shaggy—just crying out for a nice trim.

Blank-faced, the barber excused himself and headed to the nearest whorehouse. To drown his sorrow in fornication

x x x

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