The Barber's Victim Added£1.59
Add to basket
(A short story of 3287 words)

The Barber's Victim


by Derek Neale

A boy is traumatized by what a haircut reveals.

Barbers incarcerate you. That’s a fact, whatever the hairstyle, however free the expense. The mirrors pen you in – your life there in front of you, inescapable; the profiles either side; and all those hideous, misbegotten, views from behind. Those are the ones I fear most; those are the ones that keep me coming back for more – the rear view mirrors, the past creeping up on the future. But I've made provision. I've bought my toupee. I'm ready for it when it comes.

Hamlet hit the nail on the head. There's a divinity that shapes our ends right enough, rough hew them how we will. Too right! Baldness – enough to put the fear of God in any man. What will the thinning strands uncover – the boy beneath, stripped of his manly prime? Even more, or younger still: a cradle-capped fontanelle and womb-print, my mother's final signature – the birthmark on the crown of my head; a nipple in shape and contour, a nipple in dreaded colour, and right behind my old soft spot. I've only to think of it, to touch it accidentally with the comb, and all the pain floods back, together with the faces – Jimmy Beal pointing, Trudy laughing (Oh, Trudy!), and Taff Thomas turning from the blackboard and aiming his chalk with such wicket-to-wicket precision, such well-cut malice.

It's really no wonder I've taken to words rather than numbers.

Taff Thomas strode across the playground on the first Monday of every month with a new short back and sides, the points and precipices sharpened, his masculinity reborn. Everyone knew he'd much rather be playing cricket than teaching us the whys and wherefores of sines and cosines. And everyone knew his throwing arm gained accuracy from a haircut. Freshly groomed, he swivelled on less than a sixpence, launching his chalk with flat arm throws and a long-off relish. Direct hits were assured...

What others say about The Barber's Victim - Add your review

© 2024 CUT All rights reserved.