a close shave

from the waist up
I was naked
driving fast
a small battery powered razor 
in my hand 
pressed firm 
to my cheek
vibrating and grinding
tough stubble

I was real excited 
for my new job
at this Italian Cafe
I couldn’t be late
but the trouble was
I overslept
and had to shave
and get dressed
on the way

traffic was light
my hair was a mess
my shirt on the seat
to my right
then my shaver 
grew weak
(and this is the crisis of the tale)
but I kept pushing it 
all over my face
(what else could I do?)
as the gears 
I could hear
ground slower
and slower



and pulled on my skin
until finally it died
in the heart of its grind
on the dense 
hairy stubble
of my chin

the blades wouldn’t move
froze-up in mid chew
and clamped to the hairs
an inch-and-a-half
beneath my low lip

it hurt when I pulled
and I couldn’t let go
without terrible pain
so my hand was now stuck 
up there too

I did what I had to
I stopped at a store
with this machine
on my face
and stood in a line
and the store was real busy 
and the patrons all stared
but I looked straight 
like it was no big thing

the manager saw me
and pointed to a sign
on the door
I had neither shirt
nor shoes on my feet
but I showed her my chin
and implored her 
to help
and she did

and everyone watched
as I did the whole thing
all with one hand
paid for the pack
opened them up
ejected the dead
inserted the fresh 
then went out the door
to finish my shave
and free the machine
from my face

I burst into work
assembling my tie
tucking my shirt
with just enough time
to swallow a breadstick
or two
in life there’s a line
it’s firm yet it’s fine
between keeping your life
under control
or being taken apart
by chaos and chance
and each of us learn 
to walk that fine line
and some of us
__ __ __

For more tales of danger and heroism
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