The Freelancer’s Haircut

by Randy Murray on March 20, 2014

“Done with work today?” she asked as she swept the cape over me and snapped it behind my neck. It was just before three o’clock and the barber shop was empty.

“Just done with work,” I replied.


“Yep,” I said. She looked to be a bit older than me, but I’m not that great at guessing ages.

“I hate you,” she said. I think she was joking, but there was a edge to her voice. “I’ll retire early in another twenty-five years.” I handed her my glasses.

“What do you do all day?” she asked.

I realized that I shouldn’t antagonize someone standing behind me with razors and pointy scissors. “I write for businesses. I still do work. I just don’t have a full time job.”

She asked me how I wanted my hair cut. I gave her my simple instructions and she set up her clippers.

“That must be nice. I have older guys come in here looking for work like sweeping up, trying to earn a little beer and newspaper money.”

“I still earn a pretty good living,” I told her. “A bit better than beer money. I just don’t have a job. And I can do the work whenever I like.”

“Must be nice.” She finished with my head and then trimmed my beard. I waited to reply until she had the buzzing clippers away from my lips.

“It is,” I told her. “I don’t wait in lines. I can come here when other people are at work. I can slow down and enjoy life a bit.”

“I still hate you.” She turned the chair around and I inspected myself in the mirror. Two ears, no blood. I told her it looked good.

She removed the cape and handed me back my glasses. I gave her a twenty and she gave me change. I handed her back two dollars. “For you,” I said.

“It doesn’t look to bad to be working here,” I said as I pulled on my jacket. She brushed off the chair and sat down on it. She picked up her magazine and found where she had left off when I came in.

“Oh, it’s not. Not bad at all.”

“Good,” I said, putting on my cap. “See you soon.”

She nodded without looking up. I walked out into the early Spring and decided to go next door for a chocolate milk shake.

Nope. Not bad at all.

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