Tracy pulled out the chair on the opposite side of the table and sat down. I may have tried to smile at her, but I’m pretty sure it came out as some sort of demented rictus.
“I’m wondering, Tracy Nightengale of Testicle Examinations, if you would do something else for me?” I tried to be suave.
“Is this request more or less intimate than palpating your nads?” I don’t know how she asked that with a straight face, but she did.
“Less. I’m pretty sure it qualifies as less intimate. Yet!” I raised my finger for emphasis “Yet, it is more vital to my long-term survival than my sperm production.”
She sat up a little straighter, batted her eyes, and said, “Well! Color me interested! What is it, Frank?”
“Would you shave my head?”
I repeated myself.
“That seems like an odd request, but I’ll do it. Got a razor, clippers, or something?”
“No. I’ve got some scissors and a few really sharp knives.” I shrugged as gently as I possibly could, given my tender condition.
“I’ll do it, but I can’t guarantee it will be the best haircut you’ve ever had.”
“I appreciate it, and it doesn’t have to be fashionable… just as close to the scalp as you can get it.” I waved my hands, as it that could somehow clarify what I wanted.
She asked me where to find my scissors and a particularly sharp knife in my “upstairs apartment.” I smiled and gave her the best directions I could from my occasionally erratic memory. The next thing I know, she’d scooted out of the room, and not long after that, I heard footfalls through the ceiling.
“Shirley, Marvin?” I asked.
“Yes, Frank?” Marvin answered.
“Am I that loud when I’m walking around up there?”
“Louder.” Shirley replied.
“Sorry about that.” I said, wincing at the thought of tromping around like an elephant.
“Eh, don’t worry too much, Frank.” Marvin waved a bar rag at me. “This is the Zombie Apocalypse, after all. You can’t be super-picky about how your ‘renter’ behaves, when he’s good enough to keep flesh-eating assholes at bay.”
“Oh. Okay! Thank you, Marvin! I feel really appreciated, hearing you say that.”
“Don’t mention it. You’re better than a pack of zombies, any day. Not much, mind you, but better.” He said, dispersing my shell of warm feelings like a cold washcloth on my face, in the middle of the night.
Tracy came back in due time, scissors in one hand, a bar of soap in the other, and a tanto stuck into the waistband of her jeans. I sighed, not being particularly keen on the shearing that was about to occur… but I liked the idea of being lynched with my ponytail even less.
“I went through your knives, Frank, and I have to say you have a nice collection.” She put the scissors and soap on the table in front of me, and unsheathed the blade at her waist. “This is a work of art, and I think the sharpest thing up there. Is it okay to use this one?”
“Yeah. I won’t tell my friend, Scott, the guy who forged the blade, that we used it for anything other than killing bad guys.”
“Man,” Shawn called out from across the room, “I get to see bruised nuts and a guy get his hair shaved off! I’m not going anywhere else for beer ever again! The show here is too good!”
I stared at him and squinted. I assumed he was being funny.
“Laugh it off, fuzzball.” I growled at him.
“Dude, the terrible smell I discovered is probably comin’ from you!” He retorted.
Oh. A battle of wits: to the death.
“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”
He blinked at me and smiled. Tracy took the opportunity to grab me by my hair, and started cutting off the growth that nearly reached the small of my back. I desperately wanted to ignore what was happening… I suppose growing my hair was a symbol of my rebellious youth, and it hurt a little bit to lose it, even if it was a practical survival decision.
“Huh,” Shawn said. “Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.”
“If you strike me down now, I shall become more powerful than you can ever imagine.” I replied.
“Damn. You know, you’re a complete geek.” Shawn smiled.
“Look who’s talking! Why don’t you come over here and let this nice lady shear off your blond, Nordic, hair, Mr. Thor from next door!”
“Nope!” He smiled, and smugly continued to sip his beer.
Before too long, most of my hair was decorating the floor. My head felt lighter.
“Okay. Do you want more of it off?” Tracy asked.
“Shave it.” I said.
“You’re going to look awfully funny with a bald head and the goatee. Do you want me to shave your face, too?”
“Yes, please. Thank you.” She had a point, and I wasn’t about to argue.
What transpired from that point forward was a universe of nicks, cuts, abrasions, and several applications of bandages. By the time she was finished, I felt like I’d been pulled, face-first, over broken glass. I don’t know if she was feeling sadistic when she brought out a mirror, so I could see her work, first hand.
There was only one thing I could say, upon viewing my new look in the glass.
“I look like Gollum after a fight with a piranha.”
(Your friendly storyteller here. Be sure to pop over to my blog, and track me down on Twitter @crawford4033!)