I wake up on the floor of my hair salon. I don’t even have to look around, I already know. Damn it! It’s happened again. The Sonic Blow.
Glad I doubled up on property insurance since the last time this happened over two years ago. Ever since then I promised I would never bring a dude back home. You see I live in the back of the salon. It’s a pretty posh place and I’m never late for work. LOL
But last night I went to the bar down the street and I kept drinking and this dude was a total gorilla. Tall, tanned and juiced a real lumber Jack just the way I like em’.
Well, one thing led to the other and we never made it to the rear apartment before he had me on my knees and I was giving him the best head he ever had in his life. I should’ve stopped when I knew he was getting close but my ego wouldn’t quit. Then it happened he came and so did the sonic boom. He flew straight across the room, dead weight with a smile on his face. Dumb jock. Yep, I’m good!
I was young and fresh out of cosmetology school. I was so excited when I got my first job working at a Salon. I had only been working for two weeks when she walked through the doors. She was a tall beautiful blonde. When the shop owner, Roberta, told the young lady that I would be doing her hair I immediately felt nervous, almost like it was my first time ever picking up scissors. She sat at my chair and introduced herself, “Hi, I’m Charlene”. “H-h-h-hi. I’m Marybeth,” I stuttered. As beautiful as she was, something about this woman gave me this eerie feeling that she just wasn’t stable and that really seemed to have an affect on me. She told me exactly what she wanted. I meticulously cut her hair not wanting to make a mistake. After her hair was cut, blown dry and styled she decided that she wanted her hair colored as well. I wish she had told me sooner. I guess she wanted to see the finished product first. I then proceeded to mix her colors. I swear I had done every thing right. I don’t know what went wrong but when I washed the color from her hair but the perfect Marilyn Monroe blonde hair some how turned PURPLE! I apologized profusely and was on the brink of tears when she gave me a death stare. I just couldn’t bring myself to turning her chair so that she could get a look at her new color in the mirror. Before I could bring myself to facing her to the mirror she stood up and faced it herself. I’m not really sure what happened next. Her hair burst into flames. The purple began to turn red, to orange, and than to bright white. Blue flames licked from the ends of what had once been her hair. Then I loud growl came from Charlene’s throat. Hair dryers began to explode. Chairs burst into flames. I couldn’t move everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. Women were fleeing for the doors. When I finally realized what was happening Roberta was pulling me out of the Salon. I stood there and watched the Salon go up in flames. Thank God the Fire Department was only blocks away and was able to put the fires out before the building could burn to the ground. As I walked through the aftermath I found a purse still slung over the back of my customer chair. I pulled out the wallet to see Charlene smiling in her driver’s licenses photo. Her full name was Charlene McGee. Who knew that my customer was the very own “Firestarter”.
~Selene de Modelo
I hoped this wasn’t a sign.
Lightening streaked across the sky and thunder crashed right above the house as I tried to get dressed. It was already after sunset and really cold outside, and the lights were out due to the storm, so the house was all kinds of dark and spooky. As I dug through my closet for something to wear to my meeting, I wondered, what did one wear for this sort of thing anyway? I wished we were meeting during the daytime, but like me, the gentleman I was meeting had classes during the day and could only meet me this evening. I finally dragged on the first pair of jeans I found that fit and wriggled into a sweater I dug out of the back of my closet, hoping the two would somehow coordinate. Knowing my luck, and my wardrobe, however, that probably wouldn’t be the case, but I was already running late and didn’t have time to find a flashlight right now.
I grabbed my purse and scrambled out to my truck, climbing in while trying not to get too drenched. The hood of my coat blew off, letting my hair get soaked and messing up what effort I had put into it. Now I looked like a damned drowned rat. Ha, try saying that ten times fast! There wasn’t much I could do about it given the weather, though, but it still bugged me. I was a beauty school graduate for heaven sakes, I was supposed to look polished and all put together. Right now, however, I looked like a stray cat trying to climb out of a well. That was going to make a great impression, I mumbled to myself sarcastically.
I drove through the darkened streets toward my meeting, trying to avoid the potholes in the road that would surely mess up my alignment again. I couldn’t afford another round of auto repairs right now. School had taken most of what was left of the money from my parent’s after I had paid off Charlie’s house and all their outstanding bills after they died. That was two years ago, and it was on a night like this that it had happened…
I had been living in Arizona with my mother since their divorce, but I came back to visit Charlie pretty regularly. He was the town’s Chief of Police and was really busy, but he always took off time for my visits and so we were close. I nearly lost it when I got word that he had been injured on the job during a drug bust, and so I had offered to come back to Washington and stay with him while he recuperated and help him out after he finally got out of the hospital, which was anticipated to be over Labor Day weekend. He had been shoved down a flight of stairs, so his injuries were pretty bad and would have him out of work and in rehab until after the New Year. The plan was for me to stay until Christmas, and then go back home after Charlie was able to take full care of himself again.
Right before I was to leave for Charlie’s, my mom had met Phillip. Theirs was a whirlwind romance and they ended up driving to Vegas and getting married after only having known each other over a weekend. Mom was happy, though, happier than she had been in ages. Phil was apparently good for her. Despite having been divorced when I was just a baby, she and Charlie had remained somewhat friendly, and so they made plans for mom and her new husband to come up with me to Charlie’s when he was released from the hospital so they could spend my sixteenth birthday with me and get me enrolled in high school. They were also going to help me get Charlie to his rehab appointments that first week until I could get my permanent Washington driver’s license.
I’d had excellent grades and had been advanced in school. I was actually a year and a half ahead of my peers, so I was scheduled to enter Forks high school as a senior when school started up again. I was only going to be there for the fall, and then I was supposed to graduate at the end of the semester before Christmas and then return to Arizona.
I never made it.
Charlie’s rehab session had been scheduled late that first evening, and so mom and Phil went to pick him up while I finished making dinner. They never made it home. All three of them were killed when a truck skidded on the rain-slicked highway, hitting them head on. My whole world was shattered that night.
Having no other relatives alive, I became a ward of the state. Charlie’s best friend, Billy Black, stepped up and managed to get them to let me stay with them, and he helped me to get Charlie and Renee’s affairs settled. Phil had an older daughter from a previous marriage, so she said she would handle everything in Arizona. She handled everything alright. She stripped the house bare; taking every last thing inside it, including things that had belonged to my mother’s family for generations. She had either sold or traded everything away for drugs before I could do anything about it. The only reason she didn’t get away with selling the house itself was because it was only in my mother’s name; they had never had a chance to change it. Phil had been a nice guy, but apparently that was where it ended.
Charlie’s life insurance policy wasn’t very much, and our house in Arizona sold way below market value due to the crappy economy and the stripped-down condition of it, so I didn’t have much to work with after everything was paid off. I decided I wanted to keep Charlie’s house and once I was able, I would move back there until I knew what I was doing with my future. I quickly got a job at a hair salon in town to help earn my keep since Billy was already struggling just to feed himself and his son, Jacob. After fighting Jacob off for the third time, though, I filed for emancipation and at the age of sixteen, I was deemed an adult and was on my own.
I moved back to Charlie’s house and finished high school, graduating with honors. Even with a scholarship, I didn’t have enough money left to head straight off to a university, so I decided I needed to get some kind of training to help support myself better and save up to go so I wouldn’t have to starve while trying to study. I dipped into my meager inheritance and enrolled in a cosmetology college during the day, as well as a massage therapy school at night in Port Angeles. I figured I could make decent money being able to perform full spa services while I saved up, and then I could attend a university later on for the degree I really wanted. Working in a salon was not my first choice of careers, but I had a knack for it and the tips were decent, so I went with it as a means to an end.
It was now two years since the accident and I was still no closer to leaving Forks, at least not anytime soon. I wished Charlie and Renee were here to see me now, though. Of course, they would have probably been happier if I was still going to school out east at some fancy Ivy League university that cost more per semester to attend than Charlie made in six months, but at least I had done something with myself besides drop out of high school and settle for living on the rez with Jacob and Billy. That would have been Jake’s preference, to keep me there, barefoot and pregnant by now, but I still had my eye on that Ivy League education. It was just going to take a while before I could afford it.
I turned down the street of the address I had been given. I was taking a huge step today; I was planning, at eighteen years of age, to become a business owner. I was meeting a Mr. Cullen to negotiate investing my talents and remaining money into a new salon he was planning on opening near the downtown area. Apparently, the place had once belonged to his grandparents who were a barber and a beautician, and it needed a little bit of updating, but he assured me it was completely doable and I would have great access to clientele who worked around there and would appreciate my services and pay well for them. There were several hair salons in the area, but he had a vision of a state-of-the-art spa that offered cutting-edge services to a growing customer base. It had all sounded so wonderful. However, as I parked my truck next to a small silver car in front of the two-story building with the address he had given me my mouth fell open in shock
Was he serious?
I could see someone through the filthy windows pacing back and forth inside and I assumed it was Mr. Cullen. There was a dim light shining behind him from what looked like a camping lamp, and I could see he was quite tall. I slowly got out of my truck and walked to the door, pulling it open and gasping. The place was almost indescribable. It looked like I had stepped back in time to the 1940’s, and World War II had been raged right here in this little shop from the looks of it. The place was a disaster.
The man who had been pacing looked up at me, and had I not been so shocked, not to mention pissed, I would have found him extremely attractive.
“Ms. Swan, thank you so much for coming. I-” he started but I cut him off.
“A little updating? You’ve got to be kidding me!” I growled at him, “I’ve seen tamer-looking haunted houses!”
I turned on my heel, ready to stomp my way back out the door when he caught my elbow.
“Please!” he said in a begging voice, “Please, just hear me out. I’m sorry if I seemed to misrepresent things, I really didn’t mean to mislead you, it’s just that…this place means so much to me, to my family,” he said sounding genuine. “Can we please just talk?”
I finally turned around and looked at him in the dim light of the camping lamp. He looked like he was on the verge of tears and being the sucker I was for a sensitive guy, I nodded. I was still seething, but I was starting to calm down some.
He pulled out a large, long roll of paper and unfurled it in one of the old pink chair seats, pulling the camping lamp a little closer so that I could see it was a set of blueprints.
“My great grandparents opened this shop in 1946 after the second world war. They put every dime they had into building it and getting it off the ground. They spent their whole life here and taught my grandmother and mother their trade. There’s a two-bedroom apartment upstairs, as well as their house out back where they lived and where I live now. That was where my grandmother as well as my mother was born, in that house. I played in the yard here as a child and all my best memories are here. When I was born, my grandmother retired so she could watch me during the day while my parents worked. She recently passed away and left the place to me, her oldest and favorite grandson,” he smiled. “I own the property outright and there are no liens or back taxes on it. It’s all clear to be renovated,” he said pulling out some sketches.
“As you can see, the place hasn’t been in business for over twenty-five years,” he said gesturing around the room. “As bad as it looks now, the structure is still very sound and just needs some minor repairs. The worst of it is cosmetic. I’ve consulted an architect and a designer, also known as my sister, Alice, and her husband, Jasper, and they’ve drawn up some plans for improvements. That’s where you come in,” he smiled sheepishly.
“I’m not a wealthy man, Ms. Swan, just you’re average guy. I can foot about a fourth of the costs up front with what savings I have, and I can get another fifty percent of it financed; it’s that last fourth that’s the hold up. I know it doesn’t look like much now, but I know it could be. I just need someone who’s willing to see beyond the broken tiles, dirt, and dust to help me get it off the ground again; someone who has a dream and a vision and is willing to work hard and take a chance.”
He walked up to me slowly and the intensity of his gaze had me spellbound. “Are you that someone, Ms. Swan? Can I count on you to help me bring this place back to life?” he asked and his voice cracked on the last word. I was frozen in place, held there by his eyes and his intoxicating smell.
I could only nod yes.
“Great!” he said enthusiastically clapping his hands and breaking the spell. “I have the contracts right here. Give them a once-over and let me know when you’re ready to sign,” he said with a wide grin, shoving a stack of papers into my hands before clicking off the camping lamp and ushering me out the door. He quickly hopped in his car and he was gone around the corner.
I stood there stunned at his rapid change of demeanor, my mouth still gapping after him as he drove away while the rain drenched my hair.
What the hell had I just agreed to?
Ahead Of the Crowd
It was my first time in a bar in this town. I had just moved from the big city to a quiet little place called Dysentery. I thought it an odd name. It sounded familiar, though, like I had heard it before, but I decided not to worry too much about it because the real estate was cheap and the population was only two hundred seventy-one. Well now it was two hundred seventy-two, I thought with a grin as I sat down. I patted down my hair. It wasn’t fairing well through my move, but when I looked around, everyone else seemed to look a little frazzled, too.
An odd but handsome man came walking in with very well-styled hair. He had sheers on his belt along with a comb and spray bottle. Everyone seemed to shift away from him when he looked at them. He tisked in disgust and walked over to the bar. He looked me up and down and smiled. “You condition,” he said with such relief.
“Um, yes, of course.” I was a girl, of course I conditioned.
He let out a sigh, “You could use a trim, though,” he said picking up my new split ends.
“I could, I think the dry air is wreaking havoc on my head.”
His eyes seemed to light up and he pulled out his sheers, snipping off a few obvious split ends. “Can I buy you a drink? So few people appreciate good hair here.”
I let out a laugh looking around. A few patrons shook their heads no at me, but I thought they were crazy. I would swear one looked like they had a rat’s nest on their head. I was sure I saw the rat poke its head out from the tangle they called hair. I cleared my throat and looked away from the freaks. “Yeah, sure, you can by me a drink. I take it you take care of the local hair?” I asked.
“I wish. The freaks won’t let me anywhere near them,” he said and reached his sheers out, snipping some split ends off the waitress walking past. “I have to get them trimmed where I can,” he whispered and snipped at another patron walking past us. This one bumped me, slipping me a note. The thing was written in horribly messy handwriting.
Barber not sane run!
I crumbled up the paper and stuck it in my pocket, looking back across the bar. I noticed there was a line forming for the bathrooms. “Looks like there‘s a long line.”
“Yeah, well, that’s what you get for living in Dysentery. I suggest you not use the restroom here. It’s disgusting, almost as bad as their hair.”
The bartender set the drink I ordered down in front of me and then twitched his head toward the door. I wondered if he had Tourette’s syndrome.
I drained my drink slowly, amused as this fancy-haired man snipped at people’s hair as they walked past. Once I was finished, I looked over at him smiling. He really was handsome and I was lonely and could use a good conditioning.
“Hey, I never did catch your name,” I said smoothly.
“Timothy,” he said smiling.
“Well, Timothy, I’m Angela and I need a good deep conditioning. Do you think you’re up for the task?” I asked.
He jumped around giddily, squealing like a school girl. There went my hopes of getting laid. What, it was possible for a hairdresser to be strait!
He grabbed my hand and dragged me out of the bar and down the sidewalk. We went three buildings down when we stopped in front of an old torn up building. “This is my shop, I know it isn’t much to look at, but I swear I can work around the angry mob disaster.”
“Angry mob disaster?” I asked.
“Can you believe they wanted to run me out of town for introducing them to hot waxing? I mean my god, have you seen their facial hair? I swear the bearded woman has nothing on this crowd. The wolf man legend was born here,” he said dusting off a chair as I hopped over a few loose tiles.
“Oh, do you do eyebrows?” I asked.
He looked over me grinning widely. “Yes, oh, God, you’re a dream come true, a person who grooms!”
He opened the back closet door for supplies and I saw several mannequin heads with fancy hair. “I like the highlights on the third one.”
He froze in place and glanced back at me and then looked where I was looking. “What?” he asked.
“The head over there, top row, third head over, could I get highlights like that?” I asked.
He grinned so big and wide it was creepy for a second, but he contained himself. He closed the door and looked bashful for a second. “No one has ever complimented me on my work,” he blushed. “You’re so sweet.”
“No, you’re very talented to accomplish that in this place, you must be very gifted.” I knew you should always be on the good side of your beautician. He was one person you never wanted to piss off or you would end up looking like a freak for the next few months trying to grow out their retribution.
He gave me the works. I was shampooed and deep conditioned, waxed, trimmed, and highlighted, then styled to perfection. He wiped the mirror down so I could see myself.
“Oh, Timothy, you’re a miracle worker. Please tell me I can have a standing appointment with you every week to keep this up.”
He squealed, “My first real customer!” He hugged, me swinging me around in a circle.
When he set me down, I gently patted my head. “Watch the hair,” I said smiling, “Of course, I really don’t mind coming back and having it fixed now do I?” I giggled.
When I walked out of the shop, Timothy was waving at me frantically, smiling as I walked home. The streets were lined with people staring at me like they were in shock. I’d finally had enough and asked a lady down the street what the problem was.
“He didn’t chop off your head!”
I laughed, “Why on earth would he chop off my head?” I asked.
“He has a closet full of heads!”
“Hairdressers always have fake heads to practice on,” I explained. This small-minded group was ridiculous. I walked a little further and passed the alley that would go behind the hairdresser shop. I saw Timothy wrestling a poor messy-haired girl. I wished they would just let him fix their hair. He looked up at me and waved. “I’ll see you next week!” he shouted.
“You bet you will!” I said waving as he dragged the crazy-haired freak in through his back door. When I got home, there was a knock on my door. It was the sheriff.
“Ma’am, I’ve come to check on you,” he said looking at my head funny.
“That’s very kind of you. So are you going to be changing the population sign to two hundred seventy-two?” I asked trying to make conversation.
“Nah, Tim got Mary Sue, took her head right off like he did with the other folks. He usually just gets people passing through town, but for some reason, he didn’t take your head off and took out a local instead. I can’t have him doing that.”
I looked at him confused. “What are you talking about?”
“Timmy boy is a serial killer, but he mostly doesn’t mess with the locals. It’s only me and another guy, and three bullets. We used to have six, but we spent three the last time we tried to stop him, so we all just try and warn people to stay away from him.”
“You can’t be serious. This man is a hair genius! If he lived anywhere else, he would be worshipped for his skills!” I grabbed his hand, “Feel this. My hair is soft as kitten hair after he conditioned me,” I said smashing his hand into my hair. “And that’s even with highlighting, HIGHLIGHTING I say, most people have rough haystack hair after highlighting.”
I spent the rest of the week avoiding the crazy townspeople. When I showed up for my appointment, I brought flowers and a broom with me. “I was thinking I would help you clean this place up. You really need to so you can showcase your talent, Timothy. I’ve never met a man as gifted as you.”
He wiped a tear away and put the flowers in an empty spray bottle. “You’re such a gem, Angela,” he hugged me to him.
“Why don’t we clean and then you can clean me up afterwards. It’ll be fun!” I said sounding giddy even to myself.
We made quick work of the floor and then he pulled out some thick goopy glue and used it to stick the loose tiles down. I washed down all the walls, mirrors, and chairs and he dragged the old broken sink out the back. I noticed he was missing a couple of light fixtures and asked him about them.
“The crazy law men came shooting up the place! I only have the one light now because of them. It makes working at night very difficult.”
“Don’t worry; I’ve installed ceiling fans at my last couple of places so I can put a little light in, no problem.” I went to the hardware store and bought two light fixtures and some fancy curtains to hang in his windows. I found a huge five gallon bucket of pretty ‘oops’ paint and bought it as well. He was my only friend in town and I wanted to let him know I appreciated him even if everyone else didn’t.
He wiped tears away from his eyes as I helped him paint the walls, covering the old stained paper on them. Once we were done, I put up the light fixtures while he hung the curtains. The place looked so much better. I washed my hands and then plopped down in the chair.
“Well, Timothy, are you still up for pampering me or shall we reschedule?” I asked.
He smiled. “Let me order takeout and I’ll take care of you after dinner. I’m buying, it’s the least I could do for you after all this,” he said and wiped another tear.
The one diner in town did deliver, but they just set the food at the shop door and then ran. I shook my head. “When are people going to get it through their heads that you can help them look beautiful?” I asked.
He smiled as he walked over to me, kissing my lips softly, completely shocking me. I had been sure he was gay. I smiled and jumped on him, attacking him wildly and I think surprising him a little. He sat down with me in his lap. “Don’t worry your pretty little head about it. In the end, I always convince them their head is best in my hands when it comes to grooming,” he kissed me lightly, “I have a closet full of them to prove it,” he whispered and continued to kiss me passionately, making me feel things I never had before. His words bounced around my head, though, and I tried to make sense of it all, but I couldn’t.
After a very vigorous make out and grooming session, I promised to return again for my weekly appointment and blushed as he winked at me. God, he was amazing!
I let out a giddy sigh as I skipped down the sidewalk.
“So, did you see the closet full of heads?” a woman asked me and I rolled my eyes and walked on ignoring her. “Wait, could you just take a look at this picture?” she held up a picture of a woman with messy brown hair, “Is her head in the closet?”
She did look familiar for a moment as I stared at it trying to place her. Then it all sank in.
“Top shelf, third head over, beautiful highlights,” I said more to myself than the woman.
She gasped and ran away.
Well, shit, apparently I really was dating a serial killer.
~Rose von Barnesly