An Early Shave

The instant the barber shop opened, Bobby walked in and ordered a hot shave.

The hairdresser leaned over the front desk and looked down at Bobby. “A shave?”

“Hot shave,” said Bobby. He took off his ball cap and brushed his palm over his short brown hair. “Haircut, too, please. I’ll pay in cash.”

He walked over to the coat hooks mounted on the wall, stood on the tips of his toes, and rested his hat on a hook.

Two of the hairdressers looked at each other. The girl at the front desk shrugged. The other raised her eyebrows.

“Right this way,” said the second hairdresser, whose name was Sandy.

Bobby sat in the chair. Sandy pumped it up a couple feet.

“Shave and a haircut, beautiful,” said Bobby. Sandy couldn’t help but laugh, though she felt guilty for doing so. The same behaviour from other clients would make her cringe. She didn’t want to encourage Bobby to be one of those people.

She started with the haircut, thinking Bobby might change his mind about the shave.

“Some wild weather out there,” Bobby said. “Winter wonderland.”

“Pretty crazy,” said Sandy. It was her default response to most client comments.

“Busy today?”

“Not really.”

More small talk. The hairdresser felt like she was chatting with an old man.

When she was done: “How does it look?”

“Fantastic. Thanks a million, doll.”

She kept herself from laughing this time. “You bet,” she said.

A pause.

“How about that shave?” Bobby said. Sandy flattened her lips.

She prepared the shaving soap, brush, and straight razor. She took her time lathering Bobby’s face, dreading using the  razor for fear of a jumpy Bobby getting himself cut. Though, Bobby wasn’t as excitable or fidgety as she’d first imagined. Really, he was calm, almost placid. Like a whole other person.

At last, the razor. She exhaled and picked up the blade. Carefully, carefully, she slid it smoothly along Bobby’s round cheeks. She could barely tell where the cheeks ended and the chin began. It was like shaving a balloon. She just didn’t want to pop it. She had a hard enough time clipping behind ears sometimes.

Strip by strip the shaving soap disappeared. She scraped it off into a bowl. Nothing came off the blade except the cream. Eventually, Bobby’s face was as clean as it began, with only a few splinters of cream left. Sandy wiped it off and pressed a hot towel to his face. The rest was easy. Bobby looked very relaxed–he had a slight smile on the corners of his mouth.

“Well?” said Sandy after taking away the towel.

“I feel like a new man,” said Bobby, rubbing his tender face. “How do I look?”

“Brand new,” said Sandy. When Bobby smiled and turned away, Sandy widened her eyes briefly at the front desk girl, who suppressed a laugh.

Bobby flitted a few bills out of his Pokemon wallet and dropped them on the front desk. Then he handed Sandy a ten, winking. Sandy thanked him. He collected his ball cap, smacked it a couple times on his palm, then left.

“How old, you figure?” asked the desk girl.

“Ten, maybe,” said Sandy.


“I think he was raised by his grandpa.”

“Nah. Kids these days just grow up too quick.”

“Doesn’t mean they sprout beards at 10.”

“Not yet.”

“Oh well. Least he was a good tipper.”





Day 197’s three random writing prompt categories were, “Shave and a haircut,” “Kids these days…” and, “Winter wonderland.”

You wish you had that kinda swag(?) at 10.

– H.

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