Barbers

Kevin finished buttoning his vest as he dashed through the door.

“You’re late!” Harold’s mouth turned down and his brows lowered. “Vince is scheduled in ten minutes.”

“I know. I got this.” Kevin check the layout around the sink and shifted a few items. He unlocked his drawer and turned on his power strip. “Thank you, whoever started the towel heater.”

“That was Jenna. She wants to work here and was on time.” Harold closed the ledger and turned on the televisions. “Where is Toby?”

“I don’t know.” Kevin swept the area around his chair. With a deft foot, he poked the vacuum port open, directed the dust and debris towards it, then poked it closed again.

Toby limped in through the front door. “When is my first appointment?”

Harold moved his finger down the computer screen. “Eleven thirty. Just over a half hour from now.”

“Good, I have time.” Toby hobbled to his sink and organized it.

“Jenna turned on the towel heater.” Kevin unfolded a cape.

“Oh, wow! I guess we owe her.” Toby looked up from organizing his station.

“Yeah, tell me about it.”

The door opened and in walked a man in his late twenties. “Vince! Glad to see you.” The smile on Harold’s face showed teeth and touched his eyes. “Kevin is ready for you in chair one. Can I get you something to drink? Cigar?”

The young man smiled and declined the offers. He slid into the chair in front of Kevin, then described what he wanted done to his hair.

Kevin combed Vince’s hair. Stabbing pain shot over his side and spread to his shoulder. Kevin halted his arm in mid stroke, hissing air in over his tight mouth. Squeezing his eyes for a second, Kevin adjusted his position and continued combing.

Toby slowed what he was doing, catching the facial contortion Kevin made. He’s hurt. That’s odd. Keven isn’t much of an athlete. Sure he rides a bike, but it can’t be that kind of strenuous.

Toby check on the towels. There were plenty in the heater, but they would need more before the day was up. Pausing at the edge of the raised platform, he slowly lowered himself to the floor and limped towards the supply closet.

OK, what happened to Toby? He’s limping. Kevin continued cutting Vince’s hair, but kept an eye on Toby’s unusual gait from the supply room.

Kevin stretched once as he laid Vince back for the rinse. The pain jerked his arm back when it came time to towel Vince’s hair. The fake smile snapped into place when the chair raised. “A quick comb with some gel and you are all done.”

Ales sat in Toby’s chair, going through the same routine. Toby flexed a few times and squeezed the chair as he moved around it.

Kevin glanced at Toby through the mirror. Is that a bruise on his neck?

“Hand me a towel, Kev?” Toby held out a hand and noticed the hairless hand of Keven when a hot towel was passed. A quick check showed hair on the other one. Fire does that! No. No way.

“Harold, do you want a fresh brew?” Kevin walked to the keg tap. Flipping a mug from the rack, he tipped it under the spigot.

“Nah. Help yourself.” Harold handed the receipt to Vince.

The mug in Kevin’s hand frosted a he poured beer into it. He shot a glance at Toby, who had a pile of steaming shave cream in his hand. Over Toby’s shoulder, he noticed the aerosol can of shave cream on the counter. Hold on. Toby didn’t use the warmer on that. Kevin darted his eyes to the common shave area. The shave cream warmer wasn’t even plugged in.

Kevin looked at his hairless hand as he gulped a mouthful of beer. Then he eyed Toby.

Toby pumped the barber chair once, then held the lever in place. The chair lowered, letting Alex stand. “All done.” Toby pulled his pant leg up so he could glance at the dark path of skin. Moving his leg, he noticed Kevin and the frosted glass.

When did we get…We don’t have frosted glasses.

Alex went to Harold to pay his bill.

“We are free for twenty minutes, you two.”

Harold glanced up in time to see the door close, and two bodies flash past the window.

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