12 WORD PROMPT RESPONSE
The Harrowing Haircut Incident
At the Cutz & Gutz Salon
I had chosen a lousy day for a haircut!
My visit to the hairdresser started okay, apart from tripping over a homeless man who was spread-eagled across the entry to the salon.
“Hey! Watcha, you entitled shit!” screamed the grotty fellow. He struggled up on one elbow and grasped my ankle, sending me sprawling into the shop.
I was mortified.
“Me? Entitled? I just came in for a pensioner’s trim! Twenty bucks!” I hotly replied, glaring at the sheila on the cash register, daring her to disagree.
Scrambling to my feet, I waved an arm to encompass the women seated under dryers, purple dye dripping down necks, some with their hair encased in foil strips looking like they were preparing for an alien attack.
“What about this bloody lot? If there was ever an entitled bunch of tarts — it’s this snooty group!”
Snuffling his indignation, the bum gave me a one-finger salute and settled back down on his filthy tartan blankie.
I looked around at the snarling faces, their hair in various stages of doing. I could see I had made no friends with my commentary.
“What’s with the bum in the doorway?” I asked, trying to cover my discomfort. Always lead with aggression if you feel disadvantaged.
“That’s our janitor!” the toffee-nosed bit behind the reception desk replied.
“You pay him so little he has to sleep there?” I asked incredulously, feeling more sanctimonious by the second.
“Life sucks!” she retorted. “How do you expect me to pay more when it’s only twenty dollars for a pensioner haircut?”
She had a point but I wasn’t capitulating.
“It’s only $15 bucks down at Best Head!” I sniveled.
“You giving or receiving?” she snarked.
The other clients suppressed entitled giggles.
“Are you cutting my hair, or not?” I moved toward a vacant chair.
My shuffling feet disturbed little mountains of hair clippings as I pulled out a chair and plonked myself onto its hard, scarred and cracked leather.
The chair had seen better days.
The floor was covered in tresses of all colours, lengths and textures, pieces of foil, and discarded towels. Rubbish bins were overflowing with paper cups and burger wrappers.
“What’s that guy do all day?” I pointed to the dishevelled pile of humanity blocking up the entranceway.
“Nuthin’!” The woman slapped a wet nylon cape over my shoulders and tied it overly tightly around my neck.
“Cheezus,” I complained. “Back it off a bit, will yah!” I pushed two fingers between my throat and the black shroud as the hairdresser loosened the strings.
“If he doesn’t collect garbage and sweep floors,” I nagged, “what do you pay him for?”
“You can’t expect him to work much for a pittance,” she looked at me pityingly, working her fingers feverishly back and forth in the scissors. Click, click, clickety-click.
I watched her scissor-gymnastics suspiciously and began to worry.
“He keeps the petting zoo goats from coming in the door!” she declared hotly. “Once those bastards get in, there’s no stopping them. They eat every bloody thing!”
The hairdresser’s snippers advanced — she began trimming clumps of hair randomly all over my head.
“Steady on!” I whimpered. “You do know what you’re doing, don’t you? I don’t want to look like I’ve got the mange!”
“Shut up, it’s only twenty bucks! Want me to get the janitor to do it? He’s been dying to have a go.”
The lifeless bundle blocking the door stirred and raised his middle finger once more.
“Youse don’t pay me enough for that shit! Watcha, or I’ll call the Union.”
“Settle down, Hipster,” soothed the hairdresser. “Better get ready, it’s nearly time for the goats to escape.”
“There’s a time for goats to escape?” I enquired solicitously.
The woman looked at me piteously. “You don’t know much, do you?”
I shrugged, finally beaten.
“When the lunch siren goes at the petting zoo, the keepers let the animals out. They play, ‘He who shoots the most pets, wins a bonus’. It’s a daily ritual.”
“Surely,” I assumed, “they only shoot them with tranquillizer darts.”
“Only if they’re pregnant — the animals, not the keepers.”
The scissors snapped viciously and a large chunk of my hair fell to the floor.
“Yowch!” Was that a tiny piece of bleeding scalp attached to some hair follicles? Lord, help me!
“Otherwise,” the oblivious hacker continued, “they blow ’em to bits with a buffalo gun!”
“Holly hell!” I muttered.
“You complainin’ again?” Grind, snip, slash.
She broke out the electric clippers and started at my neck.
Thank goodness, she must be nearly finished!
“No! I meant, holy hell, that seems a bit vicious.”
“So, you are complainin’ again!”
“No, no, I mean using a buffalo gun seems a bit vicious!”
Suddenly, the vagrant janitor sat bolt upright and began slashing the air with a large rusty knife. Screaming obscenities, he feinted this way and that with the serrated blade.
I had to twist in my chair to see what was going on. As a consequence, the shaving clippers ran from my neck in a semi-circle, over my left ear, across my scalp, nipping the top of my right ear.
“Ooops,” muttered the hair artiste.
“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” I bellowed, leaping from the chair and ripping the cape from my neck.
“Just as well I was finished!” grumbled the hairdresser. “You think you got problems? Look at Hipster, defending the premises!”
Rendered speechless, I stood rooted to the spot, watching helplessly as three evil-looking goats attempted to devour the homeless man in the doorway. Bits of tartan blankie and skanky clothing were airborne, amidst horrendous screams and the rending of flesh.
The ravenous beasts dripped blood from teeth and horns as they tried to scale the stinking, flailing body of Hipster who was valiantly fighting for doorway supremacy.
“Guess, he’ll be wantin’ more money,” muttered the hairdresser.
“You can bet on it!” I countered.
The woman gripped my elbow and rushed me to the counter. The cash register clanked, barely audible above the fray outside the doorway.
Handing me a twenty-dollar note, she grimaced. “Coming back next month?”
I nodded. “Your practising on my hair is the only way I can get some pokie money.”
The air suddenly echoed with a series of terrible blasts.
“Hah,” the hairdresser cried. “Sounds like the zoo keepers have arrived. Lunchtime must be over!”
More blasts followed as bits of bloody goat guts splattered the dusty windows. Slippery gore slid tracks down the glass and pooled on the sill.
When the fray finally quietened down, I stepped gingerly over Hipster to exit the salon.
The bastard was too fast! His gnarly fist snaked out and closed itself around my ankle, sending me crashing to the concrete pavement.
“Entitled bitch!” he grumbled.
I examined my grazed, smarting knees and scrambled out of his bloody reach.
“See you at home tonight, Hippie?” I murmured, rubbing at my injuries.
“Yeah, babe. I’m knackered! Run me a bath at six, will yah?”