A Little Off the Top
By Tyler Vawter
Have you ever seen a barbershop? Not your modern-day worthless pretender, but a real barbershop. The ones with the flashy red and white poles. The man who wears the same apron and charges the same amount no matter what the order. Unfortunately, such a sight is rare nowadays, but there are still a few people who try to keep alive a dying tradition.
This story chronicles the life of one such individual, whose heart was devoid of all sympathy. Our story begins in a small, brown apartment on the corner of Westenberry street. It was painted a dull, tan color that most apartment complexes fall back on far too often. A small poster was pasted on an otherwise bare wall. On it was a picture of a stereotypical man from the 50s and a quote that read “I got my hair done at Brad’s Barbershop, and for only two dollars you can too!!” Or at least, that’s what it was supposed to read. Someone had scribbled out Brad’s Barbershop and wrote Jim’s Place instead. Someone with a few screws loose. That someone was named… well, Jim of course.
After all, who else would own Jim’s Place? Jim’s vibrant (not to mention over the top) personality was at odds with the apartment’s deep-seated desire to remove all things interesting. He was entirely bald except for two rows of hair that hung on either side of his head like wings. His figure was tall and lanky, but there was a surprising amount of strength packed into his wiry frame. The shoes he wore were comically oversized and bolstered his reputation as the local nutcase. The pants he wore had legs that stopped three inches above his ankles, and a waistband that was four sizes too large.
Luckily, suspenders you might find on a clown outfit prevented his pants from plummeting. His shirt (typical for a barber) was pinstriped, but something unusual was the fact that the stripes were horizontal as opposed to vertical. The logic checked out as Jim had no reason to look any thinner. In short, Jim was 68 and looked the part.
Jim’s typical routine was also somewhat puzzling, as only one thing mattered to him. His barbershop. All of Jim’s time, energy, and resources went into his barbershop. Taking away the barbershop would be like removing one of Jim’s vital organs. Impossible to survive. Jim’s family had spent countless years gathering the money necessary to start a family business, and the upkeep of said business was not taken lightly. Sweat, tears, and lots of blood had gone into making the barbershop possible.
Lots and lots of blood. 1:00 am Jim’s alarm went off, and a split second after it’s first ring a sound of childlike glee could be heard. After quickly throwing on his clothes and adjusting his hair, Jim ran as fast as humanly possible to his workplace. He switched the sign from closed to open with vigor, before darting inside. Jim eagerly awaited customers for eight hours, and his rigid smile did not once lessen the entire time. Two weeks later A regular (if you could call it that) routine continued for the last few moments of autumn, until it was broken that one fateful day in winter.
It all started when a woman named Jessica Emberheart walked into Jim’s Place. She was short and had a very hunched over figure. This was due to a disease she had contracted upon birth. She had a brittle frame for a 33-year-old woman, and the only thing that distinguished her from the residents at the senior center was her hair. It glowed a fiery red that was impossible to replicate with even the most expensive dyes.
“H-how can I help you, ma’am?” Jim inquired shakily.
“Oh, I’m just here for a haircut.” She said timidly. Jim stood there awkwardly for a minute before finally speaking.
“I-i-i wouldn’t do a thing to that hair it’s b-b-beautiful,” He said. Jim had never stuttered before and was unsure as to why it was happening now.
“Oh, I insist,” Jessica said deliberately. “Just a little off the top.”
“I think you should reconsider,” Jim growled.
“No, I think…” Jessica began.
“I insist.” Jim interrupted. His voice had taken on a more menacing tone.
Jessica backed up slowly. “I think I’m gonna leave now.” she said worriedly.
“No. You aren’t.” Jim said. He pulled a hairbrush out of his apron. “Not without me at least looking at your hair.”
Jessica retreated towards the door, but was stopped by a man named Bob. Since Bob was not an attentive man, he ran into Jessica as he entered the barbershop. Jessica fell to the ground, and her back cracked audibly as she tried to get up. When she was finally back on her feet, she wasted no time exiting the barbershop through the front door.
Jim clenched his fists and gritted his teeth in rage.
“Just a little off the top plea…” Bob began. He was unable to finish his sentence, because Jim had taken a pair of scissors and slammed them into Bob’s chest. Bob stumbled for a few paces before falling to the ground, dead.
All the while this was happening, Jim was laughing maniacally. It wasn’t until a passerby looked into the window of the shop, and silently dialed 3 numbers, that he knew the severity of his actions.
Jim took one look around his precious shop and noticed two things.
A step stool and some rope.
Mild-mannered student by day, eclectic writer and/or international spy by night, this is Tyler V.’s first foray into publicly posting his work.
We here at Storytime are happy to welcome this bright young star into our quarterly blog hop, and hope to see many new stories penned by him in the future.
1. Shores of Lamentation, by Melanie Drake
2. Syrojax Lends a Claw by Nic Steven
3. Culture Sharing by Angela Wooldridge
4. Sisters by Barbara Lund
5. Rogue Ring by Katharina Gerlach
6. Grim Failures by Bill Bush
7. Secrets by Gina Fabio
8. The Daughter of Disappearing Creek by Karen Lynn
9. The Gynnos Seeker Project by Juneta Key
10. Mugging Morpheus by Vanessa Wells
11. A Little Off the Top by Tyler Vawter <–YOU ARE HERE