Oooh that smell. Can you smell that smell? It's the smell that in times gone by would have been masked by that of cigarette smoke. Stale sweat and fags were always more palatable, I believe, than stale sweat alone.
The beard is gone and the mushroom hair expands out from underneath my hat making me look like a Trading Places train guard. The beard and the hair were a loving couple, well suited in their hugeness and mutual street personality, and the hair cannot now bear to be alone. It wants to end this painfully mocked existence. It wants death by mohawk.
As I had hoped and expected the barber's is empty of customers. I have Data in tow and a half hour window before I need to retrieve Riker from basketball. The two rug-rethinkers are reclined in their barber chairs playing some kind of WWII fighter game on a laptop. They look unenthused at our arrival, but they deign to desist their dogfighting and make a vague attempt at a business-like demeanour. The big news here is that they both have horrible haircuts. One long and straggly, one shorn short, both shitty as a stick that is not without poo.
I place Data within reach on the waiting bench and am eye gestured into Shorty's chair. The eye gesturing is enough to set my highly sensitised stoner bells ringing. This guy, this guy who will now dance about my head with a sharp implement, this guy is goofed. He's got it all going on. The eyes, the slight wobbliness, the repressed smile. He reminds me of me, at Sunday dinner in my mother's in the days before the Bridge Crew.
'What can I do ya?'
'Would she like a lollipop?'
Does Ratboy shit in the woods? Yes, Data would like a lollipop. So would my smelly stoned coiffmeister but he resists. Straggly, now giggling quietly at a Daily Mail article on The Lisbon Treaty shows no such restraint.
'So, what can I do for ya?'
'I'd like a mohawk, please.'
'A mohawk. Right.'
'Number 4 at the sides and back.'
'Number 4. Right.'
He begins. His ideas as to the masterpiece that he intends sculpting out of this mass of hair that fuzzes up in front of him are to ebb and flow over the next twenty minutes. I have asked for one cut, he suggests another to which, in my fear and desire to get the fuck out of there, I quickly agree. And then he creates a third which bears no relationship to either of the first two.
I get out alive. Two ears, no major lacerations. Data is unpoisoned. I have considerably less hair. And, thankfully, I own a hat.