January 27, 2011

You Getting a Hair Cut

 Düsseldorf, Germany
 What color is it going to be this time? Orange? Red again, or perhaps green?

You walk into the UniSex hair salon and see purple-haired Kevin sitting on the bench smoking a cigarette. You walk inside, and the glass door slams against the saloon-style ash bin propping it open. Ignore it. The door doesn’t belong to you anyway.

Kevin’s purple hair is standing straight up, and you can’t look at it without thinking of a troll doll. He says “Hallo,” and you say the same thing, staring too long at his plastic, spray-tanned face. Don’t worry. Anyone that has Sponge Bob Square Pants tattooed on his forearm is used to it. Thank God for people like this. You check out his left arm and see all three Power Puff Girls surrounded by stars. The details are dazzling.

He stubs out his cigarette and says “please sit anywhere.” It’s 10AM and every seat is open. The salon is 10 feet across and goes back like a bowling alley. Techno music is blaring, and there are wall-mounted flat screens between each chair. You sit down in the back, close to the hair washing station.

Kevin comes over and asks “Would you like a drink? Coffee?”
His English is terrible. Your German is worse.
“Nein, danke,” you say. “Wasser, bitte.”

Kevin calls out to the blonde with the fat ass. She stashes the broom and walks behind a curtain. There is an awkward silence. Kevin urges you over to one of the flat screens. He shows you pictures of men’s heads and says “What you like?” Except for the Turkish heads, the faces all look like you and Kevin: Skinny white boys. There’s a head that looks like it hasn’t been cut. The caption says ‘Surfer.’ You point to it, even though you don’t like to surf. Forget it. The blonde’s back with your water. You look her in the eyes and say “danke.”

Kevin wears plastic gloves that crinkle as he washes your hair. You didn’t shower before leaving the house today. Never mind. You’re going to shower when you get home anyway. Occupy yourself by looking at Kevin’s facial piercings. The ring on his lip seems like it would be annoying. Again, you’re grateful that not everyone is as boring as you.

You sit there facing the mirror. Fangs of moisture drip onto the nylon cape. Kevin slips into his rhinestone-studded holster. It is packed with razors, shears, combs, and scissors. He seems taller, moves faster. Kevin removes the scissors and spins them around his index finger like a gunslinger. You feel your body tensing up beneath the cape. Relax. You look over to a flat screen. A corpse is getting her hair cut before a live audience. The assistants had already pulled some paper mache guts from her belly. After each snip, the mad scientist pulls the scissors back and twirls them like a gunslinger. The crowd is going wild.

You look to Kevin's hand. He holsters the scissors, pulls out a straight razor. Your head leans as he pulls your bangs forward. His other hand is spinning the razor blade like a sideways helicopter. Bits of your bangs fall on your lap. Take a chance. You open your eyes just a crack, enough to see the letters tattooed across the back of each finger...

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